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´╗┐Title: Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest
Author: Judson, Katharine Berry [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest" ***

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By Various

Compiled and Edited by Katharine Berry Judson

     Author of "Myths and Legends of Alaska",
     "Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest",
     and "Montana."


Second Edition


In the beginning of the New-making, the ancient fathers lived
successively in four caves in the Four fold-containing-earth. The first
was of sooty blackness, black as a chimney at night time; the second,
dark as the night in the stormy season; the third, like a valley in
starlight; the fourth, with a light like the dawning. Then they came up
in the night-shine into the World of Knowing and Seeing.

So runs the Zuni myth, and it typifies well the mental development,
insight, and beauty of speech of the Indian tribes along the Pacific
Coast, from those of Alaska in the far-away Northland, with half of life
spent in actual darkness and more than half in the struggle for
existence against the cold and the storms loosed by fatal curiosity from
the bear's bag of bitter, icy winds, to the exquisite imagery of the
Zunis and other desert tribes, on their sunny plains in the Southland.

It was in the night-shine of this southern land, with its clear, dry air
and brilliant stars, that the Indians, looking up at the heavens above
them, told the story of the bag of stars of Utset, the First Mother, who
gave to the scarab beetle, when the floods came, the bag of Star People,
sending him first into the world above. It was a long climb to the world
above and the tired little fellow, once safe, sat down by the sack.
After a while he cut a tiny hole in the bag, just to see what was in it,
but the Star People flew out and filled the heavens everywhere. Yet he
saved a few stars by grasping the neck of the sack, and sat there,
frightened and sad, when Utset, the First Mother, asked what he had done
with the beautiful Star People.

The Sky-father himself, in those early years of the New-making, spread
out his hand with the palm downward, and into all the wrinkles of his
hand set the semblance of shining yellow corn-grains, gleaming like
sparks of fire in the dark of the early World-dawn. "See," said
Sky-father to Earth-mother, "our children shall be guided by these when
the Sun-father is not near and thy mountain terraces are as darkness
itself. Then shall our children be guided by light." So Sky-father
created the stars. Then he said, "And even as these grains gleam upward
from the water, so shall seed grain like them spring up from the earth
when touched by water, to nourish our children."  And he created the
golden Seed-stuff of the corn.

It is around the beautiful Corn Maidens that perhaps the most delicate
of all imagery clings, Maidens offended when the dancers sought their
presence all too freely, no longer holding them so precious as in the
olden time, so that, in white garments, they became invisible in the
thickening white mists. Then sadly and noiselessly they stole in amongst
the people and laid their corn wands down amongst the trays, and laid
their white broidered garments thereon, as mothers lay soft kilting over
their babes. Even as the mists became they, and with the mists drifting,
fled away, to the south Summer-land.

They began the search for the Corn Maidens, found at last only by
Paiyatuma, the god of dawn, from whose flute came wonderful music, as of
liquid voices in caverns, or the echo of women's laughter in water
vases, heard only by men of nights as they wandered up and down the
river trail.

When he paused to rest on his journey, playing on his painted flute,
butterflies and birds sought him, and he sent them before to seek the
Maidens, even before they could hear the music of his song-sound. And
the Maidens filled their colored trays with seed-corn from their fields,
and over all spread broidered mantles, broidered with the bright colors
and the creature signs of the Summer-land, and thus following him,
journeyed only at night and dawn, as the dead do, and the stars also.

Back to the Seed People they came, but only to give to the ancients the
precious seed, and this having been given, the darkness of night fell
around them. As shadows in deep night, so these Maidens of the Seed of
Corn, the beloved and beautiful, were seen no more of men. But Shutsuka
walked behind the Maidens, whistling shrilly as they sped southward,
even as the frost wind whistles when the corn is gathered away, among
the lone canes and the dry leaves of a gleaned field.

The myths of California, in general, are of the same type as those given
in a preceding volume on the myths of the Pacific Northwest. Indeed many
of the myths of Northern Californian tribes are so obviously the same as
those of the Modocs and Klamath Indians that they have not been
repeated. Coyote and Fox reign supreme, as they do along the entire
coast, though the birds of the air take a greater part in the creation
of things. These stories are quaint and whimsical, but they lack the
beauty of the myths of the desert tribes. There is nothing in all
Californian myths, so far as I have studied them, which in any way
compares with the one of the Corn Maidens, referred to above, or the Sia
myths of the Cloud People. In the compilation of this volume, the same
idea has governed as in the two preceding volumes, simply the preparation
of a volume of the quainter, purer myths, suitable for general reading,
authentic, and with illustrations of the country portrayed, but with no
pretensions to being a purely scientific piece of work. Scientific
people know well the government documents and reports of learned
societies which contain myths of all kinds, good, bad, and indifferent.
But the volumes of this series are intended for popular use. Changes
have been made only in abridgments of long conversations and of
ceremonial details which detracted from the myth as a myth, even though
of great ethnological importance.

Especial credit is due in this volume to the work of the ethnologists
whose work has appeared in the publications of the Smithsonian
Institution, and the U. S. Geographical and Geological Surveys West of
the Rocky Mountains: to Mrs. Mathilda Cox Stevenson for the Sia myths,
and to the late James Stevenson for the Navajo myths and sand painting;
to the late Frank Hamilton Cushing for the Zuni myths, to the late Frank
Russell for the Pima myths, to the late Stephen Powers for the
Californian myths, and also to James Mooney and Cosmos Mindeleff. The
recent publications of the University of California on the myths of the
tribes of that State have not been included.

Thanks are also due to the Smithsonian Institution for the illustrations
accredited to them, to the Carnegie Institution of Washington for
illustrations from the Desert Botanical Laboratory at Tucson, Arizona,
and to Mr. Ferdinard Ellerman of the Mount Wilson Observatory and to

K. B. J.

Department of History,

University of Washington.

Table of Contents

  The Beginning of Newness--Zuni (New Mexico)
  The Men of the Early Times--Zuni (New Mexico)
  Creation and Longevity--Achomawi (Pit River, Cal.)
  Old Moles Creation--Shastika (Cal.)
  The Creation of the World--Pima (Arizona)
  Spider's Creation--Sia (New Mexico)
  The Gods and the Six Regions
  How Old Man Above Created the World--Shastika (Cal.)
  The Search for the Middle and the Hardening of the World--Zuni (New
  Origin of Light--Gallinomero (Russian River, Cal.)
  Pokoh, the Old Man--Pai Ute (near Kern River, Cal.)
  Thunder and Lightning--Maidu (near Sacramento Valley. Cal.)
  Creation of Man--Miwok (San Joaquin Valley, Cal.)
  The First Man and Woman--Nishinam (near Bear River, Cal.)
  Old Man Above and the Grizzlies--Shastika (Cal.)
  The Creation of Man-kind and the Flood--Pima (Arizona)
  The Birds and the Flood--Pima (Arizona)
  Legend of the Flood--Ashochimi (Coast Indians, Cal.)
  The Great Flood--Sia (New Mexico)
  The Flood and the Theft of Fire--Tolowa (Del Norte Co., Cal.)
  Legend of the Flood in Sacramento Maidu Valley--(near Sacramento, Cal.)
  The Fable of the Animals--Karok (near Klamath River, Cal.)
  Coyote and Sun--Pai Ute (near Kern River, Cal.)
  The Course of the Sun--Sia (New Mexico)
  The Foxes and the Sun--Yurok (near Klamath River, Cal.)
  The Theft of Fire--Karok (near Klamath River, Cal.)
  The Theft of Fire--Sia (New Mexico)
  The Earth-hardening after the Flood--Sia (New Mexico)
  The Origins of the Totems and of Names--Zuni (New Mexico)
  Traditions of Wanderings--Hopi (Arizona)
  The Migration of the Water People--Walpi (Arizona)
  Coyote and the Mesquite Beans--Pima (Arizona)
  Origin of the Sierra Nevadas and Coast Range--Yokuts (near Fresno,
  Yosemite Valley and its Indian Names
  Legend of Tu-tok-a-nu'-la (El Capitan)--Yosemite Valley
  Legend of Tis-se'-yak (South Dome and North Dome) Yosemite Valley
  Historic Tradition of the Upper Tuolumne--Yosemite Valley
  California Big Trees--Pai Ute (near Kern River, Cal.)
  The Children of Cloud--Pima (Arizona)
  The Cloud People--Sia (New Mexico)
  Rain Song--Sia (New Mexico)
  Rain Song
  Rain Song--Sia (New Mexico)
  The Corn Maidens--Zuni (New Mexico)
  The Search for the Corn Maidens--Zuni (New Mexico)
  Hasjelti and Hostjoghon--Navajo (New Mexico)
  The Song-hunter--Navajo (New Mexico)
  Sand Painting of the Song-hunter--Navajo
  The Guiding Duck and the Lake of Death--Zuni (New Mexico)
  The Boy who Became a God--Navajo (New Mexico)
  Origin of Clear Lake--Patwin (Sacramento Valley, Cal.)
  The Great Fire--Patwin (Sacramento Valley, Cal.)
  Origin of the Raven and the Macaw--Zuni (New Mexico)
  Coyote and the Hare--Sia (New Mexico)
  Coyote and the Quails--Pima (Arizona)
  Coyote and the Fawns--Sia (New Mexico)
  How the Bluebird Got its Color--Pima (Arizona)
  Coyote's Eyes--Pima (Arizona)
  Coyote and the Tortillas--Pima (Arizona)
  Coyote as a Hunter--Sia (New Mexico)
  How the Rattlesnake Learned to Bite--Pima (Arizona)
  Coyote and the Rattlesnake--Sia (New Mexico)
  Origin of the Saguaro and Palo Verde Cacti--Pima (Arizona)
  The Thirsty Quails--Pima (Arizona)
  The Boy and the Beast--Pima (Arizona)
  Why the Apaches are Fierce--Pima (Arizona)
  Speech on the Warpath--Pima (Arizona)
  The Spirit Land--Gallinomero (Russian River, Cal.)
  Song of the Ghost Dance--Pai Ute (Kern River, Cal.)

The Beginning of Newness
Zuni (New Mexico)

Before the beginning of the New-making, the All-father Father alone had
being. Through ages there was nothing else except black darkness.

In the beginning of the New-making, the All-father Father thought
outward in space, and mists were created and up-lifted. Thus through his
knowledge he made himself the Sun who was thus created and is the great
Father. The dark spaces brightened with light. The cloud mists thickened
and became water.

From his flesh, the Sun-father created the Seed-stuff of worlds, and he
himself rested upon the waters. And these two, the Four-fold-containing
Earth-mother and the All-covering Sky-father, the surpassing beings,
with power of changing their forms even as smoke changes in the wind,
were the father and mother of the soul beings.

Then as man and woman spoke these two together. "Behold!" said
Earth-mother, as a great terraced bowl appeared at hand, and within it
water, "This shall be the home of my tiny children. On the rim of each
world-country in which they wander, terraced mountains shall stand,
making in one region many mountains by which one country shall be known
from another."

Then she spat on the water and struck it and stirred it with her
fingers. Foam gathered about the terraced rim, mounting higher and
higher. Then with her warm breath she blew across the terraces. White
flecks of foam broke away and floated over the water. But the cold
breath of Sky-father shattered the foam and it fell downward in fine
mist and spray.

Then Earth-mother spoke:

"Even so shall white clouds float up from the great waters at the
borders of the world, and clustering about the mountain terraces of the
horizon, shall be broken and hardened by thy cold. Then will they shed
downward, in rain-spray, the water of life, even into the hollow places
of my lap. For in my lap shall nestle our children, man-kind and
creature-kind, for warmth in thy coldness."

So even now the trees on high mountains near the clouds and Sky-father,
crouch low toward Earth mother for warmth and protection. Warm is
Earth-mother, cold our Sky-father.

Then Sky-father said, "Even so. Yet I, too, will be helpful to our
children." Then he spread his hand out with the palm downward and into
all the wrinkles of his hand he set the semblance of shining yellow
corn-grains; in the dark of the early world-dawn they gleamed like
sparks of fire.

"See," he said, pointing to the seven grains between his thumb and four
fingers, "our children shall be guided by these when the Sun-father is
not near and thy terraces are as darkness itself. Then shall our
children be guided by lights." So Sky-father created the stars. Then he
said, "And even as these grains gleam up from the water, so shall seed
grain like them spring up from the earth when touched by water, to
nourish our children." And thus they created the seed-corn. And in many
other ways they devised for their children, the soul-beings.

But the first children, in a cave of the earth, were unfinished. The
cave was of sooty blackness, black as a chimney at night time, and foul.
Loud became their murmurings and lamentations, until many sought to
escape, growing wiser and more man-like.

But the earth was not then as we now see it. Then Sun-father sent down
two sons (sons also of the Foam-cap), the Beloved Twain, Twin Brothers
of Light, yet Elder and Younger, the Right and the Left, like to
question and answer in deciding and doing. To them the Sun-father
imparted his own wisdom. He gave them the great cloud-bow, and for
arrows the thunderbolts of the four quarters. For buckler, they had the
fog-making shield, spun and woven of the floating clouds and spray. The
shield supports its bearer, as clouds are supported by the wind, yet
hides its bearer also. And he gave to them the fathership and control of
men and of all creatures. Then the Beloved Twain, with their great
cloud-bow lifted the Sky-father into the vault of the skies, that the
earth might become warm and fitter for men and creatures. Then along the
sun-seeking trail, they sped to the mountains westward. With magic
knives they spread open the depths of the mountain and uncovered the
cave in which dwelt the unfinished men and creatures. So they dwelt with
men, learning to know them, and seeking to lead them out.

Now there were growing things in the depths, like grasses and vines. So
the Beloved Twain breathed on the stems, growing tall toward the light
as grass is wont to do, making them stronger, and twisting them upward
until they formed a great ladder by which men and creatures ascended to
a second cave.

Up the ladder into the second cave-world, men and the beings crowded,
following closely the Two Little but Mighty Ones. Yet many fell back and
were lost in the darkness. They peopled the under-world from which they
escaped in after time, amid terrible earth shakings.

In this second cave it was as dark as the night of a stormy season, but
larger of space and higher. Here again men and the beings increased, and
their complainings grew loud. So the Twain again increased the growth of
the ladder, and again led men upward, not all at once, but in six bands,
to become the fathers of the six kinds of men, the yellow, the tawny
gray, the red, the white, the black, and the mingled. And this time also
many were lost or left behind.

Now the third great cave was larger and lighter, like a valley in
starlight. And again they increased in number. And again the Two led
them out into a fourth cave. Here it was light like dawning, and men
began to perceive and to learn variously, according to their natures,
wherefore the Twain taught them first to seek the Sun-father.

Then as the last cave became filled and men learned to understand, the
Two led them forth again into the great upper world, which is the World
of Knowing Seeing.

The Men of the Early Times
Zuni (New Mexico)

Eight years was but four days and four nights when the world was new. It
was while such days and nights continued that men were led out, in the
night-shine of the World of Seeing. For even when they saw the great
star, they thought it the Sun-father himself, it so burned their eye-balls.

Men and creatures were more alike then than now. Our fathers were black,
like the caves they came from; their skins were cold and scaly like
those of mud creatures; their eyes were goggled like an owl's; their
ears were like those of cave bats; their feet were webbed like those of
walkers in wet and soft places; they had tails, long or short, as they
were old or young. Men crouched when they walked, or crawled along the
ground like lizards. They feared to walk straight, but crouched as
before time they had in their cave worlds, that they might not stumble
or fall in the uncertain light.

When the morning star arose, they blinked excessively when they beheld
its brightness and cried out that now surely the Father was coming. But
it was only the elder of the Bright Ones, heralding with his shield of
flame the approach of the Sun-father. And when, low down in the east,
the Sun-father himself appeared, though shrouded in the mist of the
world-waters, they were blinded and heated by his light and glory. They
fell down wallowing and covered their eyes with their hands and arms,
yet ever as they looked toward the light, they struggled toward the Sun
as moths and other night creatures seek the light of a camp fire. Thus
they became used to the light. But when they rose and walked straight,
no longer bending, and looked upon each other, they sought to clothe
themselves with girdles and garments of bark and rushes. And when by
walking only upon their hinder feet they were bruised by stone and sand,
they plaited sandals of yucca fibre.

Creation and Longevity
Achomawi (Pit River, Cal.)

Coyote began the creation of the earth, but Eagle completed it. Coyote
scratched it up with his paws out of nothingness, but Eagle complained
there were no mountains for him to perch on. So Coyote made hills, but
they were not high enough. Therefore Eagle scratched up great ridges.
When Eagle flew over them, his feathers dropped down, took root, and
became trees. The pin feathers became bushes and plants.

Coyote and Fox together created man. They quarrelled as to whether they
should let men live always or not. Coyote said, "If they want to die,
let them die." Fox said, "If they want to come back, let them come
back." But Coyote's medicine was stronger, and nobody ever came back.

Coyote also brought fire into the world, for the Indians were freezing.
He journeyed far to the west, to a place where there was fire, stole
some of it, and brought it home in his ears. He kindled a fire in the
mountains, and the Indians saw the smoke of it, and went up and got

Old Mole's Creation
Shastika (Cal.)

Long, long ago, before there was any earth, Old Mole burrowed underneath
Somewhere, and threw up the earth which forms the world. Then Great Man
created the people. But the Indians were cold.

Now in the cast gleamed the white Fire Stone. Therefore Coyote journeyed
eastward, and brought back the Fire Stone for the Indians. So people had

In the beginning, Sun had nine brothers, all flaming hot like himself.
But Coyote killed the nine brothers and so saved the world from burning
up. But Moon also had nine brothers all made of ice, like himself, and
the Night People almost froze to death. Therefore Coyote went away out
on the eastern edge of the world with his flint-stone knife. He heated
stones to keep his hands warm, and as the Moons arose, he killed one
after another with his flint-stone knife, until he had slain nine of
them. Thus the people were saved from freezing at night.

When it rains, some Indian, sick in heaven, is weeping. Long, long ago,
there was a good young Indian on earth. When he died the Indians wept so
that a flood came upon the earth, and drowned all people except one

The Creation of the World
Pima (Arizona)

In the beginning there was nothing at all except darkness. All was
darkness and emptiness. For a long, long while, the darkness gathered
until it became a great mass. Over this the spirit of Earth Doctor
drifted to and fro like a fluffy bit of cotton in the breeze. Then Earth
Doctor decided to make for himself an abiding place. So he thought
within himself, "Come forth, some kind of plant," and there appeared the
creosote bush. He placed this before him and set it upright. But it at
once fell over. He set it upright again; again it fell. So it fell until
the fourth time it remained upright. Then Earth Doctor took from his
breast a little dust and flattened it into a cake. When the dust cake
was still, he danced upon it, singing a magic song.

