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Next: 14. Yayali, The GiantIndex


Miwok Myths by Edward Winslow Gifford

Stories by William Fuller

13. BEAR AND THE FAWNS

“Sister-in-law, let us hunt grass,” said Bear. “Let us go,” said Deer. After they had gone a distance, Bear said, “Let me louse your head. “Let me bite the lice.” Bear bit Deer so that she died.

Deer had told her Fawns before she left that a bag hung in the house. She told the Fawns: “If your aunt, Bear, harms me, bites me, that bag will fall from where it hangs.” The bag fell. Then the Fawns saw their aunt returning. After she entered the house, they started to search her basket. She said to them crossly, “You are always looking for something to eat. You are always hungry. Keep away from that basket.” They kept searching, however, and found their mother’s liver. They cried, “Liver, liver.”

Later the Fawns and the Bear Cubs played in a hole [sweat house?], fanning smoke into each other’s faces. First the Cubs fanned the Fawns, “When we call, you must stop fanning,” said the Fawns. After the Fawns had been smoked, they told the Cubs to enter. The Fawns then fanned the Cubs in the hole. The smoke became too dense and the Cubs called to the Fawns to cease. They only fanned the harder until the Cubs were suffocated.

“Mother, mother, liver; mother, mother, liver; mother, mother, liver,” cried the Fawns. Their aunt, Bear, said, “What is the use of talking about your mother. She is camping for the men.” The Fawns only cried the more, “Mother, mother, liver.” “Stop saying that, or I shall bite you,” said Bear. “Your mother is still camping.”

“Grandchildren, for what are you searching?” said the Lizard. The Fawns replied, “Grandfather, we are hunting for our mother. Grandfather, will you show us the door of your house? Our aunt wants to kill us. Mother, mother, mother, mother. Grandfather, let us in on the east side of your house, on the south side.” Their grandfather filially let them in.

Bear arrived at Lizard’s house after the latter had taken in the Fawns. She called, “Nieces, where are you? I am looking for you. Please let me in quickly.” She tried to enter, asking repeatedly where the door was located. They told her to go to the top of the house. “The door is right on top of the house,” they said.

Meanwhile they heated a stone in the fire. They said to Bear: “Open your mouth wide and come down through the smoke hole.” As Bear entered with her mouth open, they shoved the red-hot stone down her throat. She died in agony, being burned to death from with in.


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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management