Texts by and about Natives: Texts

4. Livingston Farrand, "The Tale of Thunder and Sisemo"

Livingston Farrand, “Quinalt Ethnographic and Field Notes,” Ms. no. 30 (S2a.1), Freeman No. 3198, American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, Penn. (1897), [unpaginated].

Thunder had a daughter & she married a young man, Sisemo, & Thunder did not like it for he thought the young man was worthless & of common family so he told his son in law to go up to the mtns. & get snow from 5 mountains so he went & got the snow from 5 mtns & when he came back he had only a handful and he gave it to his father in law and he was angry & said that was not enough but the young man said you eat it & you will find enough & so he ate & ate but it did not grow smaller & he got mad & threw it out side & then the snow was plenty & covered his home and all the trees.

Now Thunder told Sis— to gather the snow & put it back where it came from for this was too much & he gathered it up and there was only a handful & he took it back where he got it & when he returned he told him to go & get 2 mt. Lions & he went to get them in the mountains & came back w. 2 lions tied together & gave them to Thunder & when they came in they began to fight and frightened Thunder. He tried to play with them but they nearly ate him up and he told the young man to take them back to the mountains which he did & returned again & Thunder told him to go & get 2 bears — that he wanted them to play with — so he did & brought 2 bears tied together & gave them to Thunder & when he tried to play with them the bears stood up on hind legs & Thunder was frightened & told his young man to take them back & he did —

The young man returned & Thunder told him to come w. him while they split a big cedar log. Thunder split one end & put wedges large enough for a man to get in & told the young man to get in the crack & as soon as he got in Thunder took the wedges out & the young man was caught & Thunder was glad and boasted over him and went home & rejoiced and very soon he heard someone come to his door and throw something heavy down & there was the young man who had brought the cedar log in from the woods & Thunder was surprised & told his son in law to go down to the under world where there was something [a ball] the under world people used to roll & make lightning & for the young man to get it & bring it back to him. So the young man went down & the people knew that some one had come, so he turned himself into fog but they knew him & then smoke but they knew him & into lots of things & finally into something (they did not know what) & waited between the 2 crowds & waited & caught the ball & raced away with it as fast as he could and came back home & then it was dark down below so the under world people gathered pitch wood and started after the young man & Thunder and his people got water & poured it down & that made it rain —  (They saw that the young man had the ball) & that put all the fires out & the under people went back in despair while the young man came home w. the ball.

Then Thunder was glad to have the ball & put the ball under his armpits & told the young man he could have his daughter & he gave some to the hummingbird (red on his throat) & to the yellowhammer & all birds & animals that have reddish color and gave some to the people and kept the rest & every time Thunder raised his wings now lightning is seen. He raises his wings when he gets mad and his talk is the Thunder (Thunder is a big bird).

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