Creation Myths of Primitive America, by Jeremiah Curtin, , at sacred-texts.com
After each name is given that of the creature or thing unto which the personage was changed subsequently.
Eltuluma, ----; Hubit, wasp; Kériha, ----; Kuntihlé, a small bird unknown; Lasaswa, large spider; Nodal Mónoko, ----; Norwanchakus, ----; Norwinte, ----, Patkilis, jack rabbit; Pawnit, kangaroo rat; Pom Norwanen Pitchen, daughter of the Southern Border, the same as Norwan; Puriwa, dark; Supchit, ----; Sanihas, daylight; Tsaik, blue jay; Tsiwihl, blue-breasted lizard; Waida Werris, polar star.
THE two brothers Norwanchakus and Keriha were on this earth before any place or thing had a name. When Olelbis took the sky pole and made a deep furrow from the foot of Bohem Puyuk to the lower valley, and a river came, the two brothers were at the end of the furrow and started toward the north. Norwanchakus was the elder; Keriha was very small.
When the brothers started, they could not see well. There was no sun then; there was only a kind of dim twilight. Waida Werris was in the sky, and saw the brothers. Fish had got into all rivers now from the southern pond, where Kuntihle Herit had caught the first fish.
"There are fish in the river," said Keriha; "let us catch some. Let us take a net up the river and come down with it."
"We have no net, and there is no light; we cannot see anything," said the elder brother.
"Go, my brother," said Keriha, "to where the sky comes down on the northwest; go out under it. You will find there the plant kúruti; bring it."
"I cannot go there," said Norwanchakus; "you go, my brother."
Keriha went through the air quickly; brought the plant--brought all there was.
"We must have more," said Norwanchakus.
"Well, go and get it," answered Keriha. "It grows beyond the sky in the southwest."
"I cannot go there; go you," said the elder brother.
Keriha went beyond the sky on the southeast; found plenty of kúruti. The elder brother made strings of the fibre.
"I am in a hurry to fish," said Keriha. "You are slow, my brother."
"Go straight east beyond the sky," said the other, "and get ash wood while I am making a net."
Keriha brought the ash. Norwanchakus had the net made, and now he fixed the ash stick.
"My brother," said Keriha, "we cannot see anything. How can we fish? There are people around us in the world, perhaps, but we have no good light to find them."
There was a kind of dim light all the time. The two brothers started, came north as far as Nomlopi, opposite Pas Puisono, and sat down.
Keriha heard voices in the north and asked, "Do you hear shouting?"
"No; I hear nothing," answered Norwanchakus.
"Let us go toward the shouting," said Keriha.
They went to a place about six miles beyond the river, where they found a sweat-house.
"These are the first people we have seen," said Keriha. "We shall call this place Tsarau Heril." They stood near the door of the sweat-house.
"Oh, my brother," said a big man who saw them and came to the door.
"Yes," said Keriha, "you are our brother, you are Norwinte."
Another came and said, "Oh, my brother!"
"You are our brother, too," said Keriha "you are Eltuluma."
"It is dark. We do not know what to do," said Norwinte.
"And we do not know," answered Keriha.
"Not far from here are more people," said Norwinte. "Let us send to them to come here. Perhaps we may learn what to do."
Norwinte sent a messenger to the north. He brought a new person soon, a good-looking man; and when this stranger had talked a while he said, "There is a person in the southeast who can help us."
"Will you bring him here?" asked Norwinte.
"I cannot go there," said the stranger.
"You go, Keriha," said Norwanchakus. "No one can go there but you."
Keriha went, and was not long gone. He brought back Patkilis.
"My brother Patkilis, do you know of any more people anywhere?"
"I know of no more people. I have seen none; but in the far east I hear shouting, with dancing and singing."
"Well, my brother, I wish you would go and see what kind of people are making that noise there."
"I will go," said Patkilis. "I don't think. it is very far from here to where they are."