Next he created some black insects which made black gum on the creosote
bush. Then he made a termite which worked with the small earth cake
until it grew very large. As he sang and danced upon it, the flat World
stretched out on all sides until it was as large as it is now. Then he
made a round sky-cover to fit over it, round like the houses of the
Pimas. But the earth shook and stretched, so that it was unsafe. So
Earth Doctor made a gray spider which was to spin a web around the edges
of the earth and sky, fastening them together. When this was done, the
earth grew firm and solid.

Earth Doctor made water, mountains, trees, grass, and weeds-made
everything as we see it now. But all was still inky blackness. Then he
made a dish, poured water into it, and it became ice. He threw this
round block of ice far to the north, and it fell at the place where the
earth and sky were woven together. At once the ice began to gleam and
shine. We call it now the sun. It rose from the ground in the north up
into the sky and then fell back. Earth Doctor took it and threw it to
the west where the earth and sky were sewn together. It rose into the
sky and again slid back to the earth. Then he threw it to the far south,
but it slid back again to the flat earth. Then at last he threw it to
the east. It rose higher and higher in the sky until it reached the
highest point in the round blue cover and began to slide down on the
other side. And so the sun does even yet.

Then Earth Doctor poured more water into the dish and it became ice. He
sang a magic song, and threw the round ball of ice to the north where
the earth and sky are woven together. It gleamed and shone, but not so
brightly as the sun. It became the moon, and it rose in the sky, but
fell back again, just as the sun had done. So he threw the ball to the
west, and then to the south, but it slid back each time to the earth.
Then he threw it to the east, and it rose to the highest point in the
sky-cover and began to slide down on the other side. And so it does even
to-day, following the sun.

But Earth Doctor saw that when the sun and moon were not in the sky, all
was inky darkness. So he sang a magic song, and took some water into his
mouth and blew it into the sky, in a spray, to make little stars. Then
he took his magic crystal and broke it into pieces and threw them into
the sky, to make the larger stars. Next he took his walking stick and
placed ashes on the end of it. Then he drew it across the sky to form
the Milky Way. So Earth Doctor made all the stars.

Spider's Creation
Sia (New Mexico)

In the beginning, long, long ago, there was but one being in the lower
world. This was the spider, Sussistinnako. At that time there were no
other insects, no birds, animals, or any other living creature.

The spider drew a line of meal from north to south and then crossed it
with another line running east and west. On each side of the first line,
north of the second, he placed two small parcels. They were precious but
no one knows what was in them except Spider. Then he sat down near the
parcels and began to sing. The music was low and sweet and the two
parcels accompanied him, by shaking like rattles. Then two women
appeared, one from each parcel.

In a short time people appeared and began walking around. Then animals,
birds, and insects appeared, and the spider continued to sing until his
creation was complete.

But there was no light, and as there were many people, they did not pass
about much for fear of treading upon each other. The two women first
created were the mothers of all. One was named Utset and she as the
mother of all Indians. The other was Now-utset, and she was the mother
of all other nations. While it was still dark, the spider divided the
people into clans, saying to some, "You are of the Corn clan, and you
are the first of all." To others he said, "You belong to the Coyote
clan." So he divided them into their clans, the clans of the Bear, the
Eagle, and other clans.

After Spider had nearly created the earth, Ha-arts, he thought it would
be well to have rain to water it, so he created the Cloud People, the
Lightning People, the Thunder People, and the Rainbow People, to work
for the people of Ha-arts, the earth. He divided this creation into six
parts, and each had its home in a spring in the heart of a great
mountain upon whose summit was a giant tree. One was in the spruce tree
on the Mountain of the North; another in the pine tree on the Mountain
of the West; another in the oak tree on the Mountain of the South; and
another in the aspen tree on the Mountain of the East; the fifth was on
the cedar tree on the Mountain of the Zenith; and the last in an oak on
the Mountain of the Nadir.

The spider divided the world into three parts: Ha-arts, the earth;
Tinia, the middle plain; and Hu-wa-ka, the upper plain. Then the spider
gave to these People of the Clouds and to the rainbow, Tinia, the middle

Now it was still dark, but the people of Ha-arts made houses for
themselves by digging in the rocks and the earth. They could not build
houses as they do now, because they could not see. In a short time Utset
and Now-utset talked much to each other, saying,

"We will make light, that our people may see. We cannot tell the people
now, but to-morrow will be a good day and the day after to-morrow will
be a good day," meaning that their thoughts were good. So they spoke
with one tongue. They said, "Now all is covered with darkness, but after
a while we will have light."

Then these two mothers, being inspired by Sussistinnako, the spider,
made the sun from white shell, turkis, red stone, and abalone shell.
After making the sun, they carried him to the east and camped there,
since there were no houses. The next morning they climbed to the top of
a high mountain and dropped the sun down behind it. After a time he
began to ascend. When the people saw the light they were happy.

When the sun was far off, his face was blue; as he came nearer, the face
grew brighter. Yet they did not see the sun himself, but only a large
mask which covered his whole body.

The people saw that the world was large and the country beautiful. When
the two mothers returned to the village, they said to the people, "We
are the mothers of all."

The sun lighted the world during the day, but there was no light at
night. So the two mothers created the moon from a slightly black stone,
many kinds of yellow stone, turkis, and a red stone, that the world
might be lighted at night. But the moon travelled slowly and did not
always give light. Then the two mothers created the Star People and made
their eyes of sparkling white crystal that they might twinkle and
brighten the world at night. When the Star People lived in the lower
world they were gathered into beautiful groups; they were not scattered
about as they are in the upper world.

The Gods and the Six Regions

In ancient times, Po-shai-an-ki-a, the father of the sacred bands, or
tribes, lived with his followers in the City of Mists, the Middle Place,
guarded by six warriors, the prey gods. Toward the North, he was guarded
by Long Tail, the mountain lion; West by Clumsy Foot, the bear; South by
Black-Mark Face, the badger; East by Hang Tail, the wolf; above by White
Cap, the eagle; below by Mole.

So when he was about to go forth into the world, he divided the earth
into six regions: North, the Direction of the Swept or Barren Plains;
West, the Direction of the Home of the Waters; South, the Place of the
Beautiful Red; East, the Direction of the Home of Day; upper regions,
the Direction of the Home of the High; lower regions, the Direction of
the Home of the Low.

How Old Man Above Created the World
Shastika (Cal.)

Long, long ago, when the world was so new that even the stars were dark,
it was very, very flat. Chareya, Old Man Above, could not see through
the dark to the new, flat earth. Neither could he step down to it
because it was so far below him. With a large stone he bored a hole in
the sky. Then through the hole he pushed down masses of ice and snow,
until a great pyramid rose from the plain. Old Man Above climbed down
through the hole he had made in the sky, stepping from cloud to cloud,
until he could put his foot on top the mass of ice and snow. Then with
one long step he reached the earth.

The sun shone through the hole in the sky and began to melt the ice and
snow. It made holes in the ice and snow. When it was soft, Chareya bored
with his finger into the earth, here and there, and planted the first
trees. Streams from the melting snow watered the new trees and made them
grow. Then he gathered the leaves which fell from the trees and blew
upon them. They became birds. He took a stick and broke it into pieces.
Out of the small end he made fishes and placed them in the mountain
streams. Of the middle of the stick, he made all the animals except the
grizzly bear. From the big end of the stick came the grizzly bear, who
was made master of all. Grizzly was large and strong and cunning. When
the earth was new he walked upon two feet and carried a large club. So
strong was Grizzly that Old Man Above feared the creature he had made.
Therefore, so that he might be safe, Chareya hollowed out the pyramid of
ice and snow as a tepee. There he lived for thousands of snows. The
Indians knew he lived there because they could see the smoke curling
from the smoke hole of his tepee. When the pale-face came, Old Man Above
went away. There is no longer any smoke from the smoke hole. White men
call the tepee Mount Shasta.

The Search for the Middle and the Hardening of the World
Zuni (New Mexico)

As it was with the first men and creatures, so it was with the world. It
was young and unripe. Earthquakes shook the world and rent it. Demons
and monsters of the under-world fled forth. Creatures became fierce,
beasts of prey, and others turned timid, becoming their quarry.
Wretchedness and hunger abounded and black magic. Fear was everywhere
among them, so the people, in dread of their precious possessions,
became wanderers, living on the seeds of grass, eaters of dead and slain
things. Yet, guided by the Beloved Twain, they sought in the light and
under the pathway of the Sun, the Middle of the world, over which alone
they could find the earth at rest(1).

When the tremblings grew still for a time, the people paused at the
First of Sitting Places. Yet they were still poor and defenceless and
unskilled, and the world still moist and unstable. Demons and monsters
fled from the earth in times of shaking, and threatened wanderers.

Then the Two took counsel of each other. The Elder said the earth must
be made more stable for men and the valleys where their children rested.
If they sent down their fire bolts of thunder, aimed to all the four
regions, the earth would heave up and down, fire would, belch over the
world and burn it, floods of hot water would sweep over it, smoke would
blacken the daylight, but the earth would at last be safer for men.

So the Beloved Twain let fly the thunderbolts.

The mountains shook and trembled, the plains cracked and crackled under
the floods and fires, and the hollow places, the only refuge of men and
creatures, grew black and awful. At last thick rain fell, putting out
the fires. Then water flooded the world, cutting deep trails through the
mountains, and burying or uncovering the bodies of things and beings.
Where they huddled together and were blasted thus, their blood gushed
forth and flowed deeply, here in rivers, there in floods, for gigantic
were they. But the blood was charred and blistered and blackened by the
fires into the black rocks of the lower mesas(2). There were vast plains
of dust, ashes, and cinders, reddened like the mud of the hearth place.
Yet many places behind and between the mountain terraces were unharmed
by the fires, and even then green grew the trees and grasses and even
flowers bloomed. Then the earth became more stable, and drier, and its
lone places less fearsome since monsters of prey were changed to rock.

But ever and again the earth trembled and the people were troubled.

"Let us again seek the Middle," they said. So they travelled far
eastward to their second stopping place, the Place of Bare Mountains.

Again the world rumbled, and they travelled into a country to a place
called Where-tree-boles-stand-in-the-midst-of-waters. There they
remained long, saying, "This is the Middle." They built homes there. At
times they met people who had gone before, and thus they learned war.
And many strange things happened there, as told in speeches of the
ancient talk.

Then when the earth groaned again, the Twain bade them go forth, and
they murmured. Many refused and perished miserably in their own homes,
as do rats in falling trees, or flies in forbidden food.

But the greater number went forward until they came to
Steam-mist-in-the-midst-of-waters. And they saw the smoke of men's
hearth fires and many houses scattered over the hills before them. When
they came nearer, they challenged the people rudely, demanding who they
were and why there, for in their last standing-place they had had touch
of war.

"We are the People of the Seed," said the men of the hearth-fires, "born
elder brothers of ye, and led of the gods."

"No," said our fathers, "we are led of the gods and we are the Seed

Long lived the people in the town on the sunrise slope of the mountains
of Kahluelawan, until the earth began to groan warningly again. Loath
were they to leave the place of the Kaka and the lake of their dead. But
the rumbling grew louder and the Twain Beloved called, and all together
they journeyed eastward, seeking once more the Place of the Middle. But
they grumbled amongst themselves, so when they came to a place of great
promise, they said, "Let us stay here. Perhaps it may be the Place of
the Middle."

So they built houses there, larger and stronger than ever before, and
more perfect, for they were strong in numbers and wiser, though yet
unperfected as men. They called the place "The Place of Sacred

Long they dwelt there, happily, but growing wiser and stronger, so that,
with their tails and dressed in the skins of animals, they saw they were
rude and ugly.

In chase or in war, they were at a disadvantage, for they met older
nations of men with whom they fought. No longer they feared the gods and
monsters, but only their own kind. So therefore the gods called a

"Changed shall ye be, oh our children," cried the Twain. "Ye shall walk
straight in the pathways, clothed in garments, and without tails, that
ye may sit more straight in council, and without webs to your feet, or
talons on your hands."

So the people were arranged in procession like dancers. And the Twain
with their weapons and fires of lightning shored off the forelocks
hanging down over their faces, severed the talons, and slitted the
webbed fingers and toes. Sore was the wounding and loud cried the
foolish, when lastly the people were arranged in procession for the
razing of their tails.

But those who stood at the end of the line, shrinking farther and
farther, fled in their terror, climbing trees and high places, with loud
chatter. Wandering far, sleeping ever in tree tops, in the far-away
Summerland, they are sometimes seen of far-walkers, long of tail and
long handed, like wizened men-children.

But the people grew in strength, and became more perfect, and more than
ever went to war. They grew vain. They had reached the Place of the
Middle. They said, "Let us not wearily wander forth again even though
the earth tremble and the Twain bid us forth."

And even as they spoke, the mountain trembled and shook, though

But as the people changed, changed also were the Twain, small and
misshapen, hard-favored and unyielding of will, strong of spirit, evil
and bad. They taught the people to war, and led them far to the

At last the people neared, in the midst of the plains to the eastward,
great towns built in the heights. Great were the fields and possessions
of this people, for they knew how to command and carry the waters,
bringing new soil. And this, too, without hail or rain. So our ancients,
hungry with long wandering for new food, were the more greedy and often
gave battle.

It was here that the Ancient Woman of the Elder People, who carried her
heart in her rattle and was deathless of wounds in the body, led the
enemy, crying out shrilly. So it fell out ill for our fathers. For,
moreover, thunder raged and confused their warriors, rain descended and
blinded them, stretching their bow strings of sinew and quenching the
flight of their arrows as the flight of bees is quenched by the
sprinkling plume of the honey-hunter. But they devised bow strings of
yucca and the Two Little Ones sought counsel of the Sun-father who
revealed the life-secret of the Ancient Woman and the magic powers over
the under-fires of the dwellers of the mountains, so that our enemy in
the mountain town was overmastered. And because our people found in that
great town some hidden deep in the cellars, and pulled them out as rats
are pulled from a hollow cedar, and found them blackened by the fumes of
their war magic, yet wiser than the common people, they spared them and
received them into their next of kin of the Black Corn....

But the tremblings and warnings still sounded, and the people searched
for the stable Middle.

Now they called a great council of men and the beasts, birds, and
insects of all kinds. After a long council it was said,

"Where is Water-skate? He has six legs, all very long. Perhaps he can
feel with them to the uttermost of the six regions, and point out the
very Middle."

So Water-skate was summoned. But lo! It was the Sun-father in his
likeness which appeared. And he lifted himself to the zenith and
extended his fingerfeet to all the six regions, so that they touched the
north, the great waters; the west, and the south, and the east, the
great waters; and to the northeast the waters above, and to the
southwest the waters below. But to the north his finger foot grew cold,
so he drew it in. Then gradually he settled down upon the earth and
said, "Where my heart rests, mark a spot, and build a town of the
Mid-most, for there shall be the Mid-most Place of the Earth-mother."

And his heart rested over the middle of the plain and valley of Zuni.
And when he drew in his finger-legs, lo! there were the trail-roads
leading out and in like stays of a spider's nest, into and from the
mid-most place he had covered.

Here because of their good fortune in finding the stable Middle, the
priest father called the town the Abiding-place-of-happy-fortune.

(1) The earth was flat and round, like a plate.

(2) Lava.

Origin of Light
Gallinomero (Russian River, Cal.)

In the earliest beginning, the darkness was thick and deep. There was no
light. The animals ran here and there, always bumping into each other.
The birds flew here and there, but continually knocked against each

Hawk and Coyote thought a long time about the darkness. Then Coyote felt
his way into a swamp and found a large number of dry tule reeds. He made
a ball of them. He gave the ball to Hawk, with some flints, and Hawk
flew up into the sky, where he touched off the tule reeds and sent the
bundle whirling around the world. But still the nights were dark, so
Coyote made another bundle of tule reeds, and Hawk flew into the air
with them, and touched them off with the flints. But these reeds were
damp and did not burn so well. That is why the moon does not give so
much light as the sun.

Pokoh, the Old Man
Pai Ute (near Kern River, Cal.)

Pokoh, Old Man, they say, created the world. Pokoh had many thoughts. He
had many blankets in which he carried around gifts for men. He created
every tribe out of the soil where they used to live. That is why an
Indian wants to live and die in his native place. He was made of the
same soil. Pokoh did not wish men to wander and travel, but to remain in
their birthplace.

Long ago, Sun was a man, and was bad. Moon was good. Sun had a quiver
full of arrows, and they are deadly. Sun wishes to kill all things.

Sun has two daughters (Venus and Mercury) and twenty men kill them; but
after fifty days, they return to life again.

Rainbow is the sister of Pokoh, and her breast is covered with flowers.

Lightning strikes the ground and fills the flint with fire. That is the
origin of fire. Some say the beaver brought fire from the east, hauling
it on his broad, flat tail. That is why the beaver's tail has no hair on
it, even to this day. It was burned off.

There are many worlds. Some have passed and some are still to come. In
one world the Indians all creep; in another they all walk; in another
they all fly. Perhaps in a world to come, Indians may walk on four legs;
or they may crawl like snakes; or they may swim in the water like fish.

Thunder and Lightning
Maidu (near Sacramento Valley, Cal.)

Great-Man created the world and all the people. At first the earth was
very hot, so hot it was melted, and that is why even to-day there is
fire in the trunk and branches of trees, and in the stones.

Lightning is Great-Man himself coming down swiftly from his world above,
and tearing apart the trees with his flaming arm.

Thunder and Lightning are two great spirits who try to destroy mankind.
But Rainbow is a good spirit who speaks gently to them, and persuades
them to let the Indians live a little longer.

Creation of Man
Miwok (San Joaquin Valley, Cal.)

After Coyote had completed making the world, he began to think about
creating man. He called a council of all the animals. The animals sat in
a circle, just as the Indians do, with Lion at the head, in an open
space in the forest. On Lion's right was Grizzly Bear; next Cinnamon
Bear; and so on to Mouse, who sat at Lion's left.

Lion spoke first. Lion said he wished man to have a terrible voice, like
himself, so that he could frighten all animals. He wanted man also to be
well covered with hair, with fangs in his claws, and very strong teeth.

Grizzly Bear laughed. He said it was ridiculous for any one to have such
a voice as Lion, because when he roared he frightened away the very prey
for which he was searching. But he said man should have very great
strength; that he should move silently, but very swiftly; and he should
be able to seize his prey without noise.

