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Battle of the Birds

A Thompson Legend

All the birds agreed to help the Hala'u to steal the wife of the Bald-headed Eagle, who was a very good woman, but got treated bad by her husband. The Hala'u said, " We will all go to the underground lodge of our grandfather, the Bald-headed Eagle. I will stay outside whilst all of you go inside, and engage him in a game of lahal, and you will at the same time complain of the cold, and keep putting wood on the fire, until the house gets very hot, then his wife will be sure to come outside to cool herself." Accordingly all the birds entered, and engaged the Bald-headed Eagle in a game. They did as directed by the Hala'u, and soon the place was very hot.

Before long the wife arose and said, " I am going out to cool myself. I cannot stand the heat." As soon as she got outside, the Hala'u took possession of her, and conducted her to his house. Shortly afterwards the birds ceased playing with the Bald-headed Eagle, and all went home in a body. As the woman did not return, the Bald-headed Eagle knew what had happened, and began to train himself.

After training for some time, he donned a collar of several thickness of birch-bark, and repaired to the house of the Hala'u, where all the birds were assembled. Here he took up his position on the top of the ladder, and challenged them to battle.

Each one of the smaller birds went in succession to the woman to get his hair combed, and straightway to fight the Bald-headed Eagle; but they all fell an easy prey to their warlike and powerful enemy.

Then the larger and more powerful birds had their hair combed and went out ; but they also were slain. The Raven had his hair combed by the woman and then went out ; but he, too, soon fell a victim.

Next came the Chicken Hawk ; but he soon shared the same fate. Then the Fish Hawk sailed forth, and there was a stubborn fight ; but eventually the Bald-headed Eagle killed him and cut off his head. After that the Hala'u himself went forth with a bitch-hack collar around his neck, and forthwith ensued a fierce battle. The combatants rose to the clouds, and dropped to the earth, fighting ; but at last the Hala'u was slain and decapitated.

The woman then commenced to wail inside the house, for there was only one bird left, viz., the Ha'tabat, who also had his hair combed, and went to give battle to the Bald-headed Eagle. The contest was a very furious one. The combatants flew up to the clouds several times, and back again. At last the Bald-headed Eagle was slain, and the Ha'tabat took possession of the woman. Afterwards he went around and healed the wounds of the dead birds, put their heads on their bodies, and they all came to life again, except the Bald-headed Eagle.

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