The Origin of Elks

According to Quiletue legend,  a long time ago when elks were men. They decided to throw a potlatch and invite all the wolves, since they used to kill young elk If they wandered off from the house to play. The elks had a very large house; but they consulted collectively, and decided to do without houses and simply live in the woods. They gathered much pitch-wood, which they went to split up. Then many of them invite the wolves. It took them a month to get them. When the wolves arrived, they all entered the house. About one-half of the elks, yet, remained outside; and when the wolves traveled by these elk, they tried to bite them. They had rushed to the potlatch for they wanted to eat the elks.

wolves hunting elkWhen they were all gathered, the chief of the elks said, “O wolves! we are planning to have a big dance. You just sit still and observe, and we will play for you.” So the wolves stayed seated, as they were instructed; the elks assembled two fires, one at each end of the house.

The elks that were outside put pitch-wood all around the house, and stacked it up high. When everything was ready, they called out and set fire to the pitch-wood.

The house instantly erupted in fire and burned down. There were two holes in the roof. The elks that were in the house jumped out and escaped; the wolves, however, were all burned up. Thousands of them were incinerated upon that occasion.

The reason why there are any wolves at all now is that in every place in which the wolves had lived, two wolves had always remained at home.

And the elks, now that their house was gone, went to live in the woods. They journeyed about in herds, and developed the habits they have today.

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