While being interviewed for a Frontiers story on saving Native languages, David Katzeek, a Tlingit educator, also shared the tale of the “Lucky Lady,” also known as “The Fortunate Woman.”
Katzeek says a bar in downtown Juneau is named for this story, but few people know the darker side of the tale.
It begins with a young man who encounters an amazingly beautiful woman, while walking on the Mendenhall Flats near what today is Fritz Cove Road.
The man immediately falls in love with her and follows the woman to her home under the earth. When he returns from the underworld, he brags to a friend about his experiences with the woman and her beautiful children.
The next time he goes to meet the lady, his friend follows and sees them disappear underground.
The man later tries to meet the woman. And like his friend, she takes him down under the earth, where he is dazzled by her beautiful children. The woman warns him never to take them away from their underground home.
But the man can’t resist temptation and brings one of her children home with him to show to his family.
The result is disastrous for the community. The child roams around at night, preying upon people as they sleep, stealing their eyes. As a result, the whole village goes blind.
So where is the luck in all of this? According to Katzeek’s story, if you get in a fight with the Lucky Lady and get scratched by her, you will become wealthy.