Patkilis was gone a long time. When he came back, he said: "I saw many people, but they did not see me. There is a hill beyond the sky in the east. On the northern slope of it are houses. On the southern slope there are houses, also. A river flows from this hill westward. South of the hill every one is dancing. I went into the houses; on the north side. All were empty except one. In the middle house of the village I found a blind boy. I looked around and saw much in the house. 'Why have you so many things here?' asked I of the boy. 'What are they good for? I live on the other side. We haven't such things in our houses.' He said nothing. I talked a long time to him, asked many questions, but got no answer. All he said was, 'My people have gone to dance.' There were piles of acorns inside and outside, great baskets of them put around everywhere. I sat down. 'What is this?' asked I. 'What is that? What is in those baskets there?' 'Oh, something,' said the blind boy; and that was all the answer he made. There were many bags, all full of something. I saw two small bags hanging in the house, and they were very full. 'What is in those small bags that are so full?' asked I. 'Can you tell me, little
boy?' 'Why do you want to know everything?' asked the blind boy. I asked about those two bags in different ways, but he wouldn't tell me for a long time. I teased him and teased him to tell. 'You want to know everything,' said he, at last; 'I will tell you. In one is Puriwa.' 'Well, what is in the other bag? Tell me. You have told about one, now tell about the other.' He thought a while and asked, 'Why do you want to know so much? Sanihas is in the other bag.' He would tell no more, and I came away."
When Patkilis had told all this, Keriha said, after thinking a while: "This is the best news that we have heard in this world yet; some one of us ought to go there. We must bring those two bags here. If we open one, the world will be dark; if we open the other, there will be daylight. Those acorns, too, are good. You must send some one for those two bags."
"There is a man up north here, Pawnit. He could go; send for him," said Patkilis.
They sent for him, and he came. They told him what they wanted.
"I can go for those things," said he, "but I don't like to go alone. My brothers, you bring a man here who lives up north, Tsaik. He is blind of one eye."
When Tsaik came and heard about the acorns, he said: "I should like to have them; they are good. If I go, I will take the acorns, and you can bring the two bags," said he to Pawnit.
"When you come to that hill in the east," said
[paragraph continues] Patkilis to Pawnit, "you will see many houses on the north side of it, and many on the south, where people are dancing; but go to the north, and right in the middle of the village you will see a big house, with the door toward the south. When you go in, don't let the blind boy know that there are two of you. Let one talk to him while the other takes the bags. The one talking will make him believe that he came from the south side of the hill, where people are dancing. When you are going in through the door, you will see the two bags right opposite, both smooth and very full. Get those bags, so that we can see what kind of place this is. We want plenty of light. We want darkness, too, so that there may not be too much light."
Pawnit and Tsaik started off on their journey. How long the journey lasted no one knows. They went beyond the sky and reached the eastern hill, they saw the villages south and north of it, and heard a great noise of dancing at the south. They went to the northern village, found the big house in the middle of it, and stopped before the door.
"Go in," said Tsaik. "I will stay outside. I have a strap. I am going to carry away the acorn baskets. You go in. I will stay here and tie them together."
Pawnit went in and sat down on the west side. The blind boy was lying on the east side.
"Well, blind boy," said Pawnit, "I am cold. I have been dancing. I have come here to warm myself"
"I should like to know why you people come
here while there is dancing at the other side," said the blind boy.
Pawnit made no answer, but went out to see what Tsaik was doing. "Where are you, Tsaik? "asked he.
"I am here making ready to carry acorns," answered Tsaik.
Just then they saw some one near them. "Who is this?" asked Pawnit.
"I am here," said Patkilis. "Come, Pawnit, you and I will go in and get the two bags. You, Tsaik, take the acorns."
Tsaik put a big load on his back and started on, while the others were in the house. Patkilis took daylight, and Pawnit took darkness. As soon as they were outside the house, the blind boy stood up and screamed,--
"Who was that? Some one has stolen something!"
He felt for the bags, then ran out and screamed,--
"Some one has stolen Puriwa and Sanihas! Some one has stolen Puriwa and Sanihas! Some one has stolen Puriwa and Sanihas!"
The people who were dancing heard. him and said, "Some one is screaming!" Then they heard plainly,--
"Some one has stolen Puriwa and Sanihas! They have run west with them!"
