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The Story of the Flood [archive]
This article has been archived from the Chehalis Tribal Newsletter
for educational purposes. The legend is only available in .PDF format which is hard for some of our users to read, so we have reproduced it here in
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The Story of the Flood
A long time ago, the animals and
birds lived as people. Thrush
wanted to marry a certain young
girl, but her parents did not
approve of him. The young girl,
however, wished to marry him.
The girl persisted and finally
her parents gave their consent.
Thrush and the young girl were
Thrush always had a dirty
face; he never washed before he
ate. His mother-in-law asked him
“Why don’t you wash your face?”
Thrush did not answer. The next
morning she asked again “Why
don’t you wash your face? It’s
getting dirty.” Thrush once again
did not reply. She asked him the
same question for 5 days in a row.
Finally on the 5th day,
Thrush said “If I wash my
face, something will happen.”
Nevertheless, his wife’s parents
still insisted. Then they gave him
an ultimatum. “If you don’t wash
your face, we’ll take our daughter
away from you.” So Thrush
finally gave in, “All right then,
I’ll wash my face”.
He went to the river to wash
his face and sang, “Father-inlaw,
Mother-in-law, Keep moving
back from the river.”
He washed his face. The
dirt rolled off, leaving his face
streaked all over. Then it began to
rain. It rained all day.
Thrush told his in-laws, “Move
back from the river. I washed my
face as you asked.”
The river continued to rise.
It rained many days and nights.
Soon there were no places for
the people to stand but in the
water. The water rose and covered
everything. There was no place
for them to go. Many drifted
away and were never seen again.
Thrush, his wife and his
in-laws landed their canoe on
this side of the land, in Upper
Chehalis country. There was only
the top of one tall fir tree sticking
out of the water. And that is
where the People tied their canoe.
They got together and planned
what they should do next. They
agreed that someone needed to
dive in the water and see how
deep it was. Muskrat dove into
the water and came up with some
dirt. He dove down into the water
5 times. Each time he brought
up some dirt. From the dirt, he
made a little mountain. He told
the People to land there, that they
would be safe. He told the People
“This is the mountain that I have
made for you so that you can be
safe”. The People called that
mountain Tiger Lily Mountain.
It is known today as Black
After the water receded and
the earth dried up, the earth was
found to be covered with dried
whales (fossils). At Gate, not far
from Mima Prairie, the earth
still remains in the shape of the
waves. It extends like this for 4 or
After the water subsided, the
earth was just like new and the
People could begin all over again.
It was said “There shall never
again be a person who will cause
a flood when he washes his face.”
Thrush turned into a bird and
Indian flood myths
Northwest Coast Native Americans
Washington State Indians
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