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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PUBLICATIONS
IN

AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY AND ETHNOLOGY

Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 1-28March 27, 1919

MYTHS OF THE SOUTHERN SIERRA MIWOK

BY
S. A. BARRETT


CONTENTS

PAGE
Introductory Note1
I. The Six Peoplings of the World2
The Birth and Adventures of Falcon6
    2. The birth of Falcon6
    3. Falcon’s contest with Ki'lak7
    4. Falcon escapes the world fire8
    5. Coyote and Falcon create people8
    6. Yayil’s journey to the south world9
    7. Falcon’s search for Yayil10
    8. Falcon rescues his sister14
9. Eagle Rescued From the Upper World17
10. Coyote Steals the Sun19
Myths of the Yosemite Valley21
    11. The creation of Yosemite Valley21
    12. The origin of El Capitan22
    13. The origin of the present floor of the Yosemite Valley22
    14. The Lost Arrow22
    15. The spirit of Yosemite Falls23
Abstracts24
Glossary26

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

While pursuing other investigations among the Miwok Indians of the Sierra Nevada region during the summer of 1906, I incidentally secured the following short series of myths. These are presented without exhaustive study, just as they were obtained from certain Mariposa, or Southern Sierra, Miwok informants. The investigations I refer to formed part of the work of the Archaeological and Ethnological Survey of California, conducted by the University of California through the munificence of Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst.

Several collections of Miwok myths have appeared. Dr. C. Hart Merriam has published a most interesting volume.1 Certain of my myths dealing with the same subjects as Dr. Merriam’s appear in nearly identical form, while others show interesting variations of the same myths incidents. His series covers a wider range than mine, though certain of the tails I present are not recorded by him. Professor A. L. Kroeber has also published2 four Southern Sierra Miwok myths, while Mr. E. W. Gifford has recently published A. L. Kroeber has also published3 a number of myths from the Central Sierra Miwok. Stephen Powers4 records three Miwok myths.


1 The Dawn of the World, The Arthur H. Clark Co., Cleveland, 1910.
2 Indian Myths of Southern Central California, present series, IV, 167-250, 1907.
3 Miwok Myths, present series, XII, 283-338, 1917.
4 Tribes of California, Contr. N. Am. Ethn., III, 358, 366, 367, 1877.

I. THE SIX PEOPLINGS OF THE WORLD5

The world has been peopled six different times. The first people were just like the present Indians. Everything went well with them until the great cannibal giant, Ūwū'lin,6 appeared in the north, where he commenced to eat people. Thence he traveled all over the world and ate nearly every human being on it.7

Ūwū'lin was a big giant who went about with a hunting sack on his back in which he placed his prey. His hands were so large that he could, at a single grasp, hold a person. between each two of his fingers. His hunting sack was so large that it would hold all the people of a village at once. He had neither brain, blood, nor ordinary heart. His heart, his only vulnerable point, was in a tiny spot in his heel. The people did not, however, know its location.

Finally the few people still left in the world discussed how they might be rid of Ūwū'lin. At last Fly found him asleep, and beginning at his head, traveled over every part of his body, biting him everywhere. Ūwū'lin gave no sign of feeling Fly’s bites until his heel was reached. Then he kicked and Fly knew he had found the vulnerable spot.

Fly returned to his people and announced his discovery. All wondered how they might kill Ūwū'lin. It was finally decided that they should make a large number of awls, tculla, each about an inch in diameter and a foot long. These were placed all along the trail traveled by Ūwū'lin and in such a manner that he' could not walk without their sticking into his feet. Finally one of them pierced his heart. He died immediately. This was near the present town of Coulterville. It is said that a few years ago a man found here the petrified bones8 of Ūwū'lin. They were of immense size, especially the head. This man died within a few days after unearthing these bones.

The second people of the world were the bird people. The mythical being, Ye'lelkin stole a large number of these people. The remainder left because the world was overrun by the big black ground ants.

The third peopling of the world was by bird and mammal people, most of whom later became our present birds and mammals. The chiefs9 of this people were Morning-star and Puma. Their home was in the large chamber of Bower Cave.10 The stalactitic formations now to be seen in this cave are in reality only the dried meat and entrails which these chiefs had as food.

Raven was the great hunter at this cave home of the chiefs. Wildcat, Fox, and certain others were also very important personages. Raven was originally pure white, but when he went out hunting the deer saw him and he was unable to get near enough to shoot. He smeared charcoal paint all over his body and found that he was less easily seen. Hence his present black color.

All of these people, except Morning-star, became birds and mammals as indicated.

The fourth peopling of the world came about in this way. Fox was Skunk’s son-in-law and a great hunter. He killed great numbers, of elk for Skunk,11 who was chief, and a very overbearing man. He took his men out to hunt and stationed them properly, each behind a tree. He then went to windward and shot his horrible scent, thus driving all the game toward the hunters. Fox watched his chance and shot several elk in line with a single arrow. Fox then took two of these elk at a time and carried them home. On such occasions Skunk would climb on these and dance around as Fox went along. Thus Skunk secured much meat from all the hunters. All this was dried and stored, except what he himself ate, for he fed his hunters and others only on acorn mush and such common foods. Even his own daughter was never allowed more than a few mouthfuls of meat by Skunk.

After a time some of the hunters began to grumble at this treatment. They could see no reason why they should always hunt for Skunk’s benefit and never receive even a taste of the meat. They finally decided that the only way to escape oppression was to kill the tyrant. They dared not kill him above ground because of the odor which was sure to result. They, therefore, got Badger to dig a hole in which to kill Skunk. At first they were going to dig it, under Skunk’s bed, but recalled that he was a good dancer and decided to dig it directly under the dancing area.

When night came they filled the bottom of this pit with red-hot coals and covered it over like a pitfall. They also secured a flat stone big enough to completely cover the opening after Skunk had been trapped. They then invited Skunk to dance. The harder he danced the louder they praised him. Thus he danced more and more violently, sinking meanwhile deeper and deeper into the soft covering of the pit. Finally he sank out of sight and all rushed to cover the hole with the stone, upon which they placed other stones as weights.

Skunk shot his scent repeatedly as he tried to escape. This made all the mountains rise up out of the formerly level surface of the earth. Finally Skunk died in this pit. The people then had a great feast on his store of dried meat.

When they had finished this feast, all were transformed, each into the particular animal form he has now. None had to hunt thereafter with bow and arrow.

The sixth12 peopling was as follows. Coyote proposed to create foods and people. Frog said, "This is all very well, to create all kinds of things, but what good will that do while there is nothing but water here? How can your people live without land?"

Coyote13 had been looking for the best, diver, and finally said to Duck,14 "Dive and see if you can not find some dirt." He did so without results, as did also two other kinds of ducks and Watersnake. Finally Frog dived and returned with two handfuls of sand held above his head. As be came up Coyote called, "Take care, do not drop that." Coyote then scattered sand all around and thus made land upon which his people could live.

Coyote then planted all kinds of food, such as pine nuts, acorns, and others. He fell to wondering what good these things were when no one was on earth to use them. He gathered about him half a dozen wise men and talked things over with them.

