INDIAN MYTHS OF SOUTH CENTRAL CALIFORNIA.
A. L. KROEBER.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PUBLICATIONS
AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY AND ETHNOLOGY
VOL. 4 NO. 4
37.--Yauelmani Yokuts. The Beginning Of The World.
The material on which this paper is based was collected in the years 1901 to 1906 as part of the work of the Ethnological and Archaeological Survey of California carried on by the University of California's Department of Anthropology, which owes its existence and continued support to the interest of Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst.
The Yauelmani stories given, numbers 37 to 40, are from two informants, both on Tule river reservation. The original territory of the Yauelmani was south of Tule river, apparently about Kern river in the vicinity of Bakersfield and above to Gonoilkin. Number 37 was obtained from Cow, the oldest man on the reservation, and is a somewhat fuller account of the creation, with the usual prominence of the eagle and Coyote and the episode of the diving for the earth, than any of the other Yokuts versions obtained. The antithesis between the wolf and Coyote is interesting because it reappears in other parts of California. The dignity of character attributed to the prairie falcon is also noticeable. The following fragment, number 38, from the same informant, shows Coyote as the cause of death, and is interesting because it reveals the presence among these people of the wide-spread Californian belief of the origin of the human hand as patterned upon that of the lizard. The next two stories, numbers 39 and 40, were obtained from an informant named Chalola, also an old man. The first of these two is by far the longest myth in the entire collection, and appears to consist of three more or less separate series of incidents. It is doubtful how far the joining together of these is due to the individual narrator. The first part tells how Coyote caused the absence of the sun in order to avenge himself upon the people with whom he lived. In this part of the myth he is the hero. The second portion is much more loosely put together, and consists of a string of typical Coyote episodes, his character being throughout ridiculous. A sudden transition made from Coyote to the prairie falcon, leads to the third portion of this myth, which tells of the prairie falcon's loss of his eyes in gambling and his travels. This part of the story seems to be little else than a framework for a number of songs. The second Yauelmani story obtained from this informant, number 40, is also of some length and again has the prairie falcon as its hero.
Myth 37 - THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD
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 k'uik'ui, a small duck. He, said to it: "Dive down and bring up earth." The duck dived, but did 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
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 next morning, when the morning star appeared, the eagle told the wolf 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 lived there.
Now every evening when the sun went down tokho (sokhon, tobacco) 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 (sokhon). 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
Coyote said: "We will make a woman 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 (yokots) 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 (kapi). 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: "To-night 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.
Myth 38 - THE ORIGIN OF DEATH
It was Coyote who brought it about that people die. He made it thus because our hands are not closed like his. He wanted our hands to be like his, but kondjodji (a lizard), said to him: "No, they must have my hand." He had five fingers and Coyote had only a fist. So now we have an open hand with five fingers. But then Coyote said: "Well, then they will have to die."
They were living at Kamupau (south of San Emidio, which is at the end of the San Joaquin valley). 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
[1. There is an obvious contradiction in causing continuous night by the absence of the night as well as of the sun and moon. Similarly in a Yurok myth, darkness, which at first was lacking in the world, was stolen from the twelve sun-moon brothers, or, in another version, results when the sun first moves across the sky instead of standing still.]
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 mountain 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
habak tutsuat tsenil
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 a 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 as they started to go.
So he sang and started. He went singing all the time. After a longtime 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 around 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 band and leads him. It is the crow, his friend." The prairie falcon sang: "Hiwèti, yona, hiwèti, naamtayo, lanîyo, hilalèkiyo, tawatè" 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. The 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 stayed there.
Myth 40 - THE PRAIRIE FALCON LOSES
At Kamupau, south of San Emidio, many people lived. The eagle was the chief. Coyote was there too. He was a good talker and knew everything. The prairie falcon was there. He was fierce. The large owl, hutulu, and the small ground owl, tokowets, both of them medicine-men, were there. The panther was there. He was a good hunter. The weasel, the fox, and the magpie lived there too. These three were all gamblers. Many others lived there. Every day the hunters, the eagle, the prairie falcon and the panther, went out for rabbits. Coyote brought wood to every house. He never went hunting. When the hunters came back they called to Coyote: "Tutunusut!" That was his name. They gave him the intestines of the rabbits and he ate them. They also gave him the unborn rabbits (wasis). When Coyote received these he spoke over them and blew on them and made them larger (sukhua, to make or create by blowing). By the time he came to his house they were large rabbits. In this way he lived. The gamblers played every day at the gambling ground with the hoop and poles. Now the small black-eared rabbit, tukuyun, came from pitnani (the forks of Kern river, the country of the Shoshonean Pitanisha or Tübatulabal). Coyote said: "A stranger has come." They went to him and brought him into the chief's house. He was bringing food with him, pinenuts, and puhuk, and hapu. This he gave to the eagle. Next morning he went to gamble with the fox. The rabbit won everything. He won also the weasel's beads. He won all that the magpie had. He won everything from all the gamblers. Coyote was about as an attendant. He helped them as they played and was paid for it. He did not ask to receive much. He did not expect to be made rich. In the evening they stopped playing because the rabbit had won everything. Early in the morning they began again. Now the rabbit gambled with the prairie falcon.
Now Coyote, another coyote who was the prairie falcon's mother's brother, knew that he was dead. He knew it because he had supernatural power (tipni). He was in the house with his wife. When the prairie falcon died he felt bad. His heart came out of his mouth, he felt so sorry. He would have died, but he caught his heart as it was in the air and put it back into his month. Then he went to where the prairie falcon's new wife was. "Where is the prairie falcon?' he asked the old woman. Then the two boys took him where the prairie falcon bad died. "Where did he fall in?" Coyote asked. "Here," they said. Then he took tobacco and dived far down into the water. He carne to seven trails. He could not tell which way to go. Then he took his tobacco and by means of it chose one trail. He followed this and came to a large communal house (gawi). There he saw a man with his knees burning. "You are burning," he said. He did riot answer. Coyote took tobacco, spoke over it, and made the person able to talk again. The prairie falcon was in the house. Only his feathers were left. Now he sang in the Tokye (Chumash) language: "Kapikh, tata, shakhshaniwash, salialama. You came, my uncle. You will die." Then Coyote sang also. He sang: "I am dead already. You know it." He meant that he should have died when he had jumped into the water, and therefore could not really die. Then he took the prairie falcon. No one was there except the old man whose knees were being burned for wood. So Coyote took the prairie falcon back with him. Then he put blue rock-paint on him as medicine and made him well again. This was through his supernatural power. He took a small sharp grass and stuck him in the anus. Then the prairie falcon got up.
The girl, the old woman, and the two boys were spiders of a species called ulumush or kolokilwi. The prairie falcon's uncle, Coyote, came from Nohomo, southwest of San Emidio.
Myth 25 - THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD - A Wukchamni Yokuts myth told by a Yaudanchi Yokuts.
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 its foot. When it came up 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
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.
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