How Raven Lost His Venison

- Squaxin -

Pheasant was at his house with his wife and five children. They were suffering from hunger, for there was no food in the house. Pheasant worked late into the night making arrows, that he might go out and hunt.

In the morning Pheasant rose early and went out to hunt, found a good place where he concealed himself, took aim, and shot an elk.

A stranger appeared with a dog which barked and played in the light of day. "Why do you hide?" he said. "Come and cut up the game." Pheasant came and began to cut up the elk with his knife of bone, but the stranger pushed him aside saying, "You must not cut the game; I will do the cutting."

Soon the elk was cut up and skinned and the stranger said, "Kindle a fire and we will cook some of the game." Pheasant did so. The dog lay down by the fire, and all were soon fed.

When they had finished, Pheasant packed up his game and equipment, the stranger having first made the pack small and easy to carry. The stranger also warned him not to look back!

Pheasant set out for home. He became tired, and sat down on a log with his pack - but he kept his face set straight forwards, for he remembered the warning of the stranger. When he arrived home he continued to observe the caution, and kept from looking back in the direction from whence he had come.

He said to his wife, "Spread a mat where on I may lay the game. "He lay the game down, and immediately it became large, as before. He game some of the game to his wife and she cooked it in a wooden box.

Raven lived nearby. The children of Raven came and looked upon the pheasant people and saw the feasting. They ran home and cried, "Father, there is so much food in that house ... they have so much elk to eat!" So their father, old Raven, went to Pheasant's house and saw what his children were speaking of.

"How did you kill the elk?" Raven inquired of Pheasant.

"I made arrows for myself, and early in the morning I went out and killed him," said Pheasant. The stranger skinned and cut up the elk, then Raven kindled a fire, cooked and, with the dog lying by the fire, they ate. Then Raven setout for home. The stranger by his power made the elk small, and warned Raven not to look behind him as he journeyed home. "If you become fatigued, lie down - but do not look back," he said.

Raven started home. On the way, he became tired and sat down. "Why should I not look back?" he thought as he sat there, so he did - he looked back - and as he did so, the game and the cords that held it became rotten wood. "Lying right there," said Raven.

Raven's wife went back to look for the game. Five times siei did this - but she found nothing except the rotten log. And all this happened because Raven looked back instead of following the advice of the stranger.

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