Sacred Texts  Native American  California  Index  Previous  Next 


Then he went off. They heard him as he went, went away toward the south. Then rising from the west, they say, he stopped when he crossed over the middle of the world. And when it was winter-time in the world, he tried to make them aware of himself; but he could not make them hear. When it came springtime, he made them hear, he thundered. In every country he travelled, and they heard him as he passed over.

He returned to the same country whence he had set out. It was autumn when he came, and he could not make people hear, they say. Staying there through the winter, when it was spring, when springtime came, the time of his having thundered before, he thundered. And he set out, and travelled through every land. And when the autumn came, he returned and remained there.

Mosquito-Man was his cousin, they say; and they two lived together in the winter. And when it came spring,

p. 152 p. 153

and they were going to set out, they talked together, saying, "In what place may we get food by killing something?" And (the other) replied, "I shall live through it, hunting anywhere."--"All right!" said Thunder, "I will do likewise." Then Thunder-Man thundered, and his children set out; and as they went, his children appeared like a great rain. And when they, returning home again, remained there, the rain ceased.

In this world the grass, growing up, looked pretty; and Mosquito came down and arrived in this world. People were living there; and, flying toward them, he sucked their blood until his belly was full, when he flew away. He carried it off; and when he arrived with it, it was like a tiny piece of meat. Giving this to his children, there was just enough for each. Then he staid there. There was just enough for one meal only.

In the morning, having risen, he went again, kept travelling until after a while he arrived. When he reached there, there were many people. Flying from one to another, he sucked their blood; and having done so, he returned from hunting, travelling until he arrived. Having arrived, it looked only like a piece of meat. He had his children roast it; and when it was done, he gave it to them to eat.

Thunder-Man then asked, "Where do you get it? I have hunted diligently, but so far I have not been able to kill anything." So spoke Thunder-Man, asking Mosquito. But Mosquito did not answer, and sat there silent. He was much afraid. "If I should tell this, it would be bad," he said, "so I will keep silent." So Mosquito said, and without answering he went away.

p. 154 p. 155

In the morning he kept travelling until he arrived in this world from the Above-Valley, coming to this world to hunt here and there, he, the Mosquito-Man. Thunder-Man there far away opposite, in the Above-Valley, kept travelling about, hunting there, they say. But (Mosquito), having arrived among mortal men, flew from one to another, sucking blood, until, having sucked enough, he started home from the hunt. He got back home from the hunt, and, having arrived, he staid there. And when he had returned from thence, he roasted (the meat), and gave his children their supper.

By and by he (Thunder) spoke. "You are (come) from a very good country, from hunting in a good country," he said. "Let us go!" he said. "Travelling across there to the Coast Range, let us remain there. From there I shall travel over the whole world." So from the southward, moving down across to the Coast Range, they built a house,--a great sweat-house, it is said. And there they staid.

And from that place Mosquito-Man arrived to hunt. Coming to hunt, he travelled about, kept travelling until he came into a valley. And by and by, when he had gone about searching, mortal men were there. Reaching that place, having sucked blood, he carried it off; and, so carrying it, he got back with it. And (Thunder), being the first to return from the hunt, was already there. So when (Mosquito) arrived, he spoke. "Where do you get it?" he said. (Mosquito) did not answer.

Autumn was coming, it is said. Let us stay here through the winter!" said (Thunder). "Very well," said (Mosquito). "When it is spring, we can go out and kill and eat any kind, all kinds, of things," said (Thunder). So they staid during the winter. The world grew cold, and they were cold. The (Thunder) spoke. "Winter-time

p. 156 p. 157

[paragraph continues] (a winter country) is not good," he said. "It is very bad. When it comes winter, and grows cold, it is not good."--"Do you see (anything)?" said Mosquito. So Thunder said, asking Mosquito.

Then Mosquito said, "That's so!" And he thought, "What shall I do? He speaks as if he were a very bad man. If I should tell this, mortal men will be destroyed; but if I say nothing, do not speak, I shall do well," he said. "Thus, if elsewhere, among mortal men, I suck a little blood, I shall survive. But should I tell this person that mortal men were what I sucked, when I told, he would go after them, and they would be destroyed, and I should be hungry," said Mosquito, declaring that he would not tell Thunder.

