Native American Tales

Kulshan and his Two Wives

Kulshan and his Two WivesKulshan and his Two Wives


Kulshan had two wives, Clear Sky and Fair Maiden, as was the custom in his tribe. He was a handsome and tall man. Clear Sky was prettier and the mother of Kulshan’s children, but Fair Maiden won Kulshan’s heart through kindness. Clear Sky was jealous and decided to leave. She told Kulshan that she was going to leave, but instead of asking her to stay, he told her that she could go as far as she wanted because he was prideful.

She did go. She packed up all her flowering plants and bulbs and left. She would pause on hills to see if Kulshan would ask her to come back, but he did not. She stretched herself taller and decided to stay where she was because she could see her children on a clear day. She planted all the bulbs and flowers around her and stayed.

Fair Maiden told Kulshan that she wanted to go and see her mother, but there was no passage. Kulshan got the animals to dig a ditch that could fit canoes. He then filled it with water; today it is the River Nooksack. Fair Maiden stopped at islands along the way. Each food she ate, she left a little of on each island, that’s why those foods can be found on those islands today. Fair Maiden stayed at one island, but winds blew all around her. The Changer told her to lie down. When she did so, she became an island herself and when he baby was born, it became a smaller island shaped like her.

Kulshan took his children and went into the wilderness looking for his wives. They all grew taller and taller and became mountains. Clear Sky became Mount Raineer. The mountains look at each other longing.


I looked up some of the landmarks mentioned in the story. Mt. Raineer serves as the photo for this story. Spieden island, which Fair Maiden turned into is a real place and so is Sentinel Island, which her baby turned into. They are not the same shape though, at least not these days. Komo Kulshan is also a real mountain, but it goes by the name of Mt. Baker these days. There are also twin mountains in the area called North Twin and South Twin. All the landmarks mentioned in the story are real.


Kulshan was proud and Clear Sky was jealous. They were both in the wrong a bit, but I think Kulshan was probably more wrong. Look, you’re not supposed to have more than one wife in the first place, so if you do and one of them are jealous, you know, maybe not have more than one wife. Jealousy is a pretty natural thing when you have to share a person. I don’t blame Clear Sky for being jealous. She shouldn’t have had to have been in the situation in the first place.

Kulshan, on the other hand, was too proud to say that he loved his wife and wanted her there. What a dork. Look, if you love somebody, you should tell them and express it to them in the ways that you can. Clear Sky shouldn’t have been manipulative in the way that she was. She was like a child,”I’m going to run away if you don’t say you love me right now.” Again, though, she shouldn’t have been put in that position in the first place.

Moral of the story, tell someone you love, that you love them and you want them around and all that jazz. Sometimes a person just needs to hear it.


Everybody became a landmark.

Weigh In

What would you have done if you had been in Kulshan’s shoes?

Do you think Clear Sky was justified in her actions? Why or why not?


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