Buck said man would look foolish without antlers. And a terrible voice
was absurd, but man should have ears like a spider's web, and eyes like

Mountain Sheep said the branching antlers would bother man if he got
caught in a thicket. If man had horns rolled up, so that they were like
a stone on each side of his head, it would give his head weight enough
to butt very hard.

When it came Coyote's turn, he said the other animals were foolish
because they each wanted man to be just like themselves. Coyote was sure
he could make a man who would look better than Coyote himself, or any
other animal. Of course he would have to have four legs, with five
fingers. Man should have a strong voice, but he need not roar all the
time with it. And he should have feet nearly like Grizzly Bear's,
because he could then stand erect when he needed to. Grizzly Bear had no
tail, and man should not have any. The eyes and ears of Buck were good,
and perhaps man should have those. Then there was Fish, which had no
hair, and hair was a burden much of the year. So Coyote thought man
should not wear fur. And his claws should be as long as the Eagle's, so
that he could hold things in them. But no animal was as cunning and
crafty as Coyote, so man should have the wit of Coyote.

Then Beaver talked. Beaver said man would have to have a tail, but it
should be broad and flat, so he could haul mud and sand on it. Not a
furry tail, because they were troublesome on account of fleas.

Owl said man would be useless without wings.

But Mole said wings would be folly. Man would be sure to bump against
the sky. Besides, if he had wings and eyes both, he would get his eyes
burned out by flying too near the sun. But without eyes, he could burrow
in the soft, cool earth where he could be happy.

Mouse said man needed eyes so he could see what he was eating. And
nobody wanted to burrow in the damp earth. So the council broke up in a

Then every animal set to work to make a man according to his own ideas.
Each one took a lump of earth and modelled it just like himself. All but
Coyote, for Coyote began to make the kind of man he had talked of in the

It was late when the animals stopped work and fell asleep. All but
Coyote, for Coyote was the cunningest of all the animals, and he stayed
awake until he had finished his model. He worked hard all night. When
the other animals were fast asleep he threw water on the lumps of earth,
and so spoiled the models of the other animals. But in the morning he
finished his own, and gave it life long before the others could finish
theirs. Thus man was made by Coyote.

The First Man And Woman
Nishinam (near Bear River, Cal.)

The first man created by Coyote was called Aikut. His wife was Yototowi.
But the woman grew sick and died. Aikut dug a grave for her close beside
his camp fire, for the Nishinam did not burn their dead then. All the
light was gone from his life. He wanted to die, so that he could follow
Yototowi, and he fell into a deep sleep.

There was a rumbling sound and the spirit of Yototowi arose from the
earth and stood beside him. He would have spoken to her, but she forbade
him, for when an Indian speaks to a ghost he dies. Then she turned away
and set out for the dance-house of ghosts. Aikut followed her. Together
they journeyed through a great, dark country, until they came to a river
which separated them from the Ghost-land. Over the river there was a
bridge of but one small rope, so small that hardly Spider could crawl
across it. Here the woman started off alone, but when Aikut stretched
out his arms, she returned. Then she started again over the bridge of
thread. And Aikut spoke to her, so that he died. Thus together they
journeyed to the Spirit-land.

Old Man Above and the Grizzlies
Shastika (Cal.)

Along time ago, while smoke still curled from the smoke hole of the
tepee, a great storm arose. The storm shook the tepee. Wind blew the
smoke down the smoke hole. Old Man Above said to Little Daughter: "Climb
up to the smoke hole. Tell Wind to be quiet. Stick your arm out of the
smoke hole before you tell him." Little Daughter climbed up to the smoke
hole and put out her arm. But Little Daughter put out her head also. She
wanted to see the world. Little Daughter wanted to see the rivers and
trees, and the white foam on the Bitter Waters. Wind caught Little
Daughter by the hair. Wind pulled her out of the smoke hole and blew her
down the mountain. Wind blew Little Daughter over the smooth ice and the
great forests, down to the land of the Grizzlies. Wind tangled her hair
and then left her cold and shivering near the tepees of the Grizzlies.

Soon Grizzly came home. In those days Grizzly walked on two feet, and
carried a big stick. Grizzly could talk as people do. Grizzly laid down
the young elk he had killed and picked up Little Daughter. He took
Little Daughter to his tepee. Then Mother Grizzly warmed her by the
fire. Mother Grizzly gave her food to eat.

Soon Little Daughter married the son of Grizzly. Their children were not
Grizzlies. They were men. So the Grizzlies built a tepee for Little
Daughter and her children. White men call the tepee Little Shasta.

At last Mother Grizzly sent a son to Old Man Above. Mother Grizzly knew
that Little Daughter was the child of Old Man Above, but she was afraid.
She said: "Tell Old Man Above that Little Daughter is alive."

Old Man Above climbed out of the smoke hole. He ran down the mountain
side to the land of the Grizzlies. Old Man Above ran very quickly.
Wherever he set his foot the snow melted. The snow melted very quickly
and made streams of water. Now Grizzlies stood in line to welcome Old
Man Above. They stood on two feet and carried clubs. Then Old Man Above
saw his daughter and her children. He saw the new race of men. Then Old
Man Above became very angry. He said to Grizzlies:

"Never speak again. Be silent. Neither shall ye stand upright. Ye shall
use your hands as feet. Ye shall look downward."

Then Old Man Above put out the fire in the tepee. Smoke no longer curls
from the smoke hole. He fastened the door of the tepee. The new race of
men he drove out. Then Old Man Above took Little Daughter back to his

That is why grizzlies walk on four feet and look downward. Only when
fighting they stand on two feet and use their fists like men.

The Creation of Man-Kind and the Flood
Pima (Arizona)

After the world was ready, Earth Doctor made all kinds of animals and
creeping things. Then he made images of clay, and told them to be
people. After a while there were so many people that there was not food
and water enough for all. They were never sick and none died. At last
there grew to be so many they were obliged to eat each other. Then Earth
Doctor, because he could not give them food and water enough, killed
them all. He caught the hook of his staff into the sky and pulled it
down so that it crushed all the people and all the animals, until there
was nothing living on the earth. Earth Doctor made a hole through the
earth with his stick, and through that he went, coming out safe, but
alone, on the other side.

He called upon the sun and moon to come out of the wreck of the world
and sky, and they did so. But there was no sky for them to travel
through, no stars, and no Milky Way. So Earth Doctor made these all over
again. Then he created another race of men and animals.

Then Coyote was born. Moon was his mother. When Coyote was large and
strong he came to the land where the Pima Indians lived.

Then Elder Brother was born. Earth was his mother, and Sky his father.
He was so powerful that he spoke roughly to Earth Doctor, who trembled
before him. The people began to increase in numbers, just as they had
done before, but Elder Brother shortened their lives, so the earth did
not become so crowded. But Elder Brother did not like the people created
by Earth Doctor, so he planned to destroy them again. So Elder Brother
planned to create a magic baby....

The screams of the baby shook the earth. They could be heard for a great
distance. Then Earth Doctor called all the people together, and told
them there would be a great flood. He sang a magic song and then bored a
hole through the flat earth-plain through to the other side. Some of the
people went into the hole to escape the flood that was coming, but not
very many got through. Some of the people asked Elder Brother to help
them, but he did not answer. Only Coyote he answered. He told Coyote to
find a big log and sit on it, so that he would float on the surface of
the water with the driftwood. Elder Brother got into a big olla which he
had made, and closed it tight. So he rolled along on the ground under
the olla. He sang a magic song as he climbed into his olla.

A young man went to the place where the baby was screaming. Its tears
were a great torrent which cut gorges in the earth before it. The water
was rising all over the earth. He bent over the child to pick it up, and
immediately both became birds and flew above the flood. Only five birds
were saved from the flood. One was a flicker and one a vulture. They
clung by their beaks to the sky to keep themselves above the waters, but
the tail of the flicker was washed by the waves and that is why it is
stiff to this day. At last a god took pity on them and gave them power
to make "nests of down" from their own breasts on which they floated on
the water. One of these birds was the vipisimal, and if any one injures
it to this day, the flood may come again.

Now South Doctor called his people to him and told them that a flood was
coming. He sang a magic song and he bored a hole in the ground with a
cane so that people might go through to the other side. Others he sent
to Earth Doctor, but Earth Doctor told them they were too late. So they
sent the people to the top of a high mountain called Crooked Mountain.
South Doctor sang a magic song and traced his cane around the mountain,
but that held back the waters only for a short time. Four times he sang
and traced a line around the mountain, yet the flood rose again each
time. There was only one thing more to do.

He held his magic crystals in his left hand and sang a song. Then he
struck it with his cane. A thunder peal rang through the mountains. He
threw his staff into the water and it cracked with a loud noise.
Turning, he saw a dog near him. He said, "How high is the tide?" The dog
said, "It is very near the top." He looked at the people as he said it.
When they heard his voice they all turned to stone. They stood just as
they were, and they are there to this day in groups: some of the men
talking, some of the women cooking, and some crying.

But Earth Doctor escaped by enclosing himself in his reed staff, which
floated upon the water. Elder Brother rolled along in his olla until he
came near the mouth of the Colorado River. The olla is now called Black
Mountain. After the flood he came out and visited all parts of the land.

When he met Coyote and Earth Doctor, each claimed to have been the first
to appear after the flood, but at last they admitted Elder Brother was
the first, so he became ruler of the world.

The Birds and the Flood
Pima (Arizona)

Once upon a time, when all the earth was flooded, two birds were hanging
above the water. They were clinging to the sky with their beaks. The
larger bird was gray with a long tail and beak, but the smaller one was
the tiny bird that builds a nest shaped like an olla, with only a very
small opening at the top. The birds were tired and frightened. The
larger one cried and cried, but the little bird held on tight and said,
"Don't cry. I 'm littler than you are, but I 'm very brave."

Legend of the Flood
Ashochimi (Coast Indians, Cal.)

Long ago there was a great flood which destroyed all the people in the
world. Only Coyote was saved. When the waters subsided, the earth was
empty. Coyote thought about it a long time.

Then Coyote collected a great bundle of tail feathers from owls, hawks,
eagles, and buzzards. He journeyed over the whole earth and carefully
located the site of each Indian village. Where the tepees had stood, he
planted a feather in the ground and scraped up the dirt around it. The
feathers sprouted like trees, and grew up and branched. At last they
turned into men and women. So the world was inhabited with people again.

The Great Flood
Sia (New Mexico)

For a long time after the fight, the people were very happy, but the
ninth year was very bad. The whole earth was filled with water. The
water did not fall in rain, but came in as rivers between the mesas. It
continued to flow in from all sides until the people and the animals
fled to the mesa tops. The water continued to rise until nearly level
with the tops of the mesas. Then Sussistinnako cried, "Where shall my
people go? Where is the road to the north?" He looked to the north.
"Where is the road to the west? Where is the road to the east? Where is
the road to the south?" He looked in each direction. He said, "I see the
waters are everywhere."

All of the medicine men sang four days and four nights, but still the
waters continued to rise.

Then Spider placed a huge reed upon the top of the mesa. He said, "My
people will pass up through this to the world above."

Utset led the way, carrying a sack in which were many of the Star
people. The medicine men followed, carrying sacred things in sacred
blankets on their backs. Then came the people, and the animals, and the
snakes, and birds. The turkey was far behind and the foam of the water
rose and reached the tip ends of his feathers. You may know that is true
because even to this day they bear the mark of the waters.

When they reached the top of the great reed, the earth which formed the
floor of the world above, barred their way. Utset called to Locust,
"Man, come here." Locust went to her. She said, "You know best how to
pass through the earth. Go and make a door for us."

"Very well, mother," said Locust. "I think I can make a way."

He began working with his feet and after a while he passed through the
earthy floor, entering the upper world. As soon as he saw it, he said to
Utset, "It is good above."

Utset called Badger, and said, "Make a door for us. Sika, the Locust has
made one, but it is very small."

"Very well, mother, I will," said Badger.

After much work he passed into the world above, and said,

"Mother, I have opened the way." Badger also said, "Father-mother, the
world above is good."

Utset then called Deer. She said, "You go through first. If you can get
your head through, others may pass."

The deer returned saying, "Father, it is all right. I passed without

Utset called Elk. She said, "You pass through. If you can get your head
and horns through the door, all may pass."

Elk returned saying, "Father, it is good. I passed without trouble."

Then Utset told the buffalo to try, and he returned saying,
"Father-mother, the door is good. I passed without trouble."

Utset called the scarab beetle and gave him the sack of stars, telling
him to pass out first with them. Scarab did not know what the sack
contained, but he was very small and grew tired carrying it. He wondered
what could be in the sack. After entering the new world he was so tired
he laid down the sack and peeped into it. He cut only a tiny hole, but
at once the Star People flew out and filled the heavens everywhere.

Then Utset and all the people came, and after Turkey passed, the door
was closed with a great rock so that the waters from below could not
follow them.

Then Utset looked for the sack with the Star People. She found it nearly
empty and could not tell where the stars had gone. The little beetle sat
by, very much frightened and very sad. But Utset was angry and said,
"You are bad and disobedient. From this time forth, you shall be blind."
That is the reason the scarabaeus has no eyes, so the old ones say.

But the little fellow had saved a few of the stars by grasping the sack
and holding it fast. Utset placed these in the heavens. In one group she
placed seven--the great bear. In another, three. In another group she
placed the Pleiades, and threw the others far off into the sky.

The Flood and the Theft of Fire
Tolowa (Del Norte Co., Cal.)

Along time ago there came a great rain. It lasted a long time and the
water kept rising till all the valleys were submerged, and the Indian
tribes fled to the high lands. But the water rose, and though the
Indians fled to the highest point, all were swept away and drowned-all
but one man and one woman. They reached the very highest peak and were
saved. These two Indians ate the fish from the waters around them.

Then the waters subsided. All the game was gone, and all the animals.
But the children of these two Indians, when they died, became the
spirits of deer and bear and insects, and so the animals and insects
came back to the earth again.

The Indians had no fire. The flood had put out all the fires in the
world. They looked at the moon and wished they could secure fire from
it. Then the Spider Indians and the Snake Indians formed a plan to steal
fire. The Spiders wove a very light balloon, and fastened it by a long
rope to the earth. Then they climbed into the balloon and started for
the moon. But the Indians of the Moon were suspicious of the Earth
Indians. The Spiders said, "We came to gamble." The Moon Indians were
much pleased and all the Spider Indians began to gamble with them. They
sat by the fire.

Then the Snake Indians sent a man to climb up the long rope from the
earth to the moon. He climbed the rope, and darted through the fire
before the Moon Indians understood what he had done. Then he slid down
the rope to earth again. As soon as he touched the earth he travelled
over the rocks, the trees, and the dry sticks lying upon the ground,
giving fire to each. Everything he touched contained fire. So the world
became bright again, as it was before the flood.

When the Spider Indians came down to earth again, they were immediately
put to death, for the tribes were afraid the Moon Indians might want

Legend of the Flood in Sacramento Valley
Maidu (near Sacramento Valley, Cal.)

Long, long ago the Indians living in Sacramento Valley were happy.
Suddenly there came the swift sound of rushing waters, and the valley
became like Big Waters, which no man can measure. The Indians fled, but
many slept beneath the waves. Also the frogs and the salmon pursued them
and they ate many Indians. Only two who fled into the foothills escaped.
To these two, Great Man gave many children, and many tribes arose. But
one great chief ruled all the nation. The chief went out upon a wide
knoll overlooking Big Waters, and he knew that the plains of his people
were beneath the waves. Nine sleeps he lay on the knoll, thinking
thoughts of these great waters. Nine sleeps he lay without food, and his
mind was thinking always of one thing: How did this deep water cover the
plains of the world?

At the end of nine sleeps he was changed. He was not like himself. No
arrow could wound him. He was like Great Man for no Indian could slay
him. Then he spoke to Great Man and commanded him to banish the waters
from the plains of his ancestors. Great Man tore a hole in the mountain
side, so that the waters on the plains flowed into Big Waters. Thus the
Sacramento River was formed.

The Fable of the Animals
Karok (near Klamath River,. Cal.)

A great many hundred snows ago, Kareya, sitting on the Sacred Stool,
created the world. First, he made the fishes in the Big Water, then the
animals on the green land, and last of all, Man! But at first the
animals were all alike in power. No one knew which animals should be
food for others, and which should be food for man. Then Kareya ordered
them all to meet in one place, that Man might give each his rank and his
power. So the animals all met together one evening, when the sun was
set, to wait overnight for the coming of Man on the next morning. Kareya
also commanded Man to make bows and arrows, as many as there were
animals, and to give the longest one to the animal which was to have the
most power, and the shortest to the one which should have least power.
So he did, and after nine sleeps his work was ended, and the bows and
arrows which he had made were very many.

Now the animals, being all together, went to sleep, so they might be
ready to meet Man on the next morning. But Coyote was exceedingly
cunning--he was cunning above all the beasts. Coyote wanted the longest
bow and the greatest power, so he could have all the other animals for
his meat. He decided to stay awake all night, so that he would be first
to meet Man in the morning. So he laughed to himself and stretched his
nose out on his paw and pretended to sleep. About midnight he began to
be sleepy. He had to walk around the camp and scratch his eyes to keep
them open. He grew more sleepy, so that he had to skip and jump about to
keep awake. But he made so much noise, he awakened some of the other
animals. When the morning star came up, he was too sleepy to keep his
eyes open any longer. So he took two little sticks, and sharpened them
at the ends, and propped open his eyelids. Then he felt safe. He watched
the morning star, with his nose stretched along his paws, and fell
asleep. The sharp sticks pinned his eyelids fast together.

The morning star rose rapidly into the sky. The birds began to sing. The
animals woke up and stretched themselves, but still Coyote lay fast
asleep. When the sun rose, the animals went to meet Man. He gave the
longest bow to Cougar, so he had greatest power; the second longest he
gave to Bear; others he gave to the other animals, giving all but the
last to Frog. But the shortest one was left. Man cried out, "What animal
have I missed?" Then the animals began to look about and found Coyote
fast asleep, with his eyelids pinned together. All the animals began to
laugh, and they jumped upon Coyote and danced upon him. Then they led
him to Man, still blinded, and Man pulled out the sharp sticks and gave
him the shortest bow of all. It would hardly shoot an arrow farther than
a foot. All the animals laughed.

But Man took pity on Coyote, because he was now weaker even than Frog.
So at his request, Kareya gave him cunning, ten times more than before,
so that he was cunning above all the animals of the wood. Therefore
Coyote was friendly to Man and his children, and did many things for

Coyote and Sun
Pai Ute (near Kern River, Cal.)