Finally Coyote said, "I have decided to make some good people in this country." Others asked what kind he intended to make. Coyote replied, "I do not know exactly but I am sure I can make them in some way. You see we have all kinds of food [enumerating them], so we must make some people to use them." The others suggested that Coyote create people at once and he agreed to do so. He said, Do you see my foot? Do you think people could use, a foot like that "No," said Waterdog, "look at mine." Coyote said, "Well, yours is the same as mine; both are round." Then Lizard 15 spoke up, "Your feet are certainly too round. How can people pick up all kinds of foods if they have feet like yours? Now look at my foot. It has five toes so that I can pick up anything, shoot the bow and arrow, and do many useful things easily." Coyote said, "You are right; yours is the proper kind. I shall make people and place them all over the world. Their villages shall be only a little apart, there will be so many of them. I shall arrange it so that a man shall have one wife." "All right," said Lizard, "you know how to make them, so go ahead."

Coyote accordingly made many people, placing both men and women in villages very close together. Lizard asked why Coyote had placed the men and women together. He replied that thus each pair should produce a child each year and thereby increase the population. Coyote added that this was to be the last act of creation and that they could now be content with their work. Thus did Coyote create the people with hands and feet like Lizard's, and send them off to certain specified places in every direction.

Coyote said to Frog, "You like the water. You shall continue to live in the water hereafter." Thus he spoke to each of the animal people and designated what form each should have and where each should live thereafter. At last he said, "You shall all be animals as I have designated. I shall be Coyote and travel about at night in search of my food. There shall be good people living here after this."


5What are in reality six distinct accounts of the creation of human beings are here grouped by one informant in a connected composite, and considered as incidents of one myth.
6 This term signifies eater and is derived from ū'wū, to eat.
7 In his "The Dawn of the World," 169-172, Dr. Merriam gives another version of this myth.
8 Mastodon remains are not infrequently found in California.
9 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 93-99.
10 Bower Cave is on the old Coulterville road into the Yosemite Valley.
11 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 117-120.
12 The details of the fifth peopling of the world were not recalled by the informant.
13 Professor Kroeber gives a variant of this incident in his myths of South Central California, op. cit., 202.
14 A small bluish species of duck called hi'lkūihnai.
15 This was the particular species of large lizard called kassatū. Cf[.] Merriam, op. cit., 61.

THE BIRTH AND ADVENTURES OF FALCON16

2. THE BIRTH OF FALCON

Condor always roosted on a certain large rock on a small hill between the west bank of the San Joaquin river and the eastern foot of Mount Diablo.17 He flew about hunting but always returned every night to roost on this rock.

After a time, the rock became ill and Condor brought two doctors18 to cure her. The doctors at once began to gather wood. It took them a whole day to bring enough for their purpose. That night they built a big fire and placed the rock in its center. Then they piled on still more wood.

When the rock became very hot, it suddenly burst with a loud report, and from it came Falcon. As he emerged, he gave his characteristic cry, "wek." He flew to a tree and alighted upon a branch. The doctors then told Condor that his wife was well and had given birth to a boy.

Falcon straightway became chief. He noticed that whenever he flew about all the rocks called after him, "o - - - - - -"19 One day Falcon asked his father, "Why is it that all the rocks shout at me whenever I go out?" "Oh," said Condor, "those are your relatives. They are rejoicing that you are chief."

The next day as Falcon flew near the river he heard the same shouting and decided to sit on a stump and watch. Presently he saw an object moving up and down the river and making a large ripple. He went to his father and inquired about this strange being. Condor said, "My son, that is your grandfather, the biggest and wisest man in the world." "Well," said Falcon, "I wish I might get him out of the water where I could talk to him and learn something." Condor replied, "That you could never do. You might catch him and cut a small piece from his body. That would then come to life and talk to you." Next day the boy took his stone knife and sat down to watch for his grandfather. Finally he cut off a piece of the stump upon which he was sitting, brought it home and left it in the house. The next morning Coyote appeared and walked around the house. Condor then said, "Now, my son, you have your grandfather and he can instruct you in many things. I, myself, know very little. Of course, I will help you as much as possible, but Coyote can tell you all you wish to know." Coyote agreed to help Falcon make anything he desired.

Falcon then went everywhere, and Coyote answered all his questions about things he had seen. Among other matters, Coyote told Falcon of the great Kī'lak.


16 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 67-73.
17 This hill is the center of various important events in Miwok mythology.
18 The identity of these doctors could not be exactly determined, but from the description given they were probably snapping flycatchers.
19 This is said with a falling inflection and is the usual ejaculation indicative of satisfaction and assent, and especially shows approval of a speech.

3. FALCON'S CONTEST WITH Kī'LAK

Finally Falcon said, "Now, grandfather, I want to have a good 20 time, so I am going to see Kī'lak, of whom you have told me." Coyote replied, "All right, but you must be very careful." Falcon said, "Well, I will, of course, be careful, but I want to play a game with Kil'lak." Coyote’s parting injunction was to be very cautious and to have plenty of beads with which to gamble. When Falcon started, great quantities of beads came flying after him.

When he reached Kī'lak’s house, Falcon said, "I came to see you. I want to visit and play games with you." Kī'lak agreed to play later, saying that he did not feel well just then.

Now Kī'lak had a big dance house built entirely of stone. He made a great hot fire and put into it eight round stones each about the size of a child’s head. These were the stones with which they were to play. Kī'lak suggested that Falcon take first chance in the game, but, after some discussion, it was agreed that Kī'lak should be the first to try his skill at dodging. Kī'lak flew, therefore, constantly singing as is the custom of the one who is doing the "dodging" in any game. Falcon threw all eight stones but missed his mark each time. He did not want to kill Kī'lak yet, so purposely missed him. Coyote had told Falcon before he left home that if he wished to kill Kī'lak he must, strike a small, white spot on the under surface of the right wing. Here was located Kī'lak’s heart, his only vulnerable spot.

Next, Kī'lak threw at Falcon with no better success. The two again exchanged places with like results.

Finally, while Kī'lak was throwing for the fourth time, he began to fear that Falcon might yet beat him.

Then, as Falcon was throwing at Kī'lak in this fourth series he said to himself, "This is really easy. I can kill this fellow any time I like."

Falcon’s grandfather, Turtle, lived here with Kī'lak. He prompted Falcon at this juncture, saying, "You had better kill that fellow. Hit his heart, right at the small white spot."

Now before leaving for his journey to Kī'lak, Falcon had placed a single condor feather on top of Condor’s house as a life token. He had arranged that if he were killed the feather was to fall over, and, if he were ill or in danger, it was to sway.

Falcon had missed Kī'lak so often by now that he despaired of success and decided to give up and let Kī'lak hit him, thus ending the contest. He did so and fell to the ground stunned. Kī'lak thought Falcon dead and threw him aside in a corner of the house.

Just then the life token on Condor’s house fell and Coyote knew what had happened. He wept bitterly and rolled about on the ground in his sorrow. Finally he rose and started off to see Kī'lak.

Coyote told Kī'lak, "I am an old man. I have come here to play with you, and we will have a hard game." They then laid their wagers and commenced to play. Owing to Coyote’s rage and desire for vengeance he missed the first four shots he threw. However, his fifth stone struck the small white spot on Kī'lak’s wing and killed him instantly.


