A long time ago there was a group of people called Klunatana, or mice people. They lived in harmony with the Kaska people and sometimes even married them.
This was very strange, because the Klunatana were very tiny, no bigger than a beaver. The Klunatana were afraid of most animals and the much larger Kaska people. Even the new Kaska man who married one of the Klunatana frightened them.
One cold winter day this Kaska man who was known as "Son-In-Law" to the Klunatana, went hunting with them. So when Son-In-Law suggested they go hunt a moose, the Klunatana and he had very different ideas about what they were going after.
Son-In-Law told Grandpa Klunatana his plan, "I will go up the trail and chase a moose this way so all the Klunatana can hunt it." So the big Kaska man ran up the trail to find a moose. Grandpa Klunatana and all the other members of his hunting party spread out along the trail to prepare for the arrival of the owl which they call a moose.
While they were getting ready, Son-In-Law had spotted a large bull moose, and began to chase it down the trail towards the Klunatana. The big moose smashed its way through the forest breaking branches and bringing down snow from the trees.
The moose was one of the most feared animals in the forest because it left such deep tracks in the snow, which the tiny Klunatana often fell into. So when the huge moose stormed down the narrow trail to where the Klunatana were waiting, they all screamed in terror as the moose roared over their heads. "Aaaaaaaaah!" they all said, as they fell into the deep moose tracks.
When Son-In-Law got to where the Klunatana were supposed to be, he became very angry and said, "Where are you Kluantana, why are you hiding? How could you let this nice big moose get away?"
The big Kaska man looked around and then he heard a tiny voice at his feet.
He looked down and saw one of the Klunatana down inside one of the deep snow moose tracks. As soon as he saw the tiny person struggling in the hole made by the moose, the big Kaska man roared with laughter, "Ha ha, ho ho, ha ha, the little Klunatana lost in the snow!"
Grandpa Klunatana did not like Son-In-Law laughing at them so he yelled at him in a very tiny voice, "Why didn't you send us a moose, we don't hunt monsters?"
Son-In-Law did not know that Grandpa thought owls were moose so he got angry and said, "I sent you a moose, a really nice moose!"
Now Grandpa Klunatana was a wise Elder, so when summer time came he thought he would give Son-In-Law one more chance to prove himself a good hunter. "Son-In-Law, I want you to go down to the lake and kill a black bear."
The Kaska man returned emptyhanded and said, "I couldn't find any bear down at the lake." Now Grandpa Klunatana became angry again and said, "I can hear lots of bears down at the lake." What Grandpa could hear were really bull frogs singing.
So Grandpa angrily marched down to the lake and caught a big bullfrog and brought it back to the camp. Son-In-Law finally understood that the Klunatana had different names for animals and said, "Grandpa, I will go back to the lake and get you lots of bears." Grandpa shook his head becuase he thought Son-In-Law was the worst hunter he had ever seen. Grandpa was so surprised when Son-In-Law returned with a whole bag full of bull frogs!
That night the Klunatana were very happy because the new son-in-law proved himself to be a great hunter.
About The Creators
Location and Maps of Watson Lake
Kaska Language Web Page
Traditions and Women
Photographs of Watson Lake