te’wuqun’ stl’i’tl’qulh – Wailing Child

This story is a childhood reminiscence by Laura Antoine (lhqumtunaat) translated into Hul’q’umi’num’ by Ruby Peter (sti’tum’at). Edited by Donna Gerdts.

te’wuqun’ stl’i’tl’qulh
The wailing child

wulh tum’qw’i’lus ’i’ wulh tssetalum ’u thu tentst, “nem’ tseep ’utl’qul ’i’ huw’a’lum’ kwun’atul’ ’u tthun’s’a’luqw’a’.”
It’s summertime and Mom told us, “Go outside and play with your relatives.”

hwi’ thut thunu sqe’uq, “’ilhe nem’ lemutee kwthu chukuns.”
And my little sister said, “Let’s go look at the chickens.”

ni’ tst nem’ ’u kwthu chukunew’t-hw, lemut kwthu chuli’chkun’s.
So we went to the chicken coop to look at the chicks.

’i’ wulh ’uwu te’ ’ukw’ nuts’a’ chi’chkun’.
And one little chicken was not there.

sutst nem’ ’uw’ suw’q’ nem’ ’u kwthu lhulhel’.
So we went to look for it on the other side of the coop.

sutst ’uw’ kwunnuhw ’i’ wulh sq’a’q’i’ lhu chi’chkun’.
And we found the chick, and it was dead.

suw’ xeem’ thunu sqe’uq, xeem’, wulh te’wuqun’. “wee wee wee’!”
So my little sister was crying, crying, wailing. “Waa, waa, waa!”

suw’ thut tthunu shuyulh, “’uwu ch xeem’uhw. ’ilhe nem’ huw’a’lum’!”
And my big brother said, “Don’t cry. Let’s go play!”

’i’ ’uwu kwus ts’ehwul’ kwus xeem’.
But she wouldn’t stop crying and weeping.

wulh tuwuqun thunu sqe’uq.
My sister wailed.

wulh m’i ’utl’qul thu tentst, suw’ putum’, “’i tseep ’a’lu tstamut?”
Our mother came out and asked, “What’s the matter with you?”

suw’ thut tthunu shuyulh, “ni’ q’ay tthu chukuns, chi’chkun’s, nilh ’i’ xeem’utus.”
So my brother said, “A chicken died, a chick, and she’s crying about it.”

suw’ thut thunu ten, “nem’ ch p’e punut thu chi’chkun’.”
So my mother said, “Go bury it.”

sus nem’ ’uw’ kwunutus tthunu shuyulh tthu lupen, susuw’ hwthuyqwtus tthu tumuhw.
So my brother went and got the shovel and he dug a hole in the ground.

kwus wulh hwu sthuy’qw tthu tumuhw, suw’ tssetum thunu sqe’uq, “nuw’ush thu chi’chkun’ ’u tthu tumuhw.”
When the hole was dug, he said to my sister, “Throw your chick in the ground.”

’i’ ’uwu thunu sqe’uq, hwunilh kwus xeem’, hay ’ul’ hwthiqun kwus xeem’. “wee, wee, wee’!”
But my sister wouldn’t do it and she continued crying, crying really loud. “Waa, waa, waa!”

sus m’uw’ hun’utl’q thunu ten, tl’e’ wulh ptem’, “’i tseep ’a’lu tstamut?”
So my mother came outside and asked, “What’s the matter with you?”

suw’ thut thunu sqe’uq, “nu stl’i’ kws tsmuquyus thunu chi’chkun’.
And my little sister said, “I want my chick to have a coffin.

’uwu nu stl’i’us kws ’uw’ wensh ’ul’ nuw’ush ’u tthu tumuhw.
I don’t want to just throw it in the ground.”

suw’ thut thunu ten, thut-st-hwus tthunu shuyulh, “nem’ nuw’ilum ’u thu lelum’ ’i’ suw’q’t kwthu shmachuselu.”
So my mother said to my brother, “Go in an find a matchbox.”

sus nem’ ’uw’ nuw’ilum tthunu shuyulh, m’i hun’utl’q yukwun’etus thu shmachuselu, susuw’ ’amustus thunu sqe’uq.
So my brother went in and found a matchbox and gave it to my sister.

susuw’ kwunutus thunu sqe’uq, ’i’ ni’ ’uw’ thu’it ’uw’ nuw’ushus thu chi’chkun’ ’u tthu shmachuselu yelh sis nuw’ushus ’u tthu tumuhw.
So my little sister properly put the chick in the matchbox and put it into the ground.

yelh sis punutus tthunu shuyulh, suw’ thut tthunu shuyulh kwus wulh hay, “’ilhe nem’ huw’a’lum’!”
And then my brother buried it, and he said when it was done, “Let’s go play!”

’i’ tl’e’ wulh qul’et xeem’ thunu sqe’uq, “wee wee wee’!”
But my little sister was crying again, “Waa, waa, waa!”

’i’ tl’e’ wulh m’i ’utl’qul thunu ten, “’i tseep ’a’lu tl’e’ wulh tstamut?”
So my mother came out of the house again, “What’s the matter with you now?”

suw’ thut thunu sqe’uq, “hwuw’e tst niit t’i’wi’ulh.
And my little sister said, “We haven’t prayed for it yet.

nu stl’i’ kwutst t’i’wi’ulh ’i’ ’uwu te’ lukwwins tthu ni’ hwu spupin’.”
I want us to pray, and there’s no cross where we’ve buried it.”

susuw’ kwunutus tthunu shuyulh tthu yuse’lu sts’esht xute’um ’u tthu lukwwin.
So my brother took two sticks and made a cross.

yelh sutst t’i’wi’ulht kwus wulh hwu st’i’am’stum tthu lukwwin, sutst ’uw’ t’i’wi’ulht.
Before we prayed for it, the cross was stuck in, and then we prayed for it.

“na’ut kwu’elh hay,” suw’ thut tthunu shuyulh. “’ilhe nem’ huw’a’lum’!”
“Now it’s done,” said my brother. “Let’s go play!”

yelh sis hwtulqun thunu sqe’uq, “’ilhe nem’ huw’a’lum’!”
And my little sister answered, “Let’s go play!”

kwutst wulh hay hiiw’a’lum’, sutst ’uw’ nem’ nuluw’ilum wulh xlhas.
When we were through playing we went in to eat.

suw’ ts’ii’ulh thunu ten ts’i’utus tthu mun’us, ts’i’utum’ tthunu shuyulh, “hay ch q’a’ kwun’s ni’ thuyt tthu shqwaluwuns tthun’ squle’uq.
And mother thanked her son my big brother, “Thanks for taking care of your little sisters’ feelings.

ni’ ch punut kwthu ni’ xeem’utus.
You buried what she was crying about.

’i’ nilh tse’ ni’ hwu shkw’am’kw’um’s tthu shqwaluwuns.
And that way you encouraged her to be strong.

hay ch q’a’, mun’u.”
Thank you, son.”


te’wuqun’ stl’i’tl’qulh (Wailing Child)

story by Laura Antoine

translation and voice by Ruby Peter

sound editing by Donna Gerdts, Thomas Jones

6te’wuqun’ stl’i’tl’qulh

clip art by Joan Brown

video by Laura Antoine, Donna Gerdts, Thomas Jones


Story: Wailing_Child