Music: Morning Song by John Serrie
|California Creation Lore
A Yokut Legend
A Great Flood had occurred upon Earth long, long ago. While Earth was still covered with water, there were no living creatures upon the land.
Then out of the sky one day glided an enormous eagle with a black Crow riding upon its back, searching for a place to light.
Around and around eagle flew until he discovered a projecting tree stump, or what appeared to be a stump, upon which he landed to rest. There was
a home at last upon the flat surface, which was amply large enough for Eagle and Crow to roost upon.
From here, they surveyed the greenish gray water as far as they could see. The sky was a gorgeous bright blue with a few white drifting clouds,
occasionally swirled by a passing breeze. All seemed serene to Eagle and Crow.
Small fish were visible below the water, sometimes leaping out of the sea playfully. Hunger caused Eagle and Crow to swoop down, catching a meal
for themselves from time to time. Soon a game developed between the two birds to see which one would be the winner in the fish-catching contest.
Upon their to the stump, however, they always shared the reward.
Because of Eagle's great size and wingspan, he soared to great heights and surveyed widely, as the two birds often flew in opposite directions
exploring for land. But no land did they find. No other flying creatures did they see. But they always returned to their home base on the tree stump.
Between them, they wondered "How can we possibly think of a way to make land?"
"We know we cannot dive deep enough to find dirt, and the fish are of no help except to provide food."
Day after day these scenes were repeated, exploring in search of land or wondering how to create land, only to return to their stump and catch more
One morning soon thereafter and much to their surprise, a Duck was swimming around and around their stump. Occasionally, it dived deep in the
water, rose to the surface chewing small fish, twisting its head from side to side trying to swallow its meal. One time, Duck emerged with more mud
than fish in its mouth.
Eagle and Crow bird talked excitedly about this! "Can Duck possibly bring up enough mud for us to build land?" they wondered.
How could they let Duck know that mud was what they needed most?
An idea occurred to Eagle, which he bird talked to Crow, "If we supply fish for Duck, maybe he will bring up more mud than fish."
By trial and error, the two birds caught fish for Duck, placing them at the edge of the stump, until Duck learned that the fish were for him in exchange
When Duck appeared on the surface after a deep dive, Eagle and Crow brushed off the mud from Duck's bill and his body with their wings. Progress
was slow but steady.
Gradually, Eagle had a pile of mud on his side of the stump and Crow had a similar pile on his side. Each placed fish on his own side for Duck, who
now responded by carrying more and more mud to Eagle and Crow. This became a great game of fish-and-mud exchange.
Duck worked very hard, consequently he was always hungry. The birds were surprised at how large each one's mud pile grew every day. In bird
talk they said, "Duck is helping us to make a new world. This we will share equally."
Occasionally, Eagle and Crow flew toward the horizon, exploring for any new signs of land. But they returned with nothing new to report;
however, they noticed a slight lowering of water around the tree stump.
"Surely, the flood must be coming to an end," Crow and Eagle bird talked.
Each day they watched for a change in the waterline. Each day their piles of mud seemed higher and higher. Faithful Duck kept up his good work as
Eagle and Crow caught fish for him and scraped off mud from him for each side of the new world.
Another time Eagle flew high and far in search of dry land, not returning until late. The sun set and darkness enveloped his world on the stump.
Next morning, to Eagle's surprise, he saw how much more mud he had acquired, and he was pleased. But after looking across at Crow's mud pile,
Eagle was astounded to see that Crow had given himself twice as much mud while Eagle was away.
"Was this Crow's idea of sharing the new world equally?" accused Eagle.
Of course, they quarreled all that day and the next over Crow's unfairness. But the following day, they went back to work making their new land.
Eagle decided that he must catch up. He caught two fish for Duck and put them in his usual place. Duck responded by bringing up mud twice to Eagle
in exchange for his two fish. All three worked very hard for many, many moons.
Gradually, Eagle's half of the new world became taller and taller than Crow's half, even though Crow seemed to work just as hard as Eagle. Duck
was faithful to his task, never tiring in his effort to supply mud. Of course, Duck continued to give Eagle twice as much mud for his two fish. Crow
never seemed to notice why Eagle's half became higher and higher than his half.
One morning, as the sun rose brightly, the two birds looked down through the water and saw what appeared to be land!
"So that is where Duck finds the mud," they bird talked. They were pleased to see that the water was subsiding. How they hoped that soon they
would be high and dry on their new world.
But all was not so easy, for that very night lightning flashed across the waters and thunder rolled and rolled from one horizon to the other followed
by a heavy, drenching rain. Eagle and Crow sought shelter in holes they dug into the sides of their mud piles, All night long the rain continued to fall,
washing away much of the new world into the sea.
As the rain stopped and the sun rose, Eagle and Crow looked out upon the waters and saw an arc of many colors reaching from one edge of the
horizon across the sky to the other horizon. This brilliant display held their eyes in wonderment. What did it mean? They marveled at how long the
colors lingered in the sky. Eagle flew toward the scene for a closer look, returning when the arc disappeared.
In bird talk, Eagle and Crow decided that the storm of the night before must have been a clearing shower. They began their land-building project
again, hoping that Duck would resume his work as mud-carrier. Soon the sun's rays burned strong and hot, packing the mud until it was hard.
Duck appeared and the team of three continued to build the two halves of the new world.
Day by day, the waters subsided and new land began to show above the waterline but far, far below the new creation by Eagle and Crow. Eagle's
half became taller and taller and hard packed by the hot sun. Crow's share of the new world was still great, but never could become as large as
Eagle's half of the new world.
In retelling this creation story, Yokut tribal historians always claim that Eagle's half became the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains. They also tell
how Crow's half became known as the Coast Mountain Range.
Yokut historians end their tale by saying that people everywhere honour the brave and strong Eagle, while Crow is accorded a lesser place because of
his unfair disposition displayed during the creation of the new world by Eagle and Crow.
All Rights Reserved
|Coyote, The Hawk, and The Condor
A Gashowu Yokut Legend
There was a woman whom no one was able to marry, except finally Coyote. He overcame her. She was wachwach, a handsome species of hawk.