So he remained there; and when spring had nearly come, Old-Man-Thunder spoke. "Yes, it is a very cold country, although it is so near spring," he said, speaking to Mosquito. I wonder if there are any mortal men in this country! Do you see any?" Then he answered, "No, I never saw any."--"Ho!" said (Thunder), "in winter-time this country is cold; and here in this country there must be mortal men who have fire, I say. If we should steal the fire, we two might stay through the winter and keep warm," said Thunder-Man, answering Mosquito.

Then Mosquito-Man said, "No! You speak evil. You must not think of killing mortal men. You shall be good," he said. Thereafter, without speaking, they remained there. It came spring; and Thunder-Man went about hunting, killing and eating anything, they say. Mosquito went off hunting; and Thunder-Man made a noise, thundering, so that the world rumbled. He travelled about, and in the

p. 158 p. 159

evening returned from hunting. Mosquito brought back a tiny piece of meat. Thunder-Old-Man kept travelling over the world; and when it came evening, returning, he said, "There are people like me who have fire. If we should steal it, when it came winter again, and was cold, we should not suffer." So Thunder said, speaking as if he were going to steal the fire.

Then Mosquito spoke. "You speak evil. You shall not trouble them. Let them alone! You shall not make mortal men suffer," he said. Thereupon Thunder said no, that he did not believe him. "You, when it is winter-time, desire to suffer. I do not wish to have to suffer: so I shall steal, I shall steal fire," said Thunder-Man. Then Mosquito was angry at him, not being convinced.

So he pondered, and said, "You will be a very evil person if you do not believe me," he said. "There among mortal men I could have kept my children alive; but, not being able to convince you, I shall keep away," said Mosquito.

When it came morning, he went off hunting; and, having gone, he kept travelling until he saw mortal men. Then, sucking their blood, he went away; and when he had carried it back to camp, roasting it, he gave supper to his children. Thunder-Man returned from hunting. "Where did you get it?" he said. Then Mosquito told him. I will tell you," he said. If you will not kill many, I will tell you."--"Very well," said (Thunder), "I will not kill many. I will kill only just enough."--"I will tell you in the morning," said (Mosquito).

p. 160 p. 161

So having slept, when it became light in the morning, they went off hunting. (Mosquito) told (Thunder) to go in the opposite direction, and he went; while Mosquito himself went where he usually did. And having reached there, and sucked repeatedly the blood of mortal men, he bore it back. Just as if it were a little piece of meat he carried it. Having arrived, he remained there, and, roasting the meat, he gave it to his children.

Then he addressed (Thunder). "The way I did was to kill a tree," he said. "A standing, pitchy tree, that is the kind. I didn't do it to many," he said. "Then, when I had done this, and brought it home, I ate it. Now you can try it," said (Mosquito). "All right!" said (Thunder). "These mortal men you must not bother," said (Mosquito). "You ought not to kill many. If you kill one, it will be sufficient for you," he said. "Very well," said (Thunder).

So, when it grew light, he set out; and travelling along, when he reached the place to which he usually came, Mosquito sucked blood, and then came back from the hunt. Then there was a loud noise, and the earth rumbled; it was as if the ground in this world shook. And while he listened, he travelled on; and, continuing on his way, he arrived. As he sat there, (Thunder) came.

"I have killed one," he said. "Ho!" said (Mosquito), "I will talk to you. Mortal men you must not trouble. Leave them alone," said he. "I shall go away. I shall be Mosquito. In this world in winter-time, in the autumn, when it comes autumn, I shall disappear. In the spring, when it comes spring, I shall be born. When the earth is wet in the world, I shall be numerous. I shall not be destroyed. Although always disappearing, I shall survive. Sticking the blood of mortal men, I shall survive. I call them that way, 'mortal men,' when I mean these tree

p. 162 p. 163

men. I speak of them the same way. And you, killing only one, not killing many, shall remain here," he said.

Then Thunder-Man said, "It is well. I shall not kill a great many." So next day they went off hunting. And Thunder-Man gave a tree a stroke of lightning, and said, "I kill them in this way. It will not be well for trees to stand a long time," he said. And continuing on his way, he came hither, and saw a camp of mortal men. Then he stole the fire, and, having stolen it, he carried it off. And as he went along, he tried a tree again; and the tree, blazing up, burned when Thunder struck it. He was very strong.

