Achomawi and Atsugewi Tales
and Achomawi Myths
First published in 1909.
This online edition was created and published by Global Grey on the 17th November 2021.
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Table of Contents
Achomawi And Atsugewi Tales By Roland B. Dixon
THE following myths were secured during the summers of 1900 and 1903, while engaged in work among the tribes of northeastern California for the Huntington Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History. Some were secured in text, but nearly half were obtained only in brief form in English. The last myths are from the Atsugewi or Hat Creek Indians, the remainder from the Achomawi or Pit River tribe. Both tribes form part of the Shastan stock, of which the Shasta are perhaps the best-known members. My chief informants were, among the former Charley Snook, and among the latter Charley Green and "Old Wool."
1. Creation Myth (Achomawi)
In the beginning all was water. In all directions the sky was clear and unobstructed. A cloud formed in the sky, grew lumpy, and turned into Coyote. Then a fog arose, grew lumpy, and became Silver-Fox. They became persons. Then they thought. They thought a canoe, and they said, "Let us stay here, let us make it our home." Then they floated about, for many years they floated; and the canoe became old and mossy, and they grew weary of it.
"Do you go and lie down," said Silver-Fox to Coyote, and he did so. While he slept, Silver-Fox combed his hair, and the combings he saved. When there was much of them, he rolled them in his hands, stretched them out, and flattened them between his hands. When he had done this, he laid them upon the water and spread them out, till they covered all the surface of the water. Then he thought, "There should be a tree," and it was there. And he did the same way with shrubs and with rocks, and weighted the film down with stones, so that the film did not wave and rise in ripples as it floated in the wind. And thus he made it, that it was just right, this that was to be the world. And then the canoe floated gently up to the edge, and it was the world. Then he cried to Coyote, "Wake up! We are going to sink!" And Coyote woke, and looked up; and over his head, as he lay, hung cherries and plums; and from the surface of the world he heard crickets chirping. And at once Coyote began to cat the cherries and the plums, and the crickets also.
After a time Coyote said, "Where are we? What place is this that we have come to?" And Silver-Fox replied, "I do not know. We are just here. We floated up to the shore." Still all the time he knew; but he denied that he had made the world. He did not want Coyote to know that the world was his creation. Then Silver-Fox said, "What shall we do? Here is solid ground. I am going ashore, and am going to live here." So they landed, and built a sweat-house and lived in it. They thought about making people; and after a time, they made little sticks of service-berry, and they thrust them all about into the roof of the house on the inside. And by and by all became people of different sorts, birds and animals and fish, all but the deer, and he was as the deer are to-day. And Pine-Marten was the chief of the people; and Eagle was the woman chief, for she was Pine-Marten's sister. And this happened at Ilā'texcagēwa.
And people went out to hunt from the sweat-house. And they killed deer, and brought them home, and had plenty to eat. Arrows with pine-bark points were what they used then, it is said, for there was no obsidian. And Ground-Squirrel, of all the people, he only knew where obsidian could be found. So he went to steal it. To Medicine Lake he went, for there Obsidian-Old-Man lived, in a big sweat-house. And Ground-Squirrel went in, taking with him roots in a basket of tules. And he gave the old man some to eat; and he liked them so much, that he sent Ground-Squirrel out to get more. But while he was digging them Grizzly-Bear came, and said, "Sit down! Let me sit in your lap. Feed me those roots by handfuls." So Ground-Squirrel sat down, and fed Grizzly-Bear as he had asked, for he was afraid. Then Grizzly-Bear said, "Obsidian-Old-Man's mother cleaned roots for some one," and went away. Ground-Squirrel went back to the sweat-house, but had few roots, for Grizzly-Bear had eaten so many. Then he gave them to the old man, and told him what the bear had said about him, and how he had robbed him of the roots. Then Obsidian-Old-Man was angry. "To-morrow we will go," he said, Then they slept. In the morning they ate breakfast early and went off, and the old man said that Ground-Squirrel should go and dig more roots, and that he would wait, and watch for Grizzly-Bear. So Ground-Squirrel went and dug; and when the basket was filled, Grizzly-Bear came, and said, "You have dug all these for me. Sit down!" So Ground-Squirrel sat down, and fed Grizzly-Bear roots by the handful. But Obsidian-Old-Man had come near. And Grizzly-Bear got up to fight, and he struck at the old man; but he turned his side to the blow, and Grizzly-Bear merely cut off a great slice of his own flesh. And he kept on fighting, till he was all cut to pieces, and fell dead. Then Ground-Squirrel and Obsidian-Old-Man went home to the sweat-house, and built a fire, and ate the roots, and were happy. Then the old man went to sleep.
In the morning Obsidian-Old-Man woke up, and heard Ground-Squirrel groaning. He said, "I am sick. I am bruised because that great fellow sat upon me. Really, I am sick." Then Obsidian-Old-Man was sorry, but Ground-Squirrel was fooling the old man. After a while the old man said, "I will go and get wood. I'll watch him, for perhaps he is fooling me. These people are very clever." Then he went for wood; and he thought as he went, "I had better go back and look." So he went back softly, and peeped in; but Ground-Squirrel lay there quiet, and groaned, and now and then he vomited up green substances. Then Obsidian-Old -Man thought, "He is really sick," and he went off to get more wood; but Ground-Squirrel was really fooling, for he wanted to steal obsidian. When the old man had gotten far away, Ground-Squirrel got up, poured out the finished obsidian points, and pulled out a knife from the wall, did them up in a bundle, and ran off with them. When the old man came back, he carried a heavy load of wood; and as soon as he entered the sweat-house, he missed Ground-Squirrel. So he dropped the wood and ran after him. He almost caught him, when Ground-Squirrel ran into a hole, and, as he went, kicked the earth into the eyes of the old man, who dug fast, trying to catch him. Soon Ground-Squirrel ran out of the other end of the hole; and then the old man gave chase again, but again Ground-Squirrel darted into a hole; and after missing him again, Obsidian-Old-Man gave up, and went home.
Ground-Squirrel crossed the river and left his load of arrow-points, and came back to the house and sat down in his seat. He and Cocoon slept together. Then his friend said, "Where have you been?" And Ground-Squirrel replied, "I went to get a knife and to get good arrow-points. We had none." Then the people began to come back with deer. And when they cooked their meat, they put it on the fire in lumps; but Ground-Squirrel and Cocoon cut theirs in thin slices, and so cooked it nicely. And Weasel saw this, and they told him about how the knife had been secured. In the morning Ground-Squirrel went and brought back the bundle of points he had hidden, and handed it down through the smoke-hole to Wolf. Then he poured out the points on the ground, and distributed them to every one, and all day long people worked, tying them onto arrows. So they threw away all the old arrows with bark points; and when they went hunting, they killed many deer.
