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Tale of The Creation And Early Migrations

In the beginning the sun, stars, moon, and earth did not exist as they are now. Darkness ruled. With the lapse of time came a man, the only living being. Soon after his arrival a village sprang into existence with many thousands of people, and the people noticed that the man seemed to be everywhere. For a time he disappeared, and when he came back he had all kinds of seeds. He called all the people together and told them that the seeds were for them to eat, and gave them to every one. He told them that soon Darkness would go, and the people would see, for Darkness had promised that they should have a man by the name of Sun, and that he should be given power by the Great-Father-Above; that whenever his time should come to give them to the Sun he should be called or taken away from his mother, from our great mother Earth below; that the direction where the Sun should come from should be called “east,” and the way of its going down should be called “west.” He also announced to the people that he was the first being created and that he had been given power by the same Great-Father-Above, and that he had to carry out his work. He then told the people that it was very necessary that they should have one man abler and wiser than any other man among them, to be their head man; that they should call him “chief;” that whatever the chief should command should be done by the people; that they should look...

Tale of The Coward, The Son Of The Moon

In the beginning, when the people first came out of the earth, a little boy was taken out with his grandparents, but his mother and father were left behind in the earth. The old people loved the child dearly and cared for him, but because they were old they were poor, and so the boy was often hungry. Sometimes other little boys took him to their lodges and fed him, and then the old people were happy; for they did not mind being hungry themselves, so long as their grandson had something to eat. He grew rapidly and soon became old enough to hunt game; then the old people always had plenty to eat, for he was successful on the hunt. One time, when he came home from a long hunt, he found his grandmother sick, and in a few days she died. The boy grieved for his grandmother, but remained with his grandfather to comfort and provide food for him. One day the grandfather, who was an old man, dropped dead. Then the boy, left all alone, gave up to his grief and spent days and nights in mourning. He wandered far away into the timber to mourn, and in his grief and loneliness he prayed that he might die. While he was praying one evening, just as the sun was going down, he heard some one calling him. He turned and saw a man coming, and when the man came near he opened out his arms to embrace the boy, and said: “I will be your father, and I will look upon you as my own son....

Tale of How Rabbit Stole Mountain-Lion’s Teeth

One time when Rabbit’s grandmother had gone off and left him alone he decided to wander about and see what he could see. He went along until he came to the home of Mountain-Lion. Mountain-Lion was not at home, so Rabbit went in and hunted about. He finally found Mountain-Lion’s teeth and he took them and ran home with them. He was glad to find them, for the other animals were afraid of Mountain-Lion on account of his sharp teeth. Rabbit showed the teeth to his grandmother when he reached home, and said: “Now, grandmother, Mountain-Lion will soon be after his teeth, and we must fool him some way or he will kill us.” Rabbit thought for a while; then he said: “Build a fire just outside the door, put a big kettle of water on the fire, and then put some stones into the water and boil them. When Mountain-Lion comes he will ask what you are going to do with those stones. Tell him that I have a guest in the lodge who is going to eat them. I will talk to myself in the lodge as though I were entertaining a friend, and when Mountain-Lion asks who my friend is, say ‘Chief of all the beasts.'” The grandmother made a big fire and put the stones on to boil. Finally they heard a big noise, and Mountain-Lion came tearing through the bushes and came straight to the old woman. He asked her if Rabbit was at home, and she told him that he was inside talking to his friend and guest. Then he asked what she...

Tale of The Brothers Who Became Lightning And Thunder

When the world was new there lived among the people a man and his wife and one child, a boy of about twelve years. The people called the man “Medicine-Man.” Now and then he went out on the hunt, and never was known to come home without killing a deer, and almost every time he came home with a big buck. One time when he was out hunting he killed a deer and then started back for home, and when he reached home he found his little boy there alone and not as usual, for he looked weary and frightened. When his father asked him where his mother was he began to cry and said he did not know; that all he knew was that she took a water bucket and went down toward the creek. He said that he had run over there two or three times calling his mother, but no answer came. Then both the little boy and Medicine-Man went down to the place where the woman usually went to get water, but they could not find her. They found foot-prints at the edge of the water, and then the Medicine-Man knew that his wife and the mother of his only child was dead and gone; that something had taken her life; so they came back to their home and mourned for her six days. They built a fire and watched it and stayed by it for six days and nights. The seventh day Medicine-Man told his son that he was going hunting, for their meat was about out. He went out to hunt and the...

Tale of The Boy Who Married A Mountain-Lion

A little boy often told his parents that he was a red mountain-lion. No one believed him, but they called him Red-Mountain-Lion. When he grew to manhood he was a successful and famous hunter. He went off alone for days at a time and always brought back much game. One time it was noticed that he acted queerly when he returned from the hunt, and so the next time he went his brother followed him. He tracked him through the timber up the rocky side of a mountain. He heard voices among the rocks, but could not see any one. He climbed on until he saw just above him a cave in the side of a steep wall. He looked in and saw his brother in there with a female mountain-lion. He went home and told what he had seen. After a few days Red-Mountain-Lion came home and acted stranger than ever. One time he heard some men talking about going to the cave and killing a mountain-lion that some of them had seen there. The man started out at once and alone to hunt, and he went straight toward the cave. The men started out to hunt the next day, and when they came to the cave they saw the foot-prints of a man and a mountain-lion leading away from it. They tracked them down the mountain and up another, and then they gave up and returned to their homes. The man did not return to his people, but many years afterward he was captured by a hunting party and carried to his home. He decided to stay...

