Okanogan - Chickadee Makes a Shoo'-mesh Bow
Chickadee wanted to cross the river where Elk had his trail. Elk crossed the river at the same place each sun. Chickadee waited for him there. When Elk came, Chickadee said: "Ste-eel'-tza, my grandfather. Take me across on your back."
Now, Elk was not Chickadee's grandfather, but Chickadee wanted to please Elk and gain his favor. Elk agreed to carry the little boy across the river. He took Chickadee on his back and waded into the water. With his flint knife, Chickadee began to cut the back of Elk's neck. "Zsf-skaka'-na, what are you doing?" asked Elk.
And Chickadee answered: "Grandfather, I am only scratching your neck."
Elk went on. Soon he thought that Chickadee was scratching too hard, and again he asked what the boy was doing.
"Grandfather, I am only scratching your neck," said Chickadee, but all the time he was cutting, cutting with his flint knife. Just as Elk reached the shore, Chickadee made a last cut and Elk fell dead with a broken neck. Chickadee was glad. He wanted one of Elk's ribs for a bow.
Such a bow would have strong shoo'-mesh. He skinned Elk with his knife. As he finished taking off the hide, Mother Wolf walked up. She had hidden her two children close by in their cradle that was hung on a tree. Mother Wolf looked greedily at the elk meat."Go and get your little cousins," she said. "I left them on a tree by the trail."
Chickadee knew that she wanted to steal the meat, but he did not let on that he knew. He ran along the trail and found the children, but he did not take them to their mother. He carried them in the opposite direction, running far with them. Then he hurried back to Mother Wolf. "I could not find your babies," he said.
"Why, they are on a tree close by the trail," said Mother Wolf, who thought that Chickadee could not find them. "Look again for them," and Chickadee ran to where he had left the children and carried them still farther away. He hurried back to Mother Wolf.
"No, I cannot find your babies," he said. Mother Wolf sent him once more. As soon as he was gone she started cutting the elk meat into small pieces. By the time Chickadee returned, the meat was all cut up. Chickadee did not have the children, of course, so Mother Wolf finally had to go for them.
"Do not eat any of the meat until I come back," she told Chickadee. "Wait, and we will eat together," and she started down the trail. It took her a long time to find her children.
Chickadee began to carry the meat away as soon as Mother Wolf was out of sight. He took it to a high cliff, to a ledge halfway up the wall of the cliff. He made several trips, and he finished carrying all the meat there just before Mother Wolf returned with her children. She followed Chickadee's tracks to the foot of the cliff, and then she looked up and saw him sitting on the ledge and roasting the meat over a fire.
"Zsf-skaka'-na, throw down a mouthful of meat for your little cousins," said Mother Wolf. "Open their mouths. I will throw down a mouthful to each," answered Chickadee.
Taken from Coyote Tales by Humishuma, Colville-Okanogan for Mourning
Dove [Christine Quintasket], 1933