20 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 75-82.

4. FALCON ESCAPES THE WORLD FIRE

When Kī'lak died, everything throughout the world appeared to burst open and almost immediately the whole world began to burn. It burned a very long time. As the fire neared the point where Coyote lay he said to Falcon, "Take your sister and go down to the ocean and into the water until the world cools off. Condor and I will remain here. Nothing can harm us." After about a month the world was sufficiently cool for Falcon to return. Coyote asked him how he had fared down in the ocean. Falcon replied that he had been very comfortable.

5. COYOTE AND FALCON CREATE PEOPLE21

Falcon traveled everywhere. As he did so he pondered on the power which Coyote possessed and reasoned that he must have very great power in order to have killed Kī'lak. He returned and told Coyote that everyone shouted at him as he passed just as he had previously reported to Condor. Coyote confirmed Condor’s statements to Falcon.

Falcon then proposed that Coyote create human beings. Coyote replied that it would mean a great deal of work, but Falcon insisted that it be done. Coyote finally told Falcon how they must proceed.

Accordingly Coyote went out and threw himself upon the ground, simulating a dead body. Presently a large flock of crows and buzzards gathered about and commenced to peck at Coyote’s rump. He kept perfectly still until the birds had eaten a large hole in one side and were within. He then caused the hole to close very suddenly and caught a considerable number of them. He took them home and Falcon plucked them. "Now," said Coyote, "we will go out in the country and put these feathers in every direction." On each hill they placed one buzzard and one crow feather. The crow feathers became the common people and the buzzard feathers, the chiefs. As Coyote deposited the feathers he named each place, and on the following day there were people living in all these localities.

Coyote then said to Falcon, "Now that there is a new people, we shall have to become animals. I shall be coyote; no one will miss me. You shall be falcon, and everyone shall know you as chief." Straightway all of the then existing animal people were transmuted and became birds and mammals according as Coyote directed.


21 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 146-149.

6. YAYIL'S JOURNEY TO THE SOUTH WORLD22

Falcon’s father, Yayil, was a great gambler. He journ[ey]ed southward until he found the passage leading from the end of this world into that toward the south. Here was the village of all those birds which usually came from the south in the spring. Buzzard was their chief. Yayil proposed that they play "running ball" down at the shore of the ocean which bounds the universe in that direction. Buzzard agreed and they went thither at once. They met Kū'teū23 who was chief of the village and a very dangerous person, as Yayil soon discovered. Yayil proposed that Kū'teū also join in the game. He agreed and Yayil said boastfully, "It is good that you will play with us. I have plenty of beads." "Very well, we will play in the morning," replied Kū'teū. He then told Woodrat to gather wood and bark to make two large piles for a big fire when it should be needed.

Early the next morning all assembled for the race, Yayil being accompanied by Dove, who was the only other man present from the north.

Kū'teū won the race and Yayil reached the goal almost exhausted. He pulled bag after bag of beads from his hunting sack to pay his loss. In all he produced six bags, but Kū'teū said, "No, that will not do. We do not gamble for money here. You cannot pay your loss that way. I shall have to burn you." Yayil was much surprised and said, "But why did you not tell me that last night?" Kū'teū replied, "Well, that is the way we play here." So they took Yayil and put him into the fire built of the wood which Woodrat had gathered. As Yayil burned, Kū'teū kept inquiring how he felt. He repeated his question successively as the fire reached Yayil’s feet, knees, belly, arms, shoulders, neck, nose, eyes, and forehead. Each time the question was asked after the fire had reached Yayil’s arms, he replied, "Now I am going to die." But Kū'teū said each time, "No, you must not die yet. You must talk some more." At last, however, Yayil made no reply to the question and they knew that he was dead.


22 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 179-189.
23 While the informant called this personage "buffalo," a supernatural, shaggy animal somewhat resembling the buffalo is really meant.

7. FALCON'S SEARCH FOR YAYIL24

When Falcon finally grew to be a young man, he said to his mother one day, "Had I no father?" She made him no reply, so he asked others in the village, but no one would tell him of his father’s disappearance. He therefore went out a short distance from the village and stood an arrow up on end. As he watched it the wind blew it over toward the south. He knew by this token the direction in which his father had gone. He next returned to the village and told the people that he knew his father had gone toward the south and again asked them why he had disappeared; but everyone professed ignorance as to his fate.

Falcon next procured a large forked log resembling the form of a man, and that night placed it in bed with his wife, Duck, while he burrowed out of the village. In company with a close friend, he emerged from the ground at a point about half a mile away. Then they journeyed rapidly toward the south end of the world.

When his wife awoke in the morning, she found the log and realized the deception. She at once made inquiry of some of the people concerning her husband’s whereabouts, but they always growled at her and drove her away, telling her not to ply them with foolish questions. At last, she pulled out some of her own hair and threw it into the air. It blew toward the south, thus showing her the direction Falcon had taken. Duck then loaded two or three burden baskets with food and started southward to follow her husband.

By nightfall Falcon and his partner had reached a point far toward the south end of the world, and that night Falcon dreamed that his wife was following him. In the morning he said to his partner, "Would not you like something to eat?" His partner replied, "Well, what if I should? We have nothing." Falcon answered, "But I dreamed that my wife is following us."

He then hid near the trail with his bow and arrow drawn to kill Duck upon her arrival. She, however, was as good a diviner as he, and knew his intention. She said, "No, you shall not kill me," and as she approached, Falcon’s arrow dropped as if by magic from his hand. She scolded him severely for leaving her and told him that he could not make the journey without her help. The two men ate some of the food she had brought and drank water which she provided. Falcon then told her that she must not try to accompany them farther, and if she persisted, he would surely kill her. She. replied, "All right, then, I shall die, for I am going with you."

When they had gone a short distance, Falcon told his partner and his wife to go on, while he went a short distance off the trail to visit his brother-in-law, Lizard.25 Falcon’s aunt, Frog,26 was Lizard’s wife.

As Falcon approached the house he found his aunt outside grinding acorns. When she spied Falcon she raised her hand to warn him he must approach quietly and slowly. Even though he did so, old Lizard heard a slight sound and called out repeatedly to Frog to know who was coming. She replied each time that she herself was making the noise because the flies were troubling her. When Falcon came close enough she gave him some meat and told him to eat it quickly. He did so and then quietly slipped away.

Just as he was nearly out of sight old Lizard came out of the house and saw him. He immediately set fire to the grass and the fire pursued Falcon, who ran back to his companions, and the three hurried on to the south end of the world, to the gateway, formed by a large opening and closing rock 27 which is the entrance to the world at the south of ours.

They tried to climb to the top of this rock wall, but the fire came and knocked them off. They ran on to the other three ends of the world in the following order: east, north, and west. Finally they tried to jump up to the sky. All this was to no avail, however, for the fire always pursued them and they were now almost exhausted. Finally, Duck said to Falcon, "Let us see you make a spring to save us from the fire." Falcon made a small spring and all three got into it. But the fire came and soon made the water boil and drove them out.

They again ran toward the south until Duck said, "Well, I’m so tired I can go no farther. Can you not stop this fire?" Falcon replied that he could not, and Duck said, "I shall try it, and see what I can do." So saying, she took off her tule skirt and threw it to one side of the trail. This made immediately a very large spring. The fire came but could not boil the water, and finally went out, so that: all were saved.