2. The Making Of Daylight (Achomawi)
In the beginning it was always dark. Darkness was a woman, who had two daughters, and came from the eastward to gamble with Wildcat. She reached Wildcat's house at night, and after supper began to talk about gambling, saying, "I never came here before. I came to gamble." The others present advised Wildcat to play: so all the preparations were made, and, sitting on either side of the fire, they began to play. Darkness bet her two daughters against all the people which Wildcat had. Darkness wanted Wildcat to bet her husband, Chicken-Hawk, but she did not wish to. Finally, on Coyote's advice, she bet him as chief first. Then they began to play, Coyote helping to sing. He thought the game was going favorably, and that Wildcat would win the two girls, and that he would get them for wives. But just as she almost won, Darkness beat her, and, taking Coyote, broke him in two and threw him outside. Darkness then threatened to "stay dark all the time" unless Wildcat would bet her husband, as Darkness wanted him for a husband for her daughters. Wildcat refused, and bet other people in the house. All but three offered themselves to be bet. These were Rabbit, Weasel, and Caterpillar. Finally all were lost to Darkness but these; and then Caterpillar said, "Bet me," and he came near where Wildcat sat. They were gambling with a small slippery thing like ice, instead of the usual gambling-bone. Caterpillar began to sing, and to win. Pretty soon all but one of Darkness' counters were gone, and she began to be afraid. She was afraid of the smooth gambling-stick. Caterpillar told her to sit still, as she was moving about nervously. Suddenly he slid the gambling-stick across at her, and, entering her body, it caused her to burst. Then Caterpillar took her body and threw it outside.
The two girls were sitting there crying. One of them was going to gamble. She told Caterpillar to deal, but he refused. So she began, and won until Caterpillar had only one counter left. Then he began to win, and finally killed her just as he had her mother. He then threw her body outside. Only the youngest sister was left. Caterpillar told her not to cry, as he was not crying, although all his people were lost. They played and played, and, as before, Caterpillar killed her by the same trick. Then Caterpillar said, "In after time, people will say that I was the one who won my people back."
Still, however, it was dark. So Lizard set to work to try to make light. He went over to Big-Lizard's house, and took a light with him. He told Big-Lizard all about what had happened, and told him that he and Caterpillar and Rabbit were the only ones left. Then Lizard put on his cap and began to dance. His cap was made of a grizzly-bear's head. Rabbit was talking, singing, while Lizard was dancing near the house-post. By and by it began to grow light. Lizard made daylight come by dancing. Rabbit said, "That is what people will say; that is what people must say, 'Daylight is coming."' Lizard's grandmother was sitting there, and she sang, "Daylight is coming, daylight is coming!" Then she made a mistake, and sang about a man. Lizard was angry, and said, "You are always thinking about men." His grandmother answered, "I meant to sing properly, but my teeth are all gone, and so I made a mistake." Lizard then told Rabbit to go out and see where light was coming. He went up and looked, and, looking to the east, saw the dawn and heard the birds singing. He came back and said, "I did not see anything." By and by he went up again, after Lizard had danced some more. This time daylight had come. All over the world people woke up, and made a noise. Then Lizard stopped dancing. He told people to open the doors, to build a fire and go out. It was spring-time, and sunflowers were ripening. All the people came out and talked about Lizard's having made the light.
3. Hawk-Man (Achomawi)
Sun had a wife, Shell-Woman. She said to her husband, "There are two chiefs living over there. Let our children go and marry them." So Sun agreed; and Shell-Woman said, "Now, go ye! There are many chiefs there. They have much to eat. Ye must go to Pine-Marten. He is the best." Then the sisters got ready, put in their pack-baskets of shell, salmon and acorn-bread and manzanita-berries for food, and came from the west hitherward, across the Fall River. As they came around the point of woods in the valley, Coyote was burning down a tree, and saw them, The youngest sister knew at once who he was, but the oldest fell in love at once. The youngest said, "Go on! Don't stop! That is Coyote." Then Coyote said to himself, "I wish that she should not know who I am," and ran ahead, calling for all kinds of fine clothing to come to him. At once they were there, at his hand, and, putting them on, he disguised himself so that he looked different, covering up a dimple which he had. But when he again met the sisters, the youngest knew him again at once. She said, "Go on! Don't stop! That is Coyote." So they went on.
By and by they saw smoke rising. "Some one lives there. Let us go and visit, and find out where to go." So they went, and found in the house Hawk-Man. He was a shaman, and lay with his back to the fire. "Where do you come from?" he said. "Where are you going?"--"Our father and mother told us to go to Plat?thtau'ika," said the oldest, "to the Pine-Marten brothers, who defecate only dentalia. To them they told us to go."--"Ah!" said Hawk-Man, "I think they must have meant me. I am Hawk-Man, and I defecate only beads. I am a chief. I go out to hunt, and send my people out to hunt and get wood. What kind of a house did your father say this man lived in to whom you were going?" Then the oldest sister said, "At the house there is a post on which hangs a bear-hide, they told us."--"Yes," said Hawk-Man, "I am the one they meant. The bear-hide hangs there. Wait a moment, I will prove to you that I am the one. Hold out your caps." Then they held out their caps, and he ran up and defecated in them. He defecated rattles into the caps. Then he said, "Close your eyes," and they did so; and when they heard the rattling, they thought it was dentalia, And Hawk-Man said, "Let us go!" and they said, "Yes."
They put on their packs and started. "Do ye go slowly. I will go on ahead." So they went; and he hurried on, and reached there first. The post with the bear-hide was standing outside the door of the house opposite his, and so he quickly pulled it up and set it by his door. Then the sisters arrived, and saw the post and the hide, and went at once to his house and took off their packs. Now, Hawk-Man had a wife; and he told her to go over and sit on the opposite side of the house, and not to call him husband, but son. And she promised. When the sisters came in, Hawk-Man told them to sit in the wife's place, and they did. Then people came, bringing deer, and piled it up, and sent a boy to Hawk-Man's to call him. When the boy came, Hawk-Man made a noise with some dried grass, so that the sisters should not hear what the boy said. Then he told them that he had to go out to divide up the meat. "I only took what I wanted for myself before, for I had no wife," he said. "‘Now I shall have to bring more." So he went out, and took a basket with him. Going over to where the people were, he sat down, and opened his mouth. As they ate their meat, they tossed the bones to him, and he swallowed them; while they joked him, saying, "Did you hear that some girls were coming to marry you?" Then they laughed. After they had finished, he went off, sat down behind the house, and sliced the flesh off of his thighs, and put it into the basket. He carried it back, and his wives cooked the meat; and although it smelled and tasted very badly, yet they ate it, thinking it was deer. Then they went to sleep. In the morning he went off, as he said, to hunt, but instead cut off more of his flesh, and put it and his entrails into the basket. In the evening when he got back, his wives again cooked the meat, and ate. Again the boy came and called him to come out, and, as before, he made a noise so that the women should not hear. He went out, and the people threw him bones, taunting him as they had the previous night. Meanwhile the youngest sister crawled softly after him, and saw what was going on, and came back and told her sister. "You always do what you want. You will not take advice. I know that the chief we were to marry lives opposite. This man we live with came on ahead of us, he took down the bear-hide, and brought it over here." Then Hawk-Man came in again with his basket of flesh, but they would not eat any.
