Giants were formerly common in Coeur d’Alene country. They had a very strong odor, like the odor of burning horn. Their faces were black–some say they were painted black, and the giants were taller than the highest tipis. When they saw a single tipi or lodge in a place, they would crawl up to it, rise, and look down the smoke hole. If several lodges were together, the giants were not so bold.
Most of them dressed in bearskins, but some wore other kinds of skins with the hair left on. They lived in caves in the rocks. They had a great liking for fish, and often stole fish out of people’s traps. Otherwise, they did not bother people much. They are said to have stolen women occasionally in other tribes, but there is no tradition of their having stolen women in the Coeur d’Alene country.
Other supernatural beings that used to be seen in the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane countries were called the Tree men. They, too had a strong odor. They dressed in buffalo skins and had the power to transform themselves into trees and bushes. Once, when a number of people were dancing in the Spokane country near a small lake close to the present day Cheney, they suddenly smelled a bad odor. One of them exclaimed, “That is the Tree Men!”
The people looked around and saw four men standing a little apart from one another and wearing around their shoulders buffalo skins, with the hair side out. As soon as they saw people looking at them, they dissapeared. Four bushes stood where the four Tree Men stood. Those fourkm bushes could be seen until lately. Possibly the power of the people’s glances killed them or prevented them from changing themselves back into men.
There are trees which have been in one spot a very long time. They really are Tree Men, although they seem merely trees to people looking at them. In other spots, trees and bushes change places or are sometimes absent and sometimes present. Often when these beings were seen and people approached them, they disappeared, and only trees or bushes could be found.