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

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

Ahalamila, gray wolf; Bohkuina, silver-gray fox; Chichepa, spotted hawk; Chuhna, spider; Hehku, horned serpent; Hitchinna, wildcat; Howichinaipa, a small bird; Hurskiyupa, orphan; Jewina, reddish chicken hawk; Jihkulu, large owl; Jupka, butterfly of wild silkworm; Kaítsiki, ground squirrel; Kaltsauna, swift (kind of lizard); Kechowala, bluejay; Lawalila, large hawk; Maibyu, dove; Malewula, wolf; Mapchemaina, first people; Pakalai Jawichi, water lizard; Petaina, skunk; Popila, duck; Topuna, mountain lion; Tsanunewa, a little bird; Tuina, the sun; Wihlaina, chipmunk.


After Hehku had risen from the dead and gone home, Jupka said to all the Mapchemaina: "Sweat now and swim. You will go to hunt to-morrow early."

The Mapchemaina went to hunt on the following day, but could not kill deer. They had no good arrow-points. The points which they had were made of common stone. When they went back to Jigulmatu in the evening without venison, Jupka said,--

"There is an old man in the south who kills a great many deer; his name is Kaltsauna. I must bring him up here to show you how he kills them. I will send some one south for him. Maibyu, you go for that old man; you travel very quickly."

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"I don't know where his house is; I cannot find him," said Maibyu. "You would better send some one else."

"Lawalila, you go," said Jupka.

Lawalila dressed himself nicely; took his bow, quiver, and arrows, and went. He went as quickly as though it were only one long step to Kaltsauna's house. Kaltsauna was sitting inside the door with his legs crossed. He was making flint arrow-points.

Lawalila stepped in at once and surprised old Kaltsauna. He had a flint knife at his side, and made a thrust at Lawalila as if to kill him.

"Stop. It is I, uncle; you must not kill me."

"Why do you call me uncle?" asked Kaltsauna, hiding his arrow-points quickly.

"I have come for you, uncle. The chief sent me here. Jupka invites you to come to Jigulmatu. He wants you to come to his house. He wants to see you. We cannot kill deer with stone arrow-points. We have no other kind. The chief knows that you kill deer all the time. He wants you to come to his place and show his people how you kill deer."

Kaltsauna rubbed his hands, rubbed them clean, rubbed all the flint dust from them, and rolled up his flints in a skin very carefully. Next he mixed flint dust, rubbed it on his face, made paint, covered his face with it, and thrust a piece of sharp flint through the septum of his nose. He looked very threatening and strong when he was dressed and armed for the road.

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"I am ready; you go ahead; I will come later," said he to Lawalila.

Kaltsauna's quiver was a grizzly bearskin; his bows and arrows were made of black oak. He put his flints under his left arm, took his bow and arrows in his right hand.

"Go on; go ahead. I will come later; I will come by myself. Go now and tell the chief to make a great fire of manzanita wood."

Lawalila went ahead, and gave Kaltsauna's message to Jupka. The chief had the fire made,--a great fire of manzanita wood. "He is coming, he is coming," said the people, when they saw Kaltsauna in the distance. When he was near, they didn't try to look at him, they hung their heads.

"Make way for me, make way! I'll strike unless you give me room!" said Kaltsauna, as he came near the crowd of people.

"The old man always talks like that," said Jupka; "he is very strong. That's why he is so bold; that's why he talks so."

"Spread out a skin," said Kaltsauna to Jupka.

The skin was spread, and Kaltsauna emptied his robe full of arrow-points on it. He sat down then and said,--

"I will divide these and put them in different places."

He gathered each kind of flint into a heap by itself, then pushed it, and said while he pushed, "You go to this place or to that place."

White flint he pushed and said, "Go you, to Hakamatu."

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The white flint went away; disappeared from the robe; went to Hakamatu, and there is plenty of white flint in that place to-day.

Blue flint he sent east to the edge of our Yana country. Yellow flint he fixed at Iwiljami. To the west he sent flint with fine black, blue, and white stripes; he sent it to Hakachimatu. Green flint he put in Jigulmatu and said,--

"You will find these flints always in the places where I put them to-day, and people who come after you will find them there. There will be flint in those places forever, as long as people want it."