Having returned home from hunting, he spoke. "From mortal men I have stolen fire," he said. "Then I struck a tree again. When I did this, when I struck it with fire, it was well." Then Mosquito was angry. "Ho!" he said. "It is well," he said. "When I told you not to do that kind of thing, I spoke good advice. Another time I shall follow you, to see that you behave well." Then they slept.

In the morning, while Thunder-Old-Man went off, Mosquito staid at home. Having staid until Thunder had gone, by and by he gathered up all his property and went away. He said, "Formerly, in olden times, Mosquito, being angry with his cousin, went off angry from mortal men. So mortal men will say of me, telling tales of the olden time, 'He went off angry from mortal men.' That is I," he said, and went away.

He travelled about, searching for a place to live. "I wonder where I had better stay in order that I may survive!" he said. "By staying in that kind of a place, I

p. 164 p. 165

shall survive. I shall be Mosquito." And having made a place to live under the brush, he staid there. They say that Mosquitoes live only in brush.

Then Thunder-Man returned to the abandoned place, returned after his cousin had gone off angry. And he spoke, saying, "When I did not listen to my cousin, speaking and forbidding me, he got angry; but I will not stop." So, when it was night, he slept. And in the morning early he went away, travelling about stealing fire: he went where mortal men lived, and stole fire. And he went with a great rain; and (when, clearing away, the world was all fair again), he looked about over the world. Then everywhere, in all parts of the world, he saw fire-smoke rising.--Going after it to seize it, he stole it, kept stealing until he had stolen all in every dwelling-place of mortal men. So, carrying it, he bore it back to his house; and, having brought it there, he remained there.

Now he lived very warmly, his house was very well warmed. He searched for a man that he might hire. He inquired; and when he asked Woswosim-Man, he replied, "I am one who never sleeps. I am sleepless." Then he paid him beads, he put a necklace of beads about his neck, and Woswosim staid there. Standing close beside the smoke-hole, he talked continually.

Now in all countries, in every land where mortal men dwelt, there was no fire. Mortal men could not make fire. And chiefs hired Toyesköm-Man. When deer were killed, and the meat prepared and spread out, (this bird) would gaze at it. He would keep looking steadily, and then the meat on top would look a little gray. Then, "That is enough," they said. But in that way only chiefs ate, for all other people ate their food raw.

Coyote spoke. "I am a chief, but you do not do that way for me." Then his brothers all spoke. "You must

p. 166

not speak that way! You do wrong to say so." Then the men-folks looked about over the world, in order that they might see fire-smoke, but they did not see it. Next day again they looked, but did not see it. While this was going on, two lizards, brothers, lay close by the side of the sweat-house. Towards morning, after a while they spoke. "In the Coast Range it is smoky," they said.

Then Coyote, having picked up some earth, threw it at them, hitting them in the eyes. "Pooh! Ye see nothing at all in the Coast Range," he said. "Ye see, with eyes like that!" Then his brother spoke angrily to Coyote. "You always do that way," he said. "What is the reason that you are so bad?" Thus he spoke, being angry with Coyote. "Those two boys were lying, for they saw nothing," said (Coyote).

Then, the chief having come out, (the two) spoke again. "Do ye see it?" he asked. "In the Coast Range it is smoky," they said. Then every one looked about; and when they looked to the Coast Range, it looked (the smoke) just like a tiny tree standing there. And having seen it, they went off to tell of it, went to all countries to tell of it. The people came, people kept coming together; and when all had come together, the chiefs made a speech.

"Do the best ye can! Do ye get it back," he said. From all countries he sent for one of his people, picking out only the strong ones, the swift-running people. Then he ordered the men-folks to try to creep into the sweathouse secretly. So they tried; and all of them were heard, for they made a noise. They kept trying, tried to go out; then last of all Mouse tried. He crawled in, and out again, but he was not heard. No one heard him.

