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Native American Legends

The Dog Children

The Uta'mqt have this story. It agrees with this Stalo version in a number of points, while in others it is similar to the upper Thompson and Shuswap versions.

Once there was a girl who lived near the mouth of the Fraser River. She refused all offers of marriage. At last a strange young man visited her at night and lay with her. She wondered who he could be, and made up her mind to mark him. She put red paint on the palms of her hands; and when he appeared the following night in the dark, she embraced him, leaving the imprints of her hands on his sides. She never went out of the house, but the next morning she went out to see if she could recognize the young man. The young men were playing, and called out, "Oh, see the girl! She has come to see us play." As she could see none of them with any marks, she went home. When near the house, she saw her father's large dog being fed by her mother, and on his sides were her hand-marks. Her mother said, "Who has been making a fool of the dog by painting his sides?" The girl was ashamed, went in, and cried to herself. In due time she gave birth to eleven pups, -- five male and six female. One of the latter was half black and half white. The people were very angry. They beat the dog nearly to death, and left the girl and her children to die.

When they were gone, the dog became a man, and went into the woods, where he healed himself. The pups were hungry: therefore their mother went at night with a torch to dig clams on the beach during ebb-tide. On her return, when near the house, she heard the pups dancing, and singing, "She thinks we are dogs, but we are children." The black and white one was on watch, and warned the others of their mother's approach; so they all hastily donned their skins and kept quiet. She looked about, and saw children's tracks where they had been dancing. She said, "It is strange that you are dogs, and still you give no warning, nor tell when strangers are around dancing." The following night, when she went out after clams, she put her robe on a stick, tied her torch to another one by its side, and hurried home. The pups thought she was still at the beach, and kept on dancing and singing. She crept up stealthily, jumped over the one on watch, and seized the skins of the others before they could get them, and threw them into the fire. Thus they remained children, while the black and white one remained a dog.

Now, their father returned in the form of a good looking man, and hunted for the family. He killed many goats and deer, and soon had great quantities of meat and fat. He put much fat into the caches of those people who had left some fish for the girl, and into the caches of those who had left nothing he put only bones. Now, the girl's grandmother pitied her, and sent Crow with some fish for her. Dog-Man gave Crow fat to take back to the old woman, and by this it became known how well off the girl had become. Then the people all returned, and were fed by Dog-Man. The ten children of the girl grew up to be handsome people, and they married among themselves. (Some people say that the children were all grown up, and married before the grandmother sent the Crow with the fish present, and the people returned.)

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