"Beaver Face." Echoes of the Elders: The Stories and Paintings of Chief Lelooska. Christine Normandin, ed. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 1997, p. 32-38.
Ethnic Origin: A Kwakuitl folktale of the Northwest Coast (Vancouver Island, Vancouver, B.C.)
Running Time: 8 mins.
Power Center(s): When the Timber Giant scares the children; when Beaver Face slays giant.
Characters: Beaver Face, a small village girl, Tsonoqua the Timber Giant, villagers.
Scenes: Children at play on the coast and near the forest; contact with the Timber Giant; traveling through the forest with Tsonoqua; Tsonoqua’s house; the village of Kwakwaka’wakw.
Synopsis: A small girl with deformed upper lip saves village children from the evil Timber Giant, Tsonoqua by outwitting it. Story depicts origin of stinging pests and sets the moral that we are not to judge others by their looks but by their actions.
Rhymes/Spcl Phrases/"Flavor": Village of Kwakwaka’wakw; Kwakuitl tribe; "Beaver Face;" Tsonoqua the Timber Giant; "Kipona" (shimmering water); regional flavor of abalone shells, mountain goat fat and clam knife; legend of the stinging pests; gruff and thundering voice of Tsonoqua.
Audience: Children age 3 to 6 are developing a sense of social justice and moral responsibility. They understand safety in the presence of others. The fantasy world is very real to preschoolers. They begin to be less egocentric and have a better understanding of right and wrong.
Source(s) recommending this story/collection as good for storytelling: Since this is a new publication, it is not listed in any of the sources in our library’s holdings. However, due to the awards mentioned above, and because of the reputation for the conveyor of these stories, they will probably be cited in later editions. Chief Lelooska is 4th generation artist and Master Storyteller, with a museum dedicated to the works of the Lelooska family. After being diagnosed with cancer in 1986, he fulfilled his promise to the elders who had shared these stories with him, by having them recorded in this collection entitiled: "Echoes of the Elders: The Stories and Paintings of Chief Lelooska."
Bibliographic info on other versions/variants:
G501A Boy tricks giant.
Q2.1 Kind girl is rewarded.
G561.1D Giant plans to eat children in the night.
A2034.3.1 Monster is burned in pit but turns into mosquito.
A2034.3.2 Origin of mosquitoes in slain monster.
H561.1 Clever peasant girl asks riddle.
S143 Children abandoned in woods.
K717.4 Children are captured by ogre and outwit ogre by escaping in invisible
R135 Lost children find their way back by crumb trail.
G501C Woman outwits dragon ogres.
B11.11.7 Woman as dragon slayer
B126.96.36.199 Girl offers self as sacrifice to monster sea serpent.
Brief comparison of style betw the v/v : In some instances the themes are the same with a variation on the type of giant or ogre. The Kwkiutl tale features a Timber Giant, whereas variants feature other forms of monsters (like a sea serpent) or dragons. There are recurrent themes of bad fortune for children who play in the woods. There are also various themes involving cleverness or trickery in outwitting a monster for the good of a village.
By Brenda G. Beasley