Sacred Texts  Native America  California  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Creation Myths of Primitive America, by Jeremiah Curtin, [1898], at

p. 389



After each name is given that of the creature or thing into which the personage was changed subsequently.

Hemauna Márimi, ----; Hitchinna, wildcat; Lawalila, chicken hawk; Paiowa, new moon's youngest daughter; Titildi Marimi, black bear woman; Titindi Maupa, her brother; Topuna, mountain lion; Tuina, the sun; Wakara, new moon.


Titindi Maupa lived at a place called Kurulsa Mauna, where he had two sisters. Three miles west of that place lived young Topuna with his father, who had a great sweat-house at Motiri Mauna.

Titindi Maupa wished his elder sister to marry Topuna, his great friend, who was a good hunter and killed many deer. One day Titindi Maupa told his two sisters to make ready much food,--roots, acorns, and pine nuts.

The women made these things ready and put them into a round basket. He put the basket on his back, took two otter-skins as presents, and went to Motiri Mauna.

Old Topuna was sitting at home. His son had gone off before daylight to hunt deer in the mountains. Titindi Maupa saw a great deal of venison and deer fat hanging around in all parts of the sweat-house.

p. 390

He looked in from the top of the sweat-house, and saw the old man cutting meat, breaking bones, and taking marrow out of them. He went in. Topuna stood up to meet him, made a fire, cooked meat, put it in a basket, and set it down before Titindi Maupa. He gave him also fat and dried venison.

"I have food on the top of the sweat-house," said Titindi Maupa. "I left my basket there."

Topuna went and brought it, put it down, then ate of it himself. The visitor ate much, and the two sat long together talking and eating; sat till midday, when young Topuna came home. He had killed five deer and was glad.

"You came to see us," said he, sitting down near the visitor.

"Yes," answered Titindi Maupa, "and you will come soon, I hope, to my house. You will come to-night, perhaps?"

Topuna gave Titindi Maupa nice venison and deer fat,--a great deal of it. "Be light and small till he takes you home," said Topuna to the meat; "then be as big as you now are or bigger."

He gave the visitor a beautiful buckskin dress, and Titindi Maupa went home.

The pack was light till he set it down at home. Then it grew as big as a small house. His elder sister would not eat Topuna's venison; she did not like her brother's friend; she loved young Hitchinna, and would not look at the other man.

Topuna put on three pairs of moccasins, three pairs of thick buckskin leggings trimmed with

p. 391

beads; put on three buckskin blankets, and at dark he went out of the door to go to Kurulsa Mauna.

"My son," said old Topuna, when his son was going, "you will come back sorry; you will be angry in the morning; I know that woman well."

All were asleep at Titindi Maupa's when Topuna came; but Titildi Marimi had wished the whole house outside to be covered with sharp rocks and thorny brush, for she knew that Topuna was coming.

When he reached the place, he could not go in; he could not find the door, even; everything was hidden with sharp rocks and thorns. He was outside all night, and never stopped trying to find the way in; he wore out his three pair of moccasins, tore his three pair of leggings and three blankets; bits of them were scattered all around the sweat-house. At last he was naked and nearly frozen.

Topuna went home before daylight, very angry. Titildi Marimi had heard him, but said not a word. He lay down in his father's sweat-house and stayed there all day.

When daylight came, Titildi Marimi rose up and went out of the sweat-house; the rocks and brush were all gone at her wish; nothing there now but the nice beads that had fallen from Topuna. She went to the spring; washed there, combed and dressed her hair, painted her face red, put on a nice woven cap, took a little basket with a sharp stick, and went out on the mountain; went far; dug sweet roots by the creeks on the mountain flats.

Titindi Maupa was angry at his sister all day; he stayed in bed until evening. Titildi Marimi dug

p. 392

roots, dug a great many, singing all the time while she worked. Hitchinna heard the singing from his place and came to her. She liked him. She went to meet him; was pleased to see him; they sat down together, talked, and were glad. They parted for that day; he hunted deer, she filled her basket with roots and went home about sundown.

Titindi Maupa was in bed yet. He did not raise his eyes when she came; did not look at his sister.

Next morning she rose early; rose at daylight. She had promised Hitchinna to meet him a second time. She washed, combed her hair, painted her face, took a basket with a root stick, and started.

She had not gone far when her brother sprang up, hurried to the river, swam in it; went back to the sweat-house, striking his hair as he went with a stick to make it dry quickly. Then he ate, and said to his younger sister,--

"I am going away; I must leave you; you will cry, I think, because I am going."

