nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh! – Leave some aside!

A childhood reminiscence forms the basis of this story, nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh! (Leave some aside!) told and illustrated by Valerie Bob (Suli’xwi’ye) and translated into Hul’q’umi’num’ and performed by Ruby Peter (Sti’tum’at). Transcribed and edited by Donna Gerdts (Sp’aqw’um’ultunaat).


nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh
Leave some aside!

1. tun’a sxwi’em’ ’i’ nilh swe’s thu s’ul-hween tst, yath ’uw’ sxwi’xwi’ ’a’mustal’hws.
This is story told to us by our elders a long time ago.

2. ’u kw’un’a-a-a wulh hith ’i’ ni’ tthu swiw’lus, kwun’atul ’u thu si’lus.
A long time ago there was young man who lived with his grandmother.

3. tslelum’ ni’ ’u tthu skwi’kwthu ’uhwiin’ s’iiltuhw thu lelum’s.
They lived on a little island in a small house.
4. s’eluhw stoop thu ni’ ha’kwushus kwus kou-ou-oukw.
They cooked on an old wood stove.
5. mukw’ skweyul ’i’ wulh sq’ul’tsup ’u tthu syalh.
Everyday he would chop wood for their stove.
6. susuw’ thuyul’a’qwtus ni’ stutes ’u tthu lelum’.
He would pile up the wood beside the house.
7. thu s’eluhw slheni’ yath ’uw’ koukw ni’ ’u thu stoops.
The old woman would always cook on her stove.
8. ts’uhwle’ ’i’ hwi’ tl’qw’uthut hakwushus tthu lushaans ’i’ tthu kumpout-s, nilh kws nem’s t’ahw ’u tthu sta’luw’ kws qa’lums.
She would cover her head with her shawl and put on her boots and go down to the river to get water.
9. xut’eem’ tthu sisul’us ’u tthu smuhwels tun’ni’ ’u tthu sq’i’lu.
She would make soup out of the dried preserved food.
10. ’i’ hay tthu s’axwa’ ni’ ’u tthu tsuwmun kwus ts’uy’hwtus.
That would be the clams they would dry down at beach.
11. ni’ tsshun’tsu tthu swiw’lus ’u tthu stseelhtun tun’ni’ ’u tthu sta’luw’ ’i’ stutes thu lelum’s ’u tthu sta’luw’.
The young man caught salmon in the river by their house.
12. nilh niilh shhw’uw’tsustewut ’u tthu si’lus, niilh saay’stum’ tthu shni’s kws kwen’nuhws tthu stseelhtun ni’ ’u tthu sta’luw’.
Just as his grandfather had taught him, he prepared a place in the river to trap the salmon.
13. ’uhwiin’ thu q’i’lew’t-hws tthuw’ne’ullh ni’ ’u tthu lhulhel’ ’u tthu lelum’s.
They had a small smokehouse in the back of their house.
14. la’us kwus wulh q’uy’ilum, s’aluhwthut thu si’lus, ’i’ ni’ ’uw’ lhiputus tthu stseelhtun sus nem’ ’uw’ ’akw’ustus nem’ust-hwus ’u tthu q’i’lew’t-hw.
Although his grandmother was very old, she would help cut the fish into strips and hang it in the smokehouse.
15. kwus wulh ts’ey’hwtum’ tthu stseelhtun ’i’ tl’lim’ hay ’ul’ ’uy’e-e-eluqup kwus ha’qwnuhwus.
As the salmon was smoking, it smelt really good
16. mukw’ hwune’unt ’u kwus xlhas ’i’ ’uw’ nilh tthu steelhtun lhuyxtus ’eelhtun.
They would eat salmon for dinner every night.
17. ’i’ ha’ ni’ hayuqun, ’i’ wulh thut thu si’lus, “nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh kwthu ni’ haathunmun!
When they were finished eating, his grandmother would say, “Leave aside a portion of food!
18.’i’ nem’ ch tse’ ’utl’qt lheq’ut stutes ’u kwthu syalh.”
Go put it out by the wood pile.”
19. ’uwu kws tum’tems ’i’ pte’mutus thu si’lus ’uw’ nutsim’us.
He never asked her why.
20. ’i’ nilh thulh kwus wulh nem’ sq’ul’tsup ’u tthu syalh ’u tthu netulh ’i’ wulh ’uwu te’ ’u tthu s’ulhtun.
But when he went to chop wood in the morning he noticed that the food was gone.
21. ts’uhwle’ ’i’ lumnuhwus tthu thi-i-ithu shxun’utun stutes ’u tthu st’ut’in’ syalh, ni’ ’u tthu st’iqul.
Sometimes, next to the wood pile would be giant footprints in the mud.
22. ts’uhwle’ ’i’ he’yum thu si’lus xte’um ’u tthu squw suplil.
Sometimes for dinner, his granny would make squw bread.
23. ’i’ ha’ ni’ sts’uts’e’ ’u thu stoop ’i’ hay ’ul’ ’uy’eluqup.
And when it was on the stove, it smelt really good.