When they heard this, the dancers stopped dancing and ran west. Soon they saw the three men racing off with the bags.
They saw Tsaik far ahead with a pack of acorns
on his back. They could see him a long way, for the pack was a big one. Pawnit and Patkilis carried their bags in their hands. The people ran fast and shouted to each other,--
"Catch them! Catch them! Do your best! Head them off! Surround them!"
They could not overtake Tsaik. He went through under the sky before they could come up.
When Pawnit and Patkilis were rising from under the edge of the sky, those behind were ready to seize Pawnit and would have caught him, but he tore open the mouth of his bag, and that instant thick darkness spread everywhere. No one could see; all were as if blind in one moment.
The eastern people had to stop. They could follow no farther. Patkilis knew the country west of the sky, and he and Pawnit stumbled on, came along slowly in the dark, and groped westward a good while. At last Patkilis opened his bag, and that moment daylight went out of it. They could see a great distance; they were very glad now, travelled quickly, and were soon at Norwinte's.
Keriha and Norwanchakus lived for a time with Norwinte (it is unknown how long), and then took their net and went up the river to fish downward. They went up Bohema Mem and Pui Mem as far as Panti Tsarau.
"Let us fish down from this, my brother," said Keriha. "I will hold the end of the net stick that goes out in the river, so that I may take the fish quickly when they are caught. You can go along the bank."
They fished down to Nomlupi, and Keriha named all the places as he and his brother came down. He gave them the names which they have now. the names by which we Wintus call them. The first place below Panti Tsarau was Lorus Pom and Keriha left no place unnamed between Panti Tsarau and Nomlupi. They stopped at Nomlupi, built a brush house there, and lived some time in it.
One day the two brothers went to Norwanbuli to the great sweat-house where the woman Pom Norwanen Pitchen or Norwan lived.
"My brother, you must not make this woman angry," said Norwanchakus, when they were near Norwanbuli. "This is a very powerful woman; she has a great deal of food, a great deal to eat, but you must not take anything; eat nothing except what she gives; don't talk much; do just what I tell you."
"I will do what you tell me," said Keriha.
They went in at the south side of Norwanbuli, and stopped east of the door. Norwanchakus sat down, and held Keriha between his knees. The woman put her hand behind her, took acorn bread, held it toward the brothers, and said,--
"Take this, you two men, eat it, and then go away."
"This woman has a great deal to eat," said Keriha. "Let's stay here a while with her. Let's not go away, my brother."
"Be still," whispered Norwanchakus. "Don't talk."
"My brother, I'm hungry. Tell her to give us more bread. This isn't enough."
Norwanchakus barely tasted the bread, but Keriha ate with great relish. "Now, my brother," said Norwanchakus,--we must go. I will carry you." He put his brother on his back, drew Keriha's arms around his own neck closely, and started. When they were almost out of the house, Keriha began to struggle and kick.
"Let me go, my brother," said he, "let me go!"
Norwanchakus held him firmly. Keriha pulled and pulled till he got his right arm free. At the door was a large basket of acorns. He seized a handful of those and kept them. Norwanchakus went out, and when a short distance from the house he felt the ground swaying, rising, and falling. He stopped and saw the earth open around him and sink slowly. Then he made one great spring and came down on Bohem Buli. He was barely on that mountain when it began to crack, and he was sinking again. He made a second leap, and came down far away southwest.
Keriha dropped the acorns, and the earth stopped opening that moment. The brothers stayed some time in the southwest, then went to Tsik Tepji. This was a strong eddy of the river in which it was easy to catch salmon. They made a brush hut at the river bank, and a house not far from the river, on a hill. Norwanchakus caught a great many salmon, and Keriha ate and ate; he ate all the time and never grew larger. Norwanchakus scarcely ate anything. One morning Keriha was in the house
while his brother was fishing. A stranger came, a very small man, no larger than a boy five years old. Keriha looked at him, then jumped up and ran to his brother.
"Oh. my brother," said he, "some one has come to our house." Norwanchakus said nothing.
"There is some one at our house," repeated Keriha.
"Did he say anything?" asked Norwanchakus. "No."