In the morning he went off to hunt again. Then the two sisters destroyed their children, dressed themselves up finely, took their baskets, and went out. They went across to the other house, and, going in, sat down by Pine-Marten's side. By and by the people came in from the hunt, and brought deer. They skinned and cut it up, cooked it, and ate supper. Weasel, however, did not like it that these two women, Hawk-Man's wives, should sit by his brother Pine-Marten. But Marten just sat there and said nothing, but smoked marrow all the time. Meanwhile Hawk-Man came back, and found that his wives had gone. He grew very angry, and at once put on his shaman's ornaments, and began to dance, and to sing, "Kētj kētja wi'nīno, ketj ketja wi'nīno." At once it began to rain. Only Weasel noticed it and spoke of it. All night it poured. The water rose higher and higher till it ran in at the door. "Tell them to go back, these two women! That Hawk-Man will kill us, he will drown us." But Pine-Marten said nothing until morning. Then he said, "I do not like this. Where is a brave man? I want him to go over and kill Hawk-Man." So a man got up and went over, taking a knife and a shield. Meanwhile Hawk-Man was dancing harder and harder, and at every leap his head came up through the smoke-hole. The man crept nearer and nearer, and finally struck Hawk-Man and cut off his head. And at once the rain stopped, and the cloud cleared away, and the water sank. Then the people said to each other, "If a shaman is bad, we will kill him. That is how it shall be." Then they went off to hunt.
4. Search For Fire (Achomawi)
After Hawk had been killed, and the flood had subsided, people found that all fires were put out all over the world. Nothing could be cooked, but for a time people did not trouble about it. Then after a few days they began to talk about it, and sent Owl to Mount Shasta to look all over the world and see if he could find any trace of fire. Owl took a feather blanket and went. Lizard watched him go, and told the people how he was getting on. After a while, when Owl did not come back, people thought he was dead. But Lizard said, "Sh! I can still see him." Owl got to the top at last, very tired, and wet with sweat. Lizard saw him look all about. He looked west twice, and there saw smoke coming from a sweat-house. After a while Owl came down from the mountain, and, coming back, told people what he had seen.
Next morning all got ready and went off to the west, to where the smoke had been seen. Every one had a cedar-bark torch. Dog had some punk hidden in his car. Late in the evening they arrived at the house, and asked to be allowed to warm their hands. Dog held his ear down, and fire caught in the punk. Then every one thrust their torches into the fire, and ran. The people in the house were angry, and struck at them as they ran off. Coyote's fire gave out first, then another's and another's, until finally all were out except that which Dog had in his ears. The people who owned fire had made it rain, and this put out the people's torches. No one knew that Dog had fire. They got home and were much troubled, for they thought the fire had all been lost. Dog was laughing, and said, "I am sweating." Coyote got angry at this, and said, "Hit him! Knock him out!" Then Dog said to Fox, "Look in my ear." When he did so, he saw the fire. He took out the punk, made fire from it, and so people got fire again.
5. Loon-Woman (Achomawi)
Loon-Woman wanted a husband. She wished to marry Wildcat. He was a treasure, something that was kept in a sack hung up in the house, and no one ever touched it or saw him. So she asked the people to take down the sack, but they were afraid. Then Pine-Marten, who was the chief, said, "Take it down;" and they did so, and gave Wildcat to her. So Wildcat and Loon-Woman went away together toward the sunset; and when night came, they stopped and camped. Early in the morning Wildcat, being weary, rose from his bed while Loon-Woman still slept, and went back to where his people lived. Then they took him and put him back in the sack, and tied it up, and put it under the roof where it had been before.
By and by Loon-Woman awoke, and missed her husband, and was angry. She rolled about on the ground, crying, "Oh, oh!" and as she did so, fire burst out from beneath her; and as it blazed, it cried, "Tup, tup, tup!" Then the ground burst open, and there was a great canyon there. Loon-Woman walked about, saying all the time, "Oho, oho, oho!" and always the fire blazed up, and all the earth was burned. The rocks cracked and split, and the ground turned red.
The people in the house where Wildcat was began to be afraid as Loon-Woman came nearer; and they sat about, hanging their heads. Then Cocoon-Man spoke, and said, "Why do you sit hanging your heads? Why don't you kill her? A little while ago you killed Hawk-Man when he tried to drown you. You are strong only in talk." Then the people and the chief thought what they could do. The Mice brothers took rye-grass and spliced it together, and shot it with an arrow into the sky, so that the rye-grass cord hung down to the earth, and came in through the smoke-hole. Then all the people began to climb up away from the earth. Coyote was snuffling "Hs, hs, hs!" for he was sorry to leave his daughter Loon-Woman behind. And as he climbed he looked down, and the rope broke just as he was almost up to the sky; and all the people fell back to the earth, falling into the midst of the blazing house which they had escaped from. Loon-Woman saw them fall, and hurried to make a net, that she might catch their hearts as they burst. One by one the hearts flew out; and Loon-Woman caught them, and threaded them on a cord, and put them about her neck for a necklace. Some of the hearts she did not keep, however, but gave them to Silver-Fox. Then she ran away, and travelled all over the world. Her sister, Eagle-Woman, searched everywhere for her, for she wanted to get the hearts, that she might restore the people to life. As she sought, she kicked up the earth, and so the mountains were made. Finally she secured the hearts, [*] and brought them back to where the house had been. She rebuilt the house, and then put the hearts in water, in the river; and at daybreak they came to life, and the people came trooping back into the house. Then Silver-Fox named them, and told them to go away and spread all over the world, and said where each was to live. And to every one he gave his cry, and he painted them with their colors, and they went away, some in one direction, some in another.
[*]How this came about is not stated. The latter portion, as well as much of the tale, is very incomplete, and obviously abbreviated. It is said that up to the end of this story, all the events of creation move in an orderly manner in one connected series. After the animals, however, had been dispersed in this way, there is no longer any definite series, and the many stories told of their subsequent doings are without sequence.
6. The Lost Brother (Achomawi)
Fisher and his brother Weasel were living together. One day Lizard stole Weasel, and carried him off, and Fisher hunted in vain for him. As he went about searching, he kicked up the earth, and so made the mountains. One day some Mice came to Fisher's house as he lay asleep. They came to get some meat from a deer he had killed. They cried and talked at the same time, throwing dust in their eyes for grief. Fisher gave the Mice some meat, and told them how his brother had been stolen by Lizard while gathering wood. The Mice said that they thought he could find his brother again somehow. Then Fisher asked them to help, to go and ask Sun where he was. He promised to give them feathers and beads and paint to give Sun. The Mice agreed to go, and, taking a long cord, tied it to an arrow and shot it up to the sky, where it stuck firmly. Fisher then gave them the gifts he had promised, told them to ask Sun if he had seen where Weasel was, for he could see all over the world. If Sun did not answer at first, they were not to be discouraged, but to go on ahead of him along the road he travelled in the sky, and ask him again.
The Mice started, and climbed up to the sky, to the road on which Sun travelled. He came along, carrying his daughter on his back in a basket. The Mice asked him to stop, said that they had come to see him, and had brought presents from Fisher, who wished to know where his brother had been taken to. Sun did not answer, but walked steadily on. So the Mice ran ahead and asked again, and then Sun stopped. He said he could not see Weasel, but that a man lived far away at Baiwa, that he had no children, yet he could see him with a little white boy, which might be Weasel. The Mice said that they were sure it was, and gave the gifts to Sun, after which they came back down the rope to Fisher's house.
The Mice told Fisher all that they had done, and said that Sun had said that Lizard had a small boy with him, who might be Weasel. Fisher thanked them, and sent them away. He felt happy, for he knew where his brother was. He built a fire, took out his arrows and dried them, and in the morning started off to where Lizard lived. Lizard went out to catch ducks; and when he left, he told Weasel to stay behind in the house and watch his bow and arrows. As Fisher came near, he caused trees to grow in front of him to conceal his approach. Weasel had gone out to get some wood, and saw his brother. He was glad to find him; and they talked together, and decided how to escape. Weasel made a great fire in the house, and then took Lizard's bow and arrows and threw them in, then joined Fisher, and the two ran off. Lizard was looking back, and saw the big fire in his house, and came back in a hurry to see what was the trouble. He found his weapons burned, all but a few arrows. These he took, and started after the two brothers. They and Lizard travelled very fast, as they snapped themselves from one mountain-top to another by means of an arrow-flaker. Fisher tried to escape, but Lizard always got in front of him. So at last they fought. Fisher put Weasel in his quiver and fought as hard as he could, but by and by got very tired. Every now and then Weasel would pop his head out and say, "He nearly hit you then! Be careful, brother!" Toward sundown Fisher was very tired, and looked to see where Bluejay was. He was out stalking deer with a deer-head on as disguise, and, seeing deer, he was creeping up on them, and did not see the conflict. The deer were startled by it, however, and ran; and Bluejay, looking up, saw Fisher retreating backwards toward him. Bluejay was an older brother of Fisher's, and came to his aid, and succeeded in hitting Lizard in the belly, when he burst in two and was killed. Then Fisher stood up, and wiped the sweat from him, and went home with Bluejay and Weasel.
7. Bluejay And Lizard And The Grizzly-Bears (Achomawi)
Some Grizzly-Bears lived in a sweat-house near where Bluejay and Lizard lived. These latter had all kinds of food stored in bags of tule. The Grizzly-Bears had only acorns, and used to have to go to the other house to get salmon and meat. A Grizzly-Bear went over at sundown and sat down, saying, "I was sent over for scraps;" then Bluejay would say, "All right, get out some salmon," and Lizard would give Grizzly-Bear a large pile of it. When he got back home, the others would say, "They always give us a lot." In the morning another Grizzly went, and came back with a huge basket of pine-nuts; and in the evening then another would go, to get a lot of sunflower-seeds. In this way Bluejay and Lizard gave away all the food they had, and began to get hungry. Lizard, however, had been afraid that this would happen, so he had hidden ten salmon under his pillow while Bluejay had gone after wood one day. When all the rest of the food was gone, Lizard produced this reserve supply, and the two lived on this for a time. The Grizzly-Bears had saved much of the food they had begged, and feasted while the others were starving. The Grizzly-Bears hoped the others would die.
Bluejay soon got very weak, but Lizard was still able to get about. One day Lizard covered up the coals with ashes in their house, closed the smoke-hole, and, taking his knife, crept over to the house where the Grizzly-Bears were, all asleep. Lizard looked in and saw all the food they had there in storage. Then he went into the house, picked out the largest Grizzly-Bear, crawled into his anus, and cut out his heart. He brought the heart out, then skinned the body of the bear, the others meanwhile sleeping on. Lizard baked the liver quickly in the ashes, and ate it, then, leaning a pole up against the door, he walked on this, so that the Grizzly-Bears could not see his tracks. He took all the Grizzly-Bear meat home with him, and one basket of acorns. He found Bluejay almost dead; but he cooked some meat, and gave him some, and, after getting a little stronger, he was able to eat a great deal; and the two ate nearly all night.
In the morning the Grizzly-Bears woke up, and missed one of their number, but thought he had merely gone out of the house for a time. So they were not worried, but built a fire and sweated. Lizard and Bluejay kept quiet in their house, and did not move out. Every night Lizard did the same thing, killing one of the Bears until he had killed four of them,--two on each side of the door as they slept. The Grizzly-Bears did not suspect what the trouble was, for they thought both Lizard and Bluejay were dead. Thus Lizard and Bluejay lived through the winter.
8. Silver-Fox And Coyote (Achomawi)
Silver-Fox and Coyote lived together. Silver-Fox gathered some service-berry sticks, and whittled them down nicely, working all night. The shavings were to be made into common people; the finished sticks, into the best kind of people. About sunset the next day he was ready to make them alive. They turned into people; and Silver-Fox sent them away, some in one direction, some in another. Then he and Coyote had a big feast. Coyote wanted to imitate the deed, and so copied everything he had seen Silver-Fox do. just as before, the sticks and the shavings became people just about sunset. As soon as this happened, Coyote ran after some of the women, and after a chase caught them; but as soon as he touched them, they turned back into sticks and shavings.
9. The Mole And The Sun (Achomawi)
Once the Sun fell down from the sky just about sunrise. Mole caught it, and held it up until people got there and helped him to shove it back. The Sun had meant to roll along on the ground instead of in the sky. It was from holding up the Sun that Mole's hands are bent so far back.
10. Coyote And Cloud (Achomawi)
Coyote and Cloud ran a race. Cloud bet storm, and Coyote clear weather. They started far away to the south, and for a while Coyote was in the lead. Then Cloud made fruits of all kinds to grow in front of Coyote; and he, looking back and seeing Cloud far behind, stopped to eat. In this way Cloud caught up and won. This is why we have storms in winter-time.
11. Creation Myth (Atsugewi)
In the beginning there was nothing but water. Coyote and Silver-Fox lived above in the sky, where there was a world Eke this one. Silver-Fox was anxious to make things, but Coyote was opposed to the plan. Finally Silver-Fox got tired of Coyote's opposition, and sent him off one day to get wood. While he was gone, Silver-Fox took an arrow-flaker and made a hole through the upper world, and looked down on the sea below. When Coyote came back, Silver-Fox did not tell him about the hole he had made. Next day he sent Coyote off again for wood; and in his absence Silver-Fox thrust down the arrow-flaker, and found that it reached to the water, and down to the bottom even. So he descended; and as he came near the surface of the water, he made a small round island, on which he stayed. When Coyote returned, he could not find Silver-Fox, and, after hunting for a long time, began to feel remorse. Finally he found the hole, and peeped through, seeing Silver-Fox far below on the island. He called down that he was sorry he had acted as he had, and asked how to get down. Receiving no reply, he said that Silver-Fox ought not to treat him this way; and after a while the latter put up the arrow-flaker, and Coyote came down.
