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Point Grey
by [?]

“Have you ever sailed around Point Grey?” asked a young Squamish tillicum of mine who often comes to see me, to share a cup of tea and a taste of muck-a-muck, that otherwise I should eat in solitude.

“No,” I admitted, I had not had that pleasure, for I did not know the uncertain waters of English Bay sufficiently well to venture about its headlands in my frail canoe.

“Some day, perhaps next summer, I’ll take you there in a sail-boat, and show you the big rock at the southwest of the Point. It is a strange rock; we Indian people call it Homolsom.”

“What an odd name,” I commented. “Is it a Squamish word?–it does not sound to me like one.”

“It is not altogether Squamish, but half Fraser River language. The Point was the dividing line between the grounds and waters of the two tribes, so they agreed to make the name ‘Homolsom’ from the two languages.”

I suggested more tea, and, as he sipped it, he told me the legend that few of the younger Indians know. That he believes the story himself is beyond question, for many times he admitted having tested the virtues of this rock, and it had never once failed him. All people that have to do with water craft are superstitious about some things, and I freely acknowledge that times innumerable I have “whistled up” a wind when dead calm threatened, or stuck a jack-knife in the mast, and afterwards watched with great contentment the idle sail fill, and the canoe pull out to a light breeze. So, perhaps, I am prejudiced in favor of this legend of Homolsom Rock, for it strikes a very responsive chord in that portion of my heart that has always throbbed for the sea.

“You know,” began my young tillicum, “that only waters unspoiled by human hands can be of any benefit. One gains no strength by swimming in any waters heated or boiled by fires that men build. To grow strong and wise one must swim in the natural rivers, the mountain torrents, the sea, just as the Sagalie Tyee made them. Their virtues die when human beings try to improve them by heating or distilling, or placing even tea in them, and so–what makes Homolsom Rock so full of ‘good medicine’ is that the waters that wash up about it are straight from the sea, made by the hand of the Great Tyee, and unspoiled by the hand of man.

“It was not always there, that great rock, drawing its strength and its wonderful power from the seas, for it, too, was once a Great Tyee, who ruled a mighty tract of waters. He was god of all the waters that wash the coast, of the Gulf of Georgia, of Puget Sound, of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, of the waters that beat against even the west coast of Vancouver Island, and of all the channels that cut between the Charlotte Islands. He was Tyee of the West Wind, and his storms and tempests were so mighty that the Sagalie Tyee Himself could not control the havoc that he created. He warred upon all fishing craft, he demolished canoes and sent men to graves in the sea. He uprooted forests and drove the surf on shore heavy with wreckage of despoiled trees and with beaten and bruised fish. He did all this to reveal his powers, for he was cruel and hard of heart, and he would laugh and defy the Sagalie Tyee, and looking up to the sky he would call, ‘See how powerful I am, how mighty, how strong; I am as great as you.’

“It was at this time that the Sagalie Tyee in the persons of the Four Men came in the great canoe up over the rim of the Pacific, in that age thousands of years ago when they turned the evil into stone, and the kindly into trees.