“Nephew Story” or “The Girl & The Sea Serpent”

Tewitech hechit’ – the Nephew Story or, The Girl & Her Pet

 This is a story Jim Buchanan told of a young woman who encounters a baby sea serpent, which becomes her spirit power. The sea serpent becomes friends with her and her family, and brings wealth at first in the form of deer, then whales. It returns to its ocean world at the end of the story, but promises to send gifts of whales ashore from time to time.

As a spirit power, it is often referred to in the story with the terms tewitech (Nephew) and shiit’a (pet). These are terms to denote the close relationship a person feels with his or her spirit power.

Also in the story, the girl is alternately referred to by the terms gweis and huu’mis. The former refers to a very young woman from the age of about 15 to age 20. The latter is the term for woman from age 20 to 50, or when she becomes married if she is younger than 20. So, by referring to her as gweis and huu’mis this girl in the story is probably in her late teens, which was an important time in life when people sought to find a spirit power or powers. So it makes sense within the story that she is about that age for finding a power.

katomis ihl tilaqai

Five were living there.


Ihl mitlkwiichinii

They were brothers.


Tluuwakats he’ihl ekwtlech

Their father lived there.


Tluuwakats he’ihl e’nech

Their mother lived there.


Guus milech tsistlaqa’ai le’ihl kwenetl

All the time their sister was bathing.


His he tsxayat stlaqa hla, ta his he qaumicha hla stlaqa

At dawn she went to bathe and also in the evening she went to bathe.


Guus milech he xwench

All the time she did that.


Yixen stlaqa hla

Once she went to bathe.


hi’nii giikwa tokelmixom lau hi’nii he milat lo gweis

It was a little deep there where the girl was swimming.


K’etech milat

She swam without clothes.


Yixen tsi tseyuxw xuuwayas milat

One day a small snake was swimming there.


Hats kwa xnek hemistos ho xuuwayas, to lau yuu chi’naam

The snake was like the size of a hair, and it was very cute.


Hexe’ich lau jii u mille

Towards her came its swimming.


Chii hila’iiwat ho kihla

She stretched out her hand.


Hen kihla la’atsxom lo xuuwayas ala

The snake child [‘little snake’] put itself into her hand.


Nlehii yuukwe ch’e’ech

She came ashore with it.


Tseyuxw gwaht sqats lox huumis

The woman picked up a little moss.


Chii tsxawiiyat

There she put it down.


Tsuu tl’hatsqom lo huumis

Then the woman put on her clothes.


Nlehii piixpii

She went home with it.


Yixewoxech tochiiyat

She brought it into the house.


Qanch lo ch’wexom, lau chii wutxaiyat.

The place where she lies down, there she returned it.


Yikwantl xchiich niitsitsiiwat?”

Whatever shall I do with it?”


wench cheniihenii

Thus she was thinking.


Tsuu gwaht yakwtit

She gathered moss.


A’yuu xnuuwe sh’alshtit

Indeed she worked hard. [indeed she worked in a good way]


chii tsxawiiyat lo shiit’a

There she put down the pet.


iitl hantl xchiich xahlahl?”

What will it do?”


wench chinehenii lo huumis

Thus the woman was thinking.


In kwa’aniiya lox ma’aniiyas lo huumis

The woman’s family did not know.


Denk he qahlimiiye yiqa he hla stlaqa

Every day as dawn broke she went to bathe.


Tsuu tl’xiint lo shiit’a

Then she examined her pet.


Heihats manch hemis

It was already big.


Lowii u ilwechis, I lau hemis kihluuwit

Her heart was glad when she saw it was big.


His inhlheniiyeos lau hla u hauwe

Not long afterwards it grew even more.


Asuu gwaht yakwiiwat lox huumis

Again the woman gathered moss.


Guus milech tsistlaqa’ai lo huumis

All the time the woman was bathing.


Denk he wutxe, yiqa he tl’xiint

And every time she returned, right away she examined it.


Yixen tl’xiint

Once she examined it.


Hats kwa diihl pinauwiihlxom len xwiluxw

There was something like a lump on its head.



She was examining it.


Hei shil ho kuumaix oitiiye lo kihluuwit

To her surprise she saw horns developing.


Manch hemis kihluuwit

She saw they were already large.


Wench iilt,

Thus she said


“E’hluuxtiiyoxtais hantl nox shiit’a.”

You will take care of me, my pet.”


Wench iilt.

Thus she said.


Lowii u ilwechis, I lau kwina’iiwat

Her heart was glad, when she looked at it.


Kwa’aniiyahaya lox hetlech, his lex e’nech, his lex ekwtlech

Her mother, her father and her elder brothers came to know it.


“Xchiichuu oit e’xahlt?”

What do you intend to do?”


wench tl’exom ho gweis

Thus the young woman [girl] was speaking.


“Tsi nhawiwat il.”

I will just raise it indeed.”


Manch hats enikiiye kumaix

Already horns were sticking out.


Yixewoxech chinatl le kumaix

The horns stretched out of the house.


Wench iilt le hetlech

Thus she told her elder brother


“Yuutotse to quwais!”

Tear off those boards!”


a’yuu yuutits lex hetlech

Indeed the elder brother tore them off.


Yixewoxiich liixlii ux xwiluxw, I lau hewii lo kumaix.

The two heads [tips] passed out of the house, when those horns grew.