They went on to the southern gateway above mentioned. Again Falcon tried to persuade Duck not to go with him, but she persisted. He tried twice to pass through the opening. The second time he succeeded except that the rock caught the tip of the tail of his dogskin quiver. He showed this to his partner and to Duck, advising the former to be very careful in trying to get through and the latter to return home and not try to go farther. His partner jumped through with ease and Falcon acknowledged himself outdone. Again he tried to persuade his wife to give up the trip, but she said that he must return and carry her through or she would jump by herself and let the rock crush and kill her. He finally placed her in his quiver and jumped through. The rock, however, came down just in time to catch the end of the quiver and clipped off the tips of Duck’s feet. That is the reason why ducks now have such short feet.

Buzzard dreamed that some one was coming from the north to visit the village of the people of the south world. He told his people they had better be on the lookout for he had dreamed that a man, his wife, and his partner were coming from the north to visit them. He told Tōkī'lna28 to go out and watch. He did so and about mid-afternoon reported that the travelers were approaching.

Falcon had told his wife that she must be ready to go with any of the men of the village who might request her to do so that night. Kū'teū gave Coyote a bag of fine, large beads and sent him to bring Duck to him that evening. Falcon tried to persuade his wife to do as Kū'teū wished, but she refused to take the beads or to have anything to do with Coyote. When night came, however, Falcon told Coyote to take her to Kū'teū.

During the night Falcon slipped out and found the race course over which his father had played "running ball." He looked it over carefully and found that while Kū'teū’s part of the course was very smooth, that over which Yayil had run was full of holes. This was the reason why he had lost the race, for his ball rolled into these holes. Falcon then filled the holes and smoothed this part of the course also.

Early the next morning the fire was built and the crier called all to assemble for the race. Kū'teū brought four balls. with him. Falcon took two of them and dropped them to the ground, where they stuck firmly. He therefore refused to play with these balls and insisted upon using those that he himself had brought. Kū'teū asked him to swap balls but Falcon refused, and then Kū'teū tried to exhaust him by first shooting at him with his anus, the same as he had done with Falcon’s father. At last they raced, and Kū'teū lost.

Falcon then went to his step-mother, for Yayil had married a woman of this village, and asked her what Kū'teū had done when he gambled with Yayil. She told him the story of Yayil’s fate and advised him to treat Kū'teū in the same manner. Falcon returned to the race course. When Kū'teū tried to satisfy his debt by payment of beads, Falcon refused them and threw Kū'teū and Buzzard into the flames. The rest of the inhabitants of the village tried at first to hide, then to bribe Falcon to spare them, but he burned them as fast as he caught them. Finally, he threw the two firemen, Woodrat and Owl, into their own flames. These two begged Falcon to spare them but be said, "It is useless for you to beg. You made the fire, so you must burn."

He then went and asked his step-mother where he could find the two men who lived off by themselves. These were Sapsucker and Pe'pelna,29 great magicians whom no one dared approach, because to see them made one ill. She told Falcon where to find them, for they lived but a short distance from the village.

When he went into their house they told him to be seated between them. They asked why he had come. He replied that he wanted them to bring his father back to life and offered to pay them well for the service. They said, "Yes, we can do that for you, but first we must find his bones." They then discussed how it should be done. One thought they might make the eyes of sunflowers (tcatcilimme), of pa’llahī, of kō'tca, or of other flowers, but, decided that each was too heavy for the purpose. They therefore decided to use a flower called toho'ni. They decided to make the bones of lē'ha, a species of cane, since it would be so light as not to interfere with flight. Accordingly they put some feathers on the end of a piece of cane, so that it looked like an arrow, and Sapsucker took Falcon’s bow and shot it as far as possible into the sky. Soon they heard a hissing sound far out of sight in the sky, moving swiftly back and forth overhead. Finally, Yayil flew down near them. Falcon seated himself between the two magicians and said to Yayil, "Are you really my father? You do not look just like him." He then asked the magicians if they had really made his father, to which they replied that they had done their best and that he could not be expected to look just like the former Yayil for, he was "half dead." Falcon answered, "Well, of course, if that is the best you can do, I suppose I shall have to accept him as my father.

Next he finished burning the entire south country, burning everyone except his step-mother and the two magicians.

Then he started northward to this world, taking his wife, his partner, and his father. When they had come about halfway back to the falling-rock gate, Falcon told his father that he did not like his appearance, because he was half dead, and that it would be better if he did not try to return to this world but went down to the ocean in the south world to live. This he did, and the other three went on toward home.

After they had passed through the falling-rock gate, Falcon told his wife and partner that he wanted to kill Lizard who had sent the fire after them when they had passed southward. He went, therefore, to Lizard’s house and shot him twice as he came out of his doorway. He told Lizard’s wife to stay there. He also told her that he must kill the other person who was responsible for the fire which had so nearly killed them. She advised him not to do so, but he insisted. He went on a short distance and found Quartz-rock who had fire, but did not harm anyone with it. He killed Quartz-rock as he had Lizard. As soon as Quartz-rock was dead he turned into this stone.

Falcon rejoined his wife and partner, and the three returned home.


24 Cf. Gifford, op. cit., 306-310.
25 This is a very large, long species of lizard, called ōwo'to.
26 A certain species of frog, called ōloteōkomayi or ōlo'tcōma.
27 Said by the informant to be down in the "Apache country."
28 A small bird with a topknot.
29 A small insectivorous bird resembling a sapsucker.

8. FALCON RESCUES HIS SISTER

One day Falcon said to some of his friends, "I understand that I had a sister. I have heard that my father had a daughter." He inquired of many people about his sister, but all said they knew nothing of her. The fact was the people of a village about halfway to the north end of the world had stolen her.

Falcon went out and set up an arrow. It fell toward the north. This showed that his sister was in that direction, so he started off that way. His partner came to the house very shortly after and found that he had gone. He set out at once to track him, and overtook him within a short distance. He said to Falcon, "How is it that you go off and leave me this way?" Falcon answered, "I did not go very far." His friend said, "Well, you had better not go in that direction;, something might happen to you.

They went on together and reached a point just below Merced Falls. Here Falcon proposed that they should eat. "But," said his partner, "what shall we eat?" "Oh," said Falcon, "I guess we can scratch around here in the sand. This plant here has seeds near the root." He then scratched a hole in the ground. He had a wife and little boy down there in the underworld. His wife pulled him down under the world, leaving his partner mourning at the hole where he had disappeared. She had a great quantity of food there which Falcon ate.

Two men came into the house where Falcon was eating and he invited them to be seated and eat with him. Then others came in. The last two who arrived shot at Falcon, who dodged their arrows and jumped outside the house. Here he fought them all until their arrows were gone. Then he said to the chief of the village, Sandhill Crane, "Now seize me by the arms and put me into that cooking basket. Boil the water and cook me well. That is the way you can kill me." This they did, and Falcon’s wife and son buried his bones.

Falcon’s nephew, Crow, missed his uncle and asked whither he had gone. The people replied, "He went toward the north to look for his sister." He then tracked Falcon and finally found his partner near the hole. Crow asked him if he had seen Falcon and received the reply, "Yes, my partner went down that hole there."

