"Wohpekumew and the Salmon" (1951)
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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So nes Wohpekuemew 'ap neee'now' 'o neskwechok'w.
Wohpekumew came and looked and went back.
'O gem', Peesh, cheeweyk', nepuey skewok kee 'ne-nepek'.
He said, Well, I am hungry, I want some salmon to eat.
- 'O gee', Nee mokw' nepuey, mee' k'e-mer'wermery 'ue-mey' wo'oot 'ee neekee koosee
'ekonem' k'ee nepuey.
He was told, There is no salmon, because the daughter of the head of your river holds all the salmon by her.
Nekah kwehl 'wer'errgerch wee'eeet nepee'moh 'eenee kegoh puuek, tue' wee'eeet
chpee kee 'o k'e-nahchelek'.
So we eat alder bark, and we catch more deer, and this is all you can be given here.
Kwesee 'o gem', Chuue', Tue' kee yegok', kwesee 'o lego'l.
And so he said, Well, I will be going, and he went.
'O neskwechokw' ho mer'wermery, 'o 'ohpel' kwelekw toktom' kue nepuey.
He came to the head of the river, and there he was offered salmon in great quantities.
'O gem', Paa, mos nek weet kee nepek' mee' neemuech 'okw' 'nr-merw.
He said, No, I will not eat it as I have my own food with me.
'We-sraach' 'ue-wo'eek 'ela hoorechew' weeshtue' 'o mue'monem' kue 'wer'errgerch,
mecheesh 'o nek'.
He reached into his quiver and took out the alder bark, and put it on the fire.
Koosee neee'nowee' 'w-eseyk', Kues k'ee kwenee mue'mone'm?
They all looked at him thinking, Where on earth has he got it from?
Komchuemehl 'w-esek', Nekah wee' chpee 'ekonee' k'ee nepuey 'o k'ee
They knew, The salmon is held by us alone at the head of the river.
Kwesee kue keech 'o wey kue kol' 'we-nepek', 'o gem', To' wee' keech roo
keekee 'ne-chkeyek', kwesee 'o koosee lem' kue keetee
When he had finished eating, he said, Now it is time for me to sleep, and they all went away to sleep.
Kwesee noohl keech roo keetee ye'womey' lekwsee 'o sootok'w.
Then the time came when the sun was setting, and he went out.
Komchuem' 'ochkeech koosee chkee'mo'w.
He knew that they had all just gone to sleep.
Heenoy so sootokw' 'o newom', kwesee wee'eeet 'o guenkek so pa'aahleek.
He went away behind and saw (the salmon), and so he opened (the way) to the water (of the river).
Peesh, weeshtue' 'o laay' skeleek 'o laay' kwelas kem noolenee kue nepuey koosee
So he passed along, he passed down (on the river bed) and the salmon went all round him.
'O ko guenkekso' 'o ko 'ee yegoo.
He opened the way and shouted.
'O 'ee yegoo's kue keech 'o guenkek keetee 'we-ro'.
He shouted when he had opened the way for them to run out.
Ko'moy' heenoy keech 'o nooloo, 'o ge's, Cheesh, kwesee keech komchuemehl
He heard them behind him answering, and he thought, Well, now (the folk there) know that the salmon are mine.
Tue' weet 'ee mehl son' we'yk'oh k'ee 'we-roy 'ue-kerkue'yermery teytko'hl mee' keech
'o komchuem' 'w-esek' heenoy keech 'o gegok'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.
Tue' we'yk'oh, 'o gem', tue' 'eekee shon' kee 'we-laaye'm
so peeshkaahl k'ee nepuey, kee kwegomhlem' mee' kegesomewtehl so
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.
Tue' we'yk'oh nekah k'ee 'oohl k'ee laayoh mehl negepee'moh nepuey.
And today we Indians eat salmon regularly from the river.