"Alaskan and Pacific Northwest Legends"

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"Tlingit Frog Story"
........ a story from the Cape Fox & Tongass Tlingit people ........

The Tlingit have a high regard for frogs believing that they bring good luck and fortune. One day a young woman saw a frog in her path and made a slighting remark about frogs. This was a serious offense which the Tlingit believed would be firmly punished. Soon afterward she met a handsome young man who asked her to marry him. (He was actually a frog but appeared to her in human form.) She agreed to meet him later at a certain lake in the woods. He told her he would take her to his home where his father was a chief. At the edge of the lake he instructed her to step on a patch of water lilies but she was afraid until he stepped on them. They followed a path and were soon in a large village. He took her to his father's house, though she did not know it was the frog's home beneath the lake.

Knowing that the young woman had offended the frogs, her relatives decided to give a feast to them in the hope that they would return her. An invitation was delivered to the lake and the feast prepared. Toward evening they saw the young woman with two frogs, a large male and a small one - her husband and child. They were sitting on a marshy spot in the middle of the lake but soon disappeared. Then her relatives drained the lake and recovered the young woman. She related her experiences but did not live long afterward.

It is said that those who live extremely pure lives may sometimes see her rise from the center of the lake. One must fast many days and follow strict taboos in order to see her, but great luck and riches will come to anyone who succeeds. She is most apt to be seen when the sun is shining on the water. Then her hair gleams with a bright luster.

I have always enjoyed a good story, especially when it is well told, but it is much more than that. Northwest stories are often the legacy and cultural property of particular clans and individuals and I have tried to give credit to them whenever possible. I want these retellings to show the proper respect and dignity for their people. If you should have further information to aid me in this effort, I would appreciate it and will make every effort to present it.

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