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Tlingit RavenTlingit Indians of Southeastern Alaska

Raven and Fog Woman

This story was adapted from John R. Swanton's Tlingit Myths and Texts (1909), page 108.

Illustrated for AME by Nancy Logue

Printed at the
Alaska Bilingual Education Center
Alaska Native Education Board
Anchorage, Alaska

for use in the
TLINGIT INDIANS OF SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA
Social Studies Unit

Produced by:

ALASKA MULTIMEDIA EDUCATION PROGRAM
ALASKA STATE MUSEUM
JUNEAU, ALASKA 99801


Raven and Fog Woman
RAVEN AND THE FOG WOMAN

Raven wanted to get married. He went to the chief called Fog-Over-The-Salmon, who had a young daughter of marriageable age. The chief was glad that Raven wanted to marry his daughter, but he said,

"You must promise to treat my daughter well. You must have respect for her, and look after her. If you behave badly, she will leave you and you won't get her back."

Raven agreed to what the chief demanded, and the couple were soon married. They lived contentedly in the village near the water all summer and fall. Then winter caine, and they were without food.

making salmon

One, bleak rainy day, after they had been hungry for some time, Raven's wife started making a basket.

"What are you making a basket for?" asked Raven testily. "We have nothing to put in it."

His wife did not answer him, but continued making the basket, until it was very big.

That night they went to sleep hungry again, and the next morning when Raven woke up, he saw his wife sitting on the floor washing her hands in the basket. He got up to look at what she was doing, and when she had finished, there were salmon in the basket! These were the first salmon ever created.

Raven arguing

Raven and his wife were very glad, and they cooked and ate the salmon. Every day, she did the same thing: she washed her hands in the basket, and when she had finished, there were salmon in it. Soon, their house was full of drying salmon, and they had plenty to eat.

After a while, however, Raven forgot that he owed his good fortune to his wife. He quarreled with her. Every day they would exchange bad words with one another; and in the end Raven got so angry that he hit his wife on the shoulder with a piece of dried salmon! He had forgotten the words of his father-in-law, the chief.

Fog Woman

Raven's wife ran away from him. He chased her, but when he tried to catch hold of her, his hands passed right through her body as if through mist. She ran on, and every time Raven clutched her body, there was nothing to hold on to. He closed his hands on emptiness.

Then she ran into the water, and all the salmon she had dried followed her. Her figure became dim and she slowly disappeared into the mist. Raven, could not catch her, because she was the fog.

Raven and Chief

Raven went to his father-in-law, Chief Fog-Over-
The-Salmon, and begged to have his wife returned. But
his father-in-law looked at him sternly, and said,

"You promised me that you would have respect for
my daughter and take care of her. You did not keep
your promise. Therefore, you cannot have her back."


RAVEN AND THE FOG WOMAN

Discussion

(Ideas for you to talk about with your friends or your teacher; or you could write out your thoughts if you wish.)

  1. Why did Raven lose his wife?
  2. Do you think it would be easy or difficult to be married to Raven? Give reasons for your ideas.
  3. Whom do you feel sorry for in this story? (You may feel sorry for more than one person!)

Writing

1.

The story doesn't say what Raven and his wife quarreled about. Write a story about their quarrel in your own words. Get some of these things into your story (but not necessarily in this order):
What Raven did to make his wife angry.
What the wife did to make Raven angry.
What both of them said and shouted.
Where they quarreled.
What they did and what they looked like when they were quarreling.

2. What do you think happened to the Fog Woman after she left Raven? Write a story about where she went and what she did.
3. Write this story out as a play and read it, or perform it to your friends.
4. Write anything else that this story suggests to you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

MATERIALS LIST & GOALS
SECTION 1: Tlingit Country
SECTION 2: Clans
SECTION 3: Summer Camp
SECTION 4: Tlingit Economy: Surplus
SECTION 5: Wrap Up

APPENDIX A: Brief Description of Tlingit Culture
APPENDIX B: A Sample Winter Clan House
APPENDIX C: Northwest Coast Materials in ASD AVS Center
APPENDIX D: Juvenile Literature on Northwest Coast Cultures
APPENDIX E: Art Bibliography
APPENDIX F: Northwest Coast Cultures Bibliography
APPENDIX G: Schools Which Own Northwest Coast Study Prints
APPENDIX H: Raven Stories (reprints)
APPENDIX I: Recorded Versions of Clan Crest Stories
APPENDIX J: Some Northwest Coast Art Activities

 

 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


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Last modified August 21, 2006