Then they said, "That's the one!" The dawn came, and they started off. All kinds of people went,--Deer

p. 168 p. 196

went, Jack-Rabbit went, Dog went, Mouse went, Fisher went,--all kinds of people went. Snake went, Skunk went, they took a flute. They went away, kept travelling, travelling until they had gone halfway. When they had nearly reached there, they sat down; and when they had seated themselves, it grew night, and, moving up close to each other, they sat there.

As soon as it was dark, (Woswosim) began to talk, saying, "I am the sleepless one. I am the sleepless man. I am Woswosim, Wos-wos-wos-wos-wos-wos-wos. I am the all-seer, I am one who sees everything." Then they called Mouse. The chief said, "Well, I think they have all gone to sleep." So he went, he crawled away slowly, kept crawling very slowly, and by and by he reached the house. Getting there, after having crept up slowly, he peeped into (Wos-wosim's) eyes. And although his eyes were shut, still he talked,--a man, necklaced with beads, he sat there and talked, kept talking.

Then, when Mouse had gnawed the necklace completely off, he stole it. And (Woswosim) talked on. "I am the sleepless man. I am Woswosim." Having stolen all the beads, Mouse crawled into the house; and when he had crawled in, the people were sleeping. He heard them snoring. Having crawled across, he gnawed Old-Man Thunder's daughter's apron. He cut it to pieces. Then he put coals of fire in the flute, and carried it out; and, going away, he ran with it to the place where all the people were.

Then they all started off. Deer, taking some on his knee, started off. Dog, putting some under his ear, started off. They ran with it hither. When they had come somewhat nearer, (Thunder) woke up. "What is the matter with me! The fire is not warm," he said. Then they jumped up, that old man got up, and his two

p. 170 p. 171

daughters started after them. But just then their aprons fell down, and they squatted upon the ground. Then, when they had fixed themselves properly, by and by they ran after (the fugitives) to catch them.

Then it was as if the world rumbled very loudly. It looked like a great rain coming, a very great rain. And Deer-Man threw what he carried at the cedar-tree. A little farther on Dog threw what he carried at the elder-tree. A little farther on, when the pursuers had almost caught up, they threw what was in the flute at the buckeye-tree, at that they threw it. So they ran hither with only that in the flute which they had saved from throwing out.

Now the pursuers caught up, and the fire was blown out. It was just as if water were poured, the great rain caught up. Then Skunk-Man shot; and when Snake-Man ran after the women as if to bite them, they let (the fugitives) go. And from all directions they went back; and, clearing off, it was fine weather again.

They came back with nothing; and when they had arrived, they said, "Our fire has been blown out. Thither, to this bush, I threw what I carried," Dog said. Then Deer said, "I threw what I carried to the cedar-tree. What I carried in the flute, I threw at the buckeye," he said. "There, in that, we shall get fire."

So Old-Man-Thunder, going to his same place, arrived there. And having done so, he said, "In this world I shall be one who does not run after mortal men. I shall be a man unseen by mortal men. So doing, if I should remain in this world, mortal men, coming after me, might trouble me," he said. "So, going from this world to another, I shall live in my Above-Valley. Stealing and carrying off this fire, when I have carried it away, there will be no fire in this world," he said. So he stole and carried off fire to the Above-Valley.

p. 172 p. 173

And just then he stole all the fire. He said, "I think that, staying here, I shall travel only in the Above-Valley, doing no harm to mortal men. Once in a while making a noise while travelling, I shall be one who is continually travelling." And he remained there.

After he had gone, fire (was made) by getting elder-wood, cutting it up; when it was cut up, bringing it back; when it was brought back, then they made fire. Then it burned. Then hunting for cedar-wood, seeing it, when they brought it back, they made fire, and it burned. And going out for buckeye, when they had returned with it, they made fire, and it burned.

Then, "All right!" he said. "It is good, everything is good. Ye shall have this for fire all over the country." And when he had finished speaking, had finished talking, going off, he departed. Going away, on arriving at their camps, all people, gathering fire-twirlers, made fire.

"Thus long ago, they left what had been done," he said. "They secured their fire. And mortal men, telling stories of the long ago, shall say, 'When fire was stolen, they got it back.' Thus shall mortal men say," he said. And then, long ago, they remained there in their country. That is all, they say.

Next: 9. Sun-Man and Frog-Woman