Native American Legends
Mink and his Brother
A Lushootseed Legend
A mink is a sleek, pretty little animal, but in the olden days,
Mink was a real mischief-maker always playing tricks. So the people
would try to catch him whenever they got a chance. This story tells
of one of Mink's adventures.
One day, a long, long time ago, Mink and his brother were out fishing.
"Hello there, Mink. what's that you're using for bait?"
It was Whale who had pulled alongside. Now Mink just couldn't resist
teasing the big friendly whale. "Oh it's your big-blubber guts!
We're using your fat blubber for bait. That's all it's good for
anyhow!" That made Whale mad. That made Whale so mad, he just
opened his gigantic mouth and "slurp"! Mink, his brother
and his canoe just slipped right down into the Whale's stomach.
My it was dark in there, dark and huge! Mink very carefully started
to walk around the Whale's stomach. Over there, yes it was a big
pile of herring! Mink and his brother decided to make a nice fire
and cook the herring. They got the fire burning brightly, when Mink
stood up and bumped his head on something. "Ouch"! It
was Whales big heart.
Just then, Whale took a mouthful of water, and poof! out went the
fire. Mink bent over to light the fire. When he stood up, bang!
he bumped his head on Whale's heart again. But at last he got the
fire going, and was just starting to cook some herring when whoosh
! they were drenched from head to toe in another mouthful of water.
Poor Mink! His head hurt, he was cold, he was soaking wet and now
"owww"! he just bumped his head again. Now Mink got so
mad he took out his knife and cut a big piece right off that Whale's
heart. This really hurt Whale, and he started to twist and turn
and struggle in pain. Mink and his brother were thrown from side
to side, getting battered and bruised.
At last Mink knew that now was the time to use his special magic
words. "take us to a good beach in front of the people",
said Mink, and quick as a wink,they were there. Now some of the
people on the beach had been watching all this. They saw Whale swallow
Mink and his brother, and they thought that, now was their chance
to catch the little trickster who had bothered them for so long.
They grabbed their spears and waited, waited all along the beach.
Mink could see the people lined up on the beach. He turned to his
brother and said "Keep right behind me. Do just what I do and
follow me. Now!" Up they crawled, up Whale's blow-hole, right
over the heads of all the people and into the woods.
So once again, Mink clever Mink, escaped from the spears of the
people and lived to think up more tricks and mischief. And that
is the story of Mink and his Brother.
Read more about the Lushootseed and learn to speak the language too.
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