"You are pleased it is a girl?" I questioned in surprise.
"Very pleased," she replied emphatically. "Very good luck to have girl for first grandchild. Own tribe not like yours; we want girl children first; we not always wish boy-child born just for fight. Your people, they care only for war-path; our tribe more peaceful. Very good sign first grandchild to be girl. I tell you why: girl-child maybe some time mother herself; very grand thing to be mother."
I felt I had caught the secret of her meaning. She was rejoicing that this little one should some time become one of the mothers of her race. We chatted over it a little longer and she gave me several playful "digs" about my own tribe thinking so much less of motherhood than hers, and so much more of battle and bloodshed. Then we drifted into talk of the sockeye run and of the hyiu chickimin the Indians would get.
"Yes, hyiu chickimin," she repeated with a sigh of satisfaction. "Always; and hyiu muck-a-muck when big salmon run. No more ever come that bad year when not any fish."
"Before you born, or I, or"--pointing across the park to the distant city of Vancouver, that breathed its wealth and beauty across the September afternoon--"before that place born, before white man came here-- oh! long before."
Dear old klootchman! I knew by the dusk in her eyes that she was back in her Land of Legends, and that soon I would be the richer in my hoard of Indian lore. She sat, still leaning on her paddle; her eyes, half-closed, rested on the distant outline of the blurred heights across the Inlet. I shall not further attempt her broken English, for this is but the shadow of her story, and without her unique personality the legend is as a flower that lacks both color and fragrance. She called it "The Lost Salmon Run."
"The wife of the Great Tyee was but a wisp of a girl, but all the world was young in those days; even the Fraser River was young and small, not the mighty water it is now; but the pink salmon crowded its throat just as they do now, and the tillicums caught and salted and smoked the fish just as they have done this year, just as they will always do. But it was yet winter, and the rains were slanting and the fogs drifting, when the wife of the Great Tyee stood before him and said:
"'Before the salmon run I shall give to you a great gift. Will you honor me most if it is the gift of a boy-child or a girl-child?' The Great Tyee loved the woman. He was stern with his people, hard with his tribe; he ruled his council fires with a will of stone. His medicine men said he had no human heart in his body; his warriors said he had no human blood in his veins. But he clasped this woman's hands, and his eyes, his lips, his voice, were gentle as her own, as he replied: