Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

The Old Lady at the Dance

As told by Ed Sampson Sr.
Translated from the Klallam Language by Adeline Smith, Bea Charles, and Timothy Montler

When we first moved here, came here to where we are today we had a white man’s style dance. They had it there at my late cousin, Wilson Charles, house. There were lots of dancers there—whites and Indians.

Once there was this one white person. He wanted to go outside and have a smoke. He wanted to smoke so he went out behind the house where some small logs were piled up.

The white man faced the pile of logs as he smoked. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he suddenly realized that he saw a person sitting. She was sitting on the little logs.

So he went over near her. He looked when he got near and saw that she was a lady, an old lady. She had a bandana on her head and her face was hidden by her hat.

So then the white man put his head down and he peeked at the face of the old lady. He saw one like that seen before. There was no face. Just bone.

Then he didn’t turn to walk. He walked backwards. Then he got inside and he took his hat and coat. He ran outside over to his car on the other side of the house.

He just ran squeezing himself through the dancers. He ran outside. He go to his car, got in, and started it. He went back to town to his own house. And then…

And that white man was never seen again. He was really scared. He never came back. He never again came here to where we are. He was so frightened that he never came back here to where we are again. And ah…

That’s one. One of those who saw the old lady with no face.