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Native American Stories : Playing a Trick on the Moon , Snoqualmie

mount_si Mt_si

Playing a Trick on the Moon


Long ago, Snoqualm, or Moon, was chief of the heavens. One day he said to Spider, “Make a rope of cedar bark and stretch it from the earth to the sky.”

Soon Fox and Blue Jay found the rope and climbed up it. Late at night they came to the place where it was fastened to the underside of the sky. Blue Jay picked up a hole in the sky, and the two of them crawled through.

Blue Jay flew to a tree, and Fox found himself in a lake. There he changed himself into Beaver. Moon had set a trap in the lake, and Beaver got caught in the trap. Next morning Moon took Beaver out of the trap, skinned him, stretched his skin out to dry, and threw the body into a corner of the smokehouse.

The next night Beaver waited until Moon was asleep and snoring loudly. Then he got up, took his skin from the place where it was stretching, and put it back on. While Moon was still snoring, he examined the house and the sky world.

Outside he found a great forest of fir and pine and cedar trees. He pulled some of them up by their roots and then, with his spirit powers, made them small enough to carry under one arm. Under his other arm he put Moon’s tools for making daylight. He took some fire from below the smoke hole, put ashes and leaves and bak around it, and carried in one hand. He found the sun hidden in Moon’s house and carried it away in his other hand.

Then Beaver found the hole Blue Jay made, changed himself back to Fox again, and went down the rope to the earth. There he gave the fire to the people. He set out the trees. He made the daylight. He set the sun in its place so it would give light and heat to all. The people were happy because of the things Fox brought from the sky.

By this time Moon had awakened. When he found the beaver skin gone and the sun stolen, he was very angry. He knew that one of the earth people had tricked him. Noticing footprints around the house, he followed them to the top of the rope Spider had made.

“I’ll follow him to the earth world,” Moon thought.

But as he started down, the rope broke. Both Moon and rope fell down in a heap and were transformed into a mountain.

Today the peak is called Mount Si. The face of Snoqualm, Moon, can still be seen on one of it’s rocky walls. The trees which Fox brought down from the sky and planted have become the great forests of the Cascade Mountains.

–Recorded by Ella Clark in 1953-

Mount Si is a solitary, sharp peak in what is today the Snoqualmie National Forest east of Seattle, Washington.

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