Crow immediately flew down and shot four times, once in each of the four cardinal directions, killing a great many of the people. He then went to Falcon’s wife and asked how it was that they had killed his uncle. She replied that it was really his own fault, for he had told Crane how to catch and cook him.

Crow remained there and mourned and on the fifth day Falcon came to life again.

He asked his wife where all the people had gone. She told him that Crow had killed them. Falcon said, "I’m sorry he did that because they think they killed me. I should like to show them what kind of a being I am and that they cannot kill me." Therefore, when Crow tried to talk to him, he answered that he wished Crow had let the people alone.

They finally settled matters and Crow and Falcon returned to this world through the same hole. He sent Crow home while he and his partner, who had stayed crying and mourning beside the hole for five days and nights without food, went on northward.

Next morning Crow again missed his uncle. He went to his aunt and asked if he had come back during the night. She replied that he had not, and Crow said, "Well, I guess I shall have to track him again."

He soon overtook Falcon and his partner and started out to travel with them. Now, Crow lived on grasshoppers, and while he was catching them along the way, his two companions left him. Presently they reached a village and Falcon sent his partner to see if his sister was there.

As Crow followed, he came upon an old woman outside her house singing and cooking quail’s eggs. Crow said, "Well, what have you here?" and commenced to scratch around and eat everything he could see.

When he had finished he saw a rattlesnake by the door of the house. He took a stick and killed it, saying, "That is good to eat. Why do you put it there by the door?" He then placed the snake in the fire to roast.

This snake was one of the outer guards of the door of the house. The other outer guard, whose position was on the right as you entered the house, was a grizzly bear. The left and right guards respectively at the inner end of the tunnel were a puma and a wolf. Crow shot these other three guards and cooked them.

He then went into the house and found Falcon’s sister sitting at the rear. She had been kept there as a concubine and without food for so long that she was now only skin and bones. She was such a frightful sight that Crow did not take her away with him. He first went to Falcon and said, "Well, uncle, you want to see your sister, do you not? But I doubt if you can bear to see her now. She is only skin and bones, she has been treated so badly." Falcon replied, "Never mind, I will see her."

He brought his sister out of the house. Then he shot everyone in the village, took his sister and his partner with him, and returned home.

Crow also returned, but by another route. He went along beside the trail, eating all the grasshoppers he could find. He was always eating something.

9. EAGLE RESCUED FROM THE UPPER WORLD30

In the days before people were upon the earth and when birds and mammals were like men, Eagle was the chief of a large village. He had no children. His wife was Chipmunk. She slept in a place by herself.

The women of the village went out each day to gather seeds. Eagle’s wife always went at sundown in search of seeds. Now, almost every day some child was missing from the village.

For a long time Eagle did not know that his wife went away at night. Finally, he became suspicious and noted that. upon two or three successive nights she was absent from the house. This made him so jealous that he beat her almost to death and drove her from the house. She was soon found by a man, who carried her to his home by means of a pack strap. Here she lingered for a week or so and died. The white stripes on the sides of the chipmunk as we see them today are the marks of this beating by Eagle.

Realizing what he had done, Eagle mourned the loss of his wife for the prescribed year. During this year he lay in bed crying almost all the time. He never washed his face, hence the very dark face of the eagle today. At last Eagle’s aunt ceremonially washed his face and took him from the house to swim.

Yelelkin swooped down and caught Eagle by the head and flew away with him, finally taking him through the door in the sky which is directly in the zenith, and carrying him to his house in the upper world. The people of the village saw Yelelkin carrying Eagle away and tried to save him. Being unsuccessful, they ran to Coyote and told him what had happened. Coyote possessed supernatural knowledge which enabled him to ascertain just where Eagle had been taken. He ran to the four ends of the world, in the following order: south, east, north, and west, trying to find some way to reach the upper world. At last he ran back to the village and began to dance, jumping higher and higher as the dance progressed. Finally he succeeded in jumping high enough to reach the door of the upper world in the zenith. and saw Yelelkin’s house only a short distance away.

Now, when Yelelkin arrived with his captive, Bullfrog, who was his wife and also Eagle’s aunt, told Yelelkiia that he had better not kill his captive at once. To this he agreed. Presently, while Yelelkin was out of the house, Bullfrog gave Eagle her knife, which was about two feet in length, and told him to hide behind a large water basket. This basket was one of Yelelkin’s special devices for killing his victims. When he returned, he said to Eagle, "Do you care for water?" Eagle replied, "Yes, I am thirsty," and went to the basket and leaned a little way over, but complained that he could not reach the water. Yelelkin offered to show him the way to drink from the basket, and, as he leaned far over into it, Eagle cut off his head with the knife which Bullfrog had given him. Yelelkin jumped and flopped around, as does any bird with its head cut off, until he was finally dead. He knocked everything in the house to pieces.

Just then Coyote rushed into the house and asked Bullfrog, "How is my uncle? Is he still alive?" Eagle spoke up, saying, "Yes, I am alive and I have just finished killing Yelelkin." Coyote said, "It is good that you have done this. Now what are you going to do with Yelelkin?" Eagle said, "I have planned to burn him." Coyote said. "I do not think that would be good. You had better let me manage it." Eagle replied, "All right, but what will you do with him?" Coyote said, "I will save all his feathers and plant them all over the world. Trees and other things shall grow from them." So saying, he plucked the body of Yelelkin and tied the feathers into a bundle ready to take down to the world.

Bullfrog asked how they would go down to the earth, but they replied that they did not know of any way. She thereupon wove from a kind of grass (kī'sī) a long rope with a sling at one end by means of which she let Coyote and Eagle down through the sky door in the zenith.

Coyote ran all over the world placing Yelelkin’s feathers upon the mountains and in the valleys and transforming them into trees and bushes.

When he returned to the village, Eagle said, "You have done well in making all these. What will you do next?" Coyote replied, "I think I shall make a new kind of people. You know we are not real people. We are only half animal and half human." He then designated what each one of the then existing beings should become. He said, "I shall be coyote. You shall be eagle." Among those he named were the following: chicken hawk, falcon, kīli'kkīla,31 hūkū'mi, hatea'wī, night owl, tē'tete, sasī'lema, toko'ino.32 So he named one after another and designated the particulars concerning each.

Falcon did not believe what Coyote told him. He did not believe that there would be a new people. This was before his change into his present bird form. But it all happened as Coyote had said.


30 Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 163-167.
31 To this bird he said, "You shall be a little fellow and I shall eat you at times. You shall eat small birds.
32 To this bird he said, "You shall eat grasshoppers and lizards. I shall create them for you."

10. COYOTE STEALS THE SUN33

In olden times the sun and moon did not shine west of the timber line along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Everything was dark west of this line. There were no regular foods and no baskets or other utensils such as people now have. People were never married and no children were born. Everything was very different in those days.

Coyote was a great hunter. He made journeys eastward, going farther and farther into the mountains. The nearer he approached the timber line the brighter things became. As he journeyed on eastward he reached a point. where he could see this eastern region. Here he saw people who were, to him, very strange. They had the things and followed the ways of present-day people.

