Stránka:roll 1917.djvu/143

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Tribe Activities iii "It's txue," she replied in a tone that compelled belief. "It is strange thing that you see and talk of seven swans, when an hour ago I speak to you of crippled baby and how the mother- women love them, care for diem, protect them. You see, tilliciim (friend), there is a Squamish story — ^what you call it? Legend? Yes, legend about a crippled child and a band of seven swans." I edged nearer to her. Then she told me the whimsical tale, while the restless Capilano murmured and chanted, laughed and rollicked, sang and sobbed out its music far, far below us. "The little girl was bom a cripple. There was not ugliness, nothing crooked in her form, just one little foot that was weak and limp and nerveless, and when she learned to walk, this fdot trailed slightly behind the other. But, oh! the love of her Squamish mother that hovered over her, protected her, petted her, nursed her, waited on her; it was the all-powerful love of a mother-woman for a weak child, and the baby grew into girl- hood, then to womanhood, wrapped around with this wonderful garment of love, as the dinging fragrant moss wraps the foot of a tree. "Her mother called her *Kah-lo-ka' (accent on lo), which in the Chinook means 'The Swan,' for the girl was very beautiful. Her face was as a flower, her form slender and filled with grace, only the trailing foot stood between her and the perfection of young womanhood. But her soul was yet more beautiful than her face. She was kind, joyous, laughter-loving. She never said a bitter word, never gave a sneering smile. Her heart was light, her hands skilful, her voce gentle. Her fingers were 'swift to weave baskets and blankets, her eyes keen and lustrous in selecting the dyes for the quills and fibres and furs, for her home-making and her garments, and she loved little children as her mother had done before her. "And many a brave wanted her for his wife — many a young fisherman, many a warrior, many a trapper, but her heart loved none, until a young hunter came from the North, and said,

  • I will be strong for both of us: I will be fleet of foot for both.

My arrows are true and never faU ; my lodge is filled with soft, warm furs, your frail little feet will rest upon them, and your heart will rest in my heart— will you come?' "The shadows crossed her face as she looked at her trailing foot. *But I can never run to meet you when you return from the forest with the deer across your shoulders or the beaver across your arm,' she regretted. *My step is slow and halting, not swift like the other maidens of my tribe. I can never dance