Sacred Texts  Native American  California  Index  Previous  Next 

The Religion of the Luiseño Indians of Southern California, by Constance Goddard DuBois, [1908], at

p. 155


A man was going out to get some yucca, and went to the spring. He had a stick in his hand, and he dropped it into the water, and it sank so deep he could not get it. He was a witch, so he went down under the water to look for the stick.

And he came out into a place where a man and woman lived who sat there making baskets.

"Who are you, cousin, and where do you come from? What are you doing here?" they asked.

"I live up there, and I came down to look for the stick which I lost."

He stayed there three days. He was very thirsty, so the woman gave him a little shell full of water. He drank and drank, and still the shell was full of water. He was hungry and they gave him honey to eat.

Then he began to wish for his home, and the man who lived there saw that he wanted to leave them; so he said he might go if he would promise never to tell where he had been. If he told this secret the rattlesnake would immediately bite him and he would die. So the man promised not to tell, and they painted him all over and pushed him out, and he found himself in his own home.

His wife and his brother asked where he had been, but he would not tell them. His wife was determined to find out, and gave him no peace day or night until at last he consented to tell her.

"I shall be killed for telling this," he said, so he called all the people together and told them he must die; and he wanted them to burn his body in a certain open level place where there was no water; but after his ashes were buried there, water would come up and there would be a nice spring.

So he went out of his house, and a rattlesnake was there which bit him, and he died.

The people got wood for the funeral pile, and burned his body and buried his ashes. There was no water in this place, but two or three days after there was a spring of water there. One can see it now behind the cemetery, and fresh coals, pieces of charcoal, are always rising where the water bubbles up.

Next: The Walking Tamyush