“Three adventures of Raven, the Culture Hero, were drawn upon for the carvings on this short mortuary post. At the top is Raven with outspread wings. Around his head is the sun halo. On his breast are three figures, the children of the Sun whom Raven visited during the Deluge. The raven tracks painted on the face of the girl in the center are traditional for women of the Raven phratry (or clan). Raven’s wings are decorated with eyes, within which are small faces. These symbolize his power to change form and also represent joints. The other designs are feathers. The story begins with the circumstances of Raven’s birth.
A brother and sister were the only people living in a certain place. The brother wanted no one else except his sister and himself, but she was very lonely. One day she walked along the shore and climbed up on a rocky point immediately above a small clear pool. As she sat there crying and thinking how lonely she was, she noticed a small white pebble in the pool below. Still crying, she walked down and got the pebble, which was shaped like an egg. She swallowed it, thinking that it would kill her. After a while she realized that she was to have a child, but did not want her brother to learn of it for fear he would try to kill the baby.
After the child, who was Raven, was born he grew so rapidly that she had difficulty hiding him. She walked along the beach calling for help from the animals of the forest and the birds of the sky. Everything imaginable responded and of each she asked, “What can you do?” She wanted her child to be trained to be strong and brave so her brother could not harm him. Finally Crane answered her pleas, saying, “I’ll raise your child.” She again asked him,, “What can you do?” Crane answered, “I stand in the water winter and summer alike. I will raise your boy that way.” She was glad and gave the boy to Crane, who took him down to the beach and out into the cold water every day. Thus the boy grew rapidly into a strong and hardy youth, for that was the way the people in olden times trained their brave men.
When Raven grew up Crane sent him back to his mother. His uncle was very angry and tried to kill him. First he sent him, for wood and caused a tree to fall on him. Since Raven was born from a pebble the tree broke over his head and did not harm him. Then his uncle tried other ways to kill Raven, but each time he was outwitted.
Finally the uncle told Raven that he was going to call the tides to come in, meaning that he was going to cause a flood. The water began rising and Raven went out and commanded the tides to stop. Then the uncle commanded them to rise and Raven could not stop them. Realizing that he was beaten by his uncle’s stronger powers, Raven went out and shot a bird similar to a sandpiper. He put the bird skin on and flew up into the sky. There he was entertained by Sun. (According to one version he married Sun’s daughter and stayed there a long time before venturing to earth again.) He put on the bird skin and flew down, but the waters still covered the earth. He flew until he was tired. Finally he saw a thick cloud and stuck his beak into it. How long he hung there no one knows, but the waters finally receded. Raven prayed for a grassy spot on which to light and then let go of the cloud. He landed safely, removed the bird skin, and was ready for further adventures.
The second episode in the Raven myth cycle is symbolized by the face of Daughter of the Fog, or Fog Woman, the raven head near the bottom of the pole, and the salmon, three on either side of the raven.
Raven was fishing with his two slaves, and was returning to camp when a heavy fog settled over the bay. Suddenly they saw a woman sitting in their canoe. She called for a spruceroot basket, put it on her left side and began collecting the fog into it. Soon it was bright and sunny and they reached camp.
Shortly afterward Raven went hunting with one of the slaves. Fog Woman dipped her fingers in the stream and immediately salmon appeared. She and the slave with her ate the fish, and she warned him not to tell Raven they had had food. Raven discovered the fact and demanded to know what the slave had eaten. Finally he was told, and he persuaded his wife to produce more salmon, which they dried and stored. They had almost finished when Raven, passing through the smokehouse, caught his hair on a dried fish hanging on the rack. Angrily he pulled it down and, with an oath, threw it into the corner of the smokehouse. Fog Woman immediately left the house and walked toward the beach, and the salmon came to life and followed her. Raven tried to stop her, but she was like fog, and he could not hold her. She walked out to sea.
Raven turned his attention to the salmon but could not save any of them. He and his two slaves were left as povertystricken as they were before Fog Woman appeared.
The third episode from the adventures of Raven is symbolized by the frog at the base of the pole with Raven diving after him.
After the Deluge Raven was walking along the shore. He wanted to go to the bottom of the ocean and Frog offered to take him. They saw many strange things, none of which are shown in the carving.”