Besides flint Kaltsauna gave each of the Mapchemaina a wedge made of deer-horn, and a piece of stone; showed them how to dress the flint and make arrow-points. The first arrow-points on earth were those which Kaltsauna made.

Next morning, after he had given the flint and shown the Mapchemaina how to make arrow-points, Kaltsauna went home. On the second day Jupka called all the Mapchemaina together and said,--

"Get your arrow-points ready; sweat to-night; swim early in the morning, and go out on a great hunt to-morrow."

They did all that Jupka commanded, and went on the following morning toward Jidjilpa. They went west along Jidjilpa, went on both sides of it; went west toward Tahaujwakaina, which is in the cañon beyond Hakamatu. They went to the rock and went beyond it.

Some distance west of the rock a grizzly bear ran

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out of a clump of live-oak brush. Among the people hunting was Chichepa, and the bear rushed at him. Chichepa had dreamed the night before that this rock in the cañon had jumped up from the ground and frightened him. When he came near the live-oak brush, the bear growled and sprang out.

Chichepa ran back, ran till he came to Tahaujwakaina, the bear close after him. The bear was so angry that he tore up big oak-trees as he ran. There was a hole in the top of the rock. Chichepa sprang into it. The bear stood on his hind legs. He could barely look over the top of the rock. He looked and saw nothing, dropped down, ran all around the rock, looked everywhere, saw no sign of Chichepa. Then he turned back and went into the thick clumps of brush from which he had started.

The people went west a while, then toward the south, and began to find deer. Bohkuina killed the first deer, Howichinaipa the second, Kechowala the third, Jihkulu the fourth, Petaina the fifth, and so on till twenty had deer. The party divided then into two. Those who had deer turned home toward Jigulmatu, and went in the order in which they had killed them, Bohkuina first, the others following each in his turn.

The second party hunted toward the east and then toward Jigulmatu. After a while they came to Ketmatu, where Malewula killed a deer, and Topuna killed one, and Tsanunewa killed a terribly ugly big deer which seemed as though all its flesh and body were swollen. Hitchinna, Kaitsiki, Wihlaina, and others killed deer; each person killed one deer.

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[paragraph continues] The whole party turned toward Jigulmatu then, and there was great gladness in Jupka's sweat-house. The women prepared acorns and mice to eat.

Jupka himself never went hunting; he stayed at Jigulmatu always, just lay in the house there, told all what they were to do, and showed them how to do what was needed. When they came in from hunting, all put their venison in front of the chief, put down before him all the deer they had killed. Jupka took his flint knife then, and cut the meat into pieces. He roasted ribs of it, roasted all they brought in. When it was cooked, the Mapchemaina sat down and ate the meat together. Jupka placed out before them three very large baskets of mice in three different places, and in front of each basket were people to deal the mice out to each person who wished some. When they had eaten, Jupka stood up and talked to all present.

"I wish you all to come into the sweat-house tonight," said he; "I wish to tell you where you are to hunt to-morrow."

They went into the sweat-house that evening, sat down and smoked, and while they were smoking Jupka rose up and spoke to them. Jupka himself never ate anything of any kind; he smoked tobacco, smoked all the time; that was the only thing that he ever took into his body. When he spoke, he said,--

"I think it is better to hunt in the north to-morrow."

"We do not like to go north when we hunt," said some of the people.

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"Well, let another tell where to go. To-night I will have Howichinaipa sing and dance for deer."

Then Jupka thought a while and said: "No, I will get Ahalamila; he is a good person to dream and sing about deer and to dance. I will tell Ahalamila to sing and dance to-night. He will tell where you ought to go, he will say which road to take. I want you all to lie down and sleep to-night, old men and young, and all the women; let all sleep till morning, sleep till I call you to the hunt."

When the time came that evening, Ahalamila made a fire and took his pipe. He blew smoke around in every direction. He put down his pipe then and took fir-leaves; these he threw on the fire, and while they were burning he sang,--

"Wílichuláina kúlmachi, Wílichuláina kúlmachi
 (A quartz rock, a white rock, a quartz rock, a white rock)."

and he put a beautiful white quartz rock on the ground; at each side of it he thrust into the earth a small twig of fir and one of blue beech; he put these on the east, west, north, and south sides of the quartz.