He returned to his own village and told the chief of this strange, new land, of its people, and its wonders. Especially, he told how they had a sun and a moon there. The sun rose in the east each morning, passed over the heavens along a path somewhat to the south of the zenith and came at night to the home of the chief near the above-mentioned western line between light and darkness. The moon rose and passed over a similar path, but to the north of the zenith.

The chief did not believe all this wonderful tale, but he asked. what Coyote wanted to do about the whole matter. Coyote replied, "I could go and steal that light very easily." The chief asked, "But what could we do with the sun if we had it?" Coyote replied, "I do not know exactly, but we would manage in some way to make it go."

Coyote made several trips over to the east, each time returning to the village and reporting to the chief and his people the wonderful things he had seen. No one believed Coyote’s story and some even openly made fun of him, calling him a wild dreamer. He finally decided to act on his own account. He journeyed eastward again, this time going clear over into the land of light. Here he transformed himself into a dead branch of a tree and lay down across the trail along which he knew the chief of the sun village would return from hunting.

After a time the chief came along the trail, hurrying to reach home before the sun should return to his house for the night. He picked up the branch, threw it over his shoulder and took it home with the remainder of his burden. Arriving, he threw the stick down on his woodpile, as he would have thrown any other dry branch.

In the evening he placed one end of this stick in the fire. It squirmed around and finally removed itself from the fire. He then placed it farther into the fire. It bent around so that it partly encircled the blaze and thus escaped burning. The chief then tried various other means of keeping it in the fire until at last he placed it across the fire. It quickly stood on end at the side of the blaze and saved itself.

The chief grew more and more drowsy, finally dropping off to sleep. When Coyote saw that he was fast asleep, he returned to his animal form, seized the sun and ran out of the house with it. The chief awoke in time to see Coyote going, and gave the alarm. The people of the village pursued Coyote but he was a very swift runner, and, notwithstanding his burden, was able to outrun them all. He succeeded in crossing safely the border of the dark land beyond which his pursuers dared not venture on account of the darkness, and then proceeded easily to his own village.

He placed the sun upon the ground in front of the chief of his village, who looked it over, poked it with his foot, and said, "Well, what good is that thing? What use can we make of it, anyway? Coyote replied, Never mind, we will make use of it. We will make it go as it did over in the east, but we will make it light the whole world. I will manage it some way."34

Coyote did arrange it so that the sun moved as it does now. He made it rise through an entrance near the easternmost margin of the world and travel the path up through the zenith and pass out of the sky through a similar opening in the west. It now travels, during the night, under our world and over the underworld, which is also peopled, returning by morning to the point of rising at the east margin of our world.


33 A somewhat different version of this myth is given by Dr. Merriam, op. cit., 35-43. A related incident, the theft of fire, is given by Professor Kroeber, op. cit., 202, 203, and by Mr. Gifford, op. cit., 284-286, 332, 333.
34 The informant was not certain just how Coyote arranged this, but felt sure that some of his people must know, thus indicating that his version of this myth lacks certain details at this point.

MYTHS OF THE YOSEMITE VALLEY

11. THE CREATION OF THE YOSEMITE VALLEY

Half Dome lived with her husband, Washington Tower, on the bank of the Merced river at a point out on the edge of the San Joaquin valley. Owing to some quarrel with her husband, Half Dome ran away toward the east. As she proceeded up through the mountains, she created the upper course of the Merced river and the Yosemite valley itself. She carried with her a burden basket, a finely feathered basket, and her baby in its cradle. In the finely feathered basket she carried seeds of various kinds and acorns which she planted all along the way. Hence we have many different kinds of these foods now.

Finding that his wife had left him, Washington Tower cut a white oak club and started after her. He overtook her near the point where this great peak now stands. She had taken her baby out of its cradle basket and placed it on top of her load in the burden basket, carrying the cradle meanwhile under her arm.

Washington Tower whipped Half Dome severely. The burden basket was broken and fell with its contents into Mirror lake. It has never since been seen. The globose basket, richly decorated with red-headed-woodpecker feathers, and which had held the seeds sown along the journey, was thrown to the north side of the canyon. It landed bottom upward and became North Dome.

She threw the baby cradle over against the north wall of the canyon where it now appears in the "Royal Arches." This is in reality the sunshade or arched hood of the basket.

As Half Dome received her punishment, she wept bitterly and was soon transformed into the present great peak. The dark colored streaks on the vertical wall on the north of Half Dome are the tear stains on her face. She wore, at this time, a buckskin dress, but nothing now remains to indicate it. Women have ever since worn this kind of dress.

The club which Washington Tower used he finally threw aside. It landed upright in the center of Mirror lake and remained there as a large, black snag until a few years ago, when it disappeared.

When Washington Tower had spent his wrath, he went over on the north side of the valley, where he has since remained, a great shaft of granite.

12. THE ORIGIN OF EL CAPITAN

El Capitan was originally a very small rock. An old bear and her two cubs went to sleep on top of it one night. When they awoke in the morning they found themselves in a strange place far up in the sky, for the rock, El Capitan, had grown to be very tall overnight.

The people of the village discussed unavailingly how they might rescue these unfortunates, and had nearly abandoned the idea when Measuring-worm succeeded in climbing the cliff and found that all three bears had starved to death. He gathered their bones and brought them down. The people burned these bones in the usual way.

13. THE ORIGIN OF THE PRESENT FLOOR OF THE
YOSEMITE VALLEY

Measuring-worm again ascended to the top of El Capitan and then leaned out and finally stretched across to the opposite side of the canyon, so that his head was on the one side while his tail was on the other. He then crossed over to the south rim of the canyon. Later he recrossed to El Capitan and again descended to the floor of the valley.

The walls of the canyon then began to cave in and all the people were obliged to flee down the river. The valley was, in those days, much deeper than now and somewhat narrower. The caving-in of its walls partly filled the valley and made all of the earth and the piles of talus now in the floor of the valley.

14. THE LOST ARROW

In former times people used to drive deer to the top of the precipice of the great rock called Yosemite Point, just east of Yosemite Falls, in order to make them jump over and thus the people might secure meat. One day some deer turned and ran along the edge of the precipice and a hunter shot at them. He missed his mark and his arrow fell on the side of the cliff. Here it now appears as a very sharp, perpendicular peak, the Lost Arrow.

15. THE SPIRITS OF YOSEMITE FALLS35

In the waters just below Yosemite Falls live the po'lotī, a group of dangerous spirit women. The incident related in the following story is said to have been the work of these spirits.

There was, in olden times, a village a short distance from the foot of Yosemite Falls. A maiden from this village went to the stream for a basket of water. She dipped the basket into the stream as usual but brought it up full of snakes. 36 She went farther up stream and tried again, but with the same result. She tried repeatedly, each time a little farther up stream, but always drew a basketful of snakes. Finally she reached the pool at the foot of Yosemite Falls and a sudden, violent wind blew her into it.

During the night she gave birth to a child which she wrapped in a blanket and brought home the next morning. The girl’s mother was very curious and soon took the blanket off the baby in order to see it. Immediately a violent gale arose and blew the entire village and its inhabitants into this same pool. Nothing has ever been seen or heard of them since.