The island was very small, and there was not room enough for Coyote to stretch out. For some time they slept, and when they woke were very hungry, as there was no food to be had. For five days things continued thus, Silver-Fox finally giving Coyote some sunflower-seeds. This pleased him much, and he asked where they came from, but received no answer. After five days more, Silver-Fox made the island a little larger, so that Coyote could have room to stretch out. At last he could be comfortable, and went fast asleep. At once Silver-Fox got up, dressed himself up finely, and smoked awhile, and then made a big sweat-house. When it was all done, he woke Coyote, and the latter was much surprised to find the house there. Silver-Fox then told Coyote to sweep out the house, spread grass down on the floor, and go to sleep again. He did so, and then Silver-Fox dressed up again, putting on a finely-beaded (?) shirt and leggings, and sang and smoked some more. Then, going outside, he pushed with his foot, and stretched the earth out in all directions, first to the east, then to the north, then to the west, and last to the south. For five nights he repeated this performance, until the world became as large as it is to-day. Each day Silver-Fox told Coyote to run around the edge, and see how large it was getting. At first he was able to do this very quickly; but after the last time he grew old and gray before he got back. Then Silver-Fox made trees and springs, and fixed the world up nicely. He also made all kinds of animals merely by thinking them. These animals, however, were like people.
When the world was all made, Coyote asked what they were going to have for food, but Silver-Fox did not reply. Coyote then said that he thought there ought to be ten moons of winter in the year, to which Silver-Fox replied that there would not be enough food for so long a winter. Coyote declared it would be better not to have much food, that people could make soup out of dirt. To this he received no answer. Silver-Fox then said that it was not right that there should be ten moons, that two were enough, and that people could then eat sunflower-seeds, roots, and berries. Coyote repeated what he had said before, and they argued about it for a long time. Finally Silver-Fox said, "You talk too much! I'm going to make four moons for the whole year. I won't talk about it any more. There are going to be two moons of winter, and one of spring, and one of autumn. That's enough." They, Silver-Fox said, "When people get married, they will have children by taking a dentalium-shell and putting it between them, or a disk-bead: the one win make a boy, the other a girl." Coyote replied, "Hm! That's not the right way. It will be better for people to get married: they will not be satisfied any other way. People must live as man and wife: they ought not to do as you said." Silver-Fox did not want to argue the matter; and finally, after repeating what he said before, he yielded to Coyote, and said, "Let it be as you say."
Silver-Fox then went out to get some pine-nuts. He climbed a tree and shook the branches, and the nuts fell down already shelled and ready to eat. He filled a basket with them, and brought them in. Coyote had gone to get wood; and when he got back, Silver-Fox divided the pine-nuts, and gave him half. Silver-Fox ate only part of his, and put the rest away; but Coyote ate nearly all night, going out and defecating, and then returning and eating more, until he had finished them. Next morning Silver-Fox went out and looked for pines having large "witch-brooms" on them. When he found one, he would set fire to it, then walk away looking constantly on the ground, and a grouse would straightway fall out of the tree. Then he placed them in a basket, and brought them back to the house. Coyote wanted to begin eating at once, and helped him in with his load. As before, Coyote ate all his share up, whereas Silver-Fox kept most of his.
Next day Coyote asked Silver-Fox how he got his pine-nuts. He told him to go to a tree, scrape the brush away, climb up, and then shake the boughs with his foot. Coyote thought he could do this, so went out to try. He was successful, but, on coming down, ate up all the nuts. Then he went to another tree and attempted to repeat the process; but this time no nuts fell, and Coyote himself lost his footing, and was badly hurt by the fall. He came back to the house with his neck bent to one side, and in great pain. Silver-Fox knew all that had been going on, but said nothing. After a while Coyote told him what had happened.
The next day Coyote asked how the grouse had been secured, and Silver-Fox told him to set fire to the tree, and then sit with his back to the trunk, and not look up. So Coyote went off to get grouse. He was successful in his attempt, but opened his eyes and looked up, and saw the grouse falling. When he had picked them all up, he cooked and ate them on the spot, and then went to another tree to repeat the process. This time, however, it was burning branches that fell, and they hit him and burned him badly. So he ran away back to the house, crying. Silver-Fox gave him some of his food, however.
In the morning Silver-Fox went out, and, going up to a cedar-tree, pulled off the boughs, which became a sort of camas (?). He brought back a great load of these; and when he got back, as before, Coyote ate all his share at once. He then asked how to get them, and was told to make a long hook and pull the limbs off, but to keep his eyes shut all the time. As in the other cases, Coyote was very successful the first time, and ate all the roots up. When he tried to repeat the plan, however, only big limbs came down, and hit him on the head.
By and by Silver-Fox went rabbit-hunting. He built a brush fence, and drove the rabbits into it, where they all piled up. Then he killed them with a club, and carried them to the house. Just as before, Coyote ate up all his share at once. Silver-Fox could not prevent Coyote from eating up all there was in the house, except by not letting him know when he was eating. He would put pine-nuts in a milkweed-stem, and pretend to be making cord, whereas in reality he was eating the nuts. Coyote soon suspected, and asked Silver-Fox to let him help make string. He agreed, but gave Coyote the stems without any nuts in them. Next night Coyote pretended to sleep, and so caught Silver-Fox putting the nuts in the stems. He jumped up and seized Silver-Fox; but the latter swallowed quickly, and when he opened his mouth there were no nuts there. He told Coyote that before people ate nuts, they would put them in a basket, and Coyote believed him. Silver-Fox then went out to get more milkweed, as he said; and while he was gone, Coyote took a large stone and struck the roof-beams, trying to find where Silver-Fox had hidden the nuts. Finally he found the right one, and the nuts began to pour down. He called out, "Stop! That is enough. I am a chief! That is enough." But the nuts kept falling, and by and by there was a huge pile there. Then Coyote said, "Let big baskets come! " and they were there; and he gathered up the nuts, and put them in the baskets, and then ate and ate all the nuts he could. Then he brought in some wood, and was going to say that the nuts fell down when he threw in the wood, as he had hit the beam by accident. just then Silver-Fox came in with a lot of milkweed, and began to make string. Coyote told him his story, and said that he had been scared when the nuts began to fall, that it was not right to put them in the roof-beams, but in baskets as he had now done. Silver-Fox, however, did not reply, until he said, "You eat on that side of the house, and I will eat on this." Then he went on making string; while Coyote, after eating all he could, went to sleep.