Hei kwa’iin lowii u xkwinauch, I lau hewii.

They were very good looking, when they grew.


Hats heniihen tiiwixom, I lau tsxuu.

The snake was coiled many times where it lay.


Asitl eniikoxom lo xwiluxw.

The head was sticking out half way.


Guus qanch kwinait

It looked everywhere.


Yixen qahlimiiye tsi in diihl

One morning there was nothing.


“Yikwa qanch hla?”

Where did it go?”


wench chinehenii lo gweis

So the young woman [girl] thinking.


Heihats diihl ihl k’want

Suddenly they heard something.


Ch’e’ech diihl ihl k’want

They heard something in the woods.


Tsuu chii ihl kwinait

So they looked there.


Ihl kihluuwit iilahachom chii xuuwayas ma’aniyas

They saw before them there the full grown snake.


Wench tl’exom lo gweis

Thus the young woman [girl] was speaking.


“Ma sho nen shiit’a to chii.”

Oh my pet is coming.”


shima’iiwaq lo shiit’a.

The pet was dragging something.


Nkumaxa lo shiit’a.

The pet had horns.


Xwitsxut shima’iitox

He dragged many deer.


Hei kwa’in lowii u ilwechis lo gweis, I lau xwitsxut wutxaita.

The young woman’s [girl] heart was glad, when it returned with deer.


Asuu chii wutxe lo shiit’a

Again the pet returned there.


Asuu chii ch’uu lo tsxuuwiich

Again it lay down there.


Tsuu katomisen ch’e’ech hla

Now 5 times it went into the backwoods.


His jiliiye westen, katomisen shima’iitox

Also elk many times, five times it dragged them.


Ta his xwitsxut shima’iitox katomisen.

And deer it dragged (home) five times.


Hei kwa’in lowii he’ihl ilwechis

Their hearts were very glad.


Ihl hetiiye I lau tluutluuwiiyeqom le’ihl wixiilis.

They became wealthy, when people bought their food.


Yixewoxiich liixlii ux xwiluxw lo kumaix

The two horns passed out of the house.


Hatsiiye kwa alqasaya lo shiit’a lox gweis

It began to seem as though the girl feared the pet.


Tsuu hamiitl hlhetqom

So they thought it best to let it rest.


Pa’ats le’ihl yixewox xwixiilisoch

their house was full of food.


Tluutluuwiiyeqom le’ihl wixiilis

People were buying their food.


Tsuuwe in diihl le shiit’a

Whenever the pet left


“Yikwa qanch to lau hla?”

Where might it have gone?”


wench chinehenii lo gweis

Thus the young woman [girl] was thinking.


Hei hats q’wesis kihluuwit xapach

Suddenly she saw a wind on the water.


“Yikwe diihl to nkihluuwit xapach?

What is that thing I see on the water?


Nii he xwench q’wesis kwina’iiwat.”

I have never seen such a wind.”


Hei hats lau kihluuwit xapach jii u mile

Suddenly she saw it come swimming through the water.


Pintluuwai yiqanchom jii

A whale came behind.


Ch’e’ech hiit’otsuuwat ho pintluuwai, I lau wutxe lo shiit’a

It brought the whale ashore, when the pet returned.


Tseyuxwiich lau ihl yoqtsuuwat

They butchered it into pieces.


Asuu chii wutxe lo shiit’a, qanch he lo tsxuu

again the pet returned these, where it always rested/lay.


Katomisen balticha shimshima’iiwaq

Five times it was dragging something from the ocean.


Yiqa he westen pintluuwai wutxaiiyat.

Right away it returned with as many whales


Ihl hetiiye lo sikinxom, I lau tluutluuwiiyeqom

The owners became rich, when (the food) was being bought.


Wench iilt he sikinxom

Thus said to the owner


Balticha hantl npiixpii.

I’ll go home to the ocean.


Nii hantl asuu wutxe.

I will not return again.


Tsuu hantl yiqainii helq.

Now this will go so far.


Kwiiyahl hantl e’hakwtuuwitami

Now I shall leave you.


En hantl chinchinais.

You will not think of me.


Tsuu hantl he milech.

Now all the time.


Tsuu hantlawe asuu atsami pintluuwayoch

(Now) I will give you a whale.


Lau hantlawe e’hluuxtaya

You will watch for it.”


Wench iilt le sikinxom

Thus it spoke to its headman/master.


“Yiqa hantlawe nne, yantlawe qauwenisenii to xap.”

Nevertheless it is I when that water is angry.”


wench tl’axom

Thus he was speaking.


Yantlawe me xixoch yixume,

Whenever a person travels in a canoe,


Yantlawe qauwenisenii to xap,

Whenever that water is angry,


hantlawe xqahlin nyixumiiyat to ixiich to xap.”

I shall cause that water to go under the canoe.”


Ayuu xwench.

And so it was.


Balticha piixpii lo tewitech

The nephew went home to the ocean.


Hi’nii kw lo tewitech tiixtse.

There perhaps is the nephew to this day.


Tl’iich qaimisech, hi’nii tokelmitsqom.

It went out of the river bar, and there it dove.


Tsuu xwench kumiiye

So it is ending.

About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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1 Response to “Nephew Story” or “The Girl & The Sea Serpent”

  1. Pingback: Sea Serpents | Shichils' Blog

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