He put on rich clothes, then tied a string of nice beads to a staff, and fastened the staff in one corner of the house corners.

"If I die," said he, "those beads will fall to the ground; do not touch them while they are hanging, and say to our sister not to touch them. When she comes, do not say that I have gone; if she knows herself, you must not show her the way that I have taken."

Then he turned to each thing in the house and said, "You, my poking-stick, must not tell my sister how I have gone, nor you, my baskets, nor

p. 393

you, my fire, nor you, my basket of water, nor my roots; not one of you must tell her." And he told everything except the acorn flour; he forgot to tell the acorn flour.

"Now I go," said he; and pushing up the central post of the house, he went in to the ground, and the post settled back after him. He went underground until he reached a spring of water. From the spring he turned back and went west, then back; went north, then back; went south, then back to the spring. Next he went in circles around his house to mislead his sister, so that she might not track him. At last he went west two or three miles; then he rose to the top of the ground, and went off on a trail.

When she went to the mountain flat on the second morning, Titildi Marimi stood a while thinking. She knew that her brother was out of bed, that he was very angry. "My brother will go away to-day," thought she. "I must be home again soon."

She threw down her stick and basket quickly and hurried home. She saw that her brother was not in the house, that her sister was crying.

"Where is my brother," asked she; "tell me, my sister."

The sister would not speak, gave no answer; held down her head and cried bitterly.

"Tell me quickly. The sun is high. If I cannot come up with him, he will die; if I do not find him, his enemies will kill him." The sister did not answer.

p. 394

"Tell me, you rock, which way my brother went; tell me quickly. Tell me, you poking-stick; tell me, baskets." Nothing gave answer. "Post, tell me, tell quickly; it is too late almost, he will escape me." She asked everything and got no answer, till at last she said, "Acorn flour, will you tell me?"

"Your brother is gone," said the acorn flour. "He is angry because you injured Topuna, his friend; he is very angry, and does not wish you to follow him."

"Which way did he go? Under the post."

"That is well."

She was glad then. She made ready quickly; put on nice, new things, took her best bow and a big otter-skin quiver filled with arrows, put on leggings like a man.

"My sister, be well, take good care of yourself," said she. "I don't want my brother to die. He thinks that the journey is pleasant, that the journey is easy. I will go, too; I will help him."

She pushed up the post and followed her brother; went to the spring, came back, followed him everywhere; came out at last on the trail and tracked him, followed him, toiled along over Backbone Mountain. She followed hard and fast, gained on him, kept gaining; still she was afraid that she could not come up with her brother. She turned then to Sun and called out.--

"O Sun. I wish you to be slow. Go very slowly to-day, O Sun. Let the day be long. Give me time to come up with my brother."

p. 395

The Sun went more slowly, gave her time, and she hurried on.

Titindi Maupa all this while was hurrying, going on quickly; and he sang as he went. His song was of Paiowa, Wakara's youngest daughter, a maiden far off in the west.

Wakara had a great many daughters. All the stars in the sky were his children, and all his daughters were married but this one, the youngest, the one whom Titindi Maupa was going to marry if her father would give her.

He went along the Daha, went as the stream flows, swam across and sat down to smoke. When he had emptied his pipe, he went up on the mountain ridge west of the river, reached the top, and walked some distance down on the western slope, sat again and smoked a second time. Now Titildi Marimi, his sister, had crossed the river and was following. She came to where her brother had sat to smoke the first time.

"I will come up with you soon," said she. "You cannot go from me now;" and she followed on, followed quickly.

The brother, when he smoked the second time, sat at a little spring on the western slope of the mountain ridge; the sister reached the ridge from the top; she saw her brother a little below her. He heard some one behind, looked up, and saw Titildi Marimi. He held his head down, he said nothing.

"I shall be with you soon," cried the sister. "We can go on together. You have come a long way to find a good smoking-place."

p. 396

He said nothing, looked at the ground, waited for his sister. Soon she was there with him.

"My brother, I am tired," said she, "give me tobacco; I wish to smoke."

He gave her tobacco; she smoked.

"My brother," said Titildi Marimi, "I want you to shoot at that quartz rock over there on the mountain side."

He raised his bow with an arrow and took good aim.

"Now hit that rock," said she.

He sent one arrow, after it a second, and then a third. They hit the rock, but bounded back from it.

"You might go a long way to hurt an enemy with arrows of that sort!" laughed the sister. "Do you think those good arrows, my brother? You will see enemies enough in two days; you will see enemies in the house of Wakara."

