: ALASKAN STORIES
: Indian Legends Retold
Ildini lived at End-of-trail, with his wife and two boys. One day he
went fishing when the wind blew strong from the shore. It blew his
boat so far out that he could not get back. All day and all night he
was blown about the cold gray waters. He became very hungry and
chilled to the bone.
Ildini prayed and sang for a fair wind. This was his song:
"Ocean Spirit, calm the waves for me!
Come closer to me, my Power!
Calm the waves, so that I may go home!"
After many days the wind went down and the canoe floated near a strange
shore, but by now the man was so weak that he could not land. On the
shore he saw no one but a little child, scarcely big enough to talk. He
told the child his name, "Ildini", and the little fellow repeated it
over and over as if it were a game--"Ildini--Ildini--Ildini!" He ran
home still saying over the new name, and exclaimed to his grandfather:
"Grandfather, come--Ildini!" He kept saying this until the old man
followed and discovered the canoe and the fisherman, who was by this
time unable to stand.
He called his wife to help him and together they carried Ildini to their
house, where they rubbed his limbs, warmed him and gave him broth, a
little at a time. When he had recovered, he became the chief of that
tribe, and learned their ways and their language. He never ceased to
mourn for the two sons whom he had left behind at End-of-trail, but he
did not weep for his wife, for he believed her faithless and thought
that she had been the cause of his misfortune. In truth she supposed him
dead and had long since married another.