Along time ago, Coyote wanted to go to the sun. He asked Pokoh, Old Man,
to show him the trail. Coyote went straight out on this trail and he
travelled it all day. But Sun went round so that Coyote came back at
night to the place from which he started in the morning.

The next morning, Coyote asked Pokoh to show him the trail. Pokoh showed
him, and Coyote travelled all day and came back at night to the same
place again.

But the third day, Coyote started early and went out on the trail to the
edge of the world and sat down on the hole where the sun came up. While
waiting for the sun he pointed with his bow and arrow at different
places and pretended to shoot. He also pretended not to see the sun.
When Sun came up, he told Coyote to get out of his way. Coyote told him
to go around; that it was his trail. But Sun came up under him and he
had to hitch forward a little. After Sun came up a little farther, it
began to get hot on Coyote's shoulder, so he spit on his paw and rubbed
his shoulder. Then he wanted to ride up with the sun. Sun said, "Oh, no";
but Coyote insisted. So Coyote climbed up on Sun, and Sun started up the
trail in the sky. The trail was marked off into steps like a ladder. As
Sun went up he counted "one, two, three," and so on. By and by Coyote
became very thirsty, and he asked Sun for a drink of water. Sun gave him
an acorn-cup full. Coyote asked him why he had no more. About noontime,
Coyote became very impatient. It was very hot. Sun told him to shut his
eyes. Coyote shut them, but opened them again. He kept opening and
shutting them all the afternoon. At night, when Sun came down, Coyote
took hold of a tree. Then he clambered off Sun and climbed down to the

The Course of the Sun
Sia (New Mexico)

Sussistinnako, the spider, said to the sun, "My son, you will ascend and
pass over the world above. You will go from north to south. Return and
tell me what you think of it."

The sun said, on his return, "Mother, I did as you bade me, and I did
not like the road."

Spider told him to ascend and pass over the world from west to the east.
On his return, the sun said,

"It may be good for some, mother, but I did not like it."

Spider said, "You will again ascend and pass over the straight road from
the east to the west. Return and tell me what you think of it."

That night the sun said, "I am much contented. I like that road much."

Sussistinnako said, "My son, you will ascend each day and pass over the
world from east to west."

Upon each day's journey the sun stops midway from the east to the centre
of the world to eat his breakfast. In the centre he stops to eat his
dinner. Halfway from the centre to the west he stops to eat his supper.
He never fails to eat these three meals each day, and always stops at
the same points.

The sun wears a shirt of dressed deerskin, with leggings of the same
reaching to his thighs. The shirt and leggings are fringed. His
moccasins are also of deerskin and embroidered in yellow, red, and
turkis beads. He wears a kilt of deerskin, having a snake painted upon
it. He carries a bow and arrows, the quiver being of cougar skin,
hanging over his shoulder, and he holds his bow in his left hand and an
arrow in his right. He always wears the mask which protects him from the
sight of the people of Ha-arts.

At the top of the mask is an eagle plume with parrot plumes; an eagle
plume is at each side, and one at the bottom of the mask. The hair
around the head and face is red like fire, and when it moves and shakes
people cannot look closely at the mask. It is not intended that they
should observe closely, else they would know that instead of seeing the
sun they see only his mask.

The moon came to the upper world with the sun and he also wears a mask.

Each night the sun passes by the house of Sussistinnako, the spider, who
asks him, "How are my children above? How many have died to-day? How
many have been born to-day?" The sun lingers only long enough to answer
his questions. He then passes on to his house in the east.

The Foxes and the Sun
Yurok (near Klamath River, Cal.)

Once upon a time, the Foxes were angry with Sun. They held a council
about the matter. Then twelve Foxes were selected--twelve of the
bravest to catch Sun and tie him down. They made ropes of sinew; then
the twelve watched until the Sun, as he followed the downward trail in
the sky, touched the top of a certain hill. Then the Foxes caught Sun,
and tied him fast to the hill. But the Indians saw them, and they killed
the Foxes with arrows. Then they cut the sinews. But the Sun had burned
a great hole in the ground. The Indians know the story is true, because
they can see the hole which Sun burned.

The Theft of Fire
Karok (near Klamath River, Cal.)

There was no fire on earth and the Karoks were cold and miserable. Far
away to the east, hidden in a treasure box, was fire which Kareya had
made and given to two old hags, lest the Karoks should steal it. So
Coyote decided to steal fire for the Indians.

Coyote called a great council of the animals. After the council he
stationed a line from the land of the Karoks to the distant land where
the fire was kept. Lion was nearest the Fire Land, and Frog was nearest
the Karok land. Lion was strongest and Frog was weakest, and the other
animals took their places, according to the power given them by Man.

Then Coyote took an Indian with him and went to the hill top, but he hid
the Indian under the hill. Coyote went to the tepee of the hags. He
said, "Good-evening." They replied, "Good-evening."

Coyote said, "It is cold out here. Can you let me sit by the fire?" So
they let him sit by the fire. He was only a coyote. He stretched his
nose out along his forepaws and pretended to go to sleep, but he kept
the corner of one eye open watching. So he spent all night watching and
thinking, but he had no chance to get a piece of the fire.

The next morning Coyote held a council with the Indian. He told him when
he, Coyote, was within the tepee, to attack it. Then Coyote went back to
the fire. The hags let him in again. He was only a Coyote. But Coyote
stood close by the casket of fire. The Indian made a dash at the tepee.
The hags rushed out after him, and Coyote seized a fire brand in his
teeth and flew over the ground. The hags saw the sparks flying and gave
chase. But Coyote reached Lion, who ran with it to Grizzly Bear. Grizzly
Bear ran with it to Cinnamon Bear; he ran with it to Wolf, and at last
the fire came to Ground-Squirrel. Squirrel took the brand and ran so
fast that his tail caught fire. He curled it up over his back, and
burned the black spot in his shoulders. You can see it even to-day.
Squirrel came to Frog, but Frog couldn't run. He opened his mouth wide
and swallowed the fire. Then he jumped but the hags caught his tail.
Frog jumped again, but the hags kept his tail. That is why Frogs have no
tail, even to this day. Frog swam under water, and came up on a pile of
driftwood. He spat out the fire into the dry wood, and that is why there
is fire in dry wood even to-day. When an Indian rubs two pieces
together, the fire comes out.

The Theft of Fire
Sia (New Mexico)

Along, long time ago, the people became tired of feeding on grass, like
deer and wild animals, and they talked together how fire might be found.
The Ti-amoni said, "Coyote is the best man to steal fire from the world
below," so he sent for Coyote.

When Coyote came, the Ti-amoni said, "The people wish for fire. We are
tired of feeding on grass. You must go to the world below and bring the

Coyote said, "It is well, father. I will go."

So Coyote slipped stealthily to the house of Sussistinnako. It was the
middle of the night. Snake, who guarded the first door, was asleep, and
he slipped quickly and quietly by. Cougar, who guarded the second door,
was asleep, and Coyote slipped by. Bear, who guarded the third door, was
also sleeping. At the fourth door, Coyote found the guardian of the fire
asleep. Slipping through into the room of Sussistinnako, he found him
also sleeping.

Coyote quickly lighted the cedar brand which was attached to his tail
and hurried out. Spider awoke, just enough to know some one was leaving
the room. "Who is there?" he cried. Then he called, "Some one has been
here." But before he could waken the sleeping Bear and Cougar and Snake,
Coyote had almost reached the upper world.

The Earth-Hardening After the Flood
Sia (New Mexico)

After the flood, the Sia returned to Ha-arts, the earth. They came
through an opening in the far north. After they had remained at their
first village a year, they wished to pass on, but the earth was very
moist and Utset was puzzled how to harden it.

Utset called Cougar. She said, "Have you any medicine to harden the road
so that we may pass over it?" Cougar replied, "I will try, mother." But
after going a short distance over the road, he sank to his shoulders in
the wet earth. He returned much afraid and told Utset that he could go
no farther.

Then she sent for Bear. She said, "Have you any medicine to harden the
road?" Bear started out, but he sank to his shoulders, and returned
saying, "I can do nothing."

Then Utset called Badger, and he tried. She called Shrew, and he failed.
She called Wolf, and he failed.

Then Utset returned to the lower world and asked Sussistinnako what she
could do to harden the earth so that her people might travel over it. He
asked, "Have you no medicine to make the earth firm? Have you asked
Cougar and Wolf, Bear and Badger and Wolf to use their medicines to
harden the earth?"

Utset said, "I have tried all these."

Then Sussistinnako said, "Others will understand." He told her to have a
woman of the Kapina (spider) clan try to harden the earth.

When the woman arrived, Utset said, "My mother, Sussistinnako tells me
the Kapina society understand how to harden the earth."

The woman said, "I do not know how to make the earth hard."

Three times Utset asked the woman about hardening the earth, and three
times the woman said, "I do not know." The fourth time the woman said,
"Well, I guess I know. I will try."

So she called together the members of the Spider society, the Kapina,
and said,

"Our mother, Sussistinnako, bids us work for her and harden the earth so
that the people may pass over it." The spider woman first made a road of
fine cotton which she produced from her own body, and suspended it a few
feet above the earth. Then she told the people they could travel on
that. But the people were afraid to trust themselves to such a frail

Then Utset said, "I wish a man and not a woman of the Spider society to
work for me."

Then he came. He threw out a charm of wood, latticed so it could be
expanded or contracted. When it was extended it reached to the middle of
the earth. He threw it to the south, to the east, and to the west; then
he threw it toward the people in the north.

So the earth was made firm that the people might travel upon it.

Soon after Utset said, "I will soon leave you. I will, return to the
home from which I came."

Then she selected a man of the Corn clan. She said to him, "You will be
known as Ti-amoni (arch-ruler). You will be to my people as myself. You
will pass with them over the straight road. I give to you all my wisdom,
my thoughts, my heart, and all. I fill your mind with my mind."

He replied: "It is well, mother. I will do as you say."

The Origins of the Totems and of Names
Zuni (New Mexico)

Now the Twain Beloved and the priest-fathers gathered in council for the
naming and selection of man-groups and creature-kinds, and things. So
they called the people of the southern space the Children of Summer, and
those who loved the sun most became the Sun people. Others who loved the
water became the Toad people, or Turtle people, or Frog people. Others
loved the seeds of the earth and became the Seed people, or the people
of the First-growing grass, or of the Tobacco. Those who loved warmth
were the Fire or Badger people. According to their natures they chose
their totems.

And so also did the People of Winter, or the People of the North. Some
were known as the Bear people, or the Coyote people, or Deer people;
others as the Crane people, Turkey people, or Grouse people. So the
Badger people dwelt in a warm place, even as the badgers on the sunny
side of hills burrow, finding a dwelling amongst the dry roots whence is

Traditions of Wanderings
Hopi (Arizona)

After the Hopi had been taught to build stone houses, they took
separate ways. My people were the Snake people. They lived in snake
skins, each family occupying a separate snake skin bag. All were hung on
the end of a rainbow which swung around until the end touched Navajo
Mountain. Then the bags dropped from it. Wherever a bag dropped, there
was their house. After they arranged their bags they came out from them
as men and women, and they then built a stone house which had five
sides. Then a brilliant star arose in the southeast. It would shine for
a while and disappear.

The old men said, "'Beneath that star there must be people." They
decided to travel to it. They cut a staff and set it in the ground and
watched until the star reached its top. Then they started and travelled
as long as the star shone. When it disappeared they halted. But the star
did not shine every night. Sometimes many years passed before it
appeared again. When this occurred, the people built houses during their
halt. They built round houses and square houses, and all the ruins
between here and Navajo Mountain mark the places where our people lived.
They waited until the star came to the top of the staff again, but when
they moved on, many people remained in those houses.

When our people reached Waipho (a spring a few miles from Walpi) the
star vanished. It has never been seen since. They built a house there,
but Masauwu, the God of the Face of the Earth, came and compelled the
people to move about halfway between the East Mesa and the Middle Mesa
and there they stayed many plantings. One time when the old men were
assembled, the god came among them, looking like a horrible skeleton and
rattling his bones. But he could not frighten them. So he said, "I have
lost my wager. All that I have is yours. Ask for anything you want and I
will give it to you."

At that time, our people's house was beside the water course. The god
said, "Why do you sit there in the mud? Go up yonder where it is dry."

So they went across to the west side of the mesa near the point and
built a house and lived there.

Again when the old men assembled two demons came among them, but the old
men took the great Baho and chased them away.

Other Hopi (Hopituh) came into this country from time to time and old
people said, "Build here," or "Build there," and portioned the land
among the newcomers.

The Migration of the Water People
Walpi (Arizona)

In the long ago, the Snake, Horn, and Eagle people lived here (in
Tusayan) but their corn grew only a span high and when they sang for
rain, the Cloud god sent only a thin mist. My people lived then in the
distant Pa-lat Kwa-bi in the South. There was a very bad old man there.
When he met any one he would spit in their faces.... He did all
manner of evil. Baholihonga got angry at this and turned the world
upside down. Water spouted up through the kivas and through the fire
places in the houses. The earth was rent in great chasms, and water
covered everything except one narrow ridge of mud. Across this the
Serpent-god told all the people to travel. As they journeyed across, the
feet of the bad slipped and they fell into the dark water. The good
people, after many days, reached dry land.

While the water was rising around the village, the old people got on top
of the houses. They thought they could not struggle across with the
younger people. But Baholihonga clothed them with the skins of turkeys.
They spread their wings out and floated in the air just above the
surface of the water, and in this way they got across. There were saved
of us, the Water people, the Corn people, the Lizard, Horned-toad, and
Sand peoples, two families of Rabbit, and the Tobacco people. The turkey
tail dragged in the water. That is why there is white on the turkey's
tail now. This is also the reason why old people use turkey-feathers at
the religious ceremonies.

Coyote and the Mesquite Beans
Pima (Arizona)

After the waters of the flood had gone down, Elder Brother said to
Coyote, "Do not touch that black bug; and do not eat the mesquite beans.
It is dangerous to harm anything that came safe through the flood."

So Coyote went on, but presently he came to the black bug. He stopped
and ate it up. Then he went on to the mesquite beans. He stopped and
looked at them a while, and then said, "I will just taste one and that
will be all." But he stood there and ate and ate until he had eaten them
all up. And the bug and the beans swelled up in his stomach and killed

Origin of the Sierra Nevadas and Coast Range
Yokuts (near Fresno, Cal.)

Once there was a time when there was nothing in the world but water.
About the place where Tulare Lake is now, there was a pole standing far
up out of the water, and on this pole perched Hawk and Crow. First Hawk
would sit on the pole a while, then Crow would knock him off and sit on
it himself. Thus they sat on the top of the pole above the water for
many ages. At last they created the birds which prey on fish. They
created Kingfisher, Eagle, Pelican, and others. They created also Duck.
Duck was very small but she dived to the bottom of the water, took a
beakful of mud, and then died in coming to the top of the water. Duck
lay dead floating on the water. Then Hawk and Crow took the mud from
Duck's beak, and began making the mountains.

They began at the place now known as Ta-hi-cha-pa Pass, and Hawk made
the east range. Crow made the west one. They pushed the mud down hard
into the water and then piled it high. They worked toward the north. At
last Hawk and Crow met at Mount Shasta. Then their work was done. But
when they looked at their mountains, Crow's range was much larger than

Hawk said to Crow, "How did this happen, you rascal? You have been
stealing earth from my bill. That is why your mountains are the
biggest." Crow laughed.

Then Hawk chewed some Indian tobacco. That made him wise. At once he
took hold of the mountains and turned them around almost in a circle. He
put his range where Crow's had been. That is why the Sierra Nevada Range
is larger than the Coast Range.

Yosemite Valley
(Explanatory) (3)

Mr. Stephen Powers claims that there is no such word in the Miwok
language as Yosemite. The valley has always been known to them, and is
to this day, when speaking among themselves, as A-wa'-ni. This, it is
true, is only the name of one of the ancient villages which it
contained; but by prominence it gave its name to the valley, and in
accordance with Indian usage almost everywhere, to the inhabitants of
the same. The word Yosemite is simply a very beautiful and sonorous
corruption of the word for grizzly bear. On the Stanislaus and north of
it, the word is u-zu'-mai-ti; at Little Gap, o-so'-mai-ti; in
Yosemite itself, u-zu'-mai-ti; on the South Fork of the Merced,

"In the following list, the signification of the name is given whenever
there is any known to the Indians:

"Wa-kal'-la (the river), Merced River.

"Lung-u-tu-ku'-ya, Ribbon Fall.

"Po'-ho-no, Po-ho'-no (though the first is probably the more correct),
Bridal-Veil Fall.... This word is said to signify 'evil wind.' The
only 'evil wind' that an Indian knows of is a whirlwind, which is
poi-i'-cha or Kan'-u-ma.

"Tu-tok-a-nu'-la, El Capitan. 'Measuring-worm stone.' [Legend is given

"Ko-su'-ko, Cathedral Rock.

"Pu-si'-na, and Chuk'-ka (the squirrel and the acorn-cache), a tall,
sharp needle, with a smaller one at its base, just east of Cathedral
Rock.... The savages... imagined here a squirrel nibbling at the
base of an acorn granary.

"Loi'-a, Sentinel Rock.

"Sak'-ka-du-eh, Sentinel Dome.

"Cho'-lok (the fall), Yosemite Fall. This is the generic word for 'fall.'

"Ma'-ta (the canon), Indian canon. A generic word, in explaining which
the Indians hold up both hands to denote perpendicular walls.

"Ham'-mo-ko (usually contracted to Ham'-moak),... broken debris lying
at the foot of the walls.

"U-zu'-mai-ti La'-wa-tuh (grizzly bear skin), Glacier Rock... from
the grayish, grizzled appearance of the wall.

"Cho-ko-nip'-o-deh (baby-basket), Royal Arches. This... canopy-rock
bears no little resemblance to an Indian baby-basket. Another form is
cho-ko'-ni,... literally... 'dog-house.'

"Pai-wai'-ak (white water?), Vernal Fall.

"Yo-wai-yi, Nevada Fall. In this word is detected the root of Awaia, 'a
lake' or body of water.

"Tis-se'-yak, South Dome. [See legend elsewhere.]

"To-ko'-ye, North Dome, husband of Tisseyak. [See legend elsewhere.]

"Shun'-ta, Hun'-ta (the eye), Watching Eye.

"A-wai'-a (a lake), Mirror Lake.

"Sa-wah' (a gap), a name occurring frequently.

"Wa-ha'-ka, a village which stood at the base of Three Brothers; also
the rock itself. This was the westernmost village in the valley.

