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Native American Stories : The Trickster Becomes A Dish

Lillooet River

Tales of the North American Indians

The Trickster Becomes A Dish

Two brothers lived at the very head waters of the Upper Lillooet River, and spent most of their time training themselves in the neighboring mountains, for they wished to become great. One of them became ill, and had to remain at home. After four years’ illness, he became weak, and so thin that he seemed nothing but skin and bones. His brother grew anxious about him, and stopped his training. He hunted, and brought in rabbits, squirrel, and all kinds of meat, for his sick brother. He also threw small pieces of stick into the water, making them turn into fish. Then he caught them and gave them to his brother to eat. But no kind of food seemed to agree with the invalid, for he rapidly grew weaker and thinner.
When the youth saw that no food did his brother good, he made up his mind to take him away to some other place to be cured. They embarked in a canoe, and proceeded down the Lillooet River, giving names to all the places as they passed along. They came to a place they called Ilamux. Here there was a rock which dammed the river. They made a hole through it to allow their canoe to pass. Even at the present day it appears like a stone bridge across the river. Proceeding, they came to a place they called Komelux. Here two creeks, running from opposite directions, met each other with very great force. They made the water smooth enough to be safe for a canoe to pass. Proceeding, they came to a place they named Kulexwin. Here there was a steep, rocky mountain close to the river. They threw their medicine-mat at it, and it became flat like a mat.
Thus they proceeded down to Big and Little Lillooet Lakes and the Lower Lillooet River, until they reached Harrison Lake. All the way along they gave names to the places, made the waters navigable, and changed many features of the country. They reached Fraser River, went down to its mouth, and proceeded out to sea to the land of the salmon. When they arrived there, the strong brother hid himself, while the sick man transformed himself into a wooden dish, nicely painted and carved; and in this form he floated against the dam inside of which the people kept the salmon. A man found the dish, and took it to his daughter, who admired it very much, and used it to eat from. Whatever salmon she left in the dish over night always disappeared; but she did not care, because salmon were plentiful.
The dish ate the salmon, or, rather, the sick brother in dish form; and soon he became fat and well again. The other brother left his hiding-place every night to see the invalid, and to eat salmon out of the basket into which the people threw their leavings. He was glad to see his brother getting well so rapidly. When he had become very fat, his brother told him it was time they departed: so one night he broke the dam, and let the salmon out. Then they embarked in their canoe, and led the salmon toward the mouth of the Fraser River.
The salmon travelled very fast, and by the next morning they had reached the river. As they ascended, they took pieces of salmon from their basket, and threw them into the different creeks and rivers. Wherever they threw pieces of salmon, some of the fish followed. Thus they introduced the salmon into the streams of the interior. “Henceforth,” said they, “salmon shall run at this time each year, and the people shall become acquainted with them and eat them.” Then the brothers returned to their home at the head of the Upper Lillooet River, and they made near their house the hot springs called Tc

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