Tale of Splinter Foot Boy

An orphan boy who lived alone with his grandmother was a famous hunter and often went out on a long hunt with his friends. One time, while they were a long way from home, the boy was wounded by a stick that pierced his leg and broke off inside of it. His leg festered and swelled up so that he could not walk and his friends had to carry him home. His leg continued to swell until it was as large as his body; then the skin broke, but instead of the stick coming out, a child came. The boy was angry and would not look at the child or have anything to do with it. His grandmother took pity upon the baby and cared for it. One day while she was away the boy took the child and carried it to the lake, where he left it to starve or be eaten by the wild animals. He was afraid to return to his grandmother’s home for fear she would know that he had thrown his child away, and so he went far off and lived alone. The child lay on the shore of the lake for a long time, and as he lay there he grew to be a good-sized boy. Finally many birds flew over the lake, and when they were about half way across the lake, the water appeared to leap up to the sky and draw the birds down. Every day the boy saw the water leap up to the sky whenever any birds flew past, and one time he saw a big water monster...

Tale of Snake-Woman Distributes Seeds

The Great Father gave the seeds of all growing things to Snake-Woman. He taught her how to plant the seeds and how to care for the green things that grew from them until they were ripe, and then how to prepare them for food. One time, when Snake-Woman had more seeds than she could possibly care for, she decided to give some to the people. She called her two sons and asked them to help her carry the seeds. Each put a big bag full of seeds on his back, and then they traveled all over the world, giving six seeds of each kind of plant to every person. As Snake-Woman gave each person the seeds she told him that he must plant them, and must care for the plants that grew from them, but must allow no one, especially children, to touch them or even point to them as they grew. She said that until the seeds were ripe they belonged to her, and if any one gathered them too soon she would send a poisonous snake to bite him. Parents always tell their children what Snake-Woman said, and so they are afraid to touch or go near any growing plants for fear a snake will come and bite...

Tales of Slaying The Monsters By Fire

In the olden time the world was full of all kinds of wild animals who ate people and tame animals. In those times Coyote called all the people together to a council to see what could be done with the wild animals, because they were getting so bad that the people could not go away from their homes to hunt food or to visit each other. At the council they decided to set fire to all the grass, which was as high as trees, and so burn the wild animals and everything on the earth. They chose White-Headed-Hawk and Crow, because they were the swiftest of all the people, to fly to some bright Star and tell the Star that they were coming to his home to live. The Star told them that there was room for the people in the heavens if they could get up there. The messengers returned and reported to the people. They decided to make a long rope out of soap weed and go to heaven on that. They began to gather the soap weed and twist it into a strong rope. The rope was finished; then White-Headed-Hawk and Crow took it and again flew to the heavens. They gave the end of the rope to the Star, who put one end of it under a big stone and let it hang down. It was so long that it reached the earth, and the people saw it hanging ready for them to crawl up when the time came. They appointed two men, Gray and Black Snakes, to carry the fire over the world. One...

Tale of Rabbit And The Dancing Turkeys

One time while Wild-Cat was out hunting he came upon Rabbit in the tall grass. Rabbit and Wild-Cat were enemies, and so they began to fight. Soon Wild-Cat had Rabbit down and was about to kill him, when Rabbit said: “How would you like some nice Turkeys to eat?” “That is just what I have been looking for,” said Wild-Cat. “Well, I know where there are some, and I was just about to catch some when I met you. Now, if you kill me they will all get away. You had better spare my life until I show you how to catch the Turkeys; then you may do what you please with me.” Wild-Cat agreed, and so Rabbit told him to stand still while he sang the Turkey dance song. After he had sung a little, he told Wild-Cat to lie down and pretend to be dead; that he would tell the Turkeys that he had killed Wild-Cat, and wished them to dance around him with closed eyes. While they danced, Wild-Cat was to jump up and grab all he wanted. Soon the Turkeys heard the song and came to see what it was about. Rabbit told them that he had killed the great turkey-eater, Wild-Cat, and that he wanted them to dance a victory dance around him. Rabbit continued his song, and as he sang the Turkeys danced. Wild-Cat peeped and saw one big one dancing near him. He jumped to get it, and as he grabbed the Turkey, Rabbit ran away through the grass, and so escaped from...

Tales of Medicine-Screech-Owl

Medicine-Screech-Owl was born at Long-Timber-on-the-Top-of-the-Hill. His father and mother were very old and lived near the center of the village. When his first birthday came he was given bow and arrows. His father and mother were asking each other what name they should give to their child, but before they could name him he spoke and said, “My name shall be Medicine-Screech-Owl.” His mother scolded him, because at this time there was also a man by the name of Medicine-Screech-Owl, and he was an ex-chief; but he said that he would have no other name, and so his parents named him Medicine-Screech-Owl. One night some one passed near the village and heard the child’s mother calling him by the name of the ex-chief. When the man came to the ex-chief’s place he told him that the child’s name was the same as his. When the ex-chief heard this he was angry, and told the people that he was going to kill the boy if he did not do as he should tell him to do. He sent for him, and when the boy came to his lodge he gave him watermelon seed and said: “Go back and plant this watermelon seed this evening. In the morning go and bring to me a great big watermelon to eat.” “All right,” said young Medicine-Screech-Owl. He took the seed, went back to his village, and told his father and mother what the ex-chief had told him to do. That evening the boy went out a short distance from his lodge, threw the seeds upon the ground, and there sprang up a large...
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