Lowana Brantner

"Wohpekumew and the Salmon" (1951)

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Text identifier: LA16-3
Speaker: Lowana Brantner
Primary documentation: R. H. Robins
Edition: R. H. Robins, The Yurok Language (1958), pp. 162-163

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  1. So nes Woh-pe-kue-mew 'ap neee'-no'w 'o nes-kwe-chok'w.
    Wohpekumew came and looked and went back.
  2. 'O ge'm, Peesh, chee-weyk', ne-puy ske-wok kee 'ne-ne-pek'.
    He said, Well, I am hungry, I want some salmon to eat.
  3. 'O gee', Nee mok'w ne-puy, mee' k'e-mer'-wer-mery 'ue-me'y wo-'oot 'ee nee-kee koo-see 'e-ko-ne'm k'ee ne-puy.
    He was told, There is no salmon, because the daughter of the head of your river holds all the salmon by her.
  4. Ne-kah kwehl 'wer-'err-gerch wee-'eeet ne-pee'-moh 'ee-nee ke-goh puuek, tue' wee-'eeet chpee kee 'o k'e-nah-che-lek'.
    So we eat alder bark, and we catch more deer, and this is all you can be given here.
  5. Kwe-see 'o ge'm, Chuue', Tue' kee ye-gok', kwe-see 'o le-go'l.
    And so he said, Well, I will be going, and he went.
  6. 'O nes-kwe-chok'w ho mer'-wer-mery, 'o 'oh-pe'l kwe-lekw tok-to'm kue ne-puy.
    He came to the head of the river, and there he was offered salmon in great quantities.
  7. 'O ge'm, Paa, mos nek weet kee ne-pek' mee' nee-muech 'ok'w 'ner-merw.
    He said, No, I will not eat it as I have my own food with me.
  8. 'Wes-raach' 'ue-wo-'eek 'e-la hoo-re-che'w weesh-tue' 'o mue'-mo-ne'm kue 'wer-'err-gerch, me-cheesh 'o nek'.
    He reached into his quiver and took out the alder bark, and put it on the fire.
  9. Koo-see neee'-no-wee' 'we-seyk', Kues k'ee kwe-nee mue'-mo-ne'm?
    They all looked at him thinking, Where on earth has he got it from?
  10. Kom-chue-mehl 'we-sek', Ne-kah wee' chpee 'e-ko-nee' k'ee ne-puy 'o k'ee mer'-wer-mery.
    They knew, The salmon is held by us alone at the head of the river.
  11. Kwe-see kue keech 'o wey kue ko'l 'we-ne-pek', 'o ge'm, To' wee' keech roo kee-kee 'nech-key-yek', kwe-see 'o koo-see le'm kue kee-tee 'wech-kee'-mo'w.
    When he had finished eating, he said, Now it is time for me to sleep, and they all went away to sleep.
  12. Kwe-see noohl keech roo kee-tee ye'-wo-me'y lekw-see 'o soo-tok'w.
    Then the time came when the sun was setting, and he went out.
  13. Kom-chue'm 'och-keech koo-see chkee'-mo'w.
    He knew that they had all just gone to sleep.
  14. Hee-noy so soo-tok'w 'o ne-wo'm, kwe-see wee-'eeet 'o guen-kek so pa-'aa-hleek.
    He went away behind and saw (the salmon), and so he opened (the way) to the water (of the river).
  15. Peesh, weesh-tue' 'o laa'y ske-leek 'o laa'y kwe-las kem noo-le-nee kue ne-puy koo-see hoo-le'm.
    So he passed along, he passed down (on the river bed) and the salmon went all round him.
  16. 'O ko guen-kek-so' 'o ko 'ee ye-goo.
    He opened the way and shouted.
  17. 'O 'ee ye-goo's kue keech 'o guen-kek kee-tee 'we-ro'.
    He shouted when he had opened the way for them to run out.
  18. Ko'-mo'y hee-noy keech 'o noo-loo, 'o ge's, Cheesh, kwe-see keech kom-chue-mehl keech 'ne-nah.
    He heard them behind him answering, and he thought, Well, now (the folk there) know that the salmon are mine.
  19. Tue' weet 'ee mehl so'n we'yk-'oh k'ee 'we-roy 'ue-ker-kue'-yer-mery teyt-ko'hl mee' keech 'o kom-chue'm 'we-sek' hee-noy keech 'o ge-gok'w.
    That is how it came about that today the bends in the river are sharp because he knew that (the daughter of the head of the river) was coming after him.
  20. Tue' we'yk-'oh, 'o ge'm, tue' 'ee-kee sho'n kee 'we-laa-ye'm so peesh-kaahl k'ee ne-puy, kee kwe-gom-hle'm mee' ke-ge-so-mew-tehl so mer'-wer-mery.
    And now, he said, it shall come to pass that (the salmon) shall go down to the sea, and that they shall return, because they are homesick, to the head of the river.
  21. Tue' we'yk-'oh ne-kah k'ee 'oohl k'ee laa-yoh mehl ne-ge-pee'-moh ne-puy.
    And today we Indians eat salmon regularly from the river.