Haida Story: The Flood

The Haida are a Native American people of the west coast of Canada and the northern United States, as well as a southeastern part of Alaska, along the Pacific coast, and in the Haida Gwaii archipelago in particular. Here is their tale: The Flood.

The Flood

The Flood

Behind Frederic Island there was a village with many people in
it. A crowd of boys and girls was playing on the beach when they
saw a strange woman wearing a fur cape such as they had never seen before.

A little boy walked up to her to find out who she was, and the
others followed. She was indeed strange. One boy pulled at her garment,
which was like a shirt. He pulled it way up and saw his backbone,
a funny-looking thing with “Chinese slippers”, a plant
that grows on the seashore, sticking out of it. This made the children
laugh and jeer.

When they heard the children's clamor, the old people told them
to stop laughing at the stranger. At that moment the tide was at
it's low ebb, and the woman sat down at the water's edge. The tide
began to rise, and the water touched her feet. She moved up a little
and again sat down. The water rose again, and again she moved back.
Now she sat down at the edge of the village.

But the tide kept rising; never before had it come so high. Tea
villagers grew frightened and awe-struck.

Having no canoes, they did not know how to escape, so they took
big logs, tied them together into a raft, and placed their children
on it. They packed the raft with dried salmon, halibut, and baskets
of spring water for drinking.

Meanwhile the stranger kept sitting down, and when the tide came
up to her, moving away to higher ground, up the hillside, up the
mountain. Many people saved themselves by climbing onto the raft
with the children. Others made more rafts, until there were a number afloat.

The whole island was now covered by the sea, and the hundreds and
hundreds of survivors were drifting about without being able to
stop, since they had no anchors. By and by the people saw peaks
sticking out of the ocean. One of the rafts drifted to a piece of
land and its survivors stepped off there, while other rafts were
beached elsewhere.

It was at that time that the tribes became dispersed.