She lived alone. The wolf and Coyote and their families lived in one place with other people.
Many men went out to hunt deer but never found any. The wild cat and the weasel and others went. The magpie was "beniti." He could see from
inside his house and know everything. He saw that the hawk-woman had supernatural power. She was able to kill a deer and immediately eat it
entirely, leaving only the skin.
Then the wolf and Coyote found the woman. She gave them an abundance of acorn mush. She also cooked dried deer meat for them and gave it to
them to take home. She said to them: "Tell no one, but when you want more for your children, come and get it."
The wolf and Coyote arrived at night. Their poor little children had to eat the meat they brought slowly, so that no one would hear them.
Nevertheless the magpie knew it. Then the people also could smell the meat.
Knowing that the two brothers had meat, they watched at night. Then they saw them return and the old woman get up, take the meat, cook it, and all
of them eat. Then the watchers reported to the others: "They are killing deer but give none of the meat away."
The eagle was the chief. The dove was his messenger [winatum]. Thinking he would ask advice of the magpie, the eagle sent the dove to him. The
magpie only laughed at the messenger. "Yes, Coyote and the wolf have found a supernatural woman. She lives beyond this hill. She has more dried
meat than she can use. She keeps the deer inside the hill under ground. That is where she gets the meat." Then all the people went to that place, to the
woman, so that it became necessary for her to give them meat.
When Coyote and the wolf arrived there in the evening, they found all the people there already. The weasel, the hawk called wakhwukh, and others
had dressed themselves finely in order to marry her, but she would not have it. Finally all of them said: "Let us go home."
They went, but Coyote lay there, apparently sick with fever and chills, and unable to walk.
The woman said: "You go too."
Coyote told her: "I am sick. I cannot. Perhaps later on I will be able."
Then the woman made a fire inside the house. Coyote thought how he might enter it. He, too, had supernatural power. Then he wanted the wind to
blow the house to pieces. He said: "Pu!" and a wind storm came. It began to tear the thatching from the house.
The woman ran about trying to mend it but could not. Then Coyote said: "Give me the binding and I will tie it." She did not like to touch him, but to
save her house she handed it to him.
Now it was dark and rained. Coyote said: "I cannot sleep here. Let me sleep inside in the corner by the door." But she would not let him. He said: "I
will die. If you wish me to freeze to death let me lie here." Then she allowed him to come in, and he lay near the door, shivering. She knew what he
He was thinking: "I want to sleep with her." Then she said: "No, you cannot. You are no good." Coyote laughed. "How does she know what I
think?" he thought. "I heard it." she said.
Coyote lay there and looked over towards her. "What do you want now?" she asked. Then Coyote began to think of sexual intercourse with her. She
did not like that. She was stronger than he and overcame him. He could not do anything to her. He went to sleep where he lay.
Then at last the woman began to think of him. At once Coyote knew it in his sleep. He woke up and said: "You want mine! I have a good one!" She
too was desirous now and let him lie with her. But though she allowed him to embrace her she would not let him come nearer. She wanted once more
to try to overcome him.
She went out as if to urinate, took a rattle snake, put it into herself and returned. Then she spread herself and invited him. He knew what she had
done. Also going out to urinate, he by his supernatural power obtained a stick of hard wood (takha) from the cast. Putting it on himself, he returned
to the woman. He approached the stick, the rattlesnake bit it, lost its teeth, and was harmless. Coyote said: "Ah! Now throw yours away and I will
throw mine." She did so and he married her.
Coyote had one son from this woman, wech, the condor, who was to become a great gambler. At night they put the baby into water. After three days
he could walk. Soon he was able to gamble. Then he was a man. Coyote was rich, constantly making beads from bone and other materials, and
encouraged his son to gamble. Then the boy went north. Then he saw a large owl, hihina, and wishing to kill him, aimed at him. The owl, who was
a doctor, was angry and flew up into a hollow tree. There he began to sing:
1 2 3 4
Hu hu hu witcailac min put-onun
1 2 3 4
Hu hu hu , condor becomes your son .
As he sang this, the young man who had been so handsome began to have feathers all over his body. His female relatives who were with him tried to
hold him, but they could not, and he turned into a condor.
They said to Coyote: "Kill the owl before he changes him completely!" But Coyote only cried and did nothing. Now the young man Was entirely a
condor. He shook himself, rose, and flew off. The women followed, but he flew away from them. Coyote returned. His wife knew what had
happened. Then she took a rattlesnake once more. This time he did not know it, was bitten, and died.
Now the condor lived above and came down to earth to kill people for food. He thought of his mother, went to her, and brought her up with him. He
tried to make her, too, eat people, but she would not do so. He brought two little boys and a little girl. These he kept as pets. He called them his dogs.
As he was about to go off again he told his mother: "Feed them well. When I return I will eat them."
When he was gone the woman said to the children: "He will kill us all. He has nearly exterminated the people now. When he has finished them he
will go hither up in the sky. Then he will come down and eat us. When he comes back you must shoot him." She gave the two boys bows and arrows.
Then the condor came back from the earth below and went to drink. He drank half a day. The two boys shot at him, one from each side. For half a
day they shot as fast as they could, beginning as soon as he started to drink. The little girl kept dragging the arrows back to them and they shot them
again and again. The condor never gave notice, but continued to drink.
Now the half day was nearly over. The woman had made a hole. She put the children in, went in herself, and covered the hole. Then the condor
stopped drinking. Now he began to feel something. Leaving the dead bodies he had brought with him, he started upward. His mother said: "If he
flies straight, he will reach the place above, and it will be the end of us. But if he flies to the side and zigzags and falls, he will be killed."
He flew straight up. He was already nearly out of sight. Then suddenly he shot to one side, zigzagged, dropped, struck, and was dead. They burned
him. Then his eyes burst and flew out and were lost in the brush. If they had been able to find the eyes and put them back in the fire there would have
been no condors in the world.
