Why the others are all afraid of the men from Sheep Bay


The people from Port Wells and Chenega came to Sheep Bay and had a big meeting in the smoke house. It was winter. They were getting ready to hunt mountain goat next day.

The Sheep Bay people said: “We will go with you, but we are not going to hunt very hard.” They knew the places and were just going to show the others the way.

One Chenega man said: “I am not going to let that Sheep bay man beat me. He is eating red-salmon soup.” The Sheep Bay man answered: “All right, you eat spruce-hen soup and I don’t, but you will not leave me behind. I will beat you hunting.”

He was a goat hunter.

They arranged to race up the mountain. They started at daybreak. They had dogs will them when they climbed. All of them had snowshoes. The young men put them on before they turned their dogs loose. Soon they heard the dogs barking. A Chenega man shouted: “Go ahead, the dogs have a goat.”

The Sheep Bay people were the last, while the men from Chenega and Kiniklik were ahead. They were passing over a small peak on showshoes. The hunter from Sheep Bay got to the goats first, even thought he had been last. The dogs had the goats surrounded.

He looked around, and nobody was in sight. He killed the first goat he saw with an arrow. Then he took off his basketry hat, put it on the goat and left this arrow in it and kept on going.

The second one he shot with an arrow he covered with his ground-squirrel coat. He killed a third…he killed all the goats before anyone showed up.

One the way back he met the others only halfway up. The old men from Sheep Bay started to sing out when they saw him: “Hi, hi,hi! Even though we eat red-salmon soup, and those people eat spruce-hen soup, they can’t beat us.”

The Chenega and Port Wells people were too ashamed to say anything. Then the hunter from Sheep Bay said to them: “Here are some goats for you. I got them so you could roast them in the fire.” He gave all the goats to the Chenega and Port Wells people and just kept enough for one meal for his own people.

That is why the others are all afraid of the men from Sheep Bay: they are so swift.

Author: Paul Eilah