In a time long ago, and in a land far away, when people we just starting to be seen on the earth; the fish in the waters, the birds in the sky, and the animals on the land had already been around for a long time.
Up in the sky the Eagle was first among birds, in the waters Salmon was first among fish, and on the land Bear was first among the animals, and they all lived together in peace and prosperity, each according to their custom.
As they watched this new creature that had just arrived, they saw a creature, without fur to keep warm, without wings to help them fly and not a very good swimmer.
And the Eagle said “I will have nothing to do with them, they are weak and cold and hungry and will not last, the sooner they die the better.”
But, Salmon said, “there are many of us, we will allow Bear to teach them how to fish so they may eat.” So the bears had a council to choose who among them would go among the people and be their teacher.
Now among the Bear people there was one young strong intelligent and adventurous bear named Bingo who was always first when it came to helping his people, and he stood on his hind legs and said “I will go among these weaklings, and show them how to fish, and will come back and have many amusing stories to tell”.
So the next day Bingo came out of the forest and went to where the people lived, where he used his magic to turn himself into a handsome young man. Then he went down to the river where the Salmon were waiting, and as he began to scoop the water like a bear, the Salmon allowed him to catch one, and then another, and another.
The people watched in amazement and then tried to catch fish too, and the Salmon let the people catch them too. And that is how Bingo taught people to fish.
But then, as he was turning to go back home he passed a bush which was full of berries so he picked a few and ate them as he walked by, so Bingo showed people how to pick berries too. And all the people came to him and stood around him because he was a great teacher, and they asked him to teach them other things too. So Bingo stayed, and the next day he showed them how to dig a burrow to live in so they didn’t have to live outside, and then he stayed longer until he had helped every family make a comfortable home for themselves. And still the people would not let him go, so he called upon Raven to bring them fire, but you already know that story so I don’t have to tell it again.
After the people had fire Bingo thought again that it was time to go home but the people needed clothes to help them through the winter because they had so little fur, so he went into the woods a little ways and called a council of the other animals who felt sorry for the people and agreed to let the people take some of them to make clothes and moccasins.
And the people grew healthier and stronger, and with their new skills began to build bigger homes and to decorate them, and they began to draw their stories on the rocks around the village where they lived and if you look you can still find these paintings today.
And then Bingo taught them to sing and dance so they could start keeping and telling their own stories. And he taught them how to play games to amuse themselves, and they loved Bingo so much that they named one of the games after him.
So at the end of the day, Bingo never did go back to his own village and he stayed with the people and he married a beautiful maiden and had children who played and rolled around with each other so much that the people said “they play just like bear cubs”. And Bingo grew old and continued to teach his new people to be healthy and prosperous like the Eagles, the Salmon and the Bears. And when he was very very old one day he fell asleep, and dreamed that his work was done.
Bingo still rests somewhere around the Village of Fort St. James in British Columbia. As a last parting gift to people, he will give $100.00 to the person who finds him. Get your “Hunting License” from the College of New Caledonia or the Learning Hub in Fort St. James; obtain a copy of his legend, and a treasure map to help you track him down for $1.00.
All proceeds will go towards supporting Literacy in Fort St. James. The map is divided into 25 squares. One square (where Bingo is not resting) will be eliminated every week, and stay tuned for a new hint each week in the Caledonia Courier as to Bingo’s location.