"Did you talk to him?"
"I don't like him, he is so little."
"Never mind, go back and give him something to eat; call him uncle."
Keriha went back and stared at the stranger. After a while the little man looked up and asked,--
"Why do you look at me so? I left a small bag of roots north of the house. Would you bring it here? The roots are very good to eat."
Keriha went. The bag was small. There were roots in one corner of it. not many. He snatched at the bag, but could not lift it; he tried with both hands, couldn't stir it; tried every way, couldn't move it; scratched his arms and legs in trying, left the bag, and went back without it.
"I cannot lift that bag," said he to the little man. "How did you bring it, you are so small?"
The stranger, who was Nodal Monoko, went out, brought the bag to the house in one hand, and put it down outside. Norwanchakus knew who the stranger was, and he brought up a great sturgeon.
[paragraph continues] Keriha cooked the fish, put it down before their guest, and said, "Eat this."
The little man said nothing, waited till the fish was cool, then raising it to his mouth in one hand, he swallowed all at a mouthful.
Keriha cooked for the little man all the forenoon, while Norwanchakus was fishing. About midday their wood was nearly all burned.
"My uncle," said Keriha, "we are going to cook a great deal of fish. Would you help me and bring wood?"
The little man said nothing.
"My uncle, will you bring wood for me?" asked Keriha.
The stranger sat a while, then went out to a mountain, took the largest dry trees, pulled them up by the roots with one hand, put a great many in a pile, and tore up two young green trees; with these he bound the dry ones, and took them on his shoulder to Keriha.
Now Keriha saw what kind of person the little man was. He cooked salmon and sturgeon till midnight without stopping, and still the little man was hungry. Keriha cooked fish the whole night, and Nodal Monoko ate till daylight.
Norwanchakus came up from the river next morning and said to the little man, who looked as if he had eaten nothing,--
"My uncle, you wish to go home, I suppose. If you want fish, fill your bag; it will hold a couple of good ones. The fish did not come up last night very well, but I can give you enough to fill your bag."
So saying, Norwanchakus went back to the fishing-place. Nodal Monoko went out and emptied his bag. When the roots were thrown out, there was a pile of them many times higher and bigger than the house. It covered all the open space, while some roots rolled down the hillside and fell into the river.
Nodal Monoko's bag would hold mountains. He could put the whole world into it. Nodal took his bag to the river, where Norwanchakus had been fishing all night, and saw salmon in piles there.
"Take all the salmon you can," said Norwanchakus.
The stranger put two hundred salmon in one corner of his bag, two hundred more in the other, two hundred in the middle--all large fish--and the bottom of the bag was hardly covered. He twisted the top of the bag then, and tied it. Nodal Monoko had a beaver-skin quiver. In this he was carrying five great baskets of acorns, each basket holding three bushels, and these acorns filled only the very tip of the beaver tail.
He went down to the river to swim across.
"He cannot cross the river with that bag and quiver," said Keriha.
At the edge of the water Nodal Monoko took the bag and quiver in one hand, and swam across with the other.
The two brothers stayed fishing at Tsik Tepji till a day when Keriha said, "Let us go up the river, my brother." They went to Bohem Tehil and stopped at a large tree. Keriha hung a salmon
on a limb of it. "I will watch this fish," said he; "I'll see if Hubit comes here to eat it."
He watched that day from dawn till dark; no one came. He watched five days more; no one. Five other days, and five days more, and then five days,--twenty-one in all; he saw no one.
Next morning he was waiting, when all at once he heard a noise, and looking he saw Hubit come from the west and go to the salmon. Norwanchakus sat some distance away, watching Keriha.
"Oh, my brother," cried Keriha, "Hubit has come. He is at the salmon. What shall I do? I want to know where Hubit lives, I want to see his house. I must follow him."
"My brother," answered Norwanchakus, "you say that you know more than I. You think that you know everything. You must know what to do with Hubit."
"Oh, my brother," said Keriha, "do not tease me. Tell me quickly what I am to do with Hubit."
"Go straight south to a level place, get a pawit, and bring it. I will watch Hubit while you are gone.
