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Home  >  Reading Workbooks  >  Elementary School
Lesson Plan for "Tlingit Moon and Tide"  -  Origin of the Tides
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(Tsimshian Legend)

Again Txamsem took his raven blanket and flew over the ocean with the firebrand in his hands. He arrived at the mainland and came to another house which belonged to a very old woman, who held the tide-line in her hand. At that time the tide was always high, and did not turn for several days, until the new moon came, and all the people were anxious for clams and other sea food.

Giant entered and found the old woman holding the tide-line in her hand. He sat down and said, "Oh, I have all the clams I need!" The old woman said, "How is that possible? How can that be? What are you talking about Giant?"

"Yes, I have had clams enough."

The old woman said, "No, this is not true." Giant pushed her out so that she fell back, and he threw dust into her eyes. Then she let the tide-line go, so that the tide ran out very low, and all of the clams and shellfish were on the beach.

So Giant carried up as much as he could. The tide was still low when he reentered. The old woman said, "Giant, come and heal my eyes! I am blind from the dust." Giant said, "Will you promise to slacken the tide-line twice a day?" She agreed, and Giant cured her eyes. Therefore the tide turns twice every day, going up and down. (From Boas, 1916.)

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