She drew out her own bow then, took an arrow from her otter-skin quiver, and said, "Look now at me, my brother!"

She shot at the rock; hit it. Her arrow shivered the rock to pieces.

"This is what my arrows do!" said Titildi Marimi.

Titindi Maupa hung his head; said not a word, but rose and went down the mountain side till he came to a creek; then he crossed another mountain, going westward all the time till he was in sight of Wakaruwa, the place to which he was going; then he sat down a third time and smoked.

p. 397

"O smoke," said he, "I wish you to make friends to-night and to-morrow for me."

He looked down into the valley, where he heard much noise; he saw many people playing games and shooting.

Just before this Wakara had called his youngest daughter, Paiowa, and said, "I want you to gather oak leaves for the acorn bread, and red earth to mix in it."

She went with a basket on her back, went up to the mountain side, gathered red earth to mix with the acorn flour and make the bread light. The leaves were to be put on the top of the dough and cover the bread while baking. Titindi Maupa put his sister with her quiver in an otter-skin and carried her. She had made herself small, and seemed just like an otter; he hid her on his shoulder in this form.

Paiowa, Wakara's youngest daughter, had put red earth in her basket and filled it with leaves. She turned around now to stoop and raise it, but could not, it was too heavy.

Titindi Maupa had slipped up and was holding the basket. She turned to see what the trouble was, and saw him right there almost touching her.

"Oh!" cried she, frightened and dropping her head; she was shamefaced before the stranger.

"Why are you afraid?" asked Titindi Maupa. "Is it because I am ugly?

She raised the basket to her back, and rushed away. When she reached Wakaruwa, she threw down the basket outside, and ran into the house past her mother.

p. 398

"Why are you so frightened? What is the matter?" asked her mother.

Not a word did she answer.

Old Wakara was sitting inside. "Why are you frightened, my daughter?" asked he. "Has anything happened, has any one hurt you?"

"I saw a man over there on the mountain."

"What kind of man was he?" asked Wakara.

"He has an otter on his back and wears buckskin; his hands are both red with deer blood."

Titindi Maupa had a large piece of fat venison in his otter-skin quiver.

"He is a good hunter, I think," said Wakara; and he took down an otter-skin, put it on the north side of the house, and said to his daughter, "Sit there and let this man come to you."

It was night soon. All the people came into the house, sat down, and ate supper. Titindi Maupa stopped outside for a while, and found a place where Wakara stored acorns. "I will leave you here for this night," said he to his sister. "To-morrow I will come to get you."

Titindi Maupa left his sister in the acorn crib, sank in the ground then, and came up inside the sweat-house right at the side of Paiowa. Old Wakara laughed when he saw him sitting near his daughter. He was glad.

"Give the stranger food," said he.

Paiowa brought food and gave it to the stranger.

Titindi Maupa ate some and said, "Look in my otter-skin, I have some venison."

She put her hand in, found a good piece, a nice

p. 399

saddle of venison. She could not draw the piece out, it was so heavy. She went then to her father and said, "I must have a big basket."

She took a large tray basket over to her place. Titindi Maupa drew out the venison and put it on the tray, saying,--

"Now, be no smaller, my venison, stay as you are, no matter how much they take from you."

Two girls carried the basket and put it down before Wakara and Hemauna Marimi, his wife. The two old people ate. After them all in the house ate, and the saddle of venison was as large as at first. When all in the house had eaten, old Wakara went out on the housetop and shouted,

"My sons, I call you all to come in for a short while."

Now, all the stars in the sky were Wakara's children; they were his sons and daughters. The greatest, a son, came in first. When near the house, he had caught the odor of venison. Behind him came a great many people. All the stars were in Wakara's sweat-house; the whole place was filled with them. When they looked and saw Titindi Maupa sitting with their sister, they laughed. They were glad. Some sat down; others cut off the venison and roasted it. All ate what they wanted.

Now, old Wakara himself cut off venison, and gave a large share to each son to carry home for his wife and children. All went away laughing.

Titindi Maupa rose before dawn the next morning, took a deer head, and went hunting to a mountain. He put on the head. Deer came and stood

p. 400

before him, ten, then ten more, and soon there were a hundred. He killed the hundred deer. Taking the smallest, he opened it, made the others very little, and put them into the small one, which he carried in one hand.

All were sleeping in the sweat-house when Titindi Maupa came. He threw down the small deer, and the ninety-nine others were as big as at first; they burst out of the small one, made a great noise, and filled all the space before the sweat-house. Wakara's wife had got up to make acorn bread. She tried to go out, but could not, there were so many deer lying around everywhere. She hurried back and called her husband.

