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By Claire Murphy

Long ago in a village in the Pacific Northwest, there lived a Tsimshian Indian chief and his wife. His wife was close to giving birth to a child. The day she gave birth to the prince shouts of joy were heard in the village. The prince was born on the same day the first salmon were caught. Many special rituals were performed in the village. Later, the prince got a special necklace with a salmon charm on it. When the prince got older he wore his necklace around his birthday. The prince was appointed a companion by his father.

After many years the village became busier. Some rituals were performed less often. In the years to come, he forgot to wear his necklace around his birthday. That same year not many fish were caught. That winter many villagers starved. One day his companion was hungry and crying. The prince found him some food.  His mother came home and found out the food was gone. The prince admitted taking the food.

He told his companion to get his cloak and he was going to leave his mother's house.  He walked a long way along the riverbank. He stopped and felt his pocket and it was filled with mountain-goat fat. He found his necklace in the other pocket. When they discovered the prince was gone they looked for him. He grew tired and sat down to rest. A canoe landed and a man told the prince his uncle had been ill. He got into the canoe and went to a different village.  When he got there he spoke to his uncle. Then a small woman named Mouse-lady came to meet him. She taught him many important rituals that would help keep the salmon alive. Then one day he returned to his village. He taught his tribe the many important rituals that they should do to keep the salmon plentiful. The next year when salmon hunting started many salmon were caught and salmon were plentiful for many years.