Then the woman and the little girl went down from the sky on a rope of down feathers, going through the hole in the sky through which the condor
used to pass. The two boys went southward in the sky until they came to where the sky and the earth meet. There they descended to the earth. Then
they came to people without mouths, who neither talked nor ate. They killed deer, roasted them, smelled of the meat, and threw it out-doors. In the
same way they only smelled of their acorn mush. The two boys came to them, entered the house, took hold of the meat that was cooking, and began
to eat. The people there made a protesting gesture, meaning, "Do not. It will come out from you," again indicating by a gesture. Nevertheless the
boys ate. Then they asked the chief: "Have you a tongue inside?" He shook his head. "Have you teeth?" Again he shook his head. Then they offered
to try to cut open a mouth for one of them so that he would be like themselves and could eat. It was agreed and the two boys took obsidian and cut a
mouth for one of those people. Soon the man could eat and talk.
Then he said:
1 2 3 4 5 6
T-ipinii paniii tciciii nah'eii lukinii bidikii .
1 2 3 4 5 6
Supernatural-ones arrived , cut , ate , belly filled , defecated .
He spoke thus because he could not talk yet correctly. If he had spoken right he would have said:
T-ipni panac tcicini nah'ac lokonoc.
Then this man cut mouths for others, and they cut still others, and so they did to each other until all could eat and talk. The two boys returned home.
|Coyote's Adventures and The Prairie Falcon's Blindness
A Yauelmani Yokut Legend
They were living at Kamupau. Coyote's son was the hummingbird. He gambled constantly and won from everybody. Then the eagle, the chief, said:
"Coyote's son is bad. We will kill him."
They went to the owl, huhuwet, to have him make a fire which would burn up the hummingbird. They made the jackrabbit take this fire inside himself.
Next day the crow went to Coyote and said to him: "Let us hunt." When they were hunting, he said to Coyote's son: "Shoot that jackrabbit there!"
When the boy was about to shoot, his father told him: "Do not miss the white mark on his forehead."
The boy shot and caused a great fire to start. Coyote called to his son: "Come," and they ran. The fire followed them rapidly, trying to overtake
them. They went up on a bare mountain in the northeast.
After three days the fire stopped burning. It had burned the mountains. Then Coyote said: "I will go back to see about our property. You must stay
here until I come back."
Then Coyote went back to Kamupau. He arrived there at night. The crow looked and saw a fire in Coyote's house. Then he told the eagle: "Coyote is
alive still. We did not kill him."
In the morning they went to him. "Where have you been?" they said.
Coyote said: "I was lost."
The eagle told him: "It is well. Everything is as it used to be."
"Very well," said Coyote.
Now one day Coyote began to carry wood and lay it outside his house. For three days he worked bringing wood. Then the people began to say:
"What is Coyote doing? He has been bringing wood for three days. What is it for? He must be crazy."
Then Coyote went off. He traveled one night. He came to the moon. The moon said to him: "What do you want, my elder brother?"
Coyote said: "I have come to see you."
"What for?" asked the moon.
Coyote said: "I will tell you what I want. I do not want you to rise any more. Stay at home."
the moon said: "Very well. But you had better go to see my brother." Then Coyote went to see his brother, the thunder. "What do you want?" he
Coyote said: "I will tell you."
"Well, tell me," said the thunder.
Coyote said: "My brother, I do not want you to appear. Stay back where I want you to."
"well, yes," said the thunder, "but you had better go to our other brother. See what he says. He will do what is right."
Then Coyote went to see the sun. He went into the house. The sun did not want to see him. He turned away from him. Coyote spoke to him but he
turned away as if he were angry. Three times Coyote spoke. Then the sun turned and said: "What do you want?"
Coyote said: "I want you to stay here and not to travel."
"Very well," said the sun; "is that all you want."
"Yes," said Coyote.
"Very well," said the sun, "go to see our brother the night. He will tell you what he will do." Then Coyote went to where the night was, far off in the
When Coyote came there it was dark and he could not see. "Where are you," he asked. No one answered. "Where are you?" he said. Still there was
no answer. "Where are you?" he asked. Then it began to be light. "What do you want?" he was asked.
"I want you not to come about but to stay here," said Coyote.
"Very well; is that all?" asked the night.
Then the night asked him: "When do you want me to do this?"
Coyote said: "I will shout three times. You will hear it."
"Well, shout loudly," said the night, and Coyote agreed.
Then he went back to Kamupau. He arrived at night. In the morning he got up early, shouted, shouted again, and shouted again three times. It
remained night, foggy and drizzling, and the sun did not rise. So it was for a month. Then the people said: "What is it? Where is the sun?"
"I do not know," they told each other.
"Go to see Coyote," the eagle said. "Perhaps he has done it. Bring him these beads." Then the crow went. He told Coyote: "The chief sends you these.
He wants you to take them. What have you done?"
Coyote said: "I do not know. I cannot do anything." The crow went back. "What did he say?" the eagle asked him.
"He said he could do nothing."
Now none of the people had any wood. All around the houses there was water. It had rained for three months and was dark constantly and there
was no sun nor moon. Then the crow came again to Coyote. "What is the matter?" he said.
"There is no sun nor moon, there is nothing. The chief wants you to make it better."
Coyote said: "I do not know how. Perhaps it is that they just have not come of themselves."
The crow went back and said: "He says he does not know. He will not help. I think he does not want to. He does not wish them to come."
Coyote was still living well, with plenty of wood and plenty of food. The people were in the water. The grass was high. It had rained four months
now. They were without food or fire. Two months more they endured it. Then they went to Coyote again with a great quantity of beads [lilna], three
sacks full. The crow gave them to Coyote. Coyote said: "What do you want? Food or wood?"
The crow said: "The chief wants the weather changed. What is wrong with this world that there is no sun and no moon?"
Coyote told him: "I do not know. I will try." Then he gave six sacks of beads to the eagle, double of what he had received. So he outdid the eagle. He
said: "I will see what I can do." The crow took the six sacks of beads. When he gave them to the eagle, this one asked him: "What did he say?" The
crow told him: "He said: 'I will try.'" Then Coyote went to the moon.
For six months it had been night now, for one-half a year. The moon said: "Well, you have come." Coyote said: "Yes, I want you to travel again
"Very well," said the moon.
Then Coyote went to the thunder. "You have come," he said.
"Yes, I want you to appear again."
Then he went to the sun, and told him also. "Travel again now," and the sun agreed.