Ahalamila kept looking at the twigs, which rose quickly, grew up, and became little trees. He walked around them and sang; sang and pinched off a leaf or a bud from one limb or another as he walked. Soon the stone began to move of itself, and it swelled and changed shape, till at last it turned into a white fawn. Just at daybreak the fawn began to walk around among the trees and sniff as though it smelt something.

Ahalamila picked up the little fawn; blew smoke

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from his mouth; blew it around on all sides; then he put the fawn down again and it turned back into quartz.

It was daylight then, and Ahalamila stopped singing. "I have finished now," said he. "It will be better for us to hunt on the south side."

"I want you, my people," called Jupka, "to rise up, start out and hunt. Howichinaipa will go ahead and make a fire."

Howichinaipa went ahead: went south for some distance; the Mapchemaina followed soon after; went to the place where Howichinaipa had made the fire. When they came up, there was a good large fire at a place called Wewauna, half a mile from Hakamatu.

"Come to the fire, wait a while before we start, talk and get ready to hunt," said Howichinaipa.

Ten men went on farther south to find deer, while the others waited at the fire. Those ten men went south quickly; then five turned east, and five turned west to meet again at Wewauna. They came back about the same time, but not one of them saw deer or game of any kind. Every one wondered that there was no game in any place. Ahalamila and Howichinaipa began to dispute and then to quarrel because the ten men could find no deer.

Howichinaipa was angry; he was offended because Jupka had named him first, then changed his mind and called Ahalamila to sing for deer. He was angry, too, and jealous because he wanted one of Ahalamila's wives who was his own wife's sister. Howichinaipa's wife was a Chuhna, and Ahalamila's wife was her only

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sister. Howichinaipa wanted to have the two sisters as his wives; he wanted both of them. For these two reasons the Mapchemaina could find no deer that day. Howichinaipa had power over the deer, and had sent them all under ground. The ten men had looked in a great many places; they had run south, east, west, and could find no deer. Then the whole party turned to the southeast; they went to Chupirkoto. Some said, "What is the use in going farther? We can find no deer to-day. Ahalamila told us that we should find deer. Where are they? We cannot see them."

"I do not know," said Ahalamila. "why we find no deer. I sang and danced last night. I dreamed that I saw deer, that I saw them south of Jigulmatu."

"You will not see deer or any other game today," said Howichinaipa; "you cannot find deer, no matter how much you sing and dance. You are not able to find deer, but you have a nice wife. She is very pretty."

"The deer were coming," said Ahalamila, "but you stopped them, you drove them away;" and he sprang at Howichinaipa to strike him. Howichinaipa dodged and went down through the ground.

All the people took sides and began to fight; some were for Ahalamila, others were on Howichinaipa's side. Howichinaipa sprang out from under the ground, stood before Ahalamila; shot at him. Ahalamila dodged and shot too; Howichinaipa dodged very quickly.

They fought on in this way, fought hard, moved toward Jigulmatu, fighting all the time. At last

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[paragraph continues] Ahalamila was struck and fell dead; Topuna was killed too, and Hitchinna. A great many tried to kill Howichinaipa; but he dodged all the time, dodged so well, so quickly that not one of all his enemies could hit him. Jihkulu helped Howichinaipa; never stopped fighting for a moment.

They fought all the way to Hwitalmauna just south of Jigulmatu; the battle there was very hard, and people fell on both sides. There are many rocks at Hwitalmauna now, and these rocks are the Mapchemaina killed in that first battle.

Ahalamila's friends fought hard against Jihkulu and spent many arrows, but could not hit him, for he had a robe of rabbit skin around his body.

"We must hit that Jihkulu, we must kill him," said Ahalamila's friends.

"You need not talk like that," said Jihkulu; "you cannot kill me. I am the best fighter in all this world. I have been in every part of it; no one has ever hit me, no one has ever hurt me."

Jihkulu shot at Jewina, but missed. "You can't hit me!" cried Jewina. Jihkulu shot off Jewina's coyote skin, and then he killed him. Jewina had dreamed a long time before that if he wore coyote skin in battle he would not be killed, and that was why he wore it; but when Jihkulu shot off the skin, he killed him easily.

Now Jupka was lying in the sweat-house on Jigulmatu, and he heard the noise and shouting at Hwitalmauna. "They are fighting; I must stop the battle!" cried he. So he ran south--rushed into the middle of the fight.

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"I want both sides to stop!" shouted Jupka.