"There is something outside," said she; "I do not know what it is. Get up and look, get up quickly!"

Wakara went out and saw piles of deer; he ran back, took his knife and sharpened it. Then going to the top of the house, he called to the whole village, "Come here; come, all of you!"

All the people of the village came soon, and there were so many that the venison was dressed quickly. They cooked and ate in company. Others came from beyond the river south of them, and ate all the venison they wanted. Many sat down under oak-trees and gambled; some shot arrows at marks, and others raced.

All day they amused themselves; all day they feasted, and went home at sunset very glad and praising Titindi Maupa.

West of Wakaruwa, was a large village and many

p. 401

people, all Wakara's sons-in-law, all married to his daughters; and the chief was Lawalila.

"I wonder what my father-in-law is doing," said each of these people; "he has very loud talk in his sweat-house. There has never been such talk there before."

Lawalila called his two sons and said: "Go and see what your grandfather is doing. Your youngest aunt has a husband; perhaps that is why there is such loud talk at the sweat-house."

The two boys stole up to the house carefully, and peeped into it. The younger saw Paiowa, his aunt, in one corner. and Titindi Maupa sitting near her. Wakara saw the boy peeping in, and hurled a stick at him. The two boys ran home.

"My aunt has a husband," said the younger boy. "She has not," said the elder.

"I saw him," said the younger. "You did not," said the elder.

Lawalila stopped the boys; he was satisfied. He went out. and calling to all said, "Paiowa, the youngest daughter of Wakara, is married!"

All were very angry now, all were enraged, for there were many in that village who wanted Paiowa.

Next morning Lawalila roused the village early, and said: "I want you, my people, to play to-day. You must play your best; you must beat Titindi Maupa, Wakara's new son-in-law."

After they had eaten he called all his people together and said, "We will go over to my father-in-law's, to Wakara's, and shoot at a mark there with arrows."

p. 402

They went to Wakara's and asked: "Where is Titindi Maupa? We wish to try him; we want to shoot arrows at a mark against him."

Titindi Maupa came out and shot. He won the first shot. the second; he won all the time, won everything that Lawalila's people wagered.

Just at noon Lawalila lost his temper, got angry, sprang up, tried to seize and take back all the things that his people had lost. Titindi Maupa would not let him do that; he stood in his way, would not let him take anything.

Lawalila struck Wakara's new son-in-law. Titindi Maupa threw down his opponent. Lawalila jumped up, ran toward his people, drew his bow, and tried to send an arrow through Titindi Maupa. A great fight now followed.

Wakara's sons came and took Titindi Maupa's part. Lawalila's people hurried to his side. Titindi Maupa's young wife ran out to help her brothers and her husband.

They fought very hard on both sides. In the middle of the afternoon all were killed on Lawalila's side except himself. New forces came to Lawalila. Titindi Maupa was so tired that he could not stand. At this moment his sister came. She picked up Titindi Maupa, put him on her back, and gave him her bow and arrows. He shot from her shoulder. and used her strong arrows. Every man that they touched fell that moment. Every one from the west was killed, Lawalila with the others.

Titindi Maupa rested, and went to the sweat-house.

p. 403

[paragraph continues] His sister went with him. The dead of both sides lay all night where they fell.

Before daybreak Titindi Maupa rose, took his fire-drill, went out, and turning the faces of all his brothers-in-law to the earth, struck them with the fire-drill. All came to life and went back to Wakaruwa.

Lawalila's people lay on the field all night, the next day, and the night following. Titindi Maupa did not like to see all those dead people lying there; so he went before daybreak of the second day and struck each with his fire-drill. All came to life, rose up, were glad, and went home. Next morning they came to Wakaruwa, and had games again, with good feasting and pleasure. They did not get angry a second time.

Titindi Maupa brought in deer every morning. His brothers-in-law came and ate with him; they were friendly and happy. Titindi Maupa stayed twenty days at Wakaruwa. He killed deer for all of them. On the twenty-first morning Wakara said to his daughter,--

"I think your husband would like to go home now."

Next morning Titindi Maupa set out for home with his wife and sister; they went in one day to Kurulsa Mauna.

Three nights later Topuna came to visit them; he came again to see Titildi Marimi. She let him come now. She was afraid that her brother might leave her a second time.

So at last Topuna got the wife he wanted, and they all lived together at Kurulsa Mauna.

Next: The Two Sisters, Haka Lasi And Tsore Jowa