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Native American Legends

The Flood

A Haida Legend

Behind Frederic Island there was a village with many people in it. A crowd of boys and girls was playing on the beach when they saw a strange woman wearing a fur cape such as they had never seen before.

A little boy walked up to her to find out who she was, and the others followed. She was indeed strange. One boy pulled at her garment, which was like a shirt. He pulled it way up and saw her backbone, a funny-looking thing with "Chinese slippers", a plant that grows on the seashore, sticking out of it. This made the children laugh and jeer.

When they heard the children's clamor, the old people told them to stop laughing at the stranger. At that moment the tide was at it's low ebb, and the woman sat down at the water's edge. The tide began to rise, and the water touched her feet. She moved up a little and again sat down. The water rose again, and again she moved back. Now she sat down at the edge of the village.

But the tide kept rising; never before had it come so high. The villagers grew frightened and awe-struck.

Having no canoes, they did not know how to escape, so they took big logs, tied them together into a raft, and placed their children on it. They packed the raft with dried salmon, halibut, and baskets of spring water for drinking.

Meanwhile the stranger kept sitting down, and when the tide came up to her, moving away to higher ground, up the hillside, up the mountain. Many people saved themselves by climbing onto the raft with the children. Others made more rafts, until there were a number afloat.

The whole island was now covered by the sea, and the hundreds and hundreds of survivors were drifting about without being able to stop, since they had no anchors. By and by the people saw peaks sticking out of the ocean. One of the rafts drifted to a piece of land and its survivors stepped off there, while other rafts were beached elsewhere.

It was at that time that the tribes became dispersed.

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