Then he went to the night and told him. "Come back to your place now."
"Very well; when?"
Coyote said: "I will shout three times. You will hear me." Then he went back. He shouted, and shouted, and shouted a third time. Soon it cleared and
became light. The sun came, and the people saw grass and clover, and ate. They thought much of Coyote because he had brought this about.
Soon Coyote started out again. He said: "I am going to see my son. I shall come back soon." the chief told him: "Very well, but come back at once
without staying. We want you here." Coyote agreed and started. He went towards the white mountains where his son was. He went up Kern river
past Bakersfield to Gonoilkin, a waterfall. There he sat and looked at the river. He saw many fish and wanted to eat them. Then he said:
"epash, epash, epash wanil, wanil,wanil
fish, fish, fish come, come, come
1 2 3
habak tutsuat tsenil
1 2 3
approach-the -fire a-plant ? "
Soon little fish came to him. "You are no epash fish," he said and threw them back into the river. Then he called again. Soon fish came that were a
little larger, but he threw them back also, saying: "You are no epash fish." He called again, and this time they came as big as his forearm. He picked
them up and threw them back, telling them: "You are no epash fish." Then he called once more and they came as big as his thigh. Then he said: "Ya
epash, ma epash, now they are epash fish, you are epash fish." He kept on calling and more came. He filled a large hole in the rock with them. Then
he carried them to Wakhachau. He said: "I think I will cook them here. No, I think I will not. I will go down below. It is sandy here and not a good
place." He went down the river to Woilo, at Bakersfield.
He did not like it there and went on again down the river to Kuyo. He did not like it there and went to Pokhalin tinliu. He did not like it there either
and went on to Tashlibunau, San Emidio. Now he had carried them a long way. He said: "There is plenty of wood here. I will cook." there was a
big hole. In this he made his fire.
Then he thought: "If I put them entirely into this they will burn." so he put their heads into the hole and covered them up, leaving only the tails
sticking out lying one next to the other all around. So they cooked. He sat there. Then he said: "I have bododiwat inside of me. I have good meat in
my belly, I will mix my food. I will drink and make it salty."
Then he went to a clear, bitter creek. Of that he drank. He drank too much of it. He went back to where his fish were cooking. Soon he was taken
with colic. He defecated. Then he saw the bododiwat and laughed. He said: "There is my good mixed meat." He went back to where his fish were.
Soon he defecated again. He laughed again at seeing the beetles. "There is that good meat. I am well now. I have put it outside of me. It will not be
mixed any more."
Now he was weak. He could not walk or get up. He had defecated too much. He could hardly sit up. He began to roll, and rolled like a log into the
river. There he stayed until he became well. Then he got up and went where his fish were. He sat down. He said: "Well, I will eat now." He dug up
the earth, took the loose tails, and threw them away, all around, here and there. He dug and dug, but there was nothing else there. He said: "What is
the matter? Perhaps I have cooked them too much and they have gone down into the ground."
He dug away but found no fish. He said: "They must have cooked so much that they went down further." He dug and dug until he was tired. He tore
up the rocks and pulled them out. He got no fish, but he made a big hole.
Soon batlawu came to Coyote. He asked: "What are you looking for?"
Coyote said: "I am looking for my fish. Who took them?"
Batlawu said: "I will tell you who took them."
Coyote said: "I will give you half if you tell me."
Batlawu told him: "You will see him soon. He is in the woods up here." It was sokhsukh who had stolen the fish. He had eaten them all. Coyote
came to him. He said: "Give me half." Sokhuskh shook his head and vomited half the fish. Coyote ate that. Then he said: "Now I will call you and
kill you." He called: "Sokhuskh!" and sokhsukh fell. Coyote tried to catch him but he escaped. Again he tried to seize him but he escaped. Soon he
flew up so high that Coyote could not reach him any longer. He still followed him, looking up at him.
They traveled over half the land from the hills down to the lake [Tulare lake]. Then sokhsukh disappeared. Coyote could not see him any longer.
Then he stopped. "It is too far to go back to the hills," he said. "I will go to the lake. I can eat tules and mud. It will be good." Then he went to the
lake. He was hungry. Then he ate tule [-roots]. He said: "It is well. Now I will go see what I can find." He went. He saw many ducks. He said: "I
n n n n
will kill many of them. Then I shall be well off." So he started to hunt them. The ducks were calling: " e , e , e ". Coyote listened, still thinking:
n n n n
"I will kill them and eat them." He went on again. The ducks continued to call: [" e , e , e "]. Coyote danced to the sound.
Suddenly he danced into the water and the ducks flew up. He went on again until he found more ducks in the lake. He thought: "I will try to kill
them. If I am lucky I shall kill one or two of them, and then I shall have something to eat." He approached them. The ducks heard him coming and
n n n n
sang: " e , e , e ". Coyote began to dance again and danced into the water. The ducks flew up.
Coyote said: "I cannot kill them. I will let it be." Then he went on until he came north of Tulamni. There he saw a man looking into the water. He
was wa'k . He had many small fish. Coyote went to him. The man asked him: "What are you doing here?"
Coyote said: "Nothing. I came to see you. I want to eat of the fish you have caught."
The man said: "Well, take some. There is what I have caught.
Coyote ate of them. He ate them raw, bones and all. Then he said: "I will go on now."
The man asked him: "Where are you going?"
Coyote said: "I am going to see my son."
The man said: "You will see a man below here who will give you more fish."
Coyote went on down and saw a man sitting. It was wakhat, the crane. He reached him. "Hello!" he said.
"Hello! Where are you going?" asked the crane.
Coyote said: "I came to see you. I want to eat of the fish you are catching."
"Very well," said the crane. Coyote ate. He ate them raw, he was so hungry [or, greedy]. "Where are you going?" asked the crane.
"I am going to see my son," said Coyote.
The crane told him: "You will see another man fishing."
Coyote went on. Then he saw many men fishing, batlawu and yimelan.
Coyote said: "Hello! Are you here?"
They said: "Yes."
He said: "I have come to eat of your fish."
They said: "Very well, there are many in there. Eat as many as you want."
