“That is how the Thlinkits came to our island, and so we say when the snow breaks, that now comes the blue jays.”
“Thank you for telling us such a dandy story.” cried Ted, who had not lost a word of this quaint tale, told so graphically over the camp-fire of the old chief Klake.
TO THE GLACIER
Ted slept soundly all night, wrapped in the bearskins from the sledge, in the little tent he shared with his father. When the morning broke, he sprang to his feet and hurried out of doors, hopeful for the day’s pleasures. The snow had stopped, but the ground was covered with a thick white pall, and the mountains were turned to rose colour in the morning sun, which was rising in a blaze of glory.
“Good morning, Kalitan,” shouted Ted to his Indian friend, whom he spied heaping wood upon the camp-fire. “Isn’t it dandy? What can we do to-day?”
“Have breakfast,” said Kalitan, briefly. “Then do what Tyee says.”
“Well, I hope he’ll say something exciting.” said Ted.
“Think good day to hunt,” said Kalitan, as he prepared things for the morning meal.
“Where did you get the fish?” asked Ted.
“Broke ice-hole and fished when I got up,” said the Thlinkit.
“You don’t mean you have been fishing already,” exclaimed the lazy Ted, and Kalitan smiled as he said:
“White people like fish. Tyee said: ’Catch fish for Boston men’s breakfast,’ and I go.”
“Do you always mind him like that?” asked Ted. He generally obeyed his father, but there were times when he wasn’t anxious to and argued a little about it. Kalitan looked at him in astonishment.
“He chief!” he said, simply.
“What will we do with the camp if we all go hunting?” asked Ted.
“Nothing,” said Kalitan.
“Leave Chetwoof to watch, I suppose,” I continued Ted.
“Watch? Why?” asked Kalitan.
“Why, everything; some one will steal our things,” said Ted.
“Thlinkits not steal,” said Kalitan, with dignity. “Maybe white man come along and steal from his brothers; Indians not. If we go away to long hunt, we cache blankets and no one would touch.”
“What do you mean by cache?” asked Ted.
“We build a mound hut near the house, and put there the blankets and stores. Sometime they stay there for years, but no one would take from a cache. If one has plenty of wood by the seashore or in the forest, he may cord it and go his way and no one will touch it. A deer hangs on a tree where dogs may not reach it, but no stray hunter would slice even a piece. We are not thieves.”
“It is a pity you could not send missionaries to the States, you Thlinkits, my boy,” said Mr. Strong, who had come up in time to hear Kalitan’s words, “I’m afraid white people are less honest.”