Many years have passed since Nahkeeta, a beautiful maiden, lived in the Northern foothills of what are now known as the Olympic Mountains. Nahkeeta was a gentle girl greatly loved by her people. She was pretty and as graceful as the maidenhair ferns which grew in the forest. Her voice was as cheerful and musical as the stream which flowed from the waterfall not far from her home.
Her people were Klallams. They got most of their food from the salt water and rivers.
In the summer, after salmon had been dried and stored for winter use, the women gathered berries near the edge of the forest.
In the fall, they went to openings in the forest to gather currants and root and tiger lily bulbs. They almost never went back into the deep woods.
One day, Nakeeta was gathering berries with her mom and sisters. She wandered back into the woods, enjoying the carpets of ferns, the moss wrapped logs, the moss draped trees, and the yellow-green sunlight that just shimmers through the forest. After a while she realized that she wandered too far. When she turned to go back, she found that she was lost. She called to her mother and sisters, but knew her voice was lost in the bigness and tallness of the forest. She tried to retrace her steps. Slowly, the yellow-green sunlight of the forest faded.
Darkness came, Nahkeeta struggled on, often climbing over fallen logs and getting tangled with the vines and ferns and small trees that grew from the old moss covered trunks. At last, too weary and frightened to go farther, she dropped down on the moss beside a log and fell asleep.
The next day her people searched for her calling, “Nahkeeta” over and over again. There was no answer, but the song of the wind in the treetops and the murmur of the mountain streams. For three days her people looked for her.
On the fourth day someone stumbled over a moss covered log, beside it lay Nahkeeta’s body. Some wild animal had killed her. Grief filled the hearts of Nahkeeta’s people as they buried her body in a beautiful valley in the forest. For days, mournful chants and the sad wailing of women filled the air. Now the Changer was witnessing this sad event. His heart was touched by the motion shown by the people. One day when the people arose, they were surprised to see a beautiful little lake, its blue-green waters surrounded by white barked alders. The lake covered the place where Nahkeeta was buried and today is called Lake Sutherland.