"There were nine villages in Yosemite Valley and... formerly others
extending as far down as the Bridal Veil Fall, which were destroyed in
wars that occurred before the whites came."

(3) The explanation given above is that made by Mr. Stephen Powers, in
Vol. 3, U. S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain
region, Part 2, Contributions to North American Ethnology, 1877.

Legend of Tu-Tok-A-Nu'-La (El Capitan)
Yosemite Valley

Here were once two little boys living in the valley who went down to the
river to swim. After paddling and splashing about to their hearts'
content, they went on shore and crept up on a huge boulder which stood
beside the water. They lay down in the warm sunshine to dry themselves,
but fell asleep. They slept so soundly that they knew nothing, though
the great boulder grew day by day, and rose night by night, until it
lifted them up beyond the sight of their tribe, who looked for them

The rock grew until the boys were lifted high into the heaven, even far
up above the blue sky, until they scraped their faces against the moon.
And still, year after year, among the clouds they slept.

Then there was held a great council of all the animals to bring the boys
down from the top of the great rock. Every animal leaped as high as he
could up the face of the rocky wall. Mouse could only jump as high as
one's hand; Rat, twice as high. Then Raccoon tried; he could jump a
little farther. One after another of the animals tried, and Grizzly Bear
made a great leap far up the wall, but fell back. Last of all Lion
tried, and he jumped farther than any other animal, but fell down upon
his back. Then came tiny Measuring-Worm, and began to creep up the rock.
Soon he reached as high as Raccoon had jumped, then as high as Bear,
then as high as Lion's leap, and by and by he was out of sight, climbing
up the face of the rock. For one whole snow, Measuring-Worm climbed the
rock, and at last he reached the top. Then he wakened the boys, and came
down the same way he went up, and brought them down safely to the
ground. Therefore the rock is called Tutokanula, the measuring worm. But
white men call it El Capitan.

Legend of Tis-Se'-Yak (South Dome and North Dome)
Yosemite Valley

Tisseyak and her husband journeyed from a country very far off, and
entered the valley of the Yosemite foot-sore from travel. She bore a
great heavy conical basket, strapped across her head. Tisseyak came
first. Her husband followed with a rude staff and a light roll of skins
on his back. They were thirsty after their long journey across the
mountains. They hurried forward to drink of the waters, and the woman
was still in advance when she reached Lake Awaia. Then she dipped up the
water in her basket and drank of it. She drank up all the water. The
lake was dry before her husband reached it. And because the woman drank
all the water, there came a drought. The earth dried tip. There was no
grass, nor any green thing.

But the man was angry because he had no water to drink. He beat the
woman with his staff and she fled, but he followed and beat her even
more. Then the woman wept. In her anger she turned and flung her basket
at the man. And even then they were changed into stone. The woman's
basket lies upturned beside the man. The woman's face is tear-stained,
with long dark lines trailing down.

South Dome is the woman and North Dome is the husband. The Indian woman
cuts her hair straight across the forehead, and allows the sides to drop
along her cheeks, forming a square face.

Historic Tradition of the Upper Tuolumne
Yosemite Valley

(As given by Mr. Stephen Powers, 1877.)(4)

There is a lake-like expansion of the Upper Tuolumne some four miles
long and from a half mile to a mile wide, directly north of Hatchatchie
Valley (erroneously spelled Hetch Hetchy). It appears to have no name
among Americans, but the Indians call it O-wai-a-nuh, which is
manifestly a dialectic variation of a-wai'-a, the generic word for
"lake." Nat. Screech, a veteran mountaineer and hunter, states that he
visited this region in 1850, and at that time there was a valley along
the river having the same dimensions that this lake now has. Again, in
1855, he happened to pass that way and discovered that the lake had been
formed as it now exists. He was at a loss to account for its origin; but
subsequently he acquired the Miwok language as spoken at Little Gap, and
while listening to the Indians one day he overheard them casually refer
to the formation of this lake in an extraordinary manner. On being
questioned they stated that there had been a tremendous cataclysm in
that valley, the bottom of it having fallen out apparently, whereby
the entire valley was submerged in the waters of the river. As nearly
as he could ascertain from their imperfect methods of reckoning time,
this occurred in 1851; and in that year, while in the town of Sonora,
Screech and many others remembered to have heard a huge explosion in
that direction which they then supposed was caused by a local earthquake.

On Drew's Ranch, Middle Fork of the Tuolumne, lives an aged squaw called
Dish-i, who was in the valley when this remarkable event occurred.
According to her account the earth dropped in beneath their feet, and
waters of the river leaped up and came rushing upon them in a vast,
roaring flood, almost perpendicular like a wall of rock. At first the
Indians were stricken dumb, and motionless with terror, but when they
saw the waters coming, they escaped for life, though thirty or forty
were overtaken and drowned. Another squaw named Isabel says that the
stubs of trees, which are still plainly visible deep down in the
pellucid waters, are considered by the old superstitious Indians to be
evil spirits, the demons of the place, reaching up their arms, and that
they fear them greatly.

(4) (Vol. 3, Part 2, U. S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the
Rocky Mountain region: Contributions to North American Ethnology, 1877.)

California Big Trees
Pai Utes (near Kern River, Cal.)

The California big trees are sacred to the Monos, who call them
"woh-woh-nau," a word formed in imitation of the hoot of the owl. The
owl is the guardian spirit and the god of the big trees. Bad luck comes
to those who cut down the big trees, or shoot at an owl, or shoot in the
presence of the owl.

In old days the Indians tried to persuade the white men not to cut down
the big trees. When they see the trees cut down they call after the
white men. They say the owl will bring them evil.

The Children of Cloud
Pima (Arizona)

When the Hohokam dwelt on the Gila River and tilled their farms around
the great temple which we call Casa Grande, there was a beautiful young
woman in the pueblo who had two twin sons. Their father was Cloud, and
he lived far away.

One day the boys came to their mother, as she was weaving mats. "Who is.
our father?" they asked. "We have no one to run to when he returns from
the hunt, or from war, to shout to him."

The mother answered: "In the morning, look toward the sunrise and you
will see a white Cloud standing upright. He is your father."

"Can we visit our father?" they asked.

"Yes," said their mother. "You may visit him, but you must make the
journey without stopping. First you will reach Wind, who is your
father's eldest brother. Behind him you will find your father."

The boys travelled four days and came to the house of Wind.

"Are you our father?" they asked.

"No, I am your Uncle," answered Wind." Your father lives in the next
house. Go on to him."

They travelled on to Cloud. But Cloud drove them away. He said, "Go to
your uncle Wind. He will tell you something." But Wind sent them back to
Cloud again. Thus the boys were driven away from each house four times.

Then Cloud said to them, "Prove to me you are my sons. If you are, you
can do what I do."

The younger boy sent chain lightning across the sky with sharp,
crackling thunder. The elder boy sent the heat lightning with its
distant rumble of thunder.

"You are my children," said Cloud. "You have power like mine."

But again he tested them. He took them to a house near by where a flood
of rain had drowned the people. "If I they are my sons," he said, "they
will not be harmed."

Then Cloud sent the rain and the storm. The water rose higher and
higher, but the two boys were not harmed. The water could not drown
them. Then Cloud took them to his home and there they stayed a long,
long time.

But after a long time, the boys wished to see their mother again. Then
Cloud made them some bows and arrows differing from any they had ever
seen, and sent them to their mother. He told them he would watch over
them as they travelled but they must speak to no one they met on their

So the boys travelled to the setting sun. First they met Raven. They
remembered their father's command and turned aside so as not to meet
him. Then they met Roadrunner, and turned aside to avoid him. Next came
Hawk and Eagle.

Eagle said, "Let's scare those boys." So he swooped down over their
heads until they cried from fright.

"We were just teasing you," said Eagle. "We will not do you any harm."
Then Eagle flew on.

Next they met Coyote. They tried to avoid him, but Coyote ran around and
put himself in their way. Cloud was watching and he sent down thunder
and lightning. And the boys sent out their magic thunder and lightning
also, until Coyote was frightened and ran away.

Now this happened on the mountain top, and one boy was standing on each
side of the trail. After Coyote ran away, they were changed into mescal
--the very largest mescal ever known. The place was near Tucson. This is
the reason why mescal grows on the mountains, and why thunder and
lightning go from place to place--because the children did. That is why
it rains when we gather mescal.

The Cloud People
Sia (New Mexico)

Now all the Cloud People, the Lightning People, the Thunder and Rainbow
Peoples followed the Sia into the upper world. But all the people of
Tinia, the middle world, did not leave the lower world. Only a portion
were sent by the Spider to work for the people of the upper world. The
Cloud People are so many that, although the demands of the earth people
are so great, there are always many passing about over Tinia for
pleasure. These Cloud People ride on wheels, small wheels being used by
the little Cloud children and large wheels by the older ones. (5)

The Cloud People keep always behind their masks. The shape of the mask
depends upon the number of the people and the work being done. The
Henati are the floating white clouds behind which the Cloud People pass
for pleasure. The Heash are clouds like the plains and behind these the
Cloud People are laboring to water the earth. Water is brought by the
Cloud People, from the springs at the base of the mountains, in gourds
and jugs and vases by the men, women, and children. They rise from the
springs and pass through the trunk of the tree to its top, which reaches
Tinia. They pass on to the point to be sprinkled.

The priest of the Cloud People is above even the priests of the Thunder,
Lightning, and Rainbow Peoples. The Cloud People have ceremonials, just
like those of the Sia. On the altars of the Sia may be seen figures
arranged just as the Cloud People sit in their ceremonials.

When a priest of the Cloud People wishes assistance from the Thunder and
Lightning Peoples, he notifies their priests, but keeps a supervision of
all things himself.

Then the Lightning People shoot their arrows to make it rain the harder.
The smaller flashes come from the bows of the children. The Thunder
People have human forms, with wings of knives, and by flapping these
wings they make a great noise. Thus they frighten the Cloud and
Lightning People into working the harder.

The Rainbow People were created to work in Tinia to make it more
beautiful for the people of Ha-arts, the earth, to look upon. The elders
make the beautiful rainbows, but the children assist. The Sia have no
idea of what or how these bows are made. They do know, however, that war
heroes always travel upon the rainbows.

(5) The Indians say the Americans also ride wheels, therefore they must
have known about the Cloud People.

Rain Song
Sia (New Mexico)

We, the ancient ones, ascended from the middle of the world below,
through the door of the entrance to the lower world, we hold our songs
to the Cloud, Lightning, and Thunder Peoples as we hold our own hearts.
Our medicine is precious.

(Addressing the people of Tinia:)

We entreat you to send your thoughts to us so that we may sing your
songs straight, so that they will pass over the straight road to the
Cloud priests that they may cover the earth with water, so that she may
bear all that is good for us.

Lightning People, send your arrows to the middle of the earth. Hear the
echo! Who is it? The People of the Spruce of the North. All your people
and your thoughts come to us. Who is it? People of the white floating
Clouds. Your thoughts come to us. All your people and your thoughts come
to us. Who is it? The Lightning People. Your thoughts come to us. Who is
it? Cloud People at the horizon. All your people and your thoughts come
to us.

Rain Song

White floating clouds. Clouds, like the plains, come and water the
earth. Sun, embrace the earth that she may be fruitful. Moon, lion of
the north, bear of the west, badger of the south, wolf of the east,
eagle of the heavens, shrew of the earth, elder war hero, younger war
hero, warriors of the six mountains of the world, intercede with the
Cloud People for us that they may water the earth. Medicine bowl, cloud
bowl, and water vase give us your hearts, that the earth may be watered.
I make the ancient road of meal that my song may pass straight over it--
the ancient road. White shell bead woman who lives where the sun goes
down, mother whirlwind, father Sussistinnako, mother Yaya, creator of
good thoughts, yellow woman of the north, blue woman of the west, red
woman of the south, white woman of the east, slightly yellow woman of
the zenith, and dark woman of the nadir, I ask your intercession with
the Cloud People.

Rain Song
Sia (New Mexico)

Let the white floating clouds--the clouds like the plains--the
lightning, thunder, rainbow, and cloud peoples, water the earth. Let the
people of the white floating clouds,--the people of the clouds like the
plains--the lightning, thunder, rain bow, and cloud peoples--come and
work for us, and water the earth.

The Corn Maidens
Zuni (New Mexico)

After long ages of wandering, the precious Seed-things rested over the
Middle at Zuni, and men turned their hearts to the cherishing of their
corn and the Corn Maidens instead of warring with strange men.

But there was complaint by the people of the customs followed. Some said
the music was not that of the olden time. Far better was that which of
nights they often heard as they wandered up and down the river trail.
(6) Wonderful music, as of liquid voices in caverns, or the echo of
women's laughter in water-vases. And the music was timed with a
deep-toned drum from the Mountain of Thunder. Others thought the music
was that of the ghosts of ancient men, but it was far more beautiful
than the music when danced the Corn Maidens. Others said light clouds
rolled upward from the grotto in Thunder Mountain like to the mists that
leave behind them the dew, but lo! even as they faded the bright
garments of the Rainbow women might be seen fluttering, and the broidery
and paintings of these dancers of the mist were more beautiful than the
costumes of the Corn Maidens.

Then the priests of the people said, "It may well be Paiyatuma, the
liquid voices his flute and the flutes of his players."

Now when the time of ripening corn was near, the fathers ordered
preparation for the dance of the Corn Maidens. They sent the two
Master-Priests of the Bow to the grotto at Thunder Mountains, saying,

"If you behold Paiyatuma, and his maidens, perhaps they will give us the
help of their customs."

Then up the river trail, the priests heard the sound of a drum and
strains of song. It was Paiyatuma and his seven maidens, the Maidens of
the House of Stars, sisters of the Corn Maidens.

The God of Dawn and Music lifted his flute and took his place in the
line of dancers. The drum sounded until the cavern shook as with
thunder. The flutes sang and sighed as the wind in a wooded canon while
still the storm is distant. White mists floated up from the wands of the
Maidens, above which fluttered the butterflies of Summer-land about the
dress of the Rainbows in the strange blue light of the night.

Then Paiyatuma, smiling, said, "Go the way before, telling the fathers
of our custom, and straightway we will follow."

Soon the sound of music was heard, coming from up the river, and soon
the Flute People and singers and maidens of the Flute dance. Up rose the
fathers and all the watching people, greeting the God of Dawn with
outstretched hand and offering of prayer meal. Then the singers took
their places and sounded their drum, flutes, and song of clear waters,
while the Maidens of the Dew danced their Flute dance. Greatly marvelled
the people, when from the wands they bore forth came white clouds, and
fine cool mists descended.

Now when the dance was ended and the Dew Maidens had retired, out came
the beautiful Mothers of Corn. And when the players of the flutes saw
them, they were enamoured of their beauty and gazed upon them so
intently that the Maidens let fall their hair and cast down their eyes.
And jealous and bolder grew the mortal youths, and in the morning dawn,
in rivalry, the dancers sought all too freely the presence of the Corn
Maidens, no longer holding them so precious as in the olden time. And
the matrons, intent on the new dance, heeded naught else. But behold!
The mists increased greatly, surrounding dancers and watchers alike,
until within them, the Maidens of Corn, all in white garments, became
invisible. Then sadly and noiselessly they stole in amongst the people
and laid their corn wands down amongst the trays, and laid their white
broidered garments thereupon, as mothers lay soft kilting over their
babes. Then even as the mists became they, and with the mists drifting,
fled away, to the far south Summer-land.

(6) The mists and the dawn breeze on the river and in the grotto.

The Search for the Corn Maidens
Zuni (New Mexico)

Then the people in their trouble called the two Master-Priests and said:
"Who, now, think ye, should journey to seek our precious Maidens?
Bethink ye! Who amongst the Beings is even as ye are, strong of will and
good of eyes? There is our great elder brother and father, Eagle, he of
the floating down and of the terraced tail-fan. Surely he is enduring of
will and surpassing of sight."

"Yea. Most surely," said the fathers. "Go ye forth and beseech him."

Then the two sped north to Twin Mountain, where in a grotto high up
among the crags, with his mate and his young, dwelt the Eagle of the
White Bonnet.

They climbed the mountain, but behold! Only the eaglets were there. They
screamed lustily and tried to hide themselves in the dark recesses.
"Pull not our feathers, ye of hurtful touch, but wait. When we are older
we will drop them for you even from the clouds."

"Hush," said the warriors. "Wait in peace. We seek not ye but thy

Then from afar, with a frown, came old Eagle. "Why disturb ye my
featherlings?" he cried.

"Behold! Father and elder brother, we come seeking only the light of thy
favor. Listen!"

Then they told him of the lost Maidens of the Corn, and begged him to
search for them.

"Be it well with thy wishes," said Eagle. "Go ye before contentedly."

So the warriors returned to the council. But Eagle winged his way high
into the sky. High, high, he rose, until he circled among the clouds,
small-seeming and swift, like seed-down in a whirlwind. Through all the
heights, to the north, to the west, to the south, and to the east, he
circled and sailed. Yet nowhere saw he trace of the Corn Maidens. Then
he flew lower, returning. Before the warriors were rested, people heard
the roar of his wings. As he alighted, the fathers said, "Enter thou and
sit, oh brother, and say to us what thou hast to say." And they offered
him the cigarette of the space relations.

When they had puffed the smoke toward the four points of the compass,
and Eagle had purified his breath with smoke, and had blown smoke over
sacred things, he spoke.

"Far have I journeyed, scanning all the regions. Neither bluebird nor
woodrat can hide from my seeing," he said, snapping his beak. "Neither
of them, unless they hide under bushes. Yet I have failed to see
anything of the Maidens ye seek for. Send for my younger brother, the
Falcon. Strong of flight is he, yet not so strong as I, and nearer the
ground he takes his way ere sunrise."

Then the Eagle spread his wings and flew away to Twin Mountain. The
Warrior-Priests of the Bow sped again fleetly over the plain to the
westward for his younger brother, Falcon.

Sitting on an ant hill, so the warriors found Falcon. He paused as they
approached, crying, "If ye have snare strings, I will be off like the
flight of an arrow well plumed of our feathers!"

"No," said the priests. "Thy elder brother hath bidden us seek thee."

Then they told Falcon what had happened, and how Eagle had failed to
find the Corn Maidens, so white and beautiful.

"Failed!" said Falcon. "Of course he failed. He climbs aloft to the
clouds and thinks he can see under every bush and into every shadow, as
sees the Sunfather who sees not with eyes. Go ye before."

Before the Warrior-Priests had turned toward the town, the Falcon had
spread his sharp wings and was skimming off over the tops of the trees
and bushes as though verily seeking for field mice or birds' nests. And
the Warriors returned to tell the fathers and to await his coming.

