Tales of the North American Indians
The Visit To Chief Echo
Txä’msem remained sitting there, thinking quietly how many hard things he had done among men; still his needs were not satisfied. At last he made up his mind to try to go again to the people in order to get something to eat, for he was a great eater. He went to a lonely place, and was very anxious to find some people in the woods. Soon he came to a great plain. No trees were to be seen, just grass and flowers.
At a distance he beheld a large house, and inside the large house with carved front he heard many people singing. He saw sparks flying up from the smoke hole, and he knew that it must be the house of a great chief. When he came near the house, he heard something saying with a loud voice, “A stranger is coming, a chief is coming!” and he knew that they meant him. So he went in, but he saw nobody. Still he heard the voices. He saw a great fire in the center, and a good new mat was spread out for him alongside the fire. Then he heard a voice which called to him, “Sit down on the mat! This way, great chief! This way, great chief! This way!” He walked proudly toward the mat. Then Txä’msem sat down on it. This was the house of Chief Echo. Then Txä’msem heard the chief speak to his slaves and tell them to roast a dried salmon; and he saw a carved box open itself and dried salmon come out of it. Then he saw a nice dish walk toward the fire all by itself.
Txä’msem was scared and astonished to see these things. When the dried salmon was roasted and cut into pieces of the right length, the pieces went into the dish all by themselves. The dish laid itself down in front of Txä’msem, and he thought while he was eating, what strange things he was seeing now. When he had finished, a horn dipper came forward filled with water. He took it by its handle and drank. Then he
saw a large dish full of crabapples mixed with grease, and a black horn spoon, come forward by themselves. Txä’msem took the handle and ate all he could. Before he emptied his dish, he looked around, and, behold! mountain-goat fat was hanging on one side of the house. He thought, “I will take down one of these large pieces of fat.” Thus Txä’msem thought while he was eating.
Then he heard many women laughing in one corner of the house, “Ha, ha! Txä’msem thinks he will take down one of those large pieces of mountain-goat fat!” Then Txä’msem was ashamed on account of what the women were saying. He ate all the crabapples, and another dish came forward filled with cranberries mixed with grease and with water. Txä’msem ate again, and, behold! he saw dried mountain-sheep fat
hanging in one corner of the large house. He thought again, “I will take down one of these pieces of mountain-sheep fat, and I will run out with it.” Again he heard many women laughing, “Ha, ha!
Txä’msem is thinking he will take down a piece of the mountain-sheep fat and will run out with it.”
Txä’msem was much troubled on account of what he heard the women saying, and when he heard them laughing in the corner of the house. He arose, ran out, and snatched one of the pieces of mountain-goat meat and of mountain-sheep fat; but when he came to the door, a large stone hammer beat him on the ankle, and he fell to the ground badly hurt. He lost the meat and fat, and some one dragged him along and
cast him out. He lay there a while and began to cry, for he was very hungry, and his foot very sore. On the following day, when he was a little better, he took a stick and tried to walk away.