When he had finished making string, Silver-Fox got up softly, and measured Coyote's nose. Then he sat down and began to make a net. He had to measure again pretty soon; and then Coyote woke up, and asked what was the trouble. Silver-Fox said that he was only blowing ashes off Coyote's face, so he went to sleep again. Coyote woke up again later, and asked Silver-Fox what he was doing; and he said that he was making a net to catch rabbits in, so Coyote went to sleep once more. Finally the net was complete, and then Silver-Fox told Coyote to eat breakfast, to eat a big breakfast, and then they would go out and get rabbits. They started out, Silver-Fox carrying a big club. Coyote asked why he took so large a one, but Silver-Fox said that it was the right size. By and by Silver-Fox set up the net, and showed Coyote where it was. Then Silver-Fox said, "Now you run off. When you get a little distance away, shut your eyes, and run as fast as you can." Coyote said that he would do so, and started off; and then quickly Silver-Fox took up the net, and put it where Coyote would run into it. Pretty soon Coyote came in sight, driving the rabbits slowly; and when he got only a little ways off, he shut his eyes, and ran as fast as he could. He ran squarely into the net, and this drew up; and Silver-Fox then rushed up and struck him with the club. Coyote cried out, "You are hitting me!" and Silver-Fox said, "Yes, don't mind that." He kept on hitting him until he had killed him. Then he went back to the house, and started off over the world; and wherever Coyote had urinated, Silver-Fox scraped up the ground and smoothed it over nicely. He went everywhere thus, and thought he had fixed every place. There was one, however, on a little island in a lake, that he overlooked. This lake lay far off to the northeast. Then Silver-Fox came back to the house and went to sleep. At dawn he got up, went up and looked out of the house, and listened. For a while he heard nothing, but then he heard faintly Coyote howling far away. He then knew he had missed one place, and felt very sad. He sat down and thought, but did not know what to do. Coyote was too smart for him, he thought. Finally he heard the howling coming closer. Then he thought of a plan. He made a lot of manzanita, wild cherries, plums, etc., grow along the road that Coyote was following. Coyote was very angry, and wanted to kill Silver-Fox. He came to the manzanita, and Silver-Fox thought he would delay him thus; but Coyote only took one berry, and continued on his way. He came to the plums; and of these Coyote ate largely, as he thought he could fight better if he was not hungry. As he ate, he forgot about his anger. Then he started on again. Silver-Fox was afraid, however, and pretended to be very sick when Coyote got back. Coyote told him he had better eat some plums, that they were very good, and that it was useless to lie still all day. Finally Silver-Fox got up and ate some, and so Coyote forgot all about his revenge.
Coyote said next day that he was going out to pick fruit. He went, and picked plums and cherries and manzanita, and brought them back, saying that there was plenty of food. Silver-Fox told him to go and get some wood; and then he went out and caught some rabbits, and they cooked and ate them, and lived without quarrelling any more.
12. Flint-Man, The Search For Fire, And Loon Woman (Atsugewi)
At one time people had no flint for their arrows. They used bark for arrow-points, and it did not work well. One day Ground-Squirrel determined to get flint from Flint-Man, who owned it. So he stole away while every one else was out hunting. He got to the house where Flint-Man lived, and went in. He said he was hungry, and Flint-Man gave him pounded flint to eat. He ate much of it, and then lay down to sleep. The pounded flint he had eaten made Squirrel sick, and he defecated blood. Flint-Man saw this, and thought, "Well, he will die." He came over and looked at Squirrel, and thought he was dead: so he left him, and went out. As soon as he was gone, Squirrel jumped up, for he had been shamming. He took a lot of flints, made them up in a bundle, and ran away. Flint-Man soon saw him, and gave chase. He nearly caught up with him, when Squirrel threw the flints into a hole in the ground, and jumped in after them. Flint-Man came up and jumped in after him; but Squirrel was out at the other end, and away before he could reach him. Flint-Man gave chase again; but, as before, Squirrel jumped into a hole and got away. Then Squirrel travelled far under ground; but when he came up, Flint-Man saw him, and continued to chase. Five times Squirrel thus eluded his pursuer; and then the latter gave up, and went back. Squirrel, however, kept on under ground.
When he got back to the house, he hid the flints in the bushes, all but one, a knife, which he tied to a string, and hung round his neck, so that it was on his back behind, where no one could see it. He went in and sat down, but the others had not got back from the hunt. By and by they returned, and brought meat. They gave some to Squirrel, who secretly cut it up with his knife. They saw this, and asked what he was doing, but he wouldn't tell them. Next day he went out and took all the flints he had brought. He took them to the house, and gave them to the people, giving one to each. "With these," he said, "you can kill deer better, and can cut up the meat." Then all day the people sat there and chipped their flints, making arrow-points. And next day they all went out to hunt, and with the new points they killed great quantities of deer,--so many that there were five deer apiece when they divided up the lot.
After this one day Dog went to get fire, for people until then had eaten their food raw. He travelled far to the west, to where Fire-Woman lived, for she owned all the fire. He climbed up on the roof of her house, and lay quietly near the smoke-hole. The sparks came out in crowds; and Dog held his ear over the opening, and caught a spark in it, and so in the other ear as well. He had put a little dry tinder in his ears before starting. Then he ran home. The fire in Fire-Woman's house began to die down; and she said then, "Let the fire Dog carries go out." Then Bluejay said, "Qas!" and it began to rain. Dog held his head on one side to keep the rain out of his ear, and ran as fast as he could. When he reached the top of the hill just west of Burney Valley, it stopped raining. He got back to the house about sunset, as the people were eating supper. They gave him some, but he did not tell them what he had done. Next morning Dog got up, went to the centre of the sweat-house, and held his ear down to the ground, and took out the plug he had put in, and the coals fell out. People could cook their food now. So they roasted some meat, and said, "That tastes good." Then they went out hunting.
Next night Wildcat had a bad dream, and went out to the little house near by, where the two sisters of all the people in the big house slept. These two women were Eagle and Loon. Wildcat crawled in and slept there, but did not touch the women. In the morning Loon went out, got some pitch and smeared it on herself, so that she might know who it was who had come in the night. Next night Wildcat went again to his sisters' hut, and this time had connection with Loon; and in the morning when he left, some of his fur was left sticking to the pitch. He came back to the house, and lay down so that no one could see where the hair had been pulled off. He pretended to be asleep. Loon found who had come to her in the night, and was angry. She went outdoors, and said, "Bring me a bundle of bark to carry fire in," and at once the fire blazed up all around the sweat-house. Every time she said this, a great flame shot up in front of the door. The people inside grew afraid at this, and Coyote said, "Who has done this to our sister?" Then he turned to Wildcat and said, "You had better go off with her, or she will burn us all up." Wildcat did not want to move; but they rolled him over and saw where his fur had been pulled out. Then everybody said, "You did it!" Then Butterfly got up, removed Wildcat's membrum and put a small one in its place, and sent Wildcat out, telling him to return as soon as possible. Loon was very anxious to make Wildcat her husband at once, and so made night come on quickly. They camped then; but, in spite of his endeavors, Wildcat could not satisfy Loon. Early in the morning, while Loon was asleep, Wildcat got up, took a log of wood, laid it beside her, and ran away.
As soon as Wildcat had left, Spider began to make a net, and had finished it by the time Wildcat returned. Coyote got in first, and then all the others, after which Spider drew them all up into the sky, except Eagle, who flew away. Loon by and by waked up, and, discovering the cheat, ran back to the sweat-house, sending fire ahead of her to burn every one up. She saw all the people, her brothers, going up in the net, and called out, "Why do you leave me? You had better take me back!" Now, Coyote, to whom she spoke, was her father; and he felt sorry for her, and wanted to see her: so he made a tiny hole in the bottom of the net to peek through, and immediately it burst, and all fell down into the blazing house. Loon was watching, and at once made a seed-beater out of some twigs; and when pretty soon Coyote's heart popped in the fire and shot up into the air, she let it go, but caught the next one; and so on, catching all, as she thought. She strung them on a string. One heart popped out, that she missed; that was Wood-Worm's, and it fell far over toward Shasta; another popped, and was missed, and this was Butterfly, and it fell far to the east. Blue-Stone was also missed. Meanwhile Eagle was not burned, for she was flying about, weeping. Up to this time the world had been flat; but as Eagle went about, she made the mountains.