Keriha brought some pawit quickly. "Now what shall I do?"
"Stick one tuft in the salmon's tail, and fasten it well," said Norwanchakus. "Let Hubit carry off the fish. You can see the tuft far away, and follow."
Keriha fastened the tuft to the salmon, gave the fish to Hubit, and watched. Hubit wouldn't bite,
wouldn't taste. Keriha tried all day to make him taste the salmon, tried a second day, tried five days. Hubit wouldn't even bite it. On the sixth day Keriha said,--
"Hubit, why are you here? I thought you came to eat salmon, but now you will not taste it."
Keriha talked five days more to Hubit, ten days in all. "Hubit, I wish you would eat some fish and take home the rest." Hubit made no answer.
Five days more Keriha teased him, and then five days longer, twenty days in all.
"Hubit," said Keriha on the twenty-first day, "tell me what you are going to do; I'd like to know;" and he pushed him. Not a word from Hubit. "Are you asleep or dead?" asked Keriha. "Hubit, you make me so angry that I want to kill you."
All these days Keriha had watched Hubit from daylight till dark, giving him no chance to steal the fish. and Hubit wanted salmon so much that he would not go without it. Norwanchakus sat watching Keriha.
"My brother," said Keriha, "I cannot make that Hubit take the salmon; what shall I do? Tell me."
Norwanchakus said nothing.
"I am getting angry. If you cannot tell me what to do, I will kill Hubit to-morrow."
"Why kill Hubit? You have teased him a long time; tease him a little longer. How will you find Hubit's house, if you kill him?"
"Hubit, will you bite this salmon?" asked
[paragraph continues] Keriha, next morning. "I have bothered long enough. Will you bite to-day?" He put the salmon to Hubit's mouth. Hubit bit a little. Keriha lifted the salmon with Hubit on it, and threw it in the air to make Hubit fly. All came down like a stone. Keriha threw it a second time. It fell again. He tried all day.
"I don't know what kind of man that Hubit is; he won't eat, he won't talk, won't go home, won't do anything," said Keriha.
Next morning he said to Hubit: "Hubit, what kind of person are you? I wish you would go home."
But Hubit wouldn't go without the salmon, and wouldn't take it for fear that Keriha would follow him. Keriha threw him up again with the salmon. Again he fell with the salmon, and he teased Hubit for five days more. On the sixth morning Hubit began to eat.
"Ah, you are eating!" said Keriha; "will you go to-day?"
He threw the salmon; it fell again. Five days more he tried. Hubit would eat. but wouldn't fly. Now he had tried twenty days more. On the twentieth evening he said to Norwanchakus, "I will kill Hubit to-morrow."
"Oh. you are not angry," said Norwanchakus. "Play with him a little longer. You want to know everything, to see everything, to have everything. You ought to find out what he means; he has some reason for doing as he does."
Next morning Keriha went to Hubit. "Will
you tell me what you are going to do? Unless you tell me I will kill you. When I throw you up, I will kill you unless you fly."
He threw up the salmon. Hubit moved his wings and flew along a little above the ground, then settled down.
"Oh, he is going now, he is going! I'm so glad," cried Keriha; and he threw the salmon a second time.
Hubit opened his wings and flew around Keriha, flew around the tree.
"Go, go!" cried Keriha, clapping his hands.
Hubit shot away toward the north, near the ground, and Keriha ran with all speed, but Hubit went far ahead; then he flew a little toward the west, turned, and darted off directly northward.
Keriha did not lose sight of him, but rose in the air and flew north, going parallel with Hubit and going faster. He was at the sky first. A moment later Hubit came.
"I am here before you!" cried out Keriha.
"You cannot go out here!"
Hubit flew around a while and shot back to Bohem Tehil. Keriha was just behind him.
"Hubit, you are so slow," called out Keriha. "I want to go fast, I like to see you go fast."
Hubit flew around the tree a little, then darted to the south. Keriha went a little to one side, was at the south before him, clapping his hands.
"No escape on this side, Hubit; I am here before you."
