Turtle Marries the Chief's Daughter

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told by Gwen Bear (.wav, 475k)


Koluskap and Turtle traveled to a town and stayed there a while, working. Finally Koluskap said to Turtle, “Uncle, you better get married.” To this Turtle replied, “Where will I find a wife?”

“Why,” said Koluskap, “We’ll ask the Chief for his daughter.” Turtle admitted that the Chief’s daughter was very nice, but, he said, “How can we get her?” Koluskap said, “I’ll go myself and get her.”

Uncle Turtle

Koluskap went to see the chief with a bundle of furs, telling him what he wanted. The chief talked it over with his relations, asking them whether they should consent to have Turtle or not. “How could we marry someone who looks like a turtle?” asked the Chief’s wife. But the Chief noted, “Koluskap can make him any shape. Besides, we can’t refuse such a powerful man.” So they informed Koluskap there was to be a marriage and the people cheered.

Turtle and His Wife
Strawberry Basket

Koluskap changed Turtle into a young man and told him to get his future wife to go pick some berries for the feast. They took some girls and the Chief’s son and crossed over to the island in two canoes. After the group had picked the berries, Koluskap advised them to return before it began to blow very hard. On the way back, Koluskap decided to play some tricks. He made Turtle show off by getting up and straddling the canoes. At that moment Koluskap shoved one canoe away and Turtle went overboard.

Looking for Turtle

The canoes did not stop until someone remarked, “What was that that just went overboard?” Koluskap answered, “That, was my uncle.” The canoes turned about and found Turtle floundering about and after much difficulty they finally got him back into one of the canoes. The Chief’s daughter who was to marry Turtle was very ashamed.

Bark Dish

On the evening of the third day was the great marriage feast. A man shouted, “Waldewak,” which meant “Bring your plates.” All the people brought their plates to get their food. Afterward, everyone danced until Turtle and the Chief’s daughter arrived, and they danced the short horn dance. About the middle of the night, they took the new husband and wife and put them to bed at the Chief’s camp.

Uncle Turtle

The next morning the old Chief’s wife looked on the opposite side of the camp and saw a turtle’s back sticking out from under the blankets. “What is that turtle doing here again?” she asked, forgetting that the young man her daughter married was a turtle. She picked up a poker and began to jab him in the back. Her husband, the Chief, finally told her who it was and reminded her that their daughter’s husband was indeed a turtle.