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

12. Talking Ghosts (Pages 182-185)


12. Talking Ghosts (Pages 182)
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12. Talking Ghosts
(Told by Castro Johnson)

(1) And here's another story. (2) Two little old people went where they had lots of children, they went to baptize them. (3) Then those godparents baptized them [lit., "gave them a bath"] on Sunday. (4) Then at sunset they went back and got home. (5) Then later they often went, the man with his children, to get food. They stayed for about one week. (6) Then his wife also went to get food too, and they stayed for some time again, for three or four days. (7) Then again just the children went, (8) and then they stayed as long as they could. (9) Then again his wife went to get food, from their godfather and godmother. (10) Then again they stayed maybe one week or so. (11) Then the man went and was told about it by his wife. "You'd better tell them about it, whoever is coming now, that this is the last time. We didn't go and baptize them to give them all their food, just to help them out. (12) Now it looks as if we're going to be giving them all their food all their lives. (13) When somebody comes now, tell them that's all, so that they will know that they aren't to come," he said. (14) Then his wife told them, "My husband just said to me that this is the last time," she said. (15) So the man said "All right," and returned from there. He went and reached home, and got angry. (16) Then he told his wife in the evening, "Fix me a lunch, and a shirt, and socks," he said. (17) "What's the matter?" his wife said. (18) "Oh, nothing." "What do you mean by that?" she said. (19) But later when he was asked again he told her, (20) "Oh, they don't want us to go to get food," he said. (21) "Where are you going?" (22) "I don't know where I'm going, (23) but I'm going in the morning, while it's still dark. Maybe I’ll go north somewhere," he said. (24) He went early in the morning. He went there. (25) In the evening he met one cowboy going south. (26) "Hold it: Where is the town, tell me? How far?" (27) "You’ll never get to the town," he said then. (28) "It's


12. Talking Ghosts (Pages 184)
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too far to walk from here to the town on foot. They’ll eat you," he said, "the wild dogs. (29) You see that tree far off. You'd better climb high up in it, and look around below at the ones that these wild dogs ate," he said (30) and went. (31) He looked all around the tree when he got there in the evening, as it was getting dark. (32) "Oh, that's what he meant, about these who got killed." (33) He climbed that tree. (34) After he climbed up and straddled the tree he listened. "Who can have arrived on me here?" he was saying of the talking underneath him. (35) Then they talked. (36) "Yes, we just fixed this up, we dammed it up just now," they were saying to each other. (37) "Yes, after we worked for a long time, it looks as if we dammed up where the water comes out," some of them were saying. (38) "They’ll never open it up," they were saying. (39) "Only by prying it up with a crowbar," they said. (40) Then in the morning he climbed down and looked all around. (41) "Who is walking here around me?" he said. (42) "I don't see anybody's tracks, only these dead people. (43) Maybe they are the ones who were talking," he said. (44) Then he went to the town. (45) He walked and walked, it was nearly lunchtime when he got there. (46) He asked for water to drink, but the woman [said], "What is it? Where is the water for me to give you? The water has dried up," she said. (47) "Oh, maybe I can fix it," said the man; that was what he had been listening to. (48) "All right, then," she said, (44) and the woman took him then to the headquarters. (50) Then the soldiers fetched him and took him, (51) and their boss said, "Do you want anything, any men?" he said. (52) "No, all I need is a crowbar." (53) So they gave him the crowbar (54) and he went. He looked up. (55). "Oh, this is what they were talking about last night," he said. (56) He pried it up little by little. (57) Then he opened it a little, enough that then the water could push it out. (58) Then the water pushed it, and carried this rock down. (59) Then he was carried on their shoulders, (60) and he was given another hat, a new one, and shoes and clothes, he was given everything, his hair was cut. (61) The next day he was taken back, he was taken to his house with a mule packed with all sorts of food. (62) His wife almost didn't know him, she did not recognize him. (63) Then the ones who brought him went back when he got home. (64) Then the one, his godfather [lit., "his father who gave him a bath"], "Where did you get so rich fast?" he said. (65) "Oh, I got angry that you told us 'you can't get any food,' so I went away, I had to do something then, so that we wouldn't starve like that. (66) I went, and met a certain cowboy going south. (67) Then I went north, and I reached and climbed that tree that the cowboy told me about.

13. The Black Horse (Pages 186)
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(68) I stayed up in that tree, and I heard something talking underneath me, those dead people. (69) Then I followed up what they said, (70) and that way I got rich." (71) Then next this one, that godfather of his, next said to him, (72) "All right." He told his wife, "I'm going too tomorrow, where this one went, to see for myself," he said. (73) He got up early in the morning and went, (74) east and then north from there. (75) "Oh, that far one must be the tree he was talking about," he said. (76) He got there in the evening as it was getting dark. (77) "Oh, this is the tree," he said. (78) He looked all around then at the dead people, (79) and then he climbed up to the fork of the tree and sat down. (80) At about ten [o’clock] or more they started talking, those very ones. (81) Then, "Who can have come here?" he also said. (82) Then he listened to what they were saying. (83) "Who could have told on us? Somebody or other," they were all saying all around. (84) "You didn't meet anybody, did you?" they were saying to each other. (85) "Not I, I never go anywhere," all of them said. (86) "Maybe somebody is listening to us," they said to each other. (87) "Maybe that's what happened, (88) but I never see anybody is what I am saying," they were saying to each other all around. (89) They kept on talking that way. (90) "Don't you ever meet anybody anywhere?" they were saying to each other. (91) "No," they said. (92) "Don't you ever look upwards?" said that one who was doing the talking. (93) "No, we never look anywhere." (94) Then they looked up. (95) "Hey! This must be the man who is up there listening to us. (96) He must be the one who opened what we dammed up," they said to each other. (97) So then they killed that man. (98) Then that man did not get rich. (99) That's all.


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