Leo J. Frachtenberg
Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 94
Publication Date: 1913
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This is a short collection of texts from the Coos people of Oregon, collected by anthropologists a century ago. This includes origin myths and lore about what lies beyond the sky and death, tales of people who marry anthropomorphic animals, and legends about natural disasters such as floods and fires.
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Two young men were travelling. They stopped in the middle of their journey, (and one of them said,) "How would it be if we two should try it? What do you think about it?"--"It would be good if we two should try it," answered the other one. "We ought to try it with that soot here." They had five pieces (disks) of soot. Now they stopped and dropped one piece into the ocean. The world at that time was without land. Everything was covered with water. Again they dropped one piece (disk). The ocean was rolling over the disk. The next day they dropped another disk. Then they stopped at some small place and dropped another disk into the ocean. They looked at it from above, Now land began to appear, and they saw it. They were very glad when they saw the land coming up.
The next day they dropped another disk. Land began to stick out (come up). They looked frequently at the waves, that rolled back and forth continually. "What is your opinion?" said one of the two men. Shall we try it again?"--"With what shall we try it?" asked the other one. The water was still rolling back and forth. "Let us split this mat." They did so, and placed the two pieces over the five disks of soot. Now they went down to examine it. Still the land was not solid enough. So one of them said, "Let us split this basket in two!" They split it, and put it on the sand beach. The waves were held back now, since the water was able to go down through the basket. Now the young men went down and examined the land. "This will do," said one of them. "It's good that way."
Now they began to look around the world which they had created. There were no trees. "Suppose we set up some trees," said one of them. "It would be very good," answered the other one. Then they stuck into the ground the feathers of an eagle. The feathers began to grow, and developed soon into fir-trees. "All kinds of trees shall grow," said the older man. All the different kinds of trees commenced to grow. "Suppose we create animals," said one of the young men. "It won't be good if there shouldn't be any animals. The future generations ought to have animals." (Then they created animals.)
Early in the morning they went to look at the world they had created. Suddenly they saw tracks on the ocean beach. "Whose tracks may these be?" asked one of them. They followed the tracks, and soon came upon a person sitting (on the top of a snag). "You, indeed, must have made these tracks. Who are you?"--"I am a medicine-man," answered the person whose face was painted all over with red paint. "You have no right to travel here. This is our world, we have made it. Are you surely a medicine-man?" They seized the stranger and killed him. Then they spilled his blood in all directions, and said to him, "You will be nothing, the last generation shall see you."
Then they turned back. Suddenly one of them became pregnant. The child could not come out. "What will become of us? We ought to have wives." None of them had done anything; nevertheless he became pregnant. The child was all the time trying to come out, but could not do it. So they sent some one to the north, and told him, "There is a man living there. He is a good man. Bring him here." Some one went to get him. They went out in a canoe. To their surprise, there were no waves. So they wished that waves would come. "Five times shall the north wind come and (bring) five breakers." And so it was. They were waiting for the fifth wave. And when this came, they went ashore. (They found the man, and brought him to the pregnant person.) As soon as he saw the pregnant man, he took out the child. It was a girl. From this girl all the people took their origin. She caused the people to multiply, and to inhabit the world.
Now the young men continued their journey. They once more examined the world which they had created, and found it to be good. Everything began to assume its present appearance. They both had bows. "How would it be if we should shoot towards the sky?" Indeed, they began to shoot. They looked at their arrows as they were shooting them. "You too ought to shoot one arrow," said one of the young men. "Shoot it so that it shall hit the shaft of mine, and it will look as if it were one arrow; but don't shoot too hard!" He shot and hit it. "Shoot again!" Their arrows became joined, and reached down to the place where they were standing. "Suppose we climb up now!"--"All right!" They shook the, arrows. "Are they firm? Won't they come apart?--Now you try to climb up!" He climbed up. "This is very good indeed." Then the other man climbed up. They looked down, and saw the beautiful appearance of the world which they had created. Nobody knows what became of the two young men. Here the story ends.
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