The Lazy Boy Who Became A Whaler

In Quileute Legends there is a story about Sexdate.  At one time there was a young man, named Sexdate, who was lazy and Jobless. Due to this fact he only received the tail-part of dried out salmon for his meals.   His older brother’s wife brought him the salmon, which he would arrange into a small basket that he had concealed under his blanket. One day his brother and sister-in-law journeyed to Ozette, and left the young man at home.



Whilst they were gone, somebody sighted a whale far away in the sea, swimming towards the land. The Quileute of the village arrived at the young man’s house, and inquired, “Is your brother back yet?” for the older brother was an adept whaler.   Sexdate didn’t Respond, instead he just ran off.   He discovered the whale, and, coming back into the house, grabbed his brother’s whaling-outfit, and, with seven other men in the canoe, disembarked to get the whale.   When the whale came near the canoe, the young man ordered the men to get the outfit prepared while he cleaned his face.   The young man was really thin.   Before long the whale was close enough, Sexdate speared the whale. He so about killed it, that the whale didn’t even dive or swim on with the line. Additional canoes then arrived to assist Sexdate.   He ordered them to lance the whale’s head; and they did as they were ordered, afterwards they towed the whale onto land.   All the Quileute came down to the beach to carved up the whale.

Before long they spotted a canoe approaching from the north, and discovered that it was the Older brother returning home.  Once he shored, he arrived to where the whale was at, and spoke to a few of the people.   He inquired who had killed the whale ; and they said it was his younger brother, who once was so lazy.

Sexdate, in the meanwhile, went to the house and retrieved his brother’s bear-skin blanket.   He wore it concealing his own little blanket underneath .   Then he went back and seated a short distance from the whale. Later on he probed the tail of the whale, cut off a piece, and Secured it with a pack-strap. He called off to his sister-in-law, and asked her to take it to the house.  She said she believed it was too heavy. Sexdate, all the same, said, “No, that is not too heavy,” and he hoisted it with one finger.  He then proceeded to arrange it on her back.  As he was setting the pack-strap, he ordered her to spread her feet apart.  As soon as she did so, he released the strap, and the weight of the whale-meat smashed her to the ground.   Sexdate then went to where he had set the bear-skin.  He brought it to the dead woman, and, getting out the dried salmon, he said, “Here, take your old dried sal- mon and eat it! I’ve been keeping it for you.”

The elder brother never said a word all this time. Before long, however, Sexdate told to him, “My brother, do not grieve for your wife ! I will get you two wives.  I am going to be a wealthy Quileute, and people will come to see me from all over the country, and bring me blankets and women.”   This is the beginning of the potlatch.  He also ordered the friends of the woman not to grieve.  “I will make it right,” he said, “and potlatch you every year.”  When the people of the north found out about the whale that had been caught, they sent down five canoes with numerous blankets, and piled them high in order to purchase the whale-meat.

On the following day another whale was sighted.  The Quileute people called Sexdate, who directly got his men ready.  Four other canoes departed first, but they could not capture the whale.  Then Sexdate went, and waited close by.  As the whale came towards the canoe, Sexdate speared it and killed it straightaway.  The Quileute people then Constructed a signal-fire on the shoring to call the others back. When they came and discovered that Sexdate had killed the whale, they assisted him tow it onto land.

People from far-off got word about his prowess, and arrived with many blankets and girls for Sexdate. He, however, gave the girls to his brother. Indeed Sexdate became very rich.   Some years after this, Sexdate constructed a large house, and all the people aided him with it.  He asked over people from all over the country to attend a potlatch.  He gave a big one, and was a great man.  This marks the lineage of the potlatch.

The potlatch is a festival or ceremonial occasion amongst Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.  At these assemblies a family or hereditary leader hosts guests in their family’s house and provideds a feast for their guests. The primary intent of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth.

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  1. very interesting. Sexdate seems very conceded.

  2. Your telling me Brenna. Why would Sexdate kill his own sister-in-law though? Its wrong.:?

  3. oops messed up the emocicon

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