Loon took all the hearts she had strung, and put them about her neck as a necklace, and then went to one lake after another, till finally she came to one at the head of Butte Creek, and there she stayed. Meanwhile Eagle went all over the world making mountains, and looking for the hearts that had escaped. For a small hill she would throw up the earth once; but for a large mountain, three times. By and by she reached the country toward the north. Here two women had gone out to get wood. They came to a deer-lick, which was formed from the tears of one of the hearts, that belonging to Wood-Worm. The two girls were Beads, and they heard the sound of weeping, and at last found the heart. After much difficulty, they dug out the heart, which then became just like a person, and learned from him all about the way he had come to be there. Then Wood-Worm married the two Bead girls. Eagle came along this way, wearing pitch in mourning for her brothers; and when she found her brother Wood-Worm here, she returned to near the head of Butte Creek. Here lived two boys (some sort of small brown water-birds), and she asked them if they had seen Loon. They said that sometimes they had seen her on the lake, and had heard her cry. They said she had a necklace about her neck, and that she looked at herself all the time in the water. Eagle asked them if they could kill Loon, and they said they thought they could if they had arrow-points of deer-bone. One wanted bone from deer killed at a time when their hair was turning red, the other when they dropped their antlers. So Eagle went off to get the bones. She brought them; and the two men then took their arrows, and went out in a tule boat before dawn. They hid in the tule swamp near the edge of the lake. The younger said, "I'll shoot first." The elder then said, " No, I'll shoot first, for you might miss." They finally agreed that both should shoot at once.
At dawn Loon appeared, and the two shot, and she dove immediately. They watched, and by and by Loon came up, dead. So they took her back to Eagle, who took off the string of hearts around Loon's neck; then she skinned the loon and stuffed it, and said that loons must cry and laugh in spring-time. Eagle then hunted about all over the world, till she found the other two hearts, those of Butterfly and of Blue-Stone, and then came back with them all to the sweat-house, which she rebuilt. This was near Pitville. She then took pine-boughs and fixed up the inside of the house nicely, and laid the hearts in the water in the river near by. Then she went into the house, and, lying face downwards, slept. In the early dawn all the hearts came to fife again, and all came trooping into the house. She lay quietly, without looking, until she had counted them all. Then she got up, and they all went on living as before.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
COLLECTED BY JEREMIAH CURTIN; EDITED BY ROLAND B. DIXON
[NOTE.--The following myths were collected by Jeremiah Curtin for the Bureau of American Ethnology. They were placed in my hands by the Editor for preparation for insertion in this Journal; and in so doing, I have made no changes other than to give the English names for the various characters, and to add a word or two here and there, where the original manuscript was obscure or imperfect because of hasty copying. One myth has been omitted from the series, as it is only a brief version of the Loon-Woman myth already published in this journal, vol. xxi, p. 165.--R. B. DIXON.]
I. Pine-Marten Marries The Bead Sisters
THE two Bead girls were sent by their mother to marry Cocoon-Man's son. He was wrapped up and put away. He had never been outside, and had never eaten anything.
The Bead sisters came from a place far off in the ocean. They came on the water, brought by the wind, and they always sang the song of the wind. It took just one day for them to reach Cocoon-Man's house. His daughters liked the two girls and gave them food. All the men were out hunting, and the daughters sent the two girls into the sweathouse and told them to sit by Pine-Marten's bed.
They could not get Cocoon-Man's son, the one their mother had sent them for. Cocoon-Man would not listen to it, so they took Pine-Marten, and stayed three days with him. At the end of that time they wanted to go home. Pine-Marten asked all his people for blankets and shells to give his wives to carry home. They started. Cocoon-Man made a trail to the west to walk on. He sent his words out west, put his hand out west and east to make a trail, and immediately it was open. Cocoon-Man sat on the ground in the centre, and made a rainbow reaching from the place where he sat to the home of the girls.
The company started. Weasel went with Pine-Marten up to the top of the rainbow, and the women went under it. While they were travelling, Weasel made a flute out of a reed, and made sweet music that sounded through the world and was heard by every living being.
The two sisters walked on the lower rainbow, the reflection, and reached home safely. Next year Pine-Marten had children. He made a boy of bead-shells, and from a round shell which he threw into his wife a girl was born. In the spring of the second year, he came back on the same trail that Cocoon-Man had made. His children grew very fast. Then he left his boy at home, and sent his girl to her grandmother in the ocean. The boy stayed with Cocoon-Man. The third year he had two sons and two daughters.
Now Pine-Marten's wife took one son and one daughter to her mother in the ocean; and Pine-Marten kept one son and one daughter, and they lived with him at Fall River.
2. Kangaroo-Rat Races With Coyote And Others
Two Kangaroo-Rat women, a mother and her daughter, lived near Coyote's place. Now the people at this place hunted all the time, but never sent any meat to the old woman. She said, "It is best to get a man to hunt for us. I do not like these people; they are too proud." Her daughter said, "I will run a race with these men, and I'll bet myself against a man. I'll win and have a husband."
The next morning the girl went over to Coyote's house when the men were just through breakfast. She went on top of the sweat-house and called out, "I want to run a race with one of your boys; to-day I feel like running."
Coyote said, "All right. The chief men always run first. I will run with you first." He went out, and they started towards the north, and ran until he fell down dead. The girl came home, and that night Cocoon-Man said, "I know what she is trying to do. When women want to marry us, they always kill us first. These are bad women."
Next day she came to the house, and asked again to run with a man. Badger ran with her. He ran northward, turned to come back, reached a mountain-top, and died. Next day Silver-Fox went out to run with her. He ran far to the north, came back halfway, and fell dead. Ground-Squirrel ran, came halfway home, and died. Kangaroo-Rat was coming home slowly. She came more slowly each time. First she had always returned in the middle of the morning, but this time she was back about noon. The mother thought, "My daughter will fail. I am afraid she gets tired too easily." The girl ran the next day with Wolf, but he died, and she reached home still later.
