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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 225

A great storm, with thunderings and earthquakes! They took the body down and would have buried it, but, to! it arose to its feet, as the sun burst forth, and resumed its preaching. Then they took the voyager's word for truth and never harmed him more, while they grew less warlike as each year went by until, of all Indians, they were most peaceable.





TAMANOUS OF TACOMA

Mount Tacoma has always been a place of superstitious regard among the Siwash (Sauvage) of the Northwest. In their myths it was the place of refuge for the last man when the Whulge was so swollen after long rain that its waters covered the earth. All other men were drowned. The waves pursued the one man as he climbed, rising higher and higher until they came to his knees, his waist, his breast. Hope was almost gone, and he felt that the next wave would launch him into the black ocean that raged about him, when one of the tamanouses of the peak, taking pity on him, turned his feet to stone. The storm ceased, and the waters fell away. The man still stood there, his feet a part of the peak, and he mourned that he could not descend to where the air was balmy and the flowers were opening. The Spirit of all Things came and bade him sleep, and, after his eyes were closed, tore out one of his ribs and changed it to a woman. When lifted out of the rock the man awoke, and, turning with delight to the woman, he led her to the sea-shore, and there in a forest bower they made their home. There the human race was recreated.

On the shore of the Whulge in after years lived an Indian miser—rare personage—who dried salmon and jerked the meat that he did not use, and sold it to his fellow-men for hiaqua—the wampum of the Pacific tribes. The more of this treasure he got, the more he wanted—even as if it were dollars. One day, while hunting on the slopes of Mount Tacoma, he looked along its snow-fields, climbing to the sky, and, instead of doing homage to the tamanous, or divinity of the mountain, he only sighed, "If I could only get more hiaqua!"

Sounded a voice in his ear: "Dare you go to my treasure caves?"

"I dare!" cried the miser.

The rocks and snows and woods roared back the words so quick in echoes that the noise was like that of a mountain laughing. The wind came up again to whisper the secret in the man's ear, and with an elk-horn for pick and spade he began the ascent of the peak. Next morning he had reached the crater's rim, and, hurrying down the declivity, he passed a rock shaped like a salmon, next, one in the form of a kamas-root, and presently a third in likeness of an elk's head. "'Tis a tamanous has spoken!" he exclaimed, as he looked at them.


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