Hubit turned to Bohem Tehil. From the tree
he rushed east to where the sky comes down. Keriha was there before him. He rushed to the west, to where the sky comes down. Keriha was there before his face, barring the way. Hubit had been at all four points,--no escape at any of them; still he wouldn't drop the salmon. He turned a fifth time to Bohem Tehil with Keriha behind him. He flew around the tree a few times, then rose straight in the air, carrying the salmon. He rose quickly, went very high. Keriha stood looking at Hubit, watched him growing smaller and smaller. Keriha shaded his eyes.
Hubit was nearly out of sight. Keriha could barely see him with the salmon and the tuft, a little spot in the sky. He looked very hard, strained his eyes till blood was running down both his cheeks; still he kept looking.
Hubit thought he was out of sight now, and soon Keriha saw him turn to the west and come down. When he was above Bohem Buli, he dropped straight to it on the north side and went in.
"I'm glad, I'm glad. Oh, I'm so glad!" cried out Keriha, clapping his hands. "I know now where Hubit's house is. Get ready quickly, my brother, we will go and see Hubit. Oh, you are so slow, my brother, I can't wait for you. Come when you can; I'll go on alone."
Keriha hurried to Bohem Buli. Norwanchakus followed, and saw Keriha doing strange things; didn't know what he was doing; wondered at him. He was dodging from side to side, lying down and springing up again. Norwanchakus went toward him.
"What are you doing?" cried he. "What is the matter!"
"Don't come so near," called Keriha. "Stop, stop!"
When Hubit dropped down to his house in Bohem Buli, he began that minute to make it bigger. He was hurling out immense rocks, and Keriha was dodging them. They came quickly one after another (there are many of those rocks now all around Bohem Buli, at Puitiel Ton, at Waikidi Pom, and on the west beyond Tayam Norel). After the rocks Hubit hurled out great showers of earth; then he stopped.
"How shall I get at that Hubit?" asked Keriha of his brother.
"Go south to a level valley where sakkus grows. Get the tops of that plant."
Keriha brought plenty of sakkus tops quickly.
"Go now to Halat Pom, in the east, and bring the longest vines possible."
Keriha brought ten very long vines and made a rope of them, and tied it around a great bundle of sakkus tops, to which he set fire, and then lowered the bundle. He stopped the door with grass and sticks. Soon there was a great rumbling, struggling, and roaring in Hubit's house. After a while it stopped and all was still.
"Now, my brother," said Keriha, "Hubit is dead, and I am going to have his honeycombs."
He took a large sharp stone, drew a great circle around the entrance to Hubit's; house, and said: "You, Hubit's honeycomb, be as large as this circle
is. Now, my brother," said he, "you can go to Bohem Tehil. I will come soon."
Norwanchakus went home. Keriha began to dig, found many combs, dug till night, stayed all night in Hubit's house--stayed there digging honey and eating, for twenty-five days.
Norwanchakus waited at home for his brother, waited that evening till midnight, waited till morning, saw no sign of Keriha. He waited the next day; then two, three, five days; then twenty days more.
"Well," said Norwanchakus, "I can do nothing. Perhaps he is dead, perhaps he is working yet."
On the twenty-sixth night after Hubit's death, some one came into the house. Norwanchakus looked up. It was Keriha.
After that the two brothers went to Puri Buli. At the foot of the mountain they saw some one half sitting, half lying, and looking at them. When they came nearer, it went into an opening.
"My brother," said Keriha, "I want that."
"Nothing can pass you," said the elder brother. "You want everything. You would better let this go."
Keriha paid no heed to Norwanchakus: he split the earth with his little finger and killed the stranger, a Supchit. He skinned the body and said, "I think that this skin will be warm; I will sleep on it."
"My brother," said Norwanchakus, "you are the only person who has ever killed a Supchit--you may be sorry."
Next morning a terrible snow came. It snowed five days and nights; everything was buried under
snow. Keriha and Norwanchakus lay twenty-one days under the snow without food. On the twenty-first night, the Supchit woman whom Keriha had killed came and stole him away.
