The Luiseño story of the dying Ouiot who became the moon, and the Diegueño story of the dying creator-god Tuchaipa, probably originated in some source common to both tribes; but while the Luiseños derive all their ceremonials from the deliberations of the first people in council assembled, related with an almost historical precision, the Diegueños find the sanction for each of their religious customs in some event in a myth. The first Image ceremony was performed to celebrate the death of Tuchaipa, when the people were still at Wikami; 1 but, no one knowing how to perform it, they sent to a mysterious being, Maiheowit, who lived in the islands of the ocean, to ask him for instruction. 2
The reason for the Diegueño Image dance in the ceremony for the dead is to be found in the Cuyahomarr myth. Sinyohauch, having killed her son by cruelty, was forced to dance carrying his decayed body in her hands. The following is a realistic description of this: "The long hair had partly fallen out, but what was left upon the scalp, lifted by the wind, waved up and down as she danced and sang, carrying the body. She sang the song of the Image dance. This was the first time any one made a dance for the dead. These were the First People; and as they did, all must do who come after. This is the reason they have the Wukaruk ceremony."
Further sanction for the Image dance in this ceremony is found in the same myth, as follows: "He came to the spot where his father and uncle had been killed; and, coming first to his uncle's grave, he put his hand in the ground, and reached down and pulled him out. He set him there before him; but his uncle said, 'You can do nothing for me. My bones are all dust, and are mixed with seeds in the earth.' So he put him back, and went to his father's grave and pulled him out in the same way. But it was the same as before. 'You can do nothing for me,' said his father. 'But what you have done, the people that come after will do. They will bring back their dead to look at them once more' (in the Image dance)."
Cuyahomarr also originated the custom of cutting the hair in mourning for the dead, still practised by many. "The boy's hair had grown long; and he set fire to a bunch of tall grass that grows on the desert, and, putting his head in the fire, he began to burn his hair off. Then, seeing in his shadow that one side of his hair was still long, he put his
head again in the fire and burned it off even all around. This is why they still cut the hair for the dead and bum it in the fire."
I have found no other myth-tale in either tribe in any way similar to the Cuyahomarr story. It has unity, consistency, and what we should call a dramatic sense which makes it still impressive as fiction. Even among the younger Indians the memory of it lingers in a fragmentary way. Sinyohauch remains a type of extraordinary power in woman. Some of the older Indians who are Catholics have identified her with the Virgin Mary.
The Luiseño creation myth 1 shows less of the inventive instinct of the story-teller, and more of the power of abstract thought and intellectual conception. This remarkable survival from the past must serve to rank the Luiseños high in the ethnic scale.
235:1 Mohave Avikwame, Dead Mountain, in southern Nevada.
235:2 Compare the Mohave myth summarized in Journal of American Folk-Lore, 1906, vol. xix, p. 315. See, also, American Anthropologist, 1905, vol. vii, p. 627.
236:1 Journal of American Folk-Lore, 1904, vol. xvii, p. 185.