Then Coyote made a fire in the place and ate. He ate all he wanted. When he had enough, he said: "Why do you not go over there? There are many
large fish there. I was there a long time ago." He was lying. They said: "Show us how to catch them."
Coyote said: "Very well. But show me how you make your noses red."
They told him: "We put tule into the hot ashes and then put it on our noses and it makes them red."
Coyote said: "It is good. I wish you would do it to me."
"Very well," they said.
Then they put Coyote into the ashes and glowing tules. Three or four of them held him down. He was burned in the fire and died. "Throw him away.
He is no good," they said, and then went off. Coyote lay there.
Next day he woke up. He said: "I have been asleep. Where did they go to?" Now his nose was white. The flesh had come off and the bone showed.
Then he came to those who had done this to him. "You have been asleep," they said.
"Yes, I slept a little," he said.
"How is it that you are red and I am white?"
"You burned it too much," they said; "you are redder than we are." They had got a rock ready so that it looked like a dakhdu fish. They said: "Here is
a dakhdu. You have a large mouth, ours are little. See if you can catch it."
Coyote said: "Well, I will go and see."
Then they went to the place to dive. Coyote jumped in, struck the rock, and mashed his head, which was already only bones. He died again. They left
him and went off.
Next day Coyote got up and looked around. No one was there. He went on. He said: "Well I think I must go to the place for which I started." He
went on and on but saw no one. Then he came to where there were many men. They asked him: "Where have you been?"
He told them: "Oh, about the land."
They asked: "Where are you going?"
He said: "I am going to see my son."
They said: "It is well."
Then he told them: "I want to stay here for a time. I am tired."
The chief said: "Very well."
Next day they began to gamble. People there gambled all the time. Now the prairie falcon had been gambling and had lost one of his eyes. "I want to
win your other eye," his opponent said. The prairie falcon agreed and they played again. Then, when it was nearly sunset the prairie falcon had lost
both his eyes. Then he took a sharp grass that grows on the mountains and cut out his eyes and gave them to the man who had won them. Now he
sat there. Then his friend the crow came to him and said: "We had better go into the house."
The prairie falcon said: "No, I will not go into the house."
The crow asked Min: "What are you going to do? Will you sit here all night?"
He said: "Well, I am going north. I have relative [nusus, father's sister] there." In the middle of the night he started. He had no eyes. The crow said:
"I will go with you."
"Very well," he said. Then he sang a little song as they started to go.
.khoyu nan return -[=bad luck comes to?] me
.ama, nim huwut -then my gambling
.t'awe nan -beat me
.dokoi nim - gambling-implements my
So he sang and started. He went singing all the time. After a long time he said: "Are you hungry?"
The crow said: "Yes."
"Where is there a bush?"
"Here," said the crow.
The prairie falcon felt around until he touched the bush. Suddenly he struck it and killed a rabbit. Then the crow ate. When he had finished, the
prairie falcon asked him: "Do you want water?"
The crow said: "Yes."
The prairie falcon told him: "Turn the other way around," and the crow turned. Soon the prairie falcon said to him: "Well, now you can turn this
way." The crow turned and there was a little spring there. The prairie falcon had made it for him. Then he drank and they went on.
Now they came to a village. A man said: "What is the matter with the prairie falcon? He is blind. A man holds him by the hand and leads him. It is
the crow, his friend." The prairie falcon sang: "Hiweti, yona, hiweti, naamtayo, laniyo, hilalekiyo, tawate." They stayed at that village one night.
Then they went on again.
Again the prairie falcon asked his companion: "Are you hungry?" and when the crow said that he was, he did the same as before. He struck a bush
and killed a rabbit and the crow cooked it and ate it. Then he asked him: "Do you want to drink?" and again made a spring for him. From there they
went on again.
They came to a village. The people said: "What is the matter with the prairie falcon? He is blind and his friend the crow is leading him by the hand."
They asked him: "What is the matter?"
He said: "I have lost my eyes gambling."
The chief said: "It is too bad. Where are you going now?"
He said: "I am going to my relative."
The chief asked him: "Will you stay here?" He said: "Yes, for a little while."
The chief said to him: "We would like you to sing."
"Very well," he said. Then he sang: "Yahilulumai, yahimai lulmnai, sawawa kanama, taniyo, yapiwi piwimai, tawana tsiniyo, hilalikiyo, tawati
tawat." The prairie falcon and the crow went on again from that place.
They went far. Again he asked the crow: "Are you hungry?" and killed a rabbit and made water for him. He himself ate nothing. He only used
tobacco. That was his food. Then they came to a village. [The same conversation is repeated]. Then he sang for them: "Hilamata, hayaawiyu,
lokoyowani, waatin, humuyu hile." It was at Kaweah that he sang thus.
In the morning they went on again. They traveled far. Then they came to Chowchilla. They approached a village. [The same dialogue is repeated.]
"Stay here and sing," they said and he agreed. He sang: "Hosimi, hosiwimine, wanit wilima, lananama, hosimi." That is the end. The prairie falcon
A Yaudanchi Yokut Legend
Mikiti lived with her daughter at Chit'at [clover]. They were there alone, she and her daughter. It was spring and the clover grew. Then her daughter
went out to gather clover. Mikiti told her: "Do not go far." Then for a long time she did not go far. After awhile she began to go farther. Then she
saw good clover mid gathered it mid brought it home. Then Mikiti ate it. "Where did you get the good clover?" she asked.
Her daughter said: "I went farther away."
Then Mikiti said: "do not go there again."
The next day the girl went again. She came to where it was brushy. "Do not taste the clover when you gather it," Mikiti had told her. Now when she
was in the brushy place she found good clover. She gathered a great deal. She put it all into her carrying net. When she had done this she saw a
bunch of clover. She thought: "It looks very fine." Then she ate it. She had not yet swallowed it when a grizzly bear came out of the brush. He ate her
Now this girl had been with child. When she did not come back to the house Mikiti said: "I knew it. You have been eaten up." Next day she tracked
her. Then she saw where she had gathered the clover. She looked all about there. She could not even find blood. Then she whistled. She heard
nothing. Again she whistled. Again she did not hear anything. She went on and whistled again.
