A long time ago, when the North was much colder than it is today, large animals roamed the land.
The largest of these was an animal that looked like an elephant covered with fur, called a woolly mammoth.
One winter day long ago a small group of Kaska people were traveling to visit friends in a nearby village. Their snow shoes moved silently through the deep January snow.
One little girl was struggling to keep up. Soon she fell behind the group as they were moving quickly to arrive before nighttime. She stopped to rest. Just then she heard a loud crashing noise.
Something very big was coming through the forest behind them! The little girl cried out, "Father, Father, something big is coming after us!" The whole group stopped, pulled out spears and axes and prepared to fight whatever came out of the woods.
The group was small, only five people, so when they saw the huge bull mammoth burst out of the trees they all cried out in fear, "Dunna Cho, Dunna Cho!" (which is the Kaska word for mammoth).
When the mammoth saw the people he bellowed at them with a "Roar," and loud "Snort." The people started to move as fast as possible through the deep snow, but it was no good, the huge mammoth was gaining quickly and would soon catch up.
The leader of the group said to everyone, "Let's stop and fight this Dunna Cho!" They knew they could not kill a mammoth with so few hunters, but it was better than running.
The Dunna Cho was getting very close to the group when the little girl came up with an idea, "Father why don't we slide out on to the lake ice, to that island, to escape from the Dunna Cho?" Her father looked at the nearby lake and knew his daughter had a good idea.
The little girl's father spoke to all the frightened people, "The ice is thin, but if we use logs we could slide out to the island and we might get away from the Dunna Cho."
The people quickly agreed and hurried down to the shore of Tsa Dig Lunga, (Whitefish Lake, now called Watson Lake) where they grabbed logs and slid along the ice. The ice was clear and thin. It cracked and popped as they slid along, but the logs spread their weight out on the ice so they did not break through.
Night was coming and it was very cold, so the little girl, her father and the rest of the group made a fire. With their backs to the fire they watched the Dunna Cho pace back and forth along the shore of the lake. The people watched in horror as the Dunna Cho started to walk out on the the ice. The great beast was going to try to get them. The ice was not breaking under him.
The people were very frightened because it was getting colder and it soon would be dark. They couldn't make it to the next village before dark and they had to set up their tents soon or they would freeze to death!
The Dunna Cho was running now, faster and faster along the ice towards the frightened people.
The little girl squeezed her father's hand very hard, because the Dunna Cho was getting closer and closer, he was almost at the island and would surely trample them all!
Then suddenly, just as they thought they were all finished, they heard a loud, "crack" as the ice broke under the weight of the Dunna Cho and the huge beast plunged into the deep cold waters of Tsa Dig Luga where his bones lie to this day.
As for the Kaska people they quickly set up their tents. That night they gathered in the biggest tent and they honoured the little girl's father for saving them. Her father stood up and said, "It is my daughter we should thank for saving us," and they did. Someone gave her a pair of new rabbit lined moccasins.
It was a very cold that night as they went to bed, but all the Kaska people were snug under their furs and the little girl had very warm toes.