35 Information concerning two other groups of spirits was secured.

The Spirits above Bridal Veil Falls.—A short distance above Bridal Veil Falls is a lake somewhat like Mirror lake. Here live certain beautiful maidens whose tresses hang down to their feet. They have a very sharp sense of smell and can detect easily the approach of a human being. They cause a violent wind in an endeavor to blow the victim into the lake and drown him. These maidens then devour him. The victim’s spirit remains forever in the depths of the lake. Very little is known of the personal appearance of these women except that they are very beautiful, are pure white, with blue eyes, and have very long hair. That so little is known of them is due to the fact that they are greatly feared and anyone who is so unfortunate as to come in sight of one of them takes no time for observations but makes off if possible at top speed. Similar women are in the waters above Yosemite Falls. Cf. Merriam, op. cit., 228-230.

The Spirits at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls.—Another class of these supernatural beings are the pū'hūnū, who formerly lived in the pool at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls. Informants could not give very definite accounts of these beings but knew that they were harmless except in that they always caused the water of the fall to blow out and wet anyone who approached too close to its foot.

36 This incident of the dipping up of snakes instead of water is given, but in an otherwise very different myth, by Dr. Merriam, op. cit., 127, 128.

ABSTRACTS

1. The six peoplings of the world.—The first people are devoured by a cannibal giant, Ūwū'lin, who is finally killed by means of a tiny vulnerable spot in his heel, discovered by Fly. The bones of this giant are later found and cause the death of their discoverer.

The second people are largely stolen by Yelelkin, an immense mythical bird, the remainder being driven out by black ants.

The third people are birds and mammals with human attributes. The stalactites in Bower Cave are the remains of the food of their chiefs. To facilitate hunting Raven becomes black. People are finally transformed into animals.

The fourth people have a very overbearing chief, Skunk, who greedily keeps all meat obtained by his hunters for himself. The people trap Skunk through his vanity, and kill him. While dying, Skunk creates mountains. Again people are transformed into animals.

[The incident of the fifth people was forgotten by the informant.]

The sixth people are created by Coyote. There is only water at first, but Coyote creates land from earth brought up by Frog. He creates Vegetation. He finally creates people with hands like Lizard’s and arranges for reproduction. He and his people are then transformed into animals.

2. The birth of Falcon.—Condor’s wife, a rock, gives birth to Falcon, who becomes chief. Falcon brings into being his grandfather, Coyote, who instructs him.

3. Falcons contest with Kī'lak.—Falcon goes to contest with Kī'lak and is killed. By means of a magic token, Coyote learns of Falcon’s death and goes to avenge it. He hits Kī'lak’s one vulnerable spot on his wing, and kills him.

4. Falcon escapes the world fire.—Killah’s death starts a great world fire from which Falcon escapes by going to the ocean. Coyote and Condor are indestructible and remain.

5. Coyote and Falcon create people.—Falcon ponders Coyote’s power and induces him to create human beings. Coyote secures feathers by entrapping birds which eat their way into his body while he feigns death. He places these feathers all over the world and gives places names. The feathers become human beings.

Since the creation of the new race there is no room for the old one, and Coyote causes it to be transformed into birds and mammals.

6. Yayil’s Journey to the south world.—Yayil, a great gambler, journeys to the southern world where he plays "running ball" with Kū'tcū, who exacts the death penalty when Yayil loses.

7. Falcon’s search for Yayil.—Falcon grows up and learns his father’s whereabouts about by means of an arrow stood on end and blown by the wind toward the south. He leaves a log in bed to deceive his wife, Duck, while he and a friend burrow out of the village. Duck discovers where Falcon has gone by throwing some hair in the air and observing the direction in which the wind blows it. She follows with food. Falcon dreams that Duck is following him and plans to kill her. Her magic stops his arrow and she journeys with them.

Falcon sends his partner and Duck on while be visits Lizard and Frog. Lizard sends fire in pursuit of Falcon who, with his companions, reaches the falling-rock gate at the south end of the world. They then run to the other three ends of the world to escape the fire. Falcon creates a small spring. Duck finally creates a large spring and all are saved.

Falcon succeeds in jumping through the southern gateway of the world but Duck’s feet are clipped off.

Falcon and his companions reach the village of the southern world. He prepares the race course during the night and refuses to use Kū'tcū’s tricky balls. Falcon wins the race and burns Kū'tcū and Buzzard, and, later, all the inhabitants of the village.

Falcon visits two powerful magicians who restore Yayil to life. Falcon then burns the southern world, saving only his step-mother and the two magicians. Yayil goes to live in the southern ocean and Falcon and his companions return to the world.

Falcon kills Lizard and Quartz-rock and returns home.

8. Falcon rescues his sister.—Falcon’s sister is stolen by the north people. He discovers her whereabouts by means of a token. His wife takes him to the underworld, where he is killed.

Crow searches for Falcon, kills his slayers, and brings him to life. They return to the world and Falcon and his partner resume their journey northward.

Crow again searches for Falcon and journeys with him. He stops to, eat grasshoppers and is left behind. He visits an old woman, who has a rattlesnake, a bear, a puma, and a wolf as guards, kills her guards, and finds Falcon’s sister in her house, emaciated beyond recognition. Falcon rescues his sister and avenges her wrongs.

9. Eagle rescued from the upper world.—Eagle’s wife, Chipmunk, deceives him and is beaten to death. Through this beating she acquires stripes. Eagle mourns and his face becomes black.

Yelelkin carries Eagle to the upper world, whither Coyote goes to rescue him. Bullfrog saves Eagle’s life and the latter kills Yelelkin. Coyote takes Yelelkin’s feathers to earth and creates vegetation from them. The first people are then transformed into animals.

10. Coyote steals the sun.—Formerly the sun was kept east of the Sierra Nevada and the people of the region to the west had none. While hunting, Coyote discovers light and describes the sun and the eastern land to his people. They deride his sun story and he determines to steal it unaided. He gains entrance to the chief’s house by transforming himself into a stick of wood, which the chief carries home. He escapes being burned and, while the chief sleeps, steals the sun and outwits his pursuers. Coyote places the sun in the sky and regulates its movements.

11. The Creation of Yosemite Valley.—Half Dome leaves her husband, Washington Tower, and journeys eastward, creating Merced River Canyon, and Yosemite Valley and the flora of the region. Her enraged husband beats her. She is changed into her present form. North Dome and the Royal Arckes were formed of a basket and cradle she carried.

12. The origin of El Capitan.—Bears sleep upon a growing rock, fail to descend, and starve to death. Measuring-worm ascends El Capitan and brings down their bones.

13. The origin of the present floor of Yosemite Valley.—Measuring-worm ascends El Capitan and spans Yosemite Valley. Upon returning to El Capitan the walls of Yosemite cave in, forming the present floor of the valley.

14. The Lost Arrow.—A deer hunter misses his mark and his arrow forms a peak, the Lost Arrow.

15. The spirits of Yosemite Falls.—A girl dips water from a river and gets a basketful of snakes. She is finally blown into the water and, gives birth to a supernatural child. Her mother’s curiosity causes another gale, which blows the entire village into the water.