The battle was at an end right there; all followed Jupka to Jigulmatu. That evening he said, "You will hunt in the north to-morrow." All were in the sweat-house then and were listening. Jupka spoke to them some time, and then they all talked at once; it seemed as though the house would burst when they were talking.

Next day they found deer in the north, and found them in plenty. Each had one to bring back to the sweat-house. When they were coming home through thick brushwood, Popila wished to please Ahalamila's friends, and made himself a bear to kill Howichinaipa, who fought the day before with Ahalamila and killed him.

The bear came out and threw his arms around a clump of brush in which Howichinaipa was. Howichinaipa slipped out in time and ran. The bear rushed after him, hunted him. and almost caught him at a rock near Hakamatu. Howichinaipa sprang on to the rock and said,--

"I am nearly dead; I wish this rock to open; I am too tired to run; I can go no farther."

The rock opened, and Howichinaipa dropped in. The bear rushed up, stuck his head and fore paws after Howichinaipa; but the rock closed, and the bear was caught and killed.

Howichinaipa came out and stood beside the bear.

"I am tired," said he. "I was almost dead. You tried your best to kill me, but I am hard to kill." Then he took his flint knife, cut around the bear's neck and behind his two fore paws, and skinned

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him, put the skin on his shoulder, and started for Jigulmatu. He came behind the others, reached home at dusk. He hung the skin near the door, and said,--

"We shall hear what Ahalamila's friends will say to-morrow morning."

Popila's mother heard what her son had done, and when she saw the bearskin she cried and rolled upon the ground. Next day the old woman was sweeping; she swept out a little red-eared boy, a Pakalai Jawichi, and as she swept, he squealed. Popila Marimi took him up, took a deerskin, and made a blanket of it, and put the little fellow in this deerskin. She boiled water then with hot rocks and washed him, and every time she washed she sprinkled flint dust on the little boy to make him strong. He could creep around next morning; but she said:

"Stay in one place; you must not move. There may be poison in some place; if you touch it, it will kill you. Stay right where I put you."

The second day the boy could talk. "You cry all the time, grandmother; why do you cry?" asked he.

"Do not ask that question, grandson it makes me grieve to hear you. All my people were dead except my son; now he is killed and I have no one."

The fifth day the boy was walking around the house outside.

"Grandmother," said he, "make a great fire."

She made a fire in the sweat-house. The boy stood near the central pillar and sang, "Hála watá, hála watá."

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He fell asleep while sweating; slept till morning. Next day when he woke he said to his grandmother, "What am I to do with my hands?"

The old woman gave him a flint knife and said, "I have had this a long time; take it now and fix your hands with it."

His fingers were joined together as far as the first joint, and she showed him how to separate them from each other. He cut the little finger first, then the third, the second, and the first. The thumb he called big finger; and when the five fingers were separated and free of each other, she told him to call the thumb the big finger, and call it one, the next two, the next three, the next four, and the little finger five.

This was the first time that counting was ever done in the world. And when Jupka made the Yana, he gave them hands like Pakalai Jawichi's.

When his left hand was finished, Pakalai Jawichi said, "I don't know how to cut with my left hand."

The old woman helped him to free the fingers of the right hand. When all his fingers were free, the boy was able to shoot, and he wanted a bow and arrows.

The old woman brought all the bows of her dead kindred; he broke all but one, which had a string made from the shoulder sinews of a deer. He took that and went out. This day Howichinaipa hid himself in a cedar-tree: he was watching a bird. Pakalai Jawichi knew that he was there, and called with the voice of the bird that Howichinaipa was watching.

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[paragraph continues] Howichinaipa came down on the tree lower and lower, looking to see where the call came from.

Pakalai Jawichi was hidden in a tree opposite, where Howichinaipa could not see him; he kept calling, and Howichinaipa kept coming down. Pakalai Jawichi had a good sight of him.

"If I hit him in the body," thought he, "the arrow will not hurt him; I must hit him in the outside toe."

He did that, and Howichinaipa fell to the ground wounded. Pakalai Jawichi pinned him to the earth with one arrow, then with another; pinned his two sides to the ground with two rows of arrows. Pakalai Jawichi ran home.

"Oh, grandmother!" cried he.

"What is the matter?" asked the old woman. "you came near falling into the fire."