But after Falcon had searched over the world, to the north and west, to
the east and south, he too returned and was received as had been Eagle.
He settled on the edge of a tray before the altar, as on the ant hill he
settles today. When he had smoked and had been smoked, as had been
Eagle, he told the sorrowing fathers and mothers that he had looked
behind every copse and cliff shadow, but of the Maidens he had found no

"They are hidden more closely than ever sparrow hid," he said. Then he,
too, flew away to his hills in the west.

"Our beautiful Maiden Mothers," cried the matrons. "Lost, lost as the
dead are they!"

"Yes," said the others. "Where now shall we seek them? The far-seeing
Eagle and the close-searching Falcon alike have failed to find them."

"Stay now your feet with patience," said the fathers. Some of them had
heard Raven, who sought food in the refuse and dirt at the edge of town,
at daybreak.

"Look now," they said. "There is Heavy-nose, whose beak never fails to
find the substance of seed itself, however little or well hidden it be.
He surely must know of the Corn Maidens. Let us call him."

So the warriors went to the river side. When they found Raven, they
raised their hands, all weaponless.

"We carry no pricking quills," they called. "Blackbanded father, we seek
your aid. Look now! The Mother-maidens of Seed whose substance is the
food alike of thy people and our people, have fled away. Neither our
grandfather the Eagle, nor his younger brother the Falcon, can trace
them. We beg you to aid us or counsel us."

"Ka! ka!" cried the Raven. "Too hungry am I to go abroad fasting on
business for ye. Ye are stingy! Here have I been since perching time,
trying to find a throatful, but ye pick thy bones and lick thy bowls too
clean for that, be sure."

"Come in, then, poor grandfather. We will give thee food to cat. Yea,
and a cigarette to smoke, with all the ceremony."

"Say ye so?" said the Raven. He ruffled his collar and opened his mouth
so wide with a lusty kaw-la-ka--that he might well have swallowed his
own head. "Go ye before," he said, and followed them into the court of
the dancers.

He was not ill to look upon. Upon his shoulders were bands of white
cotton, and his back was blue, gleaming like the hair of a maiden dancer
in the sunlight. The Master-Priest greeted Raven, bidding him sit and

"Ha! There is corn in this, else why the stalk of it?" said the Raven,
when he took the cane cigarette of the far spaces and noticed the joint
of it. Then he did as he had seen the Master-Priest do, only more
greedily. He sucked in such a throatful of the smoke, fire and all, that
it almost strangled him. He coughed and grew giddy, and the smoke all
hot and stinging went through every part of him. It filled all his
feathers, making even his brown eyes bluer and blacker, in rings. It is
not to be wondered at, the blueness of flesh, blackness of dress, and
skinniness, yes, and tearfulness of eye which we see in the Raven
to-day. And they are all as greedy of corn food as ever, for behold! No
sooner had the old Raven recovered than he espied one of the ears of
corn half hidden under the mantle-covers of the trays. He leaped from
his place laughing. They always laugh when they find anything, these
ravens. Then he caught up the ear of corn and made off with it over the
heads of the people and the tops of the houses, crying.

"Ha! ha! In this wise and in no other will ye find thy Seed Maidens."

But after a while he came back, saying, "A sharp eye have I for the
flesh of the Maidens. But who might see their breathing-beings, ye
dolts, except by the help of the Father of Dawn-Mist himself, whose
breath makes breath of others seem as itself." Then he flew away cawing.

Then the elders said to each other, "It is our fault, so how dare we
prevail on our father Paiyatuma to aid us? He warned us of this in the
old time."

Suddenly, for the sun was rising, they heard Paiyatuma in his daylight
mood and transformation. Thoughtless and loud, uncouth in speech, he
walked along the outskirts of the village. He joked fearlessly even of
fearful things, for all his words and deeds were the reverse of his
sacred being. He sat down on a heap of vile refuse, saying he would have
a feast.

"My poor little children," he said. But he spoke to aged priests and
white-haired matrons.

"Good-night to you all," he said, though it was in full dawning. So he
perplexed them with his speeches.

"We beseech thy favor, oh father, and thy aid, in finding our beautiful
Maidens." So the priests mourned.

"Oh, that is all, is it? But why find that which is not lost, or summon
those who will not come?"

Then he reproached them for not preparing the sacred plumes, and picked
up the very plumes he had said were not there.

Then the wise Pekwinna, the Speaker of the Sun, took two plumes and the
banded wing-tips of the turkey, and approaching Paiyatuma stroked him
with the tips of the feathers and then laid the feathers upon his

Then Paiyatuma became aged and grand and straight, as is a tall tree
shorn by lightning. He said to the father:

"Thou are wise of thought and good of heart. Therefore I will summon
from Summer-land the beautiful Maidens that ye may look upon them once
more and make offering of plumes in sacrifice for them, but they are
lost as dwellers amongst ye."

Then he told them of the song lines and the sacred speeches and of the
offering of the sacred plume wands, and then turned him about and sped
away so fleetly that none saw him.

Beyond the first valley of the high plain to the southward Paiyatuma
planted the four plume wands. First he planted the yellow, bending over
it and watching it. When it ceased to flutter, the soft down on it
leaned northward but moved not. Then he set the blue wand and watched
it; then the white wand. The eagle down on them leaned to right and left
and still northward, yet moved not. Then farther on he planted the red
wand, and bending low, without breathing, watched it closely. The soft
down plumes began to wave as though blown by the breath of some small
creature. Backward and forward, northward and southward they swayed, as
if in time to the breath of one resting.

"'T is the breath of my Maidens in Summer-land, for the plumes of the
southland sway soft to their gentle breathing. So shall it ever be. When
I set the down of my mists on the plains and scatter my bright beads in
the northland(7), summer shall go thither from afar, borne on the breath
of the Seed Maidens. Where they breathe, warmth, showers, and fertility
shall follow with the birds of Summer-land, and the butterflies,
northward over the world."

Then Paiyatuma arose and sped by the magic of his knowledge into the
countries of Summer-land,--fled swiftly and silently as the soft breath
he sought for, bearing his painted flute before him. And when he paused
to rest, he played on his painted flute and the butterflies and birds
sought him. So he sent them to seek the Maidens, following swiftly, and
long before he found them he greeted them with the music of his
songsound, even as the People of the Seed now greet them in the song of
the dancers.

When the Maidens heard his music and saw his tall form in their great
fields of corn, they plucked ears, each of her own kind, and with them
filled their colored trays and over all spread embroidered
mantles,--embroidered in all the bright colors and with the
creature-songs of Summer-land. So they sallied forth to meet him and
welcome him. Then he greeted them, each with the touch of his hands and
the breath of his flute, and bade them follow him to the northland home
of their deserted children.

So by the magic of their knowledge they sped back as the stars speed
over the world at night time, toward the home of our ancients. Only at
night and dawn they journeyed, as the dead do, and the stars also. So
they came at evening in the full of the last moon to the Place of the
Middle, bearing their trays of seed.

Glorious was Paiyatuma, as he walked into the courts of the dancers in
the dusk of the evening and stood with folded arms at the foot of the
bow-fringed ladder of priestly council, he and his follower Shutsukya.
He was tall and beautiful and banded with his own mists, and carried the
banded wings of the turkeys with which he had winged his flight from
afar, leading the Maidens, and followed as by his own shadow by the
black being of the corn-soot, Shutsukya, who cries with the voice of the
frost wind when the corn has grown aged and the harvest is taken away.

And surpassingly beautiful were the Maidens clothed in the white cotton
and embroidered garments of Summer-land.

Then after long praying and chanting by the priests, the fathers of the
people, and those of the Seed and Water, and the keepers of sacred
things, the Maiden-mother of the North advanced to the foot of the
ladder. She lifted from her head the beautiful tray of yellow corn and
Paiyatama took it. He pointed it to the regions, each in turn, and the
Priest of the North came and received the tray of sacred seed.

Then the Maiden of the West advanced and gave up her tray of blue corn.
So each in turn the Maidens gave up their trays of precious seed. The
Maiden of the South, the red seed; the Maiden of the East, the white
seed; then the Maiden with the black seed, and lastly, the tray of
all-color seed which the Priestess of Seed-and-All herself received.

And now, behold! The Maidens stood as before, she of the North at the
northern end, but with her face southward far looking; she of the West,
next, and lo! so all of them, with the seventh and last, looking
southward. And standing thus, the darkness of the night fell around
them. As shadows in deep night, so these Maidens of the Seed of Corn,
the beloved and beautiful, were seen no more of men. And Paiyatuma stood
alone, for Shutsukya walked now behind the Maidens, whistling shrilly,
as the frost wind whistles when the corn is gathered away, among the
lone canes and dry leaves of a gleaned field.

(7) Dew drops.

Hasjelti and Hostjoghon
Navajo (New Mexico)

Hasjelti was the son of the white corn, and Hostjoghon the son of the
yellow corn. They were born on the mountains where the fogs meet. These
two became the great song-makers of the world.

To the mountain where they were born (Henry Mountain, Utah), they gave
two songs and two prayers. Then they went to Sierra Blanca (Colorado)
and made two songs and prayers and dressed the mountain in clothing of
white shell with two eagle plumes upon its head. They visited San Mateo
Mountain (New Mexico) and gave to it two songs and prayers, and dressed
it in turquoise, even to leggings and moccasins, and placed two eagle
plumes upon its head. Then they went to San Francisco Mountain (Arizona)
and made two songs and prayers and dressed that mountain in abalone
shells with two eagle plumes upon its head. They then visited Ute
Mountain and gave to it two songs and prayers and dressed it in black
beads. Then they returned to their own mountain where the fogs meet and
said, "We two have made all these songs."

Other brothers were born of the white corn and yellow corn, and two
brothers were placed on each mountain. They are the spirits of the
mountains and to them the clouds come first. All the brothers together
made game, the deer and elk and buffalo, and so game was created.

Navajos pray for rain and snow to Hasjelti and Hostjoghon. They stand
upon the mountain tops and call the clouds to gather around them.
Hasjelti prays to the sun, for the Navajos.

"Father, give me the light of your mind that my mind may be strong. Give
me your strength, that my arm may be strong. Give me your rays, that
corn and other vegetation may grow."

The most important prayers are addressed to Hasjelti and the most
valuable gifts made to him. He talks to the Navajos through the birds,
and for this reason the choicest feathers and plumes are placed in the
cigarettes and attached to the prayer sticks offered to him.

The Song-Hunter
Navajo (New Mexico)

A man sat thinking. "Let me see. My songs are too short. I want more
songs. Where shall I go to find them?"

Hasjelti appeared and perceiving his thoughts, said, "I know where you
can get more songs."

"Well, I want to get more. So I will follow you."

They went to a certain point in a box canon in the Big Colorado River
and here they found four gods, the Hostjobokon, at work, hewing
cottonwood logs.

Hasjelti said, "This will not do. Cottonwood becomes water-soaked. You
must use pine instead of cottonwood."

The Hostjobokon began boring the pine with flint, but Hasjelti said,
"That is slow work." He commanded a whirlwind to hollow the log. A
cross, joining at the exact middle of each log, a solid one and the
hollow one, was formed. The arms of the cross were equal.

The song-hunter entered the hollow log and Hasjelti closed the end with
a cloud so that water would not enter when the logs were launched upon
the great waters. The logs floated off. The Hostjobokon, accompanied by
their wives, rode upon the logs, one couple sitting upon each arm.
Hasjelti, Hostjoghon, and the two Naaskiddi walked upon the banks to
keep the logs off shore. Hasjelti carried a squirrel skin filled with
tobacco, with which to supply the gods on their journey. Hostjoghon
carried a staff ornamented with eagle and turkey plumes and a gaming
ring with two humming birds tied to it with white cotton cord. The two
Naaskiddi carried staffs of lightning. The Naaskiddi had clouds upon
their backs in which the seeds of all corn and grasses were carried.

After floating a long distance down the river, they came to waters that
had a shore on one side only. Here they landed. Here they found a people
like themselves. When these people learned of the Song-hunter, they gave
him many songs and they painted pictures on a cotton blanket and said,

"These pictures must go with the songs. If we give this blanket to you,
you will lose it. We will give you white earth and black coals which you
will grind together to make black paint, and we will give you white
sand, yellow sand, and red sand. For the blue paint you will take white
sand and black coals with a very little red and yellow sand. These will
give you blue."

And so the Navajo people make blue, even to this day.

The Song-hunter remained with these people until the corn was ripe.
There he learned to eat corn and he carried some back with him to the
Navajos, who had not seen corn before, and he taught them how to raise
it and how to eat it.

When he wished to return home, the logs would not float upstream. Four
sunbeams attached themselves to the logs, one to each cross arm, and so
drew the Song-hunter back to the box canon from which he had started.
When he reached that point, he separated the logs. He placed the end of
the solid log into the hollow end of the other and planted this great
pole in the river. It may be seen there to-day by the venturesome. In
early days many went there to pray and make offerings.

Sand Painting of the Song-Hunter
(Explanatory of frontispiece)

The black cross bars denote pine logs; the white lines the froth of the
water; the yellow, vegetable debris gathered by the logs; the blue and
red lines, sunbeams. The blue spot in the centre of the cross denotes
water. There are four Hostjobokon, with their wives, the Hostjoboard.
Each couple sits upon one of the cross arms of the logs. The gods carry
in their right hands a rattle, and in their left sprigs of pinon; the
goddesses carry pinon sprigs in both hands.

Hasjelti is to the east of the painting. He carries a squirrel skin
filled with tobacco. His shirt is white cotton and very elastic. The
leggings are of white deerskin, fringed, and his head is ornamented with
an eagle's tail; at the tip of each plume there is a fluffy feather from
the breast of the eagle. The projection on the right of the throat is a
fox skin.

Hostjoghon is at the west. His shirt is invisible, the dark being the
dark of the body. His staff is colored black from a charred plant. Two
strips of beaver skin tipped with six quills of the porcupine are
attached to the right of the throat. The four colored stars on the body
are bead ornaments. The top of the staff is ornamented with a turkey's
tail. Eagle and turkey plumes are alternately attached to the staff.

The Naaskiddi are north and south of the painting. They carry staffs of
lightning ornamented with eagle plumes and sunbeams. Their bodies are
nude except the loin skirt. The hunch upon the back is a black cloud and
the three groups of white lines indicate corn and other seeds. Five
eagle plumes are attached to the cloud-back, since eagles live among the
clouds. The body is surrounded by sunlight. The lines of blue and red
which border the cloud-back denote sunbeams penetrating storm clouds.
The black circle zig-zagged with white around the head is a cloud basket
filled with corn and seeds of grass. On each side of the head are five
feathers of the red-shafted flicker.

The Rainbow goddess, upon which these gods often travel, partly
encircles and completes the picture.

These sand pictures are drawn upon common yellow sand, brought in
blankets and laid in squares about three inches thick and four feet in
diameter. The colors used in decoration were yellow, red, and white,
secured from sand stones, black from charcoal, and a grayish blue made
from white sand and charcoal mixed with a very small quantity of yellow
and red sands.

(From eighth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology, abridged from
description of James Stevenson.)

The Guiding Duck and the Lake of Death
Zuni (New Mexico)

Now K-yak-lu, the all-hearing and wise of speech, all alone had been
journeying afar in the North Land of cold and white loneliness. He was
lost, for the world in which he wandered was buried in the snow which
lies spread there forever. So cold he was that his face became wan and
white from the frozen mists of his own breath, white as become all
creatures who dwell there. So cold at night and dreary of heart, so lost
by day and blinded by the light was he that he wept, and died of heart
and became transformed as are the gods. Yet his lips called continually
and his voice grew shrill and dry-sounding, like the voice of far-flying
water-fowl. As he cried, wandering blindly, the water birds flocking
around him peered curiously at him, calling meanwhile to their comrades.
But wise though he was of all speeches, and their meanings plain to him,
yet none told him the way to his country and people.

Now the Duck heard his cry and it was like her own. She was of all
regions the traveller and searcher, knowing all the ways, whether above
or below the waters, whether in the north, the west, the south, or the
east, and was the most knowing of all creatures. Thus the wisdom of the
one understood the knowledge of the other.

And the All-wise cried to her, "The mountains are white and the valleys;
all plains are like others in whiteness, and even the light of our
Father the Sun, makes all ways more hidden of whiteness! In brightness
my eyes see but darkness."

The Duck answered:

"Think no longer sad thoughts. Thou hearest all as I see all. Give me
tinkling shells from thy girdle and place them on my neck and in my
beak. I may guide thee with my seeing if thou hear and follow my trail.
Well I know the way to thy country. Each year I lead thither the wild
geese and the cranes who flee there as winter follows."

So the All-wise placed his talking shells on the neck of the Duck, and
the singing shells in her beak, and though painfully and lamely, yet he
followed the sound she made with the shells. From place to place with
swift flight she sped, then awaiting him, ducking her head that the
shells might call loudly. By and by they came to the country of thick
rains and mists on the borders of the Snow World, and passed from water
to water, until wider water lay in their path. In vain the Duck called
and jingled the shells from the midst of the waters. K-yak-lu could
neither swim nor fly as could the Duck.

Now the Rainbow-worm was near in that land of mists and waters and he
heard the sound of the sacred shells.

"These be my grandchildren," he said, and called, "Why mourn ye? Give me
plumes of the spaces. I will bear you on my shoulders."

Then the All-wise took two of the lightest plumewands, and the Duck her
two strong feathers. And he fastened them together and breathed on them
while the Rainbow-worm drew near. The Rainbow unbent himself that
K-yak-lu might mount, then he arched himself high among the clouds. Like
an arrow he straightened himself forward, and followed until his face
looked into the Lake of the Ancients. And there the All-wise descended,
and sat there alone, in the plain beyond the mountains. The Duck had
spread her wings in flight to the south to take counsel of the gods.

Then the Duck, even as the gods had directed, prepared a litter of poles
and reeds, and before the morning came, with the litter they went,
singing a quaint and pleasant song, down the northern plain. And when
they found the All-wise, he looked upon them in the starlight and wept.
But the father of the gods stood over him and chanted the sad dirge
rite. Then K-yak-lu sat down in the great soft litter they bore for him.

They lifted it upon their shoulders, bearing it lightly, singing loudly
as they went, to the shores of the deep black lake, where gleamed from
the middle the lights of the dead.

Out over the magic ladder of rushes and canes which reared itself over
the water, they bore him. And K-yak-lu, scattering sacred prayer meal
before him, stepped down the way, slowly, like a blind man. No sooner
had he taken four steps than the ladder lowered into the deep. And the
All-wise entered the council room of the gods.

