Oral stories serve many purposes for our people including teaching traditional knowledge, history, morals and laws, as well as providing entertainment!
A while back we had a call out to our community members to share stories and legends that we can share with our readers. Our friend and former cultural support worker Francois Prince shared this story about a wealthy tribesman who lost everything to gambling. A stark reminder of this story comes through the sky every 76 years when 'Kaloogas' (aka Halley's Comet) passes through the sky. Nick Prince (Usdani'), Francois' father shared the story with him and we are very grateful to Francois for sharing it with all of us!
Kaloogas was a wealthy tribesman, well liked and famous for his gambling winnings from the traditional game of lahal. He became very, very rich and started to brag too much and was making everyone else poor. This was an unbalance among the tribe and the community members banned together and practiced every night and started winning their stuff back and soon Kaloogas became poor and he was so addicted to gambling that he owed many people and they got tired of him not paying his debt. They banished him from the tribe, and he wandered across the lands and through the mountains until one day he saw a figure moving in the bushes nearby and he began to follow. When the figure appeared in the opening of a field, Kaloogas was amazed at the beauty of a woman, a beauty he had never seen before. He followed her through the thickets and over hills along the valley until she came upon a campsite, it was there Kaloogas seen her give some things to an old man.
They invited him to join them at their camp and he was well fed and well cared for. Kaloogas began hunting, fishing, and gathering wood for the camp that he called home for some time. After spending one year with the woman and her father, they went through the custom of marriage. He was a good hunter, trapper, and fisherman and soon they had many animal furs. One day, Kaloogas was thinking to himself that if the other tribes people could see him and how well he was doing now, that they would welcome him back into the community with open arms. The old man called him over to the campfire one evening and asked him if he felt like going back to his community to play lahal and show everyone how well he was doing? Kaloogas agreed, and the old man gave him three sticks and told him “these are for you to take with you, but you must do all that i say.” He packed his things that night.
Kaloogas travelled for four days and finally made it to the village and many people were surprised that he had returned and seems well off. He told them of the wife and her father and they were glad to hear he was doing well. When they gathered to play lahal they invited Kaloogas to play also. When the old man had given Kaloogas the sticks he told him to throw one stick over the place he will play lahal and he will win, only to play for three nights then return to his wife. Kaloogas threw a stick over the building each night for three nights and won many things. He really wanted to play again on the next night but he did not have any more sticks to throw over the building where they played.
Despite the old man’s warnings not to play any more than three nights, he played anyway, and lost everything. He was embarrassed and ashamed that he did not listen but he told himself that he still had a wife and a home to go to. He began the long journey back to the camp. When he arrived to the place where the camp was suppose to be, he found many bushes and trees where the camp used to be. He searched and searched, and could not find his wife and home. He wandered the earth looking for his wife until the day he died. His grief and wonder went with his spirit and his spirit began searching the galaxy for his wife. He is seen in the sky every 76 years, and you may learn about this event known as Halley’s comet.
© Carrier Sekani Family Services 2017 on behalf of Francois Prince. All rights reserved.
Comet cover artwork by A. Mernah, Mother and Child & Shaman Astral Guide paintings by N. Morrisseau, Folio 28 Comet Painting by Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch.
Know of a story that needs to be told, or have one you would like to share? Send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to provide honorariums to selected guest writers!
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Last modified: Monday 29-Jan-24 10:19:46 PST