Then from a distance she heard a faint answer. "Ah, that is where my grandchild is," she said. Then she went there. She looked all over the clover.
She could mot find anything. She whistled again. It answered right by her. Then she saw blood there on the clover leaves. She took the bloody leaves
and brought them home. Putting the blood in a basket, she took it to the spring and left it there, covering it with another basket. Then she went back
to the house.
Next day she went to look at it. She listened. Then she heard a tapping noise. "Oh, my grandchild is already growing," she said. Then she took off the
covering basket. She took him to the house. He was already a person when she brought him into the house. Then she lived there with the child. Once
the boy went out doors. He came back, crying: "My grandmother, I saw something! I want to shoot it." Then she made arrows for her grandson.
When she had finished them he went out. He saw a bird and shot it. He killed it. Then he came back and gave her the bird. She said: "That is very
good, my grandson." Again he went out and came back, saying: "My grandmother, I saw something. It has something on the top of its head."
"It is a quail," she told him.
Then the boy went and shot it. He came back and gave it to her. Then he said: "My bow is not good. Make me another one, a better one." Then
Mikiti made him a good bow. She pulled out her pubic hair to make the bowstring. He went off again. He came back and said: "I saw something,
"What is it?" she asked.
"This one has a longer crest."
"That is a mountain quail. Go kill it."
So the boy went off again. He came to the mountain quail and shot and killed it. Then he brought it back and gave it to his grandmother. He was still
growing. Now he did not like his bow any longer. Once he said" "Is none of the property of my relatives left?"
Then Mikiti told him: "Yes, there is some."
"I would like to see it," he said.
So she opened the house in which they had lived. Now there were all kinds of good fighting bows and fighting arrows and blankets and other things
here. Then the boy went inside, and his grandmother told him: "Pick out what you want and take it."
He said: "Yes, I will take this bow and these arrows."
Now he tried all his arrows. Then his grandmother told him: "Do not go east from here; you will be killed if you do."
Then he went off again. He went far east. There he climbed on a rock. Then he went back to the house. He told his grandmother: "I went far east."
She said: "Do not go there again. The grizzly bear will kill you."
He said: "Oh, he cannot do anything. I will kill the old fellow with the big feet."
Then he went off there once more. He shouted. At once a grizzly bear came out. He came close to the boy. Then the boy told him: "Go back! Run off!
I do not want you."
Again he shouted. Then at once another grizzly bear came. He also rushed up to the boy. Then the boy told him also: "Go back! Run! I do not want
you," and the bear returned.
Then he immediately shouted again. "Ah, you are the one I want," he said, as another grizzly came out. The bear said: "It is good," and at once
jumped at him. The boy dodged him. Again the bear jumped. Then the boy jumped on the high rock. From there he shot the bear as he looked up. He
shot him in the throat. Thus he killed him who had killed his mother. He skinned him. Then he went back. There was a rock at the place where Mikiti
used to let water. He covered this rock with the bear skin. Then he went to the house.
"Grandmother, go get water," he said.
"Very well, my grandson," she said.
Then she went to get water. She came there. She saw the bear skin. Then she ran back. As she ran along the path she urinated into her basket,
dozhozhozhozhozhozh. Then she gave him what she had in her basket. The boy did not like it. He said: "This is not good water. Throw it away. Go
get some good water."
Then she went again. Again she saw the bear skin at the water and ran off without having brought water. As she went she urinated, and again
brought her urine to the boy. He said: "You have not yet go good water." Then he told her: "Grandmother, why are you afraid where our water is?
That is the skin of the bear that killed my mother."
The old woman, the girl, and the boy were all Mikiti. Every night they still cook acorns at this spring. In the morning the rocks are warm. But they
cannot be seen and leave no tracks. They lived in the Paleuyami country and talked the Paleuyami dialect.
|Origin of the Sierra Nevada's and Coast Range
A Yokut Legend
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 for 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 beak full 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's.
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."
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.
|The Bald Eagle and the Prairie Falcon
A Tachi Yokut Legend
At a mountain southwest from the north end of Tulare Lake the ground is red and white. There the bald eagle, Owik, lived. He used to take away
men's wives. If they became angry he killed them.
The prairie falcon, Limik, lived farther north in the Coast Range with the Tachi. The eagle took away his wife. Then the prairie falcon pursued him.
He fought him. He broke his head with a rock and killed him. The bald eagle's brains and blood turned the ground white and red.
|The Beginning of the World
A Gashowu Yokut legend
The prairie falcon and the raven made the earth at a time when everything was water. The beaver, the otter, the mud-hen, the mallard duck, and a
duck called potikh dived and tried to reach the bottom, but could not do so. Then k'uik'ui, a small duck, dived, reached the bottom, and grasped the
sand there. As he rose up, it washed out of his hands, his mouth, and his ears. Only a little was left under his finger-nail.
When he came to the surface, he gave this to the prairie falcon. The prairie falcon had tobacco. This he mixed with the sand. Then he divided it, and
gave half to the raven, whom he called his friend. They went far to the north. There they separated.
The prairie falcon sent the raven to go southward on the west. He himself came southward along the east where these mountains are now. As they
went they dropped the sand from between the thumb and finger.
As the sand fell into the water it began to boil and the world grew from underneath. Then the raven surpassed the prairie falcon. These large
mountains which are now here were then in the west. When the prairie falcon arrived he saw that the raven's mountains were the large. Then he
changed them about. He put one in the place of the other without the raven's knowledge.
So if it had not been for k'uik'ui and the prairie falcon the world would not have been made. But it was the prairie falcon who first wanted the world.
|The Beginning of the World
A Truhohi Yokut Legend
Far in the south was a mountain. It was the only land. Everything else was water. The eagle was the chief. The people had nothing to eat. They were
eating the earth and it was nearly gone. Then Coyote said: "Can we not obtain earth? Can we not make mountains?" The eagle said: "I do not know
Coyote said" "There is a man that we will ask." Then they got the magpie. The eagle said: "Can we obtain earth?" The magpie said: "Yes." "Where?"