The gods sent out their runners, to summon all beings, and called in
dancers for the Dance of Good. And with these came the little ones who
had sunk beneath the waters, well and beautiful and all seemingly clad
in cotton mantles and precious neck jewels.

The Boy Who Became A God
Navajo (New Mexico)

The Tolchini, a clan of the Navajos, lived at Wind Mountains. One of
them used to take long visits into the country. His brothers thought he
was crazy. The first time on his return, he brought with him a pine
bough; the second time, corn. Each time he returned he brought something
new and had a strange story to tell. His brothers said: "He is crazy. He
does not know what he is talking about."

Now the Tolchini left Wind Mountains and went to a rocky foothill east
of the San Mateo Mountain. They had nothing to eat but seed grass. The
eldest brother said, "Let us go hunting," but they told the youngest
brother not to leave camp. But five days and five nights passed, and
there was no word. So he followed them.

After a day's travel he camped near a canon, in a cavelike place. There
was much snow but no water so he made a fire and heated a rock, and made
a hole in the ground. The hot rock heated the snow and gave him water to
drink. Just then he heard a tumult over his head, like people passing.
He went out to see what made the noise and saw many crows crossing back
and forth over the canon. This was the home of the crow, but there were
other feathered people there, and the chaparral cock. He saw many fires
made by the crows on each side of the caeon. Two crows flew down near
him and the youth listened to hear what was the matter.

The two crows cried out, "Somebody says. Somebody says."

The youth did not know what to make of this.

A crow on the opposite side called out, "What is the matter? Tell us!
Tell us! What is wrong?"

The first two cried out, "Two of us got killed. We met two of our men
who told us."

Then they told the crows how two men who were out hunting killed twelve
deer, and a party of the Crow People went to the deer after they were
shot. They said, "Two of us who went after the blood of the deer were

The crows on the other side of the caeon called, "Which men got killed?"

"The chaparral cock, who sat on the horn of the deer, and the crow who
sat on its backbone."

The others called out, "We are not surprised they were killed. That is
what we tell you all the time. If you go after dead deer you must expect
to be killed."

"We will not think of them longer," so the two crows replied. "They are
dead and gone. We are talking of things of long ago."

But the youth sat quietly below and listened to everything that was

After a while the crows on the other side of the canon made a great
noise and began to dance. They had many songs at that time. The youth
listened all the time. After the dance a great fire was made and he
could see black objects moving, but he could not distinguish any people.
He recognized the voice of Hasjelti. He remembered everything in his
heart. He even remembered the words of the songs that continued all
night. He remembered every word of every song. He said to himself, "I
will listen until daylight."

The Crow People did not remain on the side of the canon where the fires
were first built. They crossed and recrossed the canon in their dance.
They danced back and forth until daylight. Then all the crows and the
other birds flew away to the west. All that was left was the fires and
the smoke.

Then the youth started for his brothers' camp. They saw him coming. They
said, "He will have lots of stories to tell. He will say he saw
something no one ever saw."

But the brother-in-law who was with them said, "Let him alone. When he
comes into camp he will tell us all. I believe these things do happen
for he could not make up these things all the time."

Now the camp was surrounded by pinon brush and a large fire was burning
in the centre. There was much meat roasting over the fire. When the
youth reached the camp, he raked over the coals and said. "I feel cold."

Brother-in-law replied, "It is cold. When people camp together, they
tell stories to one another in the morning. We have told ours, now you
tell yours."

The youth said, "Where I stopped last night was the worst camp I ever
had." The brothers paid no attention but the brother-in-law listened.

The youth said, "I never heard such a noise." Then he told his story.
Brother-in-law asked what kind of people made the noise.

The youth said, "I do not know. They were strange people to me, but they
danced all night back and forth across the canon and I heard them say my
brothers killed twelve deer and afterwards killed two of their people
who went for the blood of the deer. I heard them say, 'That is what
must be expected. If you go to such places, you must expect to be

The elder brother began thinking. He said, "How many deer did you say
were killed?"


Elder brother said, "I never believed you before, but this story I do
believe. How do you find out all these things? What is the matter with
you that you know them?"

The boy said, "I do not know. They come into my mind and to my eyes."

Then they started homeward, carrying the meat. The youth helped them.

As they were descending a mesa, they sat down on the edge to rest. Far
down the mesa were four mountain sheep. The brothers told the youth to
kill one.

The youth hid in the sage brush and when the sheep came directly toward
him, he aimed his arrow at them. But his arm stiffened and became dead.
The sheep passed by.

He headed them off again by hiding in the stalks of a large yucca. The
sheep passed within five steps of him, but again his arm stiffened as he
drew the bow.

He followed the sheep and got ahead of them and hid behind a birch tree
in bloom. He had his bow ready, but as they neared him they became gods.
The first was Hasjelti, the second was Hostjoghon, the third Naaskiddi,
and the fourth Hadatchishi. Then the youth fell senseless to the ground.

The four gods stood one on each side of him, each with a rattle. They
traced with their rattles in the sand the figure of a man, drawing lines
at his head and feet. Then the youth recovered and the gods again became
sheep. They said, "Why did you try to shoot us? You see you are one of
us." For the youth had become a sheep.

The gods said, "There is to be a dance, far off to the north beyond the
Ute Mountain. We want you to go with us. We will dress you like
ourselves and teach you to dance. Then we will wander over the world."

Now the brothers watched from the top of the mesa but they could not see
what the trouble was. They saw the youth lying on the ground, but when
they reached the place, all the sheep were gone. They began crying,
saying, "For a long time we would not believe him, and now he has gone
off with the sheep."

They tried to head off the sheep, but failed. They said, "If we had
believed him, he would not have gone off with the sheep. But perhaps
some day we will see him again."

At the dance, the five sheep found seven others. This made their number
twelve. They journeyed all around the world. All people let them see
their dances and learn their songs. Then the eleven talked together and

"There is no use keeping this youth with us longer. He has learned
everything. He may as well go back to his people and teach them to do as
we do."

So the youth was taught to have twelve in the dance, six gods and six
goddesses, with Hasjelti to lead them. He was told to have his people
make masks to represent the gods.

So the youth returned to his brothers, carrying with him all songs, all
medicines, and clothing.

Origin of Clear Lake
Patwin (Sacramento Valley, Cal.)

Before anything was created at all, Old Frog and Old Badger lived alone
together. Old Badger wanted to drink, so Old Frog gnawed into a tree,
drew out all the sap and put it in a hollow place. Then he created
Little Frogs to help him, and working together they dug out the lake.

Then Old Frog made the little flat whitefish. Some of them lived in the
lake, but others swam down Cache Creek, and turned into the salmon,
pike, and sturgeon which swim in the Sacramento.

The Great Fire
Patwin (Sacramento Valley, Cal.)

Long ago a man loved two women and wished to marry both of them. But the
women were magpies and they laughed at him. Therefore the man went to
the north, and made for himself a tule boat. Then he set the world on
fire, and himself escaped to sea in his boat.

But the fire burned with terrible speed. It ate its way into the south.
It licked up all things on earth, men, trees, rocks, animals, water, and
even the ground itself.

Now Old Coyote saw the burning and the smoke from his place far in the
south, and he ran with all his might to put it out. He put two little
boys in a sack and ran north like the wind. He took honey-dew into his
mouth, chewed it up, spat on the fire, and so put it out. Now the fire
was out, but there was no water and Coyote was thirsty. So he took
Indian sugar again, chewed it up, dug a hole in the bottom of the creek,
covered up the sugar in it, and it turned to water and filled the creek.
So the earth had water again.

But the two little boys cried because they were lonesome, for there was
nobody left on earth. Then Coyote made a sweat house, and split a number
of sticks, and laid them in the sweat house over night. In the morning
they had all turned into men and women.

Origin of the Raven and the Macaw
(Totems of summer and winter)
Zuni (New Mexico)

The priest who was named Yanauluha carried ever in his hand a staff
which now in the daylight was plumed and covered with feathers--yellow,
blue-green, red, white, black, and varied. Attached to it were shells,
which made a song-like tinkle. The people when they saw it stretched out
their hands and asked many questions.

Then the priest balanced it in his hand, and struck with it a hard
place, and blew upon it. Amid the plumes appeared four round things-mere
eggs they were. Two were blue like the sky and two dun-red like the
flesh of the Earth-mother.

Then the people asked many questions.

"These," said the priests, "are the seed of living beings. Choose which
ye will follow. From two eggs shall come beings of beautiful plumage,
colored like the grass and fruits of summer. Where they fly and ye
follow, shall always be summer. Without toil, fields of food shall
flourish. And from the other two eggs shall come evil beings, piebald,
with white, without colors. And where these two shall fly and ye shall
follow, winter strives with summer. Only by labor shall the fields yield
fruit, and your children and theirs shall strive for the fruits. Which
do ye choose?"

"The blue! The blue!" cried the people, and those who were strongest
carried off the blue eggs, leaving the red eggs to those who waited.
They laid the blue eggs with much gentleness in soft sand on the sunny
side of a hill, watching day by day. They were precious of color; surely
they would be the precious birds of the Summer-land. Then the eggs
cracked and the birds came out, with open eyes and pin feathers under
their skins.

"We chose wisely," said the people. "Yellow and blue, red and green, are
their dresses, even seen through their skins." So they fed them freely
of all the foods which men favor. Thus they taught them to eat all
desirable food. But when the feathers appeared, they were black with
white bandings. They were ravens. And they flew away croaking hoarse
laughs and mocking our fathers.

But the other eggs became beautiful macaws, and were wafted by a toss of
the priest's wand to the faraway Summer-land.

So those who had chosen the raven, became the Raven People. They were
the Winter People and they were many and strong. But those who had
chosen the macaw, became the Macaw People. They were the Summer People,
and few in number, and less strong, but they were wiser because they
were more deliberate. The priest Yanauluha, being wise, became their
father, even as the Sun-father is among the little moons of the sky. He
and his sisters were the ancestors of the priest-keepers of things.

Coyote and the Hare
Sia (New Mexico)

One day Coyote was passing about when he saw Hare sitting before his
house. Coyote thought, "In a minute I will catch you," and he sprang and
caught Hare.

Hare cried, "Man Coyote, do not eat me. Wait just a minute; I have
something to tell you--something you will be glad to hear--something
you must hear."

"Well," said Coyote, "I will wait."

"Let me sit at the entrance of my house," said Hare. "Then I can talk to

Coyote allowed Hare to take his seat at the entrance.

Hare said, What are you thinking of, Coyote?

"Nothing," said Coyote.

"Listen, then," said Hare. "I am a hare and I am very much afraid of
people. When they come carrying arrows, I am afraid of them. When they
see me they aim their arrows at me and I am afraid, and oh! how I

Hare began trembling violently until he saw Coyote a little off his
guard, then he began to run. It took Coyote a minute to think and then
he ran after Hare, but always a little behind. Hare raced away and soon
entered a house, just in time to escape Coyote. Coyote tried to enter
the house but found it was hard stone. He became very angry.

Coyote cried, "I was very stupid! Why did I allow this Hare to fool me?
I must have him. But this house is so strong, how can I open it?"

Coyote began to work, but after a while he said to himself, "The stone
is so strong I cannot open it."

Presently Hare called, "Man Coyote, how are you going to kill me?"

"I know how," said Coyote. "I will kill you with fire."

"Where is the wood?" asked Hare, for he knew there was no wood at his

"I will bring grass," said Coyote, "and set fire to it. The fire will
enter your house and kill you."

"Oh," said Hare, "but the grass is mine. It is my food; it will not kill
me. It is my friend. The grass will not kill me."

"Then," said Coyote, "I will bring all the trees of the wood and set
fire to them."

"All the trees know me," said Hare. "They are my friends. They will not
kill me. They are my food." Coyote thought a minute. Then he said, "I
will bring the gum of the pinon and set fire to that."

Hare said, "Now I am afraid. I do not eat that. It is not my friend."

Coyote rejoiced that he had thought of a plan for getting the hare. He
hurried and brought all the gum he could carry and placed it at the door
of Hare's house and set fire to it. In a short time the gum boiled like
hot grease, and Hare cried,

"Now I know I shall die! What shall I do?" Yet all the time he knew what
he would do.

But Coyote was glad Hare was afraid. After a while Hare called, "The
fire is entering my house," and Coyote answered, "'Blow it out!"

But Coyote drew nearer and blew with all his might to blow the flame
into Hare's house

Hare cried, "You are so close you are blowing the fire on me and I will
soon be burned."

Coyote was so happy that he drew closer and blew harder, and drew still
closer so that his face was very close to Hare's face. Then Hare
suddenly threw the boiling gum into Coyote's face and escaped from his

It took Coyote a long time to remove the gum from his face, and he felt
very sorrowful. He said, "I am very, very stupid."

Coyote and the Quails
Pima (Arizona)

Once upon a time, long ago, Coyote was sleeping so soundly that a covey
of quails came along and cut pieces of fat meat out of his flesh without
arousing him. Then they went on. After they had camped for the
evening, and were cooking the meat, Coyote came up the trail.

Coyote said, "Where did you get that nice, fat meat? Give me some."

Quails gave him all he wanted. Then he went farther up the trail. After
he had gone a little way, Quails called to him,

"Coyote, you were eating your own flesh."

Coyote said, "What did you say?"

Quails said, "Oh, nothing. We heard something calling behind the

Soon the quails called again: "Coyote, you ate your own meat."

"What did you say?"

"Oh, nothing. We heard somebody pounding his grinding-stone."

So Coyote went on. But at last he began to feel where he had been cut.
Then he knew what the quails meant. He turned back down the trail and
told Quails he would eat them up. He began to chase them. The quails
flew above ground and Coyote ran about under them. At last they got
tired, but Coyote did not because he was so angry.

By and by Quails came to a hole, and one of the keenest-witted picked up
a piece of prickly cholla cactus and pushed it into the hole; then they
all ran in after it. But Coyote dug out the hole and reached them. When
he came to the first quail he said,

"Was it you who told me I ate my own flesh?"

Quail said, "No."

So Coyote let him go and he flew away. When Coyote came to the second
quail, he asked the same question. Quail said, "No," and then flew away.
So Coyote asked every quail, until the last quail was gone, and then he
came to the cactus branch. Now the prickly cactus branch was so covered
with feathers that it looked just like a quail. Coyote asked it the same
question, but the cactus branch did not answer. Then Coyote said,

"I know it was you because you do not answer."

So Coyote bit very hard into the hard, prickly branch, and it killed

Coyote and the Fawns
Sia (New Mexico)

Another day when he was travelling around, Coyote met a deer with two
fawns. The fawns were beautifully spotted, and he said to the deer, "How
did you paint your children? They are so beautiful!"

Deer replied, "I painted them with fire from the cedar."

"And how did you do the work?" asked Coyote.

"I put my children into a cave and built a fire of cedar in front of it.
Every time a spark flew from the fire it struck my children, making a
beautiful spot."

"Oh," said Coyote, "I will do the same thing. Then I will make my
children beautiful."

He hurried to his house and put his children in a cave. Then he built a
fire of cedar in front of it and stood off to watch the fire. But the
children cried because the fire was very hot. Coyote kept calling to
them not to cry because they would be beautiful like the deer. After a
time the crying ceased and Coyote was pleased. But when the fire died
down, he found they were burned to death. Coyote expected to find them
beautiful, but instead they were dead.

Then he was enraged with the deer and ran away to hunt her, but he could
not find her anywhere. He was much distressed to think the deer had
fooled him so easily.

How the Bluebird Got its Color
Pima (Arizona)

A long time ago, the bluebird was a very ugly color. But Bluebird knew
of a lake where no river flowed in or out, and he bathed in this four
times every morning for four mornings. Every morning he sang a magic

               "There's a blue water. It lies there.
               I went in.
               I am all blue."

On the fourth morning Bluebird shed all his feathers and came out of the
lake just in his skin. But the next morning when he came out of the lake
he was covered with blue feathers.

Now all this while Coyote had been watching Bluebird. He wanted to jump
in and get him to eat, but he was afraid of the water. But on that last
morning Coyote said,

"How is it you have lost all your ugly color, and now you are blue and
gay and beautiful? You are more beautiful than anything that flies in
the air. I want to be blue, too." Now Coyote at that time was a bright

"I only went in four times on four mornings," said Bluebird. He taught
Coyote the magic song, and he went in four times, and the fifth time he
came out as blue as the little bird.

Then Coyote was very, very proud because he was a blue coyote. He was so
proud that as he walked along he looked around on every side to see if
anybody was looking at him now that he was a blue coyote and so
beautiful. He looked to see if his shadow was blue, too. But Coyote was
so busy watching to see if others were noticing him that he did not
watch the trail. By and by he ran into a stump so hard that it threw him
down in the dirt and he was covered with dust all over. You may know
this is true because even to-day coyotes are the color of dirt.

Coyote's Eyes
Pima (Arizona)

When Coyote was travelling about one day, he saw a small bird. The bird
was hopping about contentedly and Coyote thought,

"What a beautiful bird. It moves about so gracefully."

He drew nearer to the bird and asked, "What beautiful things are you
working with?" but the bird could not understand Coyote. After a while
the bird took out his two eyes and threw them straight up into the air,
like two stones. It looked upward but had no eyes. Then the bird said,

"Come, my eyes. Come quickly, down into my head." The eyes fell down
into the bird's head, just where they belonged, but were much brighter
than before.

Coyote thought he could brighten his eyes. He asked the bird to take out
his eyes. The bird took out Coyote's eyes, held them for a moment in his
hands, and threw them straight up into the air. Coyote looked up and

"Come back, my eyes. Come quickly." They at once fell back into his head
and were much brighter than before. Coyote wanted to try it again, but
the bird did not wish to. But Coyote persisted. Then the bird said,

"Why should I work for you, Coyote? No, I will work no more for you."
But Coyote still persisted, and the bird took out his eyes and threw
them up. Coyote cried,

"Come, my eyes, come back to me."

But his eyes continued to rise into the air, and the bird began to go
away. Coyote began to weep. But the bird was annoyed, and called back,

"Go away now. I am tired of you. Go away and get other eyes."

But Coyote refused to go and entreated the bird to find eyes for him. At
last the bird gathered gum from a pinon tree and rolled it between his
hands and put it in Coyote's eye holes, so that he could see. But his
eyes had been black and very bright. His new eyes were yellow.

"Now," said the bird, it "go away. You cannot stay here any longer."