GLOSSARY37

acorn, telē'lī.

acorn cache, tca'ka.

ant (a big black species), hūmū'kilū.

awl, tcu’lla.

badger, Ti'wū.

baskets, tcī'kele, burden basket; tcōkīne, head protector or arched hood of the basketry cradle; ko'tī, basket completely covered with red feathers from the head of the California woodpecker and with quail plumes; made of twine upon a multiple grass foundation.

Bridal Veil Falls (Yosemite Valley), pū'hūnū tcō'lak.

bullfrog, ū'lūsmukaiyi.

cane, lē'ha (a species of cane).

Cathedral Spires (Yosemite Valley), pu'sīna tca'ka (mouse acorn cache).

chipmunk, Tu'pī.

Clouds’ Rest (Yosemite Valley), wa'kalī.

condor, mo’llok.

coyote, ahē'lī.

crow, 'uT; cf. raven.

dove, kūlū'wī.

ducks, hi'lkūhnai, a small bluish species; ilakna; yauha.

eagle, wī'paiak.

Eagle Peak (Yosemite Valley), wohō'ka.

El Capitan (Yosemite Valley), toto'konūla. This is an untranslatable term which refers to the "face" which looks toward the southwest at a point about halfway down the cliff. This "face" or "head" is said to resemble that of an Indian with a band about his head.

falcon, we'kwek.

frog, wa'tana, wata'kna; ōlo'tcōkomayi, ōlo'tcōma. See also bullfrog.

Glacier Point (Yosemite Valley), ha'katwī (blue-bellied lizard).

grass, kī'sī (a species of grass).

grizzly bear, UhU'matī.

Half Dome (Yosemite Valley), awo'nī.

hatca'wī, a species of bird.

hawks, we'wek, falcon; Iīka', chicken hawk; kili'kkila, a small species of hawk.

hūkū'mī, a species of bird.

hūxe'pī (Yosemite Valley), beautiful cannibal spirit maidens with tresses extending to the ground who live in the lake above Bridal Veil Falls. awa'ya ūhūti (bad), another name for these beings.

Indian Canyon (Yosemite Valley), hō'pahūla.

Inspiration Point (Yosemite Valley), o'lakikteī.

invisible people, po'lotī. Beings who are visible for a time but who disappear when approached.

kīli'kkīla, a small species of hawk.

kī'sī, a kind of grass.

kō'tca, a kind of flower.

kū'tcū, a shaggy, supernatural being called, by one informant, "'buffalo."

lake, awa'ya (generic term).

lē'ha, a species of cane.

lizard, kassa'tū, a large species; ōwo'to, a large, long species.

Lost Arrow (Yosemite Valley), mu'tckul.

measuring-worm, tūlta'kna.

mermaids (Yosemite Valley), hūxe'pi, mermaids above Bridal Veil Falls; pū'hūnū, mermaids at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls; po'lotī, mermaids at the foot of Yosemite Falls.

Milky Way, waka'lmūTo.

Mirror lake (Yosemite Valley), awa'ya.

Morning Star, tu'le.

mouse, pu'sīna.

mountain lion, see puma.

Nevada Falls (Yosemite Valley), pa'iwaiak.

North Dome (Yosemite Valley), to'koyī.

ōnō'tcōktcī (Yosemite Valley), grandmother of Sentinel. This is the small projecting rock at the pinnacle of the lower spire immediately east of Sentinel. The small projections around her are others of her grandchildren, called adje.

owls, no'potkolo, night owl; hūkū'mi; hatca'wi.

pa’llahī, a kind of flower.

pe'lpelna, a small, insectivorous bird resembling a sapsucker.

po'lotī, a class of supernatural women living in the waters just below Yosemite Falls.

puma, hīlī'tca.

quartz-rock, ho'sokilwo.

rattlesnake, lawa'Ti.

raven, ka'kūl; cf. crow.

Ribbon Falls or Maiden’s Tears (Yosemite Valley), lūnTukūya.

Royal Arches (Yosemite Valley), tco'kōne, head protector on baby basket.

sandhill crane, toto'kon.

sapsucker, tcū'TaTakwila.

sasī'lema, a species of bird.

Sentinel (Yosemite Valley), lo'ya.

skunk, hī'sik.

South Dome, Half Dome (Yosemite Valley), Te'sēyak.

sunflower, tcatcī'limme.

tē'tete, a species of bird.

Three Brothers (Yosemite Valley), ha'mūk, falling rock; tiki tun, smallest of the Three Brothers; ha'mūk, middle of the Three Brothers; ha'te, Eagle Peak.

Three Graces (Yosemite Valley), Ta'kawa.

toho'nī, a kind of flower.

tōkī'lna, a small bird with a topknot.

toko'ino, a species of bird.

turtle, awa'nta.

Tutulawiak Falls (Yosemite Valley), tūtūlawī'ak.

Ūwū'lin, from ū'wū, to eat. A great cannibal giant who devoured nearly all the first people of the world.

Vernal Falls (Yosemite Valley), has no name according to one informant.

Washington Tower (Yosemite Valley), na'as, husband of Half Dome.

waterfall, tca'lak (generic term).

woodrat, lo'lok.

Ya'yil, a supernatural being and father of falcon.

ye'lelkin, a supernatural bird resembling an eagle but several times larger and of the color of an owl. It is supposed to have carried people off to its home in the upper world.

Yosemite, yō'hemiūte, from yō'he, to kill, and miūtī'ya, people.

Yosemite Valley, awo'nī.

Yosemite Falls (Yosemite Valley), awo'nī tcōlak.

Yosemite Point (Yosemite Valley), o'mū to miss an object, especially game, shooting at it with the bow and arrow.

Yosemite Meadow, wohō'ka, the meadow west of what is called "Soldier Camp."

Yosemite Valley people, mī'wu awo'nī hūye, literally people Yosemite Valley down; awo'nītcī, from awo'nī, Yosemite Valley. This term was applied by outsiders to anyone coming from Yosemite Valley.


37 This glossary lists the terms used in the present paper and also the names of important places in Yosemite Valley. The alphabet employed is described in "Ethno-Geography of the Pomo Indians," present series, VI, 51, 1908.


Bibliographical Information

A. L. Kroeber and S. A. Barrett at UC Berkeley in 1950s
A. L. Kroeber and S. A. Barrett

Barrett, S. A. (Samuel Alfred), 1879-1965. "Myths of the Southern Sierra Miwok," University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology (UCPAAE) 16(1):1-28 (March 27, 1919). 28 cm. This paper is available as a reprint from Coyote Press, Salinas, California. Digitized by Dan Anderson July 2004 from a copy in the SDSU library. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice is left intact.
    —Dan Anderson, www.yosemite.ca.us

About the Author

Samuel Alfred Barrett was born 1879 in Conway, Alaska. He earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1908, The 15 myths in this paper were gathered from the Southern Sierra Miwok around Mariposa in the Summer of 1906. the first student to receive a Ph.D. under Alfred Kroeber. S. A. Barrett worked as a ethnologist on various expeditions, museums, and programs. Dr. Barrett is most recognized for his work in California ethnography, at UC Berkeley. Near the end of his career, he and Alfred Kroeber established American Indian Films, whose goal was to provide an accurate portrayal of how Indians lived, as opposed to the Hollywood version. S. A. Barrett died 1965 in his home in Santa Rosa, California.

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