"There is some one out here; I want you to see him."

The old woman took her cane and followed Pakalai Jawichi.

"Do you see that person lying there?"

The old woman looked, and saw the person who had killed her son, saw him pinned to the earth. She was so glad that she cried, she dropped down then, and rolled on the ground; after that she jumped up and danced around his body, danced many times, danced till she was tired.

"Hereafter," said Pakalai Jawichi, "everybody will call you Howichinaipa. You will be a person no longer; you will be only a little bird, with these arrow-marks on both sides of your breast."

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He became a little bird then and flew away, the little bird which we call Howichinaipa.

Next morning after the second hunt Jupka heard loud shouting in the east; a great Mapchemaina had thrust his head above the edge of the sky. This person had beautiful feathers waving on his head. Jupka had made him shout, and he said to him,--

"Every time you rise up and show yourself to the people of Jigulmatu you must shout in that way."

This great person in the east had two dogs; they were small, but very strong. "Which of you is coming with me?" asked he that morning. "I want a good dog; I am always afraid when I travel in the daytime."

"I will give you a name now," said Jupka to this person in the east. "All people will call you hereafter by the name which I give now. The name which I give you is Tuina. You will be known always by this name. And your name," said he to the dog, "will be Machperkami."

When Tuina was ready to start, he made his small dog still smaller, very small; put him under the hair on the top of his head, and tied him in there.

When all dressed and ready, with the dog fastened in his hair. Tuina became as full of light as he is in our time. Before he was dressed and armed and had his dog on his head Tuina had no brightness, but when he started he filled this whole world with light, as he does now in the daytime.

Bohkuina had made a road for Tuina to travel

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on; he had made this road in the sky, and Tuina went straight along to the west by it, till he reached the great water. When he was ready to plunge into the water, a hatenna (grizzly bear) of the water was coming out and saw him. Tuina put his hands out and motioned with his arms as if they were wings, motioned as if to jump in.

"Tuina is coming!" said the grizzly bear of the water. "It will be too hot here if he comes. Let us make ready and go to high mountains. We cannot stay here if Tuina comes."

A great crowd of water grizzlies came out of the ocean and went away to the mountains. Tuina jumped into the water, and it rose on all sides, boiled up, rolled away over the shore, every kind of shell of the ocean went to land at the same time.

Tuina went far into the water, way down to the bottom; he went through the bottom, deep under the water and the ground, and returned to the east.

Long before that Jupka had made a road under the earth for Tuina to travel on, a road back to the east. Jupka turned the earth bottom upward, and made this road right through from west to east; and before Tuina started Jupka said to him,--

"I have made a road, a straight road under the earth for you, a good road; there are no rocks on it, all is smooth. Bohkuina made the road on the sky, the road from east to west for you to run on; I made the road down below, the road under the earth from west to east. When you reach the east, you will rest a while, rise in the morning, come up and go west again on the road which Bohkuina

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made; you will do this every day without failing; you will do this all the time."

When Jupka stopped talking, Tuina went west, went back in the night on Jupka's road; and so he does always.

The day after Jupka had talked with Tuina, given him his name and his work, he said, "I will make Yana now, and I will give them a good country to live in."

He took buckeye-sticks, broke off a large number; he wished to lay them down on the top of Jigulmatu and make Yana. He put down the first stick and said, "I will call this one Iwilau Yana" (Yana of the middle place).

When he had said these words, a man rose up before him, a Yana.

"You will stay here in this middle country," said Jupka. "You will be chief."

Jupka put down another buckeye-stick, and it became a Yana woman at Jupka's word. He put down a third stick, which became a boy.

"This is an orphan without father or mother," said Jupka; and he called the boy Hurskiyupa.

Jupka put other buckeye-sticks, a large number of them, around the first Yana, the chief, and made common people. They all stood around the chief and Jupka said to them,--

"This is your chief; he will tell you what to do; you must obey him and do what he commands."

"Now," said Jupka, "what will the people of the middle country eat? what shall I give them?" and he thought awhile. "You will eat clover," said he, "and

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roots. I will give you sticks to dig these roots. You will eat fish, too, and venison. Eat and be strong, be good Yana people. When the chief wants a deer, he will call you together and say, 'I wish to eat venison; I want you to go out, I want you to hunt deer and bring home venison to eat.' You must obey the chief always."

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