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The Southern Sierra Miwok Language (1964), by Sylvia M. Broadbent

6. How Coyote Stole the Sun (Pages 168-171)


6. How Coyote Stole the Sun (Pages 168)
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6. How Coyote Stole The Sun
(Told by Castro Johnson)

(1) Here's another different one that we are telling. (2) Long ago, the people used to live in the dark, without the sun. (3) They couldn't see anything; (4) everything used to be dark. (5) This Coyote went far off to the east from here; he stayed who knows how long, and then came back.

(6) "Uncle! Uncle! You ought to see [how it is] far off in the east. They have sunshine over there in the east, east of here," he said to his uncle.

(7) His uncle did not believe him. (8) Then, he stayed there at the house. The wife of this uncle of his, Wood Rat, she gathered all kinds of things, here and there, redmaids, she used to pile up things to eat. (9) Then Coyote went again to the east, somewhere far from here is where he went. (10) He stayed who knows how long, maybe a month, maybe a year. (11) Then he came back and said the same thing.

(12) "Uncle! You ought to see it," he said. His uncle didn't believe him.

(13) Another time he goes again, east of here, he does the same thing. (14) "This time I’ll take a flower," he said. (15) He took this flower, shooting-stars, which was coming out there in the east. (16) Then he came back; he took it from there and came back here. (17) He showed it to his uncle.

(18) "Look here, uncle! They have flowers far off in the east," he said. (19) Then [his uncle] said, "Yes." (20). Then he stayed there again; oh, a long time again. (21) "I'm going," he said to his uncle. (22) "This time I'm going to steal their sun," he said. (23) "Then we will have the sun here in our country," he said. (24) "It's not good that


6. How Coyote Stole the Sun (Pages 170)
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we stay here in the dark all the time and can't see anything," he said.

(25) Then he said, "Goodbye"

(26) He went far off east of here. He watched these people going about, a bunch of young fellows, there in the mountains.

(27) "Maybe I'd better turn into a log," he said.

(28) He went under a tree where they were walking and turned into a log. (29) Then, when these hunters came back, "Let's carry this one," two of them said to each other. (30) "Yes, let's take it and put it on the fire," he said.

(31) Then they carried him on their backs and took him to this dance-house where they all lived, Mountain Lion, that Bear, all of them fast runners except Turtle. (32) Then they put him on the fire. But what he did was wriggle around and around, when they put him in the fire.

(33) Then, "Oh, we’ll put it on the fire later, when we go to sleep," they said. (34) "Yes," they said to each other.

(35) Then they went to sleep. Later they took him and put him closer, and he lay there. (36) When they went to sleep, he wriggled around and then listened. (37) They were all snoring, so he got up and picked up a big basket. (38) Then he goes and gets this sun, (39) and runs with it to the west.

(40) "Let's run! Let's run!" said the Turtle. (41) "I scratched him, I scratched him," he said. (42) He ran with it and outdistanced them all. (43) Then he came and released that sun there.

(44) "Uncle!" he says, arriving at the house. (45) "I stole it," he said. (46) "In a while we’ll have sunshine, you should see it," he said. (47) He kept on coming out and coming out to look at that sun. (48) Finally, it seemed to be getting light. "Come on, uncle! Come and see it! It's getting light," he said.

(49) His uncle came out. "Oh, you're really telling the truth," he said. (50) "You're telling the truth, that's the way they do it back in the east."

(51) "Yes, but they haven't got the sun now over in the east. (52) I took it all," he said.

(53) Then the sun rose up and came out, and they saw everything. (54) Then that Eagle's wife was astonished at what she had gathered up, everything piled up here, there, and everywhere. She was always working, this wife of Eagle, Wood Rat. (55) Then the sun shone on us, and to this very day does. It never went back. (56) That's all.


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