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The Defeat of O-la'-nah the Coyote-man

Fragment of a Tale of the Wi'pa Tribe

Personages

O-lā’-nah the Coyote-man
Wek'-wek the Falcon
O-hul'-le the Badger, wife of O-lā’-nah

The Defeat of O-la'-nah the Coyote-man

Wek'-wek the Falcon-man and O-lā’-nah the Coyote-man lived a long time ago.

Wek'-wek did not like O-lā’-nah because he was smart and always pretended that he could do everything. So one day Wek'-wek said to him, “Let’s go and get wood; you are so smart and know so much and can do so many things, let’s see you take that big oak tree and bring it home.”

O-lā’-nah answered, “All right, I can do it.”

Wek'-wek told him to go ahead and do it.

Then O-lā’-nah ran around and around the big oak tree and the roots cracked and made a noise, and the tree shook, but it did not fall; O-lā’-nah could not get it up; he made it shake four times but could not make it fall.

Wek'-wek, who was watching from the top of a sycamore tree, said, “Do that again; make the big oak tree shake again, the same as you did before, you are so strong.”

O-lā’-nah tried but could not do it.

Then Wek'-wek said: “What you said was not true; you bragged that you could do everything but you can not do any thing; now I have beaten you, haven’t I?”

“Yes,” answered O-lā’-nah, “You have beaten me; I am going away.” Then O-lā’-nah turned and howled as Coyotes howl and cried and said “how-loo'-loo-e, how-loo'-loo-e, how-loo'-loo-e,” and turned into a real Coyote like the coyotes we have now. But he was angry and set upon O-hul'-le, his wife (O-hul'-le was the Badger-woman), and whipped her, and she ran away. O-lā’-nah followed and tried to hiring her back, but she refused and would not come.

After Wek'-wek had beaten O-lā’-nah he had to get fire. So he went up the Sacramento River to the place where trees grow, where the creeks come down from the mountains, and took a piece of wood and made a small hole in it and sprinkled in the hole some dry leaves of Kutch'-um the sage-herb, and took a stick of Lap'-pah, the elderberry tree, and whirled it between his hands, with one end in the hole in the wood, and fire came in the dry Kutch'-um leaves and he had fire.


Next: How Sah'-te Set The World On Fire

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