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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