"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 Wohpekumew 'ap nii'no'w 'o neskwechok'w.
Wohpekumew came and looked and went back.
'O ge'm, Pish, chiweyk', nepuy skewok ki 'ne-nepek'.
He said, Well, I am hungry, I want some salmon to eat.
- 'O gi', Ni mok'w nepuy, mi' k'e-mr'wrmry 'u-me'y wo'oot 'i niki koosi 'ekone'm k'i nepuy.
He was told, There is no salmon, because the daughter of the head of your river holds all the salmon by her.
Nekah kwehl 'wr'rrgrch wi'iit nepi'moh 'ini kegoh puuk, tu' wi'iit chpi ki 'o k'e-nahchelek'.
So we eat alder bark, and we catch more deer, and this is all you can be given here.
Kwesi 'o ge'm, Chuu', Tu' ki yegok', kwesi 'o lego'l.
And so he said, Well, I will be going, and he went.
'O neskwechok'w ho mr'wrmry, 'o 'ohpe'l kwelekw tokto'm ku nepuy.
He came to the head of the river, and there he was offered salmon in great quantities.
'O ge'm, Paa, mos nek wit ki nepek' mi' nimuch 'ok'w 'nr-mrw.
He said, No, I will not eat it as I have my own food with me.
'We-sraach' 'u-wo'ik 'ela hooreche'w wishtu' 'o mu'mone'm ku 'wr'rrgrch, mechish 'o nek'.
He reached into his quiver and took out the alder bark, and put it on the fire.
Koosi nii'nowi' 'w-eseyk', Kus k'i kweni mu'mone'm?
They all looked at him thinking, Where on earth has he got it from?
Komchumehl 'w-esek', Nekah wi' chpi 'ekoni' k'i nepuy 'o k'i mr'wrmry.
They knew, The salmon is held by us alone at the head of the river.
Kwesi ku kich 'o wey ku ko'l 'we-nepek', 'o ge'm, To' wi' kich roo kiki 'ne-chkeyek', kwesi 'o koosi le'm ku kiti 'we-chki'mo'w.
When he had finished eating, he said, Now it is time for me to sleep, and they all went away to sleep.
Kwesi noohl kich roo kiti ye'wome'y lekwsi 'o sootok'w.
Then the time came when the sun was setting, and he went out.
Komchu'm 'ochkich koosi chki'mo'w.
He knew that they had all just gone to sleep.
Hinoy so sootok'w 'o newo'm, kwesi wi'iit 'o gunkek so pa'aahlik.
He went away behind and saw (the salmon), and so he opened (the way) to the water (of the river).
Pish, wishtu' 'o laa'y skelik 'o laa'y kwelas kem nooleni ku nepuy koosi hoole'm.
So he passed along, he passed down (on the river bed) and the salmon went all round him.
'O ko gunkekso' 'o ko 'i yegoo.
He opened the way and shouted.
'O 'i yegoo's ku kich 'o gunkek kiti 'we-ro'.
He shouted when he had opened the way for them to run out.
Ko'mo'y hinoy kich 'o nooloo, 'o ge's, Chish, kwesi kich komchumehl kich 'ne-nah.
He heard them behind him answering, and he thought, Well, now (the folk there) know that the salmon are mine.
Tu' wit 'i mehl so'n we'yk'oh k'i 'we-roy 'u-krku'yrmry teytko'hl mi' kich 'o komchu'm 'w-esek' hinoy kich '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.
Tu' we'yk'oh, 'o ge'm, tu' 'iki sho'n ki 'we-laaye'm so pishkaahl k'i nepuy, ki kwegomhle'm mi' kegesomewtehl so mr'wrmry.
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.
Tu' we'yk'oh nekah k'i 'oohl k'i laayoh mehl negepi'moh nepuy.
And today we Indians eat salmon regularly from the river.