Volcano Woman by Barrie Lawrence



    There are many stories along the coast about respecting the harmony of nature, including the legends of the consequences for disrupting harmony.  Approximately 270 years ago, a volcano errupted in the Nass Valley, killing around 2000 Nisga'a people between two villages.  Two prominent legends arose from this occasion, including a story about two boys who cut the backs of salmon to insert burning sticks, then laughed as the salmon struggled to swim in the river.  A second story tells the tale of three young boys who go fishing, and light a fire to cook their catch.  As their food is cooking, a frog appears - and one of the boys decides to throw the frog in the fire, killing him for no apparent reason.  Almost immediately, Frog Mother appears, and asks the boys what they have done with her son.  She demands that they return her son to her, and when they cannot, she revolts in anger and throws a volcano at two villages belonging to their people.  Very few survive, but those who do would live to tell about Volcano Woman, and the consequences of disrupting nature's harmony.