Coyote and the Tortillas
Pima (Arizona)

Once upon a time, a river rose very high and spread all over the land.
An Indian woman was going along the trail by the river side with a
basket of tortillas on her head, but she was wading in water up to her
waist. Now Coyote was afraid of the water, so he had climbed into a
cottonwood tree. When the woman came up the trail, Coyote called,

"Oh, come to this tree and give me some of those nice tortillas."

The woman said, "No. I can't give them to you; they are for somebody

"If you do not come here I will shoot you," said Coyote, and the woman
really thought he had a bow. So she came to the tree and said, "You must
come down and get them. I can't climb trees."

Coyote came down as far as he dared, but he was afraid of the deep
water. The woman laughed at him. She said, "Just see how shallow it is.
It's only up to my ankles." But she was standing on a big stump. Coyote
looked at the water. It seemed shallow and safe enough, so he jumped.
But the water was deep and he was drowned. Then the woman went on up the

Coyote as a Hunter
Sia (New Mexico)

Coyote travelled a long distance and in the middle of the day it was
very hot. He sat down and rested, and thought, as he looked up to Tinia,
"How I wish the Cloud People would freshen my path and make it cool."

In just a little while the Cloud People gathered over the trail Coyote
was following and he was glad that his path was to be cool and shady.

After he travelled some distance further, he sat down again and looking
upward said, "I wish the Cloud People would send rain. My road would be
cooler and fresher." In a little while a shower came and Coyote was

But in a short time he again sat down and wished that the road could be
very moist, that it would be fresh to his feet, and almost immediately
the trail was as wet as though a river had passed over it. Again Coyote
was contented.

But after a while he took his seat again. He said to himself, "I guess I
will talk again to the Cloud People." Then he looked up and said to

"I wish for water over my road-water to my elbows, that I may travel on
my hands and feet in the cool waters; then I shall be refreshed and

In a short time his road was covered with water, and he moved on. But
again he wished for something more, and said to the Cloud People,

"I wish much for water to my shoulders. Then I will be happy and

In a moment the waters arose as he wished, yet after a while he looked
up and said, "If you will only give me water so high that my eyes, nose,
mouth and ears are above it, I will be happy. Then indeed my road will
be cool."

But even this did not satisfy him, and after travelling a while longer
he implored the Cloud People to give him a river that he might float
over the trail, and immediately a river appeared and Coyote floated down
stream. Now he had been high in the mountains and wished to go to Hare

After floating a long distance, he at last came to Hare Land and saw
many Hares a little distance off, on both sides of the river. Coyote lay
down in the mud as though he were dead and listened. Soon a woman
ka-wate (mephitis) came along with a vase and a gourd for water.

She said, "Here is a dead coyote. Where did he come from? I guess from
the mountains above. I guess he fell into the water and died."

Coyote looked up and said, "Come here, woman."

She said, "What do you want?"

Coyote said, "I know the Hares and other small animals well. In a little
while they will come here and think I am dead and be happy. What do you
think about it?"

Ka-wate said, "I have no thoughts at all."

So Coyote explained his plan....

So Coyote lay as dead, and all the Hares and small animals saw him lying
in the river, and rejoiced that he was dead. The Hares decided to go in
a body and see the dead Coyote. Rejoicing over his death, they struck
him with their hands and kicked him. There were crowds of Hares and they
decided to have a great dance. Now and then a dancing Hare would stamp
upon Coyote who lay as if dead. During the dance the Hares clapped their
hands over their mouth and gave a whoop like a war-whoop.

Then Coyote rose quickly and took two clubs which the ka-wate had given
him, and together they killed all of the Hares. There was a great number
and they were piled up like stones.

Coyote said, "Where shall I find fire to cook the hares? Ah," he said,
pointing across to a high rock, "that rock gives good shade and it is
cool. I will find fire and cook my meat in the shade of that rock."

So they carried all the hares to that point and Coyote made a large fire
and threw them into it. When he had done this he was very warm and
tired. He lay down close to the rock in the shade.

After a while he said to Ka-wate, "We will run a race. The one who wins
will have all the hares."

She said, "How could I beat you? Your feet are so much larger than

Coyote said, "I will allow you the start of me." He made a torch of the
inner shreds of cedar bark and wrapped it with yucca thread and lighted
it. Then he tied this torch to the end of his tail. He did this to see
that the ka-wate did not escape him.

Ka-wate started first, but when out of sight of Coyots, she slipped into
the house of Badger. Then Coyote started with the fire attached to his
tail. Wherever he touched the grass, he set fire to it. But Ka-wate
hurried back to the rock, carried all the hares on top except four tiny
ones, and then climbed up on the rock.

Coyote was surprised not to overtake her. He said, "She must be very
quick. How could she run so fast?" Then he returned to the rock, but did
not see her.

He was tired and sat down in the shade of the rock. "Why does n't she
come?" he said. "Perhaps she will not come before night, her feet are so

Ka-wate sat on the rock above and heard all he said. She watched him
take a stick and look into the mound for the hares. He pulled out a
small one which he threw away. But the second was smaller than the
first. Then a third and a fourth, each tiny, and all he threw away. "I
do not care for the smaller ones," he said. "There are so many here, I
will not eat the little ones." But he hunted and hunted in the mound of
ashes for the hares. All were gone.

He said, "That woman has robbed me." Then he picked up the four little
ones and ate them. He looked about for Ka-wate but did not see her
because he did not look up. Then as he was tired and lay down to rest,
he looked up and saw her, with the cooked hares piled beside her.

Coyote was hungry. He begged her to throw one down. She threw a very
small one. Then Coyote became angry. And he was still more angry because
he could not climb the rock. She had gone where he could not go.

How the Rattlesnake Learned to Bite
Pima (Arizona)

After people and the animals were created, they all lived together.
Rattlesnake was there, and was called Soft Child because he was so soft
in his motions. The people liked to hear him rattle and little rest did
he get because they continually poked and scratched him so that he would
shake the rattles in his tail. At last Rattlesnake went to Elder Brother
to ask help. Elder Brother pulled a hair from his own lip, cut it in
short pieces, and made it into teeth for Soft Child.

"If any one bothers you," he said, "bite him."

That very evening Ta-api, Rabbit, came to Soft Child as he had done
before and scratched him. Soft Child raised his head and bit Rabbit.
Rabbit was angry and scratched again. Soft Child bit him again. Then
Rabbit ran about saying that Soft Child was angry and had bitten him.
Then he went to Rattlesnake again, and twice more he was bitten.

The bites made Rabbit very sick. He asked for a bed of cool sea sand.
Coyote was sent to the sea for the cool, damp sand. Then Rabbit asked
for the shade of bushes that he might feel the cool breeze. But at last
Rabbit died. He was the first creature which had died in this new world.

Then the people were troubled because they did not know what to do with
the body of Rabbit. One said, "If we bury him, Coyote will surely dig
him up."

Another said, "If we hide him, Coyote will surely find him."

And another said, "If we put him in a tree, Coyote will surely climb

So they decided to burn the body of Rabbit, and yet there was no fire on

Blue Fly said, "Go to Sun and get some of the fire which he keeps in his
house," So Coyote scampered away, but he was sure the people were trying
to get rid of him so he kept looking back.

Then Blue Fly made the first fire drill. Taking a stick like an arrow he
twirled it in his hands, letting the lower end rest on a flat stick that
lay on the ground. Soon smoke began to arise, and then fire came. The
people gathered fuel and began their duty.

But Coyote, looking back, saw fire ascending. He turned and ran back as
fast as he could go. When the people saw him coming, they formed a ring,
but he raced around the circle until he saw two short men standing
together. He jumped over them, and seized the heart of Rabbit. But he
burned his mouth doing it, and it is black to this day.

Coyote and the Rattlesnake
Sia (New Mexico)

Coyote's house was not far from Rattlesnake's home. One morning when
they were out walking together, Coyote said to Rattlesnake,

"To-morrow come to my house."

In the morning Rattlesnake went to Coyote's house. He moved slowly along
the floor, shaking his rattle. Coyote sat at one side, very much
frightened. The movements of the snake and the rattle frightened him.
Coyote had a pot of rabbit meat on the fire, which he placed in front of
the snake, saying,

"Companion, eat."

"I will not eat your meat. I do not understand your food," said

"What food do you eat?"

"I eat the yellow flowers of the corn."

Coyote at once began to search for the yellow corn flowers. When he
found some, Rattlesnake said,

"Put some on top of my head so that I may eat it."

Coyote stood as far off as he could and placed the pollen on the snake's

The snake said, "Come nearer and put enough on my head so that I may
find it."

Coyote was very much afraid, but after a while he came nearer and did as
he was told.

Then the snake went away, saying,

"Companion, to-morrow you come to my house."

"All right," said Coyote. "To-morrow I will come."

Coyote sat down and thought about the morrow. He thought a good deal
about what the snake might do. So he made a small rattle by placing tiny
pebbles in a gourd and fastened it to the end of his tail. He shook it a
while and was much pleased with it.

The next morning he started for the snake's house. He shook the rattle
on the end of his tail and smiled, and said to himself,

"This is good. When I go into Rattlesnake's house, he will be very much
afraid of me."

Coyote did not walk into Snake's house, but moved like a snake. But
Coyote could not shake his rattle as the snake shook his. He had to hold
it in his hand. But when he shook his rattle, the snake seemed much
afraid, and said,

"Companion, I am afraid of you."

Now Rattlesnake had a stew of rats on the fire, and he placed some
before Coyote. But Coyote said,

"I do not understand your food. I cannot eat it because I do not
understand it."

Rattlesnake insisted upon his eating, but Coyote refused. He said,

"If you put some of the flower of the corn on my head, I will eat. I
understand that food."

The snake took some corn pollen, but he pretended to be afraid of Coyote
and stood off some distance. Coyote said,

"Come nearer and place it on top my head."

Snake replied, "I am afraid of you."

Coyote said, "Come nearer. I am not bad."

Then the snake came closer and put the pollen on top of Coyote's head.

But Coyote did not have the long tongue of the snake and he could not
get the pollen off the top of his head. He put out his tongue first on
one side of his nose and then on the other, but he could only reach to
the side of his nose. His efforts made the snake laugh, but the snake
put his hand over his mouth so Coyote should not see him laugh. Really,
the snake hid his head in his body.

At last Coyote went home. As he left the snake's house, he held his tail
in his hand and shook the rattle.

Snake cried, "Oh, companion! I am so afraid of you!" but really the
snake shook with laughter.

When Coyote reached his home he said to himself,

"I was such a fool. Rattlesnake had much food to eat and I would not
take it. Now I am very hungry."

Then he went out in search of food.

Origin of the Saguaro and Palo Verde Cacti
Pima (Arizona)

Once upon a time an old Indian woman had two grandchildren. Every day
she ground wheat and corn between the grinding stones to make porridge
for them. One day as she put the water-olla on the fire outside the
house to heat the water, she told the children not to quarrel because
they might upset the olla. But the children began to quarrel. They upset
the olla and spilled the water and their grandmother spanked them.

Then the children were angry and ran away. They ran far away over the
mountains. The grandmother heard them whistling and she ran after them
and followed them from place to place, but she could not catch up with

At last the older boy said, "I will turn into a saguaro, so that I shall
live forever and bear fruit every summer."

The younger said, "Then I will turn into a palo verde and stand there
forever. These mountains are so bare and have nothing on them but rocks,
I will make them green."

The old woman heard the cactus whistling and recognized the voice of her
grandson. So she went up to it and tried to take the prickly thing into
her arms, but the thorns killed her.

That is how the saguaro and the palo verde came to be on the mountains
and the desert.

The Thirsty Quails
Pima (Arizona)

A Quail once had more than twenty children, and with them she wandered
over the whole country in search of water and could not find it. It was
very hot and they were all crying, "Where can we get some water? Where
can we get some water?" but for a long time they could find none.

At last, way in the north, under a mesquite tree, the mother quail saw a
pond of water, but it was very muddy and not fit to drink. But the
little quails had been wandering so many days and were so tired they
stopped under the shade of the mesquite tree, and by and by, one by one,
they went down to the water and 'drank it. But the water was so bad they
all died.

The Boy and the Beast
Pima (Arizona)

Once an old woman lived with her daughter and son-in-law and their
little boy. They were following the trail of the Apache Indians. Now
whenever a Pima Indian sees the trail of an Apache he draws a ring
around it; then he can catch him sooner. And these Pimas drew circles
around the trail of the Apaches they were following, but one night when
they were asleep, the Apaches came down upon them. They took the man and
younger woman by the hair and shook them out of their skins, just as one
would shake corn out of a sack. So the boy and the old woman were left

Now these two had to live on berries and anything they could find, and
they wandered from place to place. In one place a strange beast, big
enough to swallow people, camped in the bushes near them. The
grand-mother told the boy not to go near these bushes. But the boy took
some sharp stones in his hands, and went toward them. As he came near,
the great monster began to breathe. He began to suck in his breath and
he sucked the boy right into his stomach. But with his sharp stones the
boy began to cut the beast, so that he died. Then the boy made a hole
large enough to climb out of.

When his grandmother came to look for him, the boy met her and said, "I
have killed that monster."

The grandmother said, "Oh, no. Such a little boy as you are to kill such
a great monster!"

The boy said, "But I was inside of him, just look at the stones I cut
him with."

Then the grandmother went softly up to the bushes, and looked at the
monster. It was full of holes, just as the little boy had said.

Then they moved down among the berry bushes and had all they wanted to

Why the Apaches are Fierce
Pima (Arizona)

Elder Brother, Coyote, and Earth Doctor, after the flood vanished, began
to create people and animals. Coyote made all the animals, Elder Brother
made the people, and Earth Doctor made queer creatures which had only
one leg, or immense ears, or many fingers, and some having flames of
fire in their knees.

Elder Brother divided his figures of people into four groups. One of the
Apaches came to life first. He shivered and said, "Oh, it's very cold,"
and began to sway back and forth. Then Elder Brother said, "I did n't
think you would be the first to awake," and he took all the Apaches up
in his hand and threw them over the mountains. That made them angry, and
that is why they have always been so fierce.

Speech on the Warpath
Pima (Arizona)

We have come thus far, my brothers. In the east there is White Gopher,
who gnaws with his strong teeth. He was friendly and came to me. On his
way he came to the surface from the underground four times. Looking in
all four directions, he saw a magic whitish trail. Slowly following
this, he neared the enemy, coming to the surface from the underground
four times during the journey. Their power stood in their land like a
mountain, but he bit it off short, and he sank their springs by biting
them. He saw that the wind of the enemy was strong and he cut it up with
his teeth. He gnawed in short pieces their clouds. They had good dreams
and bright false-seeing, good bow strings and straight-flying reeds, but
these he grasped and bit off short. The different belongings lying about
he took with him, turning around homeward. On his way homeward over the
whitish trail, he came to the surface four times, and magic fire
appeared around the edges. Then he came to his bed. He felt that the
land roared rejoicingly with him.

In the south was Blue Coyote and there I sent my cry. He was friendly
and came to me from his blue darkness, circling around and shouting,
four times, on his journey, making magic fire everywhere. When he
arrived, he looked in four directions, then understood. A whitish magic
trail lay before him. He cast his blue darkness upon the enemy and
slowly approached them, circling around and shouting four times on the
way. Like a mountain was their power in the land, and he sucked it in.
The springs of water under the trees he sucked in. The wind that was
blowing he inhaled. He sucked in the clouds. The people dreamed of a
white thing, and their dreams he sucked in, with their best bow strings
and the straight-flying reeds. All the different belongings which lay
around he gathered and slowly turned back. Hidden in the blue darkness,
he came to me, circling around, shouting, four times on his journey.
Then he homeward took his way, circling, howling, four times, and
shouting reached his bed. With pleasure he felt all directions thud. The
east echoed.

In the sunset direction was Black Kangaroo Mouse, an expert robber. To
him I sent my cry. He was friendly to me and came hidden in black
darkness, sitting down four times upon his way. Magic fire covered the
edges of his trail. When he reached me he looked in all directions. The
magic trail brightly lay before him. He threw black darkness around him
and slowly reached the enemy, sitting down four times upon the trail. He
found a bag of the enemy, with much prized possessions. It was tied one
knot on top of another, but he bit them off. He took from it the blue
necklaces, blue earrings, and the different belongings lying around
gathered up with him. Then he slowly took his way back on the magic
trail, with magic fire everywhere. Hidden in his yellow darkness, he
returned to me. He left the others at the council and in darkness took
his homeward way, resting four times. He sat on his bed and felt all
directions of the earth rustling in the darkness. Darkness lay all

I called on Owl, the white blood-sucker. To him I sent my cry. He was
friendly and came down to me with four thin flys (sailing) on the way.
He looked in all directions. The magic trail brightly before him lay. He
flew, with four thin flys, toward the enemy. The mountain of their power
which stood in the land he bit off short. The springs he bit off, and
their very good dreams. The best bow strings and the straight-flying
reeds he grasped and cut very short. He bit off their flesh and made
holes in their bones. From the things gathered, he made a belt from a
bowstring. Then he returned. He came through the whitish mist of dawn in
four flights. The people held a council. Leaving them there, he after
four thin flys reached his bed in the gray dawn mist. Then in all
directions he heard the darkness rattling, as he lay there.

The Spirit Land
Gallinomero (Russian River, Cal.)

When the flames burn low on the funeral pyres of the Gallinomero, Indian
mourners gather up handfuls of ashes and scatter them high in air. Thus
the good mount up into the air, or go to the Happy Western Land beyond
the Big Water.

But the bad Indians go to an island in the Bitter Waters, an island
naked and barren and desolate, covered only with brine-spattered stone,
swept with cold winds and the biting sea-spray. Here they live always,
breaking stone upon one another, with no food but the broken stones and
no drink but the salt sea water.

Song of the Ghost Dance
Pai Ute (Kern River, Cal.)

               The snow lies there--ro-rani!
               The snow lies there--ro-rani!
               The snow lies there--ro-rani!
               The snow lies there--ro-rani!
                    The Milky Way lies there.
                    The Milky Way lies there.

"This is one of the favorite songs of the Paiute Ghost dance.... It
must be remembered that the dance is held in the open air at night, with
the stars shining down on the wide-extending plain walled in by the
giant Sierras, fringed at the base with dark pines, and with their peaks
white with eternal snows. Under such circumstances this song of the snow
lying white upon the mountains, and the Milky Way stretching across the
clear sky, brings up to the Paiute the same patriotic home love that
comes from lyrics of singing birds and leafy trees and still waters to
the people of more favored regions.... The Milky Way is the road of
the dead to the spirit world."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest" ***

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