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Next: How Coyote Stole the SunContentsPrevious: Measuring Worm

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

5. The Magic Cane (Pages 162-167)


5. The Magic Cane (Pages 162)
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5. The Magic Cane
(Told by Castro Johnson)

(1) This man, long ago he asked his son a question. (2) His two sons, that is. (3) He asked the older one first. (4) "What are you thinking about?" he said.

(5) "Yes," said his son. (6) "I'm thinking about this kind of thing. (7) I'm thinking that everything ought to mate and have offspring, (8) so that there would be lots of all of us," he said, (9) "Living all over this world."

(10) His father then [said] "No. Stop. (11) I don't like what you say," he said. (12) "Sit down there, I’ll take care of you later when I'm finished with your brother," he said. (13) Then he asked his younger brother, "What are you thinking about?" he said. (14) "Oh, planting things, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, cabbages, all that kind, onions, everything good to eat, peaches, apples, plums, pears, all that kind, figs," he said.

(15) "Yes, your thoughts are good. (16) It's better than your older brother's thinking," he said. (17) Then, he made a coffin for the older brother. (18) He made his coffin. (19) When he finished, he put it inside seven boxes.


5. The Magic Cane (Pages 164)
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(20) "Come here," he said. (21) He came, his older son. (22) Then he drove the nails, he put nails in, (23) he put in all the nails and finished. (24) When he was finished he took him into remote country where nobody could hear him.

(25) Then he yelled and cried, (26) "Father, father, I won't do that again," he said. (27) After they put him in the wilds they went, they went back home. (28) Then, from the north, this Coyote came and heard him. (29) "What is this yelling down here?" he said. (30) He came listening. (31) Little by little, he got closer and closer. (32) He was yelling this way: "Father, father, please, please let me go, get me out! I’ll never do that again." (33) "What's that talking so much?" said Coyote. (34) Gradually he got to the top of the mountain, the talking became clearer.

(35) Little by little, he got closer. (36) "It seems that something is talking," he said. (37) He went on. (38) "Oh, he is in the coffin," he said when he got closer. (39) When he got there, he knocked on it.

(40) "What's the matter with you?" (41) "Oh, I said something that my father didn't like," he said. (42) "All right, where is your house?" [Coyote] said. (43) "South of here," he said, (44) "the first house south of here, maybe about five miles," he said.

(45) "Do you know where the axe is?" [Coyote] said. (46) "There in the woodshed," he said. (47) "All right, I'm going to get it, I’ll come back soon." (48) Then he got that axe and went back, that's the way he went. (49) When he got there, he chopped up the outside boxes until he got to the one underneath, where he was, (50) and set him free.

(51) "From here on, don't ever go back to your house. (52) Go north, east, or anywhere, but don't ever go to your house there. (53) I'm going south. (54) I give you this cane; (55) you will ask this cane for everything you want," [Coyote] said.

(56) "All right." (57) Coyote went south, (58) and he went north, until he saw a house. (59) "Oh, maybe I should try out my cane," he said. (60) So he tried it.

(61) "I want to be an old man," he said to his cane. (62) He became old. (63) He went on to the house and knocked, (64) and a woman came out. (65) "Can you give me something to eat?" he said.

(66) "Yes, sit down there." (67) Then he sat down there on the porch. (68) Then the woman finished bringing him food (69) and he ate. (70) When he finished eating he went on (71) to the road.

(72) He went on northwards. (73) When he got out of sight he turned young again. (74) He went on this way until it got dark. (75) When it got dark, he saw a house again, so he became an old man and went to


5. The Magic Cane (Pages 166)
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lie down in the barn. (76) When he got up the next day, he went and asked for something to eat. (77) "All right, wait there," she said then. (78) So he waited again. (79) When he had eaten, he went on again. "Where is there a house around here?" [he asked someone].

(80) "Oh, maybe in the evening, about then you’ll get to one house," he said. (81) Then he went on and on till it was evening, (82) when he got to one house. (83) He got a job there. (84) "Yes, you can take care of these ducks," he said.

(85) So he went to sleep. (86) When he got up in the morning, (87) he was given a shotgun, (88) and he went over on the other side of a little hill like this to a valley, and watched over those ducks. (89) In the evening he took them back and put them in the corral. (90) He used to go to sleep, have supper, then go to sleep. (91) Then he went back and did the same thing, (92) every day he watched over them in the valley. (93) Then one time their daughter watched him from upstairs, from the upper part of the house, (94) the pretty horse, with spurs, bridle, saddle, everything become elegant, the man become young and riding his horse around, she saw from upstairs there.

(95) When he came home at night, he became old; (96) that's what he did all the time. (97) Then one day the girl asked her mother, "Can I marry this man?" she said. (98) "What do you want to marry such an old man for?" said her mother. (99) Then, "Come, then, tomorrow, come to the upper part of the house where I live, you should see if he's an old man," she said.

(100) Then next day he went again and took the ducks to the same place in the valley. (101) Then her mother came upstairs and watched him. (102) "Can that be the same man?" she said. (103) "It's the same, the only one; he does that every day," [the daughter said]. (104) "Well, you'd better ask your father," she said.

(105) So she asked her father. (106) "Father, can I marry this man?" she said. (107) "What do you want to marry such an old man for?" said her father. (108) "You should see him, you should come tomorrow and see and watch that man. He's nothing like an old man," she said. (109) Then next day he watched him take out the horse, a pretty one, he took him out and rode him around.

(110) "It can't be the same man," he said. (111) "It doesn't look like it, but there's only the one man living there, staying there," said their daughter. (112) "If you want to, you can marry him," he said. (113) So they got married the coming week. (114) He became young and never got old again.


6. How Coyote Stole the Sun (Pages 168)
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(115) Then all the nations were invited. (116) His father came, (117) he went there, to their king [lit., "to their big one"]. (118) "The king's daughter is getting married," they said. (119) Everyone gathered there, (120) they arrived on that day.

(121) Then this one, his son, [said], "I don't like your coming here," he said. (122) Then he recognized him. (123) "I don't like your locking me up at all. I don't want you to come," he said. (124) Then his father went home, (125) and he married the king's daughter. (126) That's all.


Next: How Coyote Stole the SunContentsPrevious: Measuring Worm

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