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The First Beavers
The First Beavers

Once in the Queen Charlotte Islands there was a woman whose husband was a hunter. A great hunter! They loved each other very much. The hunter also loved to hunt. First he would hunt in the day. Then he would leave for one sleep. Then he would hunt for two sleeps. Then three sleeps. Then many sleeps. The woman spent many days and nights alone in their house.

The woman was fine at first. But after a while she got lonely. So she started to swim in the river. All day she would swim and play in the river. She explored the river bottom, looked for fish, and she would swim. She would go home at night and eat alone.

Soon the woman wanted a larger pool in the river to swim in. So she made a pile of branches and mud in the river. The river became wider. Now she could swim deeper and further in the river. It was almost a lake! Even while sleeping she could not forget about the lake. In the morning she would go there right away. To pass the time while her husband was away, she decided to make a house in her lake… a house of branches and mud. Sometimes when she was tired the woman would take a rest and sleep in this house. Eventually she stayed all the time. She would sleep the whole night there.

Her husband came back from a very long hunting trip. He couldn’t find his wife anywhere. He went to the river where he knew she liked to swim. When he called her name she appeared from the house in the lake. With her were two small animals with smooth brown fur. They were eating branches with their large teeth.

The woman said “Do not be afraid! These are our children. And this is our new house.” The hunter followed his wife into the river and inside the branch and mud house. He started to feel very different. He didn’t want to hunt animals any more. He wanted to stay with his wife. And children. The man and his wife had many more children. They all built more dams and more branch houses. Soon they had families in Kitamat, Bella Coola and Skeena - and these were the first beavers.

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