Now she had killed all but three men. Pine-Marten ran the next day. They kept together. The girl thought he was going to win; but when he came into the valley and almost reached home, he fell dead. The last men left were Weasel and his brother from the mountain. They were angry because Pine-Marten had been killed. They were going to take an otter-skin quiver. One of the brothers was to rest in it; so when the other became tired, this one would jump out and carry the tired one. When then the other one had rested and was fresh, he would jump out and take his turn. Thus they would run and carry each other alternately. The two looked just alike, and the girl thought she was running with one. The mountain brother of Weasel sang. They ran near the girl all the time. They found the bones of Coyote, picked them up, and put them in the otter-skin quiver. They came to the other bones and picked them up also. While they were picking up the bones, the girl, thinking she had beaten Weasel, turned and looked back. He called out, "Don't look back. I can outrun you. Girls cannot run fast." She was frightened at his words, and ran on as fast as possible. When one brother was tired, the other came out, and the first went into the quiver. Weasel called out, "Run fast, I am going to beat you." Now the girl began to give out. While Weasel was running, she thought she noticed a difference in the song, and looked back. He called out, "Go on fast!" It was near sundown now. The old woman saw them coming. The two Weasel brothers as one, reached the sweathouse first. The young woman went with them to their sweat-house, and did not go back to her mother. That evening they put the bones in water, and the dead all came to life. The girl went in the morning to her mother's house to get roots, and the men went hunting. She always sent plenty of meat to her mother after that.
3. The Buzzard Brothers And Wood-Worm
Two Buzzard brothers lived together Near Pit River lived Wood-Worm, the last of his race. All the other Wood-Worm people had been killed by Western men. Wood-Worm lived alone one winter; and when the winter was past, he began to think of going west to see what kind of a place it was where his people had been lost. He thought four or five days before starting, and got his weapons ready. Then he sent Cottontail-Rabbit to the Buzzard brothers to tell them of all he intended to do, and to say from him, "I'll come and visit you in two or three days." The brothers said, "All right. We are glad that you are coming." Both brothers were married, each having a wife and a mother-in-law.
The Buzzard brothers got ready to go on the journey. They made flint knives out of their own feathers. These flint knives stuck out through their buckskin dresses: and when they were good-humored the knives were smooth like feathers; when angry, they stuck out like knives, and killed every man they touched.
On the third day the Buzzard brothers were looking for Wood-Worm. They did not have to wait long, for he came early. All were glad, smoked, took breakfast, and then set out, reaching Sun's house about sundown. The people there were astonished, and said, "We thought all these men were killed."--"No," said Sun, "there are more yet; they keep back the best. These that have just come are the smartest. They are hard to kill." Sun sent his daughter to marry Wood-Worm, a very fine-looking man. He went to where the girls had fixed a place for him to sit.
The Buzzard brothers did not like to enter Sun's house; but as Wood-Worm went in, they followed. Sun was very kind to the two brothers, and said, "I am glad to see you, my boys, and I am glad to have my daughters marry." Then he said, turning to Wood-Worm, "My son-in-law, take good care of me. I like my daughters to have a husband." The Buzzard brothers were very angry. They wanted to fight immediately, for they knew that old man Sun was trying to fool them. Wood-Worm listened to the old man in silence, filled his pipe, and smoked.
Sun's wife was cooking acorn-mush, salmon and other fish, for supper. She brought plenty of food to her daughters, and the young men all ate heartily. They went to bed. In the morning a great many people came to the house, wanting to sweat. They brought wood, made a great fire, and sweated. When they had half finished, the Buzzard brothers stuck out their flint knives, which cut and killed half the people.
That day after breakfast they had to play with a big disk. The brothers were told to call for the game, and did so. They went out. "Bet your brother against ten men," said a spirit-guardian to the elder Buzzard. The young man began the game. Wood-Worm all this time was in Sun's house, with his wife. Buzzard bet his brother against ten men. The spirit-guardian said, "You roll first." Buzzard rolled, after putting up the disk with the help of his brother. Buzzard rolled the disk rather slowly; and the other side stopped it, then sent it back very fast. But Buzzard had something like a brake, with which he stopped and caught the disk.
The second time Buzzard rolled the disk very hard. It went so fast that they could not stop it, and -lost their ten men. They lost three times. Thus they lost thirty men in all. Buzzard killed the thirty men, cutting them up with his flint feathers, which acted like knives.
Next morning they played with the disk again. Buzzard won twice and killed twenty men. Then. they ran a foot-race. The racers went to the starting-post. On the way back, Buzzard let others go ahead for awhile. Behind him Thunder was running, who tried to kill him; but Buzzard dodged, sometimes up, sometimes down, and at last he killed Thunder, and then killed a good many others. All were angry, and a great fight followed. While the race and fight were going on, Wood-Worm had gathered all the bones of his friends into a bag, and said to the Buzzard brothers, "You go on killing. I will go home."
The Buzzard brothers fought the western people, they followed them eastward for a good while, but at last they had to go back. Wood-Worm reached home, put all the bones in water in the sweat-house, and all came to life again.
4. The House Of Silver-Fox
When Silver-Fox left this world, he said to his sweat-house, "Nobody shall ever come in here," and he left a strong wind there to guard the place. No one dares go near this place, for a whirlwind blows up out of it, makes a noise like thunder, and only shamans can go near; but whoever enters is immediately turned to stone inside. Wolf and Silver-Fox left their power of wind there. Even now, wolves will catch people that come near; and whoever gets inside, turns to white rock.
Once a great shaman dreamed of a wolf that was in that sweathouse. He went in. As soon as he got inside, the wind stopped. He went around inside and vomited blood. He said it was an immense sweathouse, as much as a mile across inside. When he came out, he fell down nearly dead. Another shaman cured him. He had seen nothing inside but men turned to stone. Next night this shaman's hair turned as white as snow.
5. Fish-Hawk And His Daughter
Fish-Hawk lived down at Pit River. When Sun travelled in winter, he left his daughter at home, but he carried her about with him in summer. Sun did not want his daughter to marry any poor person, but a great man, like Pine-Marten, Wolf, or Coyote. Fish-Hawk got angry at Sun because he talked in this way of poor people, so he started and went down to the ocean, to Sun's place, and slipped into the sweat-house. It was winter now, and Sun's daughter was put away inside the house in a basket. Fish-Hawk stole her, carried her on his back to Coyote's house, and hid her away. He made the journey in one night.
Next morning Sun could not find his daughter, and did not know where she had gone. That morning Fish-Hawk took the basket with the woman in it, and put it away under the rocks in muddy water, to hide it so that Sun could not see and could not find his daughter.
Sun searched everywhere in the air and on the ground, but could not find her. Then he hired all men who were good divers or swimmers to hunt in the water, for he thought she was hidden in the water. All searched until they came to Pit River. One would search part of the way, then another. Kingfisher was the last man to go in search of her. He went along slowly to look where the water was muddy. At last he thought he saw just a bit of something under the water. Then he went over the place carefully again and again.
Many people were going along the river, watching these men looking for Sun's daughter. Kingfisher filled his pipe, smoked, and blew on the water to make it clear, for he was a great shaman. Then he went up in the air and came down over the place. The people were all excited, and thought surely he would find something. He came along slowly, and sat and smoked again, and blew the smoke over the water. Then he rose, rolled up his pipe and tobacco, and put them away. Then he took a long pole, stood over the water, pushed his pole down deep, and speared with it until he got hold of the basket and pulled it out. Old Sun came, untied the basket, took his daughter out, washed her, then put her back. He paid each of the men he had hired. Part of their pay was in shells.
Kingfisher said that it was Fish-Hawk who had hidden the basket. Sun put the basket on his back and started home. He was so happy to get his daughter back that he did no harm to Fish-Hawk for stealing her.