Next morning Norwanchakus looked outside. Keriha was gone; the snow was gone. He looked for tracks, looked all day, found no tracks. He searched five days, ten, twenty days--searched all the mountains, went down the rivers, up the rivers, north, south, east, west. He searched one year, found neither track nor trail; searched ten years, then ten years more; inquired of every one in all the world--no one knew of Keriha.
At last he went back to the house where Keriha had been lost to see if there was track or trail there. Behind Keriha's sleeping-place he saw a large stone. He raised it, found an opening and a passage sloping northward, saw tracks made when the Supchit woman took Keriha away. He went into the passage, followed the trail till he came to the top of Bohem Puyuk. He came out on the top, went in again and followed a trail going south; followed it, winding west and east, till he came out at Waikidi Pom. There he saw tracks on the ground, lost them, found them again, found them going under the ground, travelled under the ground, came out, lost and found tracks till he lost them for good.
He inquired in the west for five years without finding trail or tidings of Keriha. At last he said,--
"I have asked every one in this world, except my two cousins Lasaswa at Lasan Holok."
He turned east, then, and went to Lasan Holok,
near Pas Puisono, where he found a big house with a door on the south side. One old man was sitting on the east, and another on the west side of the door. The house was full of people. The two old men were rubbing their thighs and rolling something. All the people inside were doing the same, all were making ropes.
Five years before these old men had heard that Norwanchakus had lost his brother. All people had been telling one another that Norwanchakus was looking for Keriha. As soon as the old men heard of this, they began to make ropes.
Norwanchakus stood in the door, and raised one foot to walk in.
"Don't step this way; step east," said the old man on the west.
"Don't step this way; step west," said the old man on the east.
"I'll go straight ahead," thought Norwanchakus.
"Don't come this way! Don't come this way!" cried all those in front.
One small boy was sitting behind all the others. As shreds of fibre dropped from the hands of those in front, he picked them up and twisted them into a rope.
"I suppose you have been travelling a long time, my grandson," said the old man on the west side of the door.
"I have travelled a very long time, and have come at last to talk with you. I have asked all who live on this earth about my brother, and no one can tell me where Keriha is."
"We heard about your brother five years ago," said the old men, "and we told our sons to make ropes because you had lost Keriha."
"How much rope have you made?"
"We can tell to-morrow."
Next morning they cleared a broad space in front of the house. While they were doing this, Norwanchakus said to the rope-makers,--
"I wish you would send for Tsiwihl, an old man near by here."
They brought him quickly. After Tsiwihl came, Norwanchakus said,--
"I want some of you young men to try to go up and ask Sas if he knows where my brother is. I think Sas must know."
"I will try first," said the old man at the western side of the door; "I think that I have the longest rope."
"I will give you something for Sas," said Norwanchakus. "Here is an arrow-straightener, a headband of silver gray-fox skin, and a fire-drill. If you go to the top of the sky, you will see a road from east to west. Sit at the south side of it under a tobacco tree which is there. Soon Sas will come from the east, going west. He will stop at the tree. Give him the three things."
The old man brought out a great coil of rope to unwind and go up with it.
"Who is to stand and watch?" asked the other old man.
"Tsiwihl," said Norwanchakus.
Tsiwihl put oak leaves near the coil, lay on them,
and looked up. Old Lasaswa took one end of his rope, pulled it, and started. The rope was unwinding, and he was going up. Tsiwihl kept his eyes on Lasaswa. After a while he said, "Lasaswa is half-way up." A little later he said, "He is more than half-way up!"
"But the rope is gone," said Norwanchakus.
"Lasaswa is coming down," said Tsiwihl.
The old man came to the ground. "My rope is too short. Some one else must try now," said he.
"I will try," said the other old man. This one had more rope. Five men had to help him roll it out of the house, there was so much. He took the presents for Sas and began to go up.
Tsiwihl watched closely. The rope was unwinding and Lasaswa was going up. "He is half-way up!" said Tsiwihl; "he is near where the first man was." Tsiwihl moved his head a little, but never lost sight of Lasaswa. "He is as high as the other was; he is higher; he is going still higher!"
"But the rope has given out," said Norwanchakus.
"He is coming down!" cried Tsiwihl.
All were looking at the sky except the small boy, who was inside making rope as before