Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vessel of Moss

In 1916, the United States American Ethnology Bureau recorded some magic words from Tsimshian mythology, spoken by both humans and animals:
Magic words enable a man to escape from a mountain. He says, "On the thumb," "On the sand," and, repeating these words, gets down safely. When the Porcupine throws himself down from a high tree, he shouts, "Vessel of moss!" and falls on the ground without hurting himself. When the Beaver shouts, "Stone!" he strikes the ground and almost dies. Magical words addressed to the West Wind and to the East Wind cause those winds to blow gently. A wound closes as the effect of magic words.

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