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The Death of Grizzly - Alsea

Many people came together to invite Grizzly, for they had assembled there in order to kill Grizzly: all had agreed to this. So at last Grizzly was persuaded to come to the edge of the ocean. After all had assembled, then they all asked each other, "Who will climb up there first?"

After much debate, everyone said over and over again, "Little Old Man Raccoon shall climb up there first." So he did it, and everyone else climbed up after him. And then everyone began to say, "Some better man, Grizzly himself, should climb up here." But Grizzly refused.

So then they said, "Let Black Bear climb up here." So Black Bear began climbing. After he reached the top, he began to sing; then he called down from above to Grizzly Bear, "Climb up here, my friend!" Now, Grizzly Bear pretended to climb up there, but in reality he did no climbing at all, for he would constantly look behind himself and then slide down again. And on the second day the same thing) was done as on the first day. So finally, on the fifth day. everyone agreed that Grizzly Bear absolutely must be killed and they made all the arrangements right then and there. But they did it badly, and so he quickly ran away quickly and disappeared. He ran towards the sea and was frequently shot at after he jumped into the sea, but he was just as frequently missed. After he escaped, he swam towards the west.

All the people assembled together again and looked carefully to see where he was going. At first, he went far to the west, but then he changed his course to the north. All the people then began to ask each other who was going to go to Little Old Man Wren and explain how Grizzly had escaped. But everybody was frightened for their safety because the place was so far away. So the Rabbit was sent first. He began to run, indeed, but then suddenly sat down and simply stared.

So they then sent little old man Racoon. Now he began to run, indeed, but he had not gone far when he veered off towards the water and began to feel around with his hands along the edge of the sea.

So then Deer was sent. He was willing to go and began to run. But he only jumped a little ways and stopped there. He then started out again but did the same thing as before. The fifth time he gave up entirely.

So then the Robin was sent. He agreed to go and began to run, but he had not gone far when he suddenly stopped, stared straight ahead, and began to eat for a while. He would then start off again but did the same thing as before. Then, finally, after the fifth attempt, he gave up entirely.

Then, this time, the Mink was sent. He, indeed, was willing to go and began to run, but he ran slowly. He had not gone very far when he jumped into the water and began to swim. He had not swam very far when he came back ashore and sat down. He did not sit for very long when he started out again, but he ran slowly. He did not run slowly very long when he jumped into the water as before. He began to swim but floated back right away. Then he, once again, swam slowly as before. He did not swim long when he came ashore again and sat down. At the fourth attempt he did the same thing as before. Finally, after the fifth attempt, he went down a hole and disappeared and did not come out again.

So they tried one more timeÑthis time, Weasel was sent. As he was about to start, he asked, "What should I tell Little Old Man Wren when I come to him?"

"Tell him this when you see him: 'Grizzly Bear was permitted to escape.' Go quickly, and tell him, 'If Grizzly comes to you, ou must invite the cold weather, so that he can not come ashore.'" So he started off and that was all. And he never rested as he ran.

After awhile he came to Wren and said to him, "The one who was destined to be killed was permitted to escape."

Wren asked him, "What do you desire now?"

"Well, I've come to see you because I have a message."

"All right, what am I supposed to do?"

"Well, you are being asked this: 'You must call for the cold weather."'

So he did it, he invited the cold weather to come. It got terribly cold all over the world. Even the ocean turned into ice.

Long, long after that Wren looked westward out to sea and saw Grizzly Bear approaching. He came straight toward him. After he entered the bay, he tried to come ashore, but in vain. As soon as he reached the shore, he'd quickly slide back into the sea. Finally, at the fifth attempt, he came ashore and dropped down exhausted at the door of the Little Old Man's house. He drew himself nearer to it and asked, "Art you home, my friend?"

"Indeed, why should I have gone away anywhere?"

"Build a fire in your house! I'm very cold."

So he did it, and Grizzly Bear began to warm himself. He had not been warming himself very long when he began to feel hot. All this time he did not really pay much attention to his surroundings, but he rather became sleepy because he was so hot. So Wren asked him, "Do you feel sleepy?"


"If you wish to lie down, you can feel free to lay down anywhere."

"All right; I'll lay down for a little while." So he did it, but fell asleep right away.

He slept with his mouth open and the man who lived there went out and went to gather pitchwood. After he had gathered a great deal of pitch he went back to his house, but his visitor just sprawled there just as he left him. So he began to melt his pitchwood. He had not boiled the pitch for very long when Grizzly Bear woke up.

"Hey! What the hell are you doing!. You're stinking up the house! I'll eat you alive if you continue!"

"Oh, no! Keep on sleeping, my friend! I am cooking your food."

So he began to sleep again. He sprawled out on his back and opened wide his mouth and the Little Old Man began to practice: he would step into Grizzly's mouth and come out again suddenly from his ear. Wherever there was an opening, he'd come out again through that opening; he would then again step into Grizzly's mouth and again come out quickly. After he had done this several times, he said to himself, "He will never do me any harm."

So when the pitch had reached a roiling boil, he brought it in for Grizzly and poured it into his mouth. Then he went out quickly from his mouth and began to watch him from the outside. Grizzly Bear began to writhe violently: one side Wren's house fell down. But he was not convulse for very long until he quieted down and eventually became motionless altogether. Wren went back into the house but Grizzly Bear was dead.

So Wren sent Weasel back: "You can go back now, for I've killed him at last. Go back to report this."

So he did. He had not been long gone from his people when they gathered around him; they people assembled from everywhere around. They asked each other over and over, "What do we do now?"

They did not discuss this for very long when they all agreed that Grizzly's body was to be scattered over the world in different directions.

"Where shall his heart be scattered?"

"To the south and to the east."

And somebody scattered his sinews to the north. And his flesh he intended to issue right here. To this all the people agreed and his body was divided; after it was divided up entirely then all the people separated again.

Here it ends.

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