24. ’i’ nilh nuw’ sht’es kwus tsusutus tthu ’imuths, “nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh!
And she would tell her grandson, “Leave some aside!
25. nemustuhw kw’ suplil, nem’ ts’e’t ’u kwthu st’ut’in’ syalh.’
Go put some bread outside by the wood pile.”
26. nilh yath nuw’ sht’es ’u kwsus hwune’untqun.
This is how it always was when they ate their dinner.
27. ni’ hayuqun ’i’ tl’e’ wulh thut thu susule’, “nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh.”
They would finish eating and again granny would say, “Leave some aside!”
28. ’i’ ’uwu stsekwul’us kws ptem’s ’uw’ nutsim’us.
And he never asked her why.
29. nuts’a’ skweyul ’i’ wulh hwthtiwun, “nutsim’ yuhw ’a’lu kwu’elh nush ’i mem’t ’u tthu stseelhtun?
One day he was thinking, “Why should I give away my salmon?
30. hay ’ul’ qux nu syaays kwunus ni’ kwunnuhw tthu stseelhtun, ’i’ ha’ tst ni’ ts’uy’hwt ’i’ qux syaays.
It was a lot of work getting the salmon, and drying it was a lot of work.
31. ’uwu te’ ’ul’ shhw’uys kwunus nem’ ni’stuhw kw’ s’ulhtun ’u kwthu s’e’tl’q.”
It not good for me to put the food outside.”
32. kwthey’ hwune’unt ’uwu te’ stem s’ulhtun ni’ nem’ust-hwus ’u kwthu st’ut’in’ syalh.
And so he didn’t put any food on the woodpile that night.
33. ni’ qul’et kweyul kwus nem’ wulh lemutus kwthu q’i’lew’t-hws.
The next day, when he looked in his smokehouse.
34. ’i’ wulh t-hw’uwu te’ ’u tthu stseelhtun niilh s’a’kw’us.
And all the salmon that were hanging there were gone.
35. t-hw’uwu te’ ’u kwthu stseelhtun niilh ts’ey’hwtus.
There were no long any salmon drying.
36. sus nem’ ’uw’ huye’ nem’ ’u tthu sta’luw’ ’i’ tl’uw’ t-hw’uwu te’ ni’ ’u kwthu yath ’uw’ shni’s kws kwen’nuhws.
When he went down to the river, there were no in the place where he always trapped them.
37. lemutus kwthu tqep ’i’ tl’uw’ t-hw’uwu te’ stseelhtun.
He looked in the trap and there were no salmon.
38. “a-a-a shah! lhwet yuhw ’a’lu kw’u ni’ qen’ ’u kwthunu stseelhtun.
“Ahh shah! Who stole my salmon?
39. niihw ’a’lu tstamut?”
What the heck happened?”
40. suw’ pte’mutus thu si’lus, hwtulqun, “’imuth, nilh p’e’ shutst yath ’uw’ lhelhuq’ut kwthu s’ulhtun.
So he asked his grandmother, and she answered, “Grandson, this is why we always lay out some food.
41. nuw’ ni’ kwthu ’i m’i ’e’wun’us, tth’amuqw’us.
There is a family of sasquatches that comes here.
42. yath muw’ ’i’mush huy’luw’ ’u tun’a skwul’ikwthu.
They are always travel the little islands.
43. sus muw’ ’e’wu ’u tun’a kwsus qewum.
And they stop here to rest.
44. yath nuw’ le’lum’utal’hwus ’u tthu shumentst.
They always protect us from our enemies.
45. nilh kwu’elh ’u shutst yath ’uw’ lhelhuq’ut tthu s’ulhtun.
And we repay them by laying out food.
46. ni’ st’ee kw’uw’ shts’iit tst.
It’s like we are giving thanks to them.
47. ’i’ kwthuw’ne’ullh ’uw’ hay ’ul’ tthu ni’ s’ahwust tst ni’ kwukwun’utus.
And they only take what we give them.
48. nilh kwus le’lum’utal’hwus xwte’ ’u kwthu shumen tst.
And in return they protect us from our enemies.
49. ’i’ ha’ ’uwute’ ni’ lheq’utut, ’i’ nilh kwu’elh shus kwunutus kwthuw’ sht’es kwthu ni’ stl’i’s.
If there is no offering, they will take whatever they want.
50. ’uwu ch kwu’elh tum’temuhw ’i’ me’mul’q kwun’s nem’ lheq’ut kwthu s’ulhtun.
So don’t ever forget to lay out some food.
51. nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh.”
Just leave some aside.”
52. tl’lim’ ’uw’ thu’it tun’a sqwul’qwul’’i’ ’uw’ nilh p’e’ ’uw’ syuw’en’ tst.
And so this is true, this is our teaching from our ancestors.
53.’i’ kwthey’ swiw’lus ’uwu kws tum’tems ’i’ tl’e’ mel’q.
And the young man never ever forgot.
54. yath nuw’ hwu lhelhuq’utus kwthu s’ulhtun. “nem’ ch kwu’elh lhel’sh.”
And he always laid out the food. “Just leave some aside.”
55. hay ch q’a’ kwun’s ni’ hwiineem’ ’u tthunu sqwul’qwul’.
Thank you for listening to my story.
56. hay ch q’a’.
Thank you.