"Right below us." Then all the ducks dived and tried to bring up the earth. Some were gone half a day. They could not reach the bottom and died and
The eagle said: "When you reach the ground take hold of it and bite it, and fill your nose and ears." For six days they dived and found nothing. There
was only one more to go down, the mudhen. Then the eagle said: "Now you go. Let us see if you can find the earth." The mudhen said: "Good." Then
it dived. It was gone for a day and a night. In the morning it came up. It was dead. They looked it over. It had earth in its nails, its ears, and its nose.
Then they made the earth from this ground. They mixed it with chiyu seeds and from this they made the earth.
After six days the eagle said to the wolf" "Now go around." Then the wold went where the Sierra Nevada now is and around to the west and came back
along where the Coast Range is. The eagle said: "Do not touch it for six days. Let it dry first." All the people said: "Very well, we will let it become
dry." But soon Coyote said: "I will try it. It is getting hard now."
He traveled along where the Sierras are. That is why these are rough and broken now. It is from his running over the soft earth. Then he turned west
and went back along the Coast Range. That is why there are mountains there also. Coyote made it so. Now the eagle sent out the prairie falcon and
the raven (Khotoi). He told them: "Go around the world and see if the earth is hard yet."
Then the prairie falcon went north along the Sierra Nevada and Khotoi went north along the Coast Range. Each came back the way he had gone. Now
at first the Sierra Nevada was not so high as the Coast Range. When the two returned the eagle said: "How is the earth? Is it hard?" "Yes," they said.
Then the prairie falcon said: "Look at my mountains. They are the highest," but Khotoi said: "No, mine are higher." The prairie falcon said: "No,
yours, do not amount to anything. They are low." Then the eagle and Coyote sent the people to different places. They said: "You go to that place with
your people. You go to that spring." So they sent them off, and the people went to the different places where they are now. They were still animals, but
they became people. For a little while after they had all gone the eagle and Coyote stayed there. Then Coyote said: "Where will you go?" The eagle
said: "I am thinking about it. I think I will go up." Coyote said: "Where shall I live?" The eagle said: "Here." But Coyote said: "No, I will go with
you." The eagle told him: "No, you must stay here. You will have to look after this place here."
So they talked for six days. Then the eagle took all his things. "Goodbye," he said, "I am going." Then he went. Coyote looked up. He said: "I am
going too." "You have no wings. You cannot," said the eagle. "I will go," said Coyote, and he went. Now they are together in the sky above.
|The Beginning of the World
A Wukchamni Yokut Legend
Everything was water except a very small piece of ground. On this were the eagle and Coyote. Then the turtle swam to them. They sent it to dive for the
earth at the bottom of the water. The turtle barely succeeded in reaching the bottom and touching it with his foot. When it came again, all the earth
seemed washed out.
Coyote looked closely at its nails. At last he found a grain of earth. Then he and the eagle took this and laid it down. From it they made the earth as
large as it is. From the earth they also made six men and six women. They sent these out in pairs in different directions and the people separated.
After a time the eagle sent the Coyote to see what the people were doing. Coyote came back and said: "They are doing something bad. They are eating
the earth. One side is already gone."
The eagle said: "That is bad. Let us make something for them to eat. Let us send the dove to find something."
The dove went out. It found a single grain of meal. The eagle and Coyote put this down on the ground. Then the earth became covered with seeds and
fruit. Now they told the people to eat these. When the seeds were dry and ripe the people gathered them. Then the people increased and spread all over.
But the water is still under the world.
|The Beginning of the World
A Yauelmani Yokut Legend
At first there was water everywhere. A piece of wood [wichet, stick, wood, tree] grew up out of the water to the sky. On the tree there was a nest. Those
who were inside did not see, any earth. There was only water to be seen. The eagle was the chief of them. With him were the wolf, Coyote, the panther,
the prairie falcon, the hawk called po'yon, and the condor.
The eagle wanted to make the earth. He thought: "We will have to have land." Then he called upon k'uik'ui, a small duck. He, said to it: "Dive down
and bring up earth." The duck dived, but not reach the bottom. It died. The eagle called another kind of duck. He told it to dive. This duck went far
down. It finally reached the bottom. Just as it touched the mud there it died. Then it came up again. Then the eagle and the other six saw a little dirt
under its finger nail. When the eagle saw this he took the dirt from its nail. He mixed it with telis and pele seeds and ground them up. He put water with
the mixture and made dough. This was in the morning. Then he set it in the water and it swelled and spread everywhere, going out from the middle.
[These seeds when ground and mixed with water swell.] In the evening the eagle told his companions: "Take some earth."
They went down and took a little earth up in the tree with them. Early in the morning, when the morning star came, the eagle said to the wolf: "Shout."
The wolf shouted and the earth disappeared, and all was water again.
The eagle said: "We will make it again," for it was for this purpose that they had taken some earth with them into the nest. Then they took telis and pele
seeds again, and ground them with the earth, and put the mixture into the water, and it swelled out again.
Then early the next morning, when the morning star appeared, the eagle told the wold again: "Shout!" and he shouted three times. The earth was
shaken by an earthquake, but it stood. Then Coyote said: "I must shout too." He shouted and the earth shook a very little. Now it was good. Then they
came out of the tree on the ground. Close to where this tree stood there was a lake. The eagle said: "We will live here." Then they had a house there and
Now every evening when the sun went down tokho came there and went into the water in the lake. Coyote wanted to catch it. The eagle asked him:
"How will you do it?"
Coyote said: "Well, I will do it."
He went off into the brush,rolled string on his thigh, and made it into a snare, which he put into the water. Tokho came, entered the water, and was
caught. Coyote tried to take hold of it, but it was too hot. He could not touch it. It was like fire. Only after the sun came up was he able to take hold of it.
Now, after he had held it all night, the tokho said to him: "Take me to the house."
Coyote asked it: "What does tokho mean?" It said: "I am tobacco. Give me to the prairie falcon."
Coyote brought it to the house and said: "Who wants this?" The eagle did not want it. None of the seven wanted it except the prairie falcon. He said: "I
will take it."
Coyote asked it: "What are you good for?"
The tobacco said: "I am good for many things. If there is anything you want to have, use me, and then whatever it is that you wish will be so."
The prairie falcon said: "I will try it." At night he took a little of the tobacco in his mouth and blew out: "Pu! I want it to rain." Then it began to rain. It
rained all night.
Then Coyote said: "We will make a woman out of a deer." Then they killed a deer. They put it under a blanket of tules. It was entirely covered. When
the morning star came it got up. It was a person now. It was a woman. Coyote said: "I will sleep with her."
That night he slept with her. In the morning he was dead. The woman was not hurt. The prairie falcon took a sharp water-grass. He said: "Stick it in
his anus and he will get up."
One of them put it in. Coyote got up hurriedly. "Ah, I was sleepy," he said. He said: "That is not good. It is not sweet. All men will die. We shall have to
do it differently." Then he killed her.
He left her under the blanket over night. Then he said: "Tonight I will try it again." Then he slept with her. In the morning he got up early. "This is all
right," he said. "This is good. We will let it be like that." This is how people came to be: deer was the mother. They made her by means of tobacco,
blowing [spitting] it out while they said what they wished. But the prairie falcon ate nothing but tobacco. He lived on that. Thus the earth was made.
|The Eagle and the Condor
A Yaudanchi Yokut Legend
The eagle was chief. The condor did not like him. He tried to supersede him as chief. Flying high in the air, he saw a bloody deer on the ground. "Now I
will have something to eat," he thought, and began to peck at the deer.
The eagle, hidden under the brush on which the deer was lying, caught him by the foot. "Now I have you! I will kill you," he said.
The condor said: "Let me go. You can be chief again. I will go away." Then the eagle released him and was chief once more.
|The Eagle's Son
A Yaudanchi Yokut Legend
The eagle had a boy. He said to him: "Do not go over that hill." The boy grew up. One day, saying: "I am just going off somewhere," he went over the
hill. When he came back he said to his grandmother: "I saw something on the other side of that hill."
"What did you see?" she asked.
"Many people," he said.
Next day he went over again. Then a number of girls who were gathering clover saw him. They were the woodpecker, the bluejay, the quail, the
mountain quail, and the rat. When he came near them they spat on him the clover they were eating and ran off.
The boy went toward the house in that place. Coyote who was there prepared to shoot him. Moving his band over his mouth he shouted:
"Wuwuwuwuwuwu! Some one is coming." The boy was carrying arrows also, but did not take them out of his quiver.
Coyote came near him, drew his bow, and shot. He missed the boy. Then the dog, the right side of whose face was black, shot. He missed also. When the
two saw that they could not hit the boy, they said to him: "Come, my friend, sit here." Then he came and sat down with them.
When he said: "I must go," Coyote told him: "Well come again." The boy returned home. He told his father: "I have been to see people over the hill. I
want to go again tomorrow."
Then the eagle said: "Do not go. You will be killed."
The boy told him: "They have already tried to kill me."
Next day he went again. He came to the same place and the girls were there as before. He was dressed beautifully now. He looked so fine that the girls
did not know him again. This time they tried to embrace him. They were so jealous that they were ready to fight one another. They all went to where he
lived. All of them had long hair and were beautiful; and each came carrying a load of food.
The bluejay went into the house and said to the boy's grandmother: "Go outside and get my load. I have brought something to eat. I want to live with
this young man."
The old woman did not bring it in. All the girls came in, one after another,and each told the old woman to take her food inside, but she did not do it. Then
the woodpecker came in. She was the only one of them who had not spit on the boy when he first came to them.
When she said to the old woman: "Bring in my load. I want to live here," the old woman said: "Yes," and carried it in. Then the other girls were angry,
and struck the woodpecker on the head, and the blood that came is the red that is now on the woodpecker's head.
Then the woodpecker threw ashes on the bluejay, and made her blue. She threw fire on the mountain quail, which therefore is spotted with red. She
rubbed charcoal on the quail, from which its head is black, and she threw fire on the rat, from which this has a reddish belly. Then the woodpecker lived
After a time the young man went over the hill again. He went to fight Coyote and the black-faced dog. He shot both and killed them. Then the eagle said
to him: "Let us go and kill all of them." Then those people all fled and scattered over the country.
|The Man and the Owls
A Yaudanchi Yokut Legend
A Waksachi man and his wife were traveling. They camped over night in a cave. They had a fire burning. Then they heard a horned owl hoot. The
woman said to her husband: "Call in the same way. He will come and you can shoot him and we will eat him for supper."
The man got his bow and arrows ready and called. The owl answered. He called again and again and the owl answered, coming nearer. At last it sat on
a tree near the fire. The man shot. He killed it. Then his wife told him: "Do it again. Another one will come."
Again he called and brought an owl and shot it. He said: "It is enough now." But his wife said: "No. Call again. If you call them in the morning they
will not come. We have had no meat for a long time. We shall want something to eat tomorrow as well as now."
Then the man called. More owls came. There were more and more of them. He shot, but more came. It was full of them all about. All his arrows were
gone. The owls came closer and attacked them. The man took sticks from the fire and fought them off. He covered the woman with a basket and kept on
fighting. More and more owls came. At last they killed both the man and the woman.
|The Origin of Death
A Gashowu Yokut Legend
A person was dying. Then some people said: "Let it be that he lies outside for three days. Then he will get up and be a person again." Now there was one
newly wed man, the meadow-lark. He did not like the dead person lying near his house because the body smelled. He said: "we will take the dead one
away and burn him." So the people were persuaded. They built a pile of wood, laid the body on it, and burned it. Thus the people of old times did, and so
people die now and do not come back.
|The Origin of Death
A Truhohi Yokut Legend
There were two insects, Shoyo and Kokwiteit. The latter was a chief. He did not want many people to live. He gathered the people and said: "We will go.
I do not know where. We must go somewhere. It will fill up. It is best if we make it that medicine-men will kill people. Then there will be a great
ceremony for the dead."
Coyote liked that. The others did not like it. Coyote said: "When a chief or one of his family dies we will go to his village. We will have a great gathering.
We will dance and enjoy ourselves." Then the people liked the idea.
But it was Kokwiteit who was the cause. So now, here in this world if one meets a kokwiteit in the road, people say: "There will be too many; let us kill
him." So they kill him. Shoyo did not want people to die, but Kokwiteit made it that they do.