V. The Snake: Szue-Szue

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This was years ago when Szue-Szue, a poor Indian boy, was left an orphan, with no one to look after him. He was compelled to work his own way through life and his most intimate friends advised him to get out into the world and rough it- to be a little man and try to look for a strong totem. The poor boy took their advice and night after night would go out in search of this strong totem that would be of some help to him when he became a man.

The Snake

One day he went through the woods from Mukilteo, where he searched in vain for some days for a totem. Finding no totem there he came down to the beach between Mukilteo and Edmonds, where he took a good cold bath in the bay. He then traveled for some days without a thing to eat until he reached a small stream of flowing water. That night he thought he had better go home to his good friends, who thought that Szue-Szue had died somewhere out in the woods, for he remained too long. But no one knew where he had gone. Toward morning poor Szue-Szue started for home, but he had only gone to the next point when he saw lightning from the high hill toward Skagit Head.

The boy then began to do some thinking while watching the lightning, wondering what kind of totem this was going to be, when down came a big slide from the hillside and the earth dropped into the bay. Poor Szue-Szue thought of what his friends had told him; that he was poor and he must try and look for a great strong totem. So he stayed near the great big slide watching for a great totem and suddenly out came a great snake right behind the falling earth. The boy went right up to it and said “I have been waiting for you.” The great snake said to him “Dbahl-ahziel-beehuh! Oh my Indian boy! I am a great snake. My home is underground. I am a powerful snake when I get angry. I can travel without my head. I could be cut into many pieces, but that wouldn’t hurt me. All that I have to do is to go underground and I will be all together again. I never will die. My breath is very powerful. No other totem can possibly beat me.”

Szue-Szue said “You are to be my totem. I have been looking for you all the time.” The snake answered “I am going to be with you all the time and you are to be a great man.”

The poor boy Szue-Szue went home to his good friends. When his friends saw him they were sure that he had found a strange totem by the way he was acting. He worked his way up right in with older people when he became a man. He told the people of his great totem and proved that he had a strong totem snake that came out from the hillside. From this time on all the people were afraid of that and respected him.

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