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The Southern Sierra Miwok Language (1964), by Sylvia M. Broadbent
12. Talking Ghosts (Pages 182-185)
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
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.
(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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