In particular, two observations had a lasting influence on them. First, the Athabascans had never seen people smoke tobacco before and they found the habit fascinating. Second, they were amazed by the unusual clothing that Cook's men wore and they were especially impressed with the rows of brass buttons sewed onto the men's sleeves. Later that day, the natives returned to their village with an astonishing, but perfectly understandable, story. They had met a fire-eating and smoke-breathing breed of men, who had arms like octopi and lived on the dead and decaying carcasses whales.
I tell you this story to illustrate a point: It’s quite easy to create and perpetuate a myth, and that’s true for religious concepts, as well. You'll see below another excerpt from Autumn Run that illustrates the point.