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Once Upon A Time the two Bead girls were sent by their mother to marry Cocoon-Man’s son. He was wrapped up and put away. He had never been outside, and had never eaten anything.

The Bead sisters came from a place far off in the ocean. They came on the water, brought by the wind, and they always sang the song of the wind. It took just one day for them to reach Cocoon-Man’s house. His daughters liked the two girls and gave them food. All the men were out hunting, and the daughters sent the two girls into the sweathouse and told them to sit by Pine-Marten’s bed. They could not get Cocoon-Man’s son, the one their mother had sent them for. Cocoon-Man would not listen to it, so they took Pine-Marten, and stayed three days with him. At the end of that time they wanted to go home. Pine-Marten asked all his people for blankets and shells to give his wives to carry home. They started. Cocoon-Man made a trail to the west to walk on. He sent his words out west, put his hand out west and east to make a trail, and immediately it was open. Cocoon-Man sat on the ground in the center,

and made a rainbow reaching from the place where he sat to the home of the girls.

The company started. Weasel went with Pine-Marten up to the top of the rainbow, and thewomen went under it. While they were travelling, Weasel made a flute out of a reed, and made sweet music that sounded through the world and was heard by every living being.

The two sisters walked on the lower rainbow, the reflection, and reached home safely. Next year Pine-Marten had children. He made a boy of beadshells, and from a round shell which he threw into his wife a girl was born. In the spring of the second year, he came back on the same trail that Cocoon-Man had made. His children grew very fast. Then he left his boy at home, and sent his girl to her grandmother in the ocean. The boy stayed with Cocoon-Man. The third year he had two sons and two daughters.

Now Pine-Marten’s wife took one son and one daughter to her mother in the ocean; and Pine-Marten kept one son and one daughter, and they lived with him at Fall River.

An excerpt from Achomawi and Atsugewi Myths and Tales

URLs

Paperback http://abelapublishing.com/achomawi-and-atsugewi-myths-and-tales_p23332600.htm

eBook http://abelapublishing.com/achomawi-and-atsugewi-myths-and-tales-ebook_p24837956.htm only US$0.50  formats PDF end ePub

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Today we travel further East across the Bearing Strait into North America and down the West Coast. But who are the Achomawi or Atsugewi? Ask most people and they would shrug their shoulders or return blank stares. But ask the residents of Northern California or Northern Nevada and they will tell you. Both are Native American tribes and form part of the Shastan stock of which the Shasta are probably the best known.

This myth was recorded in the early 1900’s in the Pit River area – it is titled “Fish-Hawk and his Daughter”.

 

 

Fish-Hawk lived down at Pit River. When Sun travelled in winter, he left his daughter at home, but he carried her about with him in summer. Sun did not want his daughter to marry any poor person, but a great man, like Pine-Marten, Wolf, or Coyote. Fish-Hawk got angry at Sun because he talked in this way of poor people, so he started and went down to the ocean, to Sun’s place, and slipped into the sweat-house. It was winter now, and Sun’s daughter was put away inside the house in a basket. Fish-Hawk stole her, carried her on his back to Coyote’s house, and hid her away. He made the journey in one night.

 

Next morning Sun could not find his daughter, and did not know where she had gone. That morning Fish-Hawk took the basket with the woman in it, and put it away under the rocks in muddy water, to hide it so that Sun could not see and could not find his daughter.

 

Sun searched everywhere in the air and on the ground, but could not find her. Then he hired all men who were good divers or swimmers to hunt in the water, for he thought she was hidden in the water. All searched until they came to Pit River. One would search part of the way, then another. Kingfisher was the last man to go in search of her. He went along slowly to look where the water was muddy. At last he thought he saw just a bit of something under the water. Then he went over the place carefully again and again.

 

Many people were going along the river, watching these men looking for Sun’s daughter. Kingfisher filled his pipe, smoked, and blew on the water to make it clear, for he was a great shaman. Then he went up in the air and came down over the place. The people were all excited, and thought surely he would find something. He came along slowly, and sat and smoked again, and blew the smoke over the water. Then he rose, rolled up his pipe and tobacco, and put them away. Then he took a long pole, stood over the water, pushed his pole down deep, and speared with it until he got hold of the basket and pulled it out. Old Sun came, untied the basket, took his daughter out, washed her, then put her back. He paid each of the men he had hired. Part of their pay was in shells.

 

Kingfisher said that it was Fish-Hawk who had hidden the basket. Sun put the basket on his back and started home. He was so happy to get his daughter back that he did no harm to Fish-Hawk for stealing her.

——————-

From Achomawi and Atsugewi Myths and Legends

ISBN 978-1-907256-24-0

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_aamt.html

 

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