Indian language            American Indian culture            What's new on our site today!


This version of the legend comes from Franz Boas' 1928 collection Bella Bella Texts. The storyteller was identified as Willy Gladstone.

Four were the children of Nnoaqaua. They made ready to go mountain goat hunting. Then they were warned, "Go only to the white color smoke; it is the smoke of the mountain goat. The smoke of the black bear is black. There you may go. The smoke of the grizzly bear is rainbow color," thus said Nnoaqaua to his children. "But the smoke of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe is blood color. Do not go to the blood colored one." They were given a whetstone, they were given hair oil, they were given wool, and they were also given a comb.

They started and went up. They saw smoke and went there. It was that against which they had been warned, the blood colored smoke. They just went right in, led by the eldest brother. They went in and sat down on one side of the house of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe. Then a big woman was sitting in the house and one child was sitting in the house. They had not been sitting in the house long when the one child saw blood on the shin bone of the youngest one of the children of Nnoaqaua. He was given the bloody leg to scrape. "Scrape off the blood from this, for he wants to eat the blood on your leg," was said to the youngest one of the children of Nnoaqaua. Then he scraped off the blood from his leg and gave it to the little child of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe. Then the child licked it off. Now said the eldest one, "we have come to a dangerous place brothers," said the eldest one of the children of Nnoaqaua. Then he spoke again. He took his arrow and spanned his bow. "Go and fetch my arrow," said he to the youngest one, "my arrow, which I shot out." Thus he said. Then he shot his arrow out of the house. Then the youngest one went. Then he did so again. "Go and fetch it," said he to the next youngest one. Then he shut out of the house again, and he sent the one next to the youngest. Then, he also went out of the house. Then they just stayed away. Then he did it again, he shot out of the house. Then, only one of the brothers was there. Then he went out. He had not been long out of the house when the wife of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe arose and went to the door and shouted. Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe was not now sitting in the house, the big one. "Your food that came to you has gone, Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe," said the big woman. Twice, she spoke this. Then a big sound came, "Ham, ham, ham, ham," thus he said while he was walking along.

Then he came near. The children of Nnoaqaua were running. They were running away. Then the sound came nearer. Now, he was really near and they were frightened. Then one took up the whetstone and put it on edge behind them and it became a big mountain. Then they ran. Then came near Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe. He had hard work going up. Then he shouted, "Ham, ham, ham, ham," this he said while he was going along. Then he came nearer again. Again, they were frightened. Then they poured on the ground the hair oil behind them and it became a big lake. Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe had to go around it. He passed it again. The sound, "Ham, ham, ham, ham," came near again. Then they became afraid again. Then they put the wool behind them. Then there was a big cloud. Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe could not see. For a long time he walked around lost in the fog. Then he passed it again. The children of Nnoaqaua were running. He came near them again. Then they became afraid again, and they put down the comb. Then it became a big thicket. It took Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe long time again to go through the thicket.

"Bar the door, Nnoaqaua," said the children of Nnoaqaua. "Open the door now, Nnoaqaua." They arrived at the house. They went in. Then all of the children of Nnoaqaua locked the door. As soon as they had barred the door Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe came. He came to the locked door. Then went around the house Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe and Nnoaqaua made up his mind what he was to do to him. Then he sent to him, "Go and call your children and your wife, then you come and eat my children. I shall kill my children," said Nnoaqaua. Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe went. Then he killed dogs. He cut them up and put stones on the fire, and the stones were hot. He dug a hole on the floor of his house. The hole was big and deep. Then he put on edge a board in front of one side of the hole. They were ready in the house and put water into the steaming box. Then the sound of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe came near. He walked right into the house of Nnoaqaua. They placed him in front of the board set up on edge. Nnoaqaua took up the stones with the tongs. He had hidden in the house, his children behind the back board of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe. He took the stones with the tongs, and the (water) became hot. Then it began to have scum. Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe ate the scum of the soup. Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe said, "Try to talk wisely to your grandchildren, Nnoaqaua," thus said the Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe. Then it was as if he was raising his head somewhat. Then he began to make up his mind, what story to tell. "That, perhaps, that, perhaps, is my story, grandchildren. Perhaps it will be foggy on the mountains; now snore!" Thus said Nnoaqaua. Then he spoke so again. "That perhaps, that perhaps, is my story, grandchildren. Perhaps it will (?) mountains; now snore!" Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe and his children and his big wife yawned. Four times, he said so. Then Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe and the others slept. They snored. Then while they were snoring, he pulled down the supports of the back board and they dropped into the big hole that had been dug. Once when they went down only did he cry, "Ham, ham, ham, ham," thus he said when he fell into the big hole. Then he poured into it that which they had heated with stones for him. Now the sound "ham" became less when they were dying. Then the Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwes were dead. Now they took them out. When they were all out they were cut up into small pieces. When they were all in pieces, he took them outside and threw them about. "Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe, you will go to the people of later times. You will be the horseflies of later people. You will be the mosquitoes of later people. You will be the sand flies of later people," said Nnoaqaua while he was throwing away the pieces of Baxbakwa'lanuxusiwe. That is the end.

Sponsored links:

More stories to read:

 Native American monster stories
 Legends about giants
 Legends about insects

Learn more about:

 Bella Bella mythology
 The Heiltsuk language
 The Heiltsuk Indians

Back to the American Indian legend page
Buy some American books

Native nations            Native Indian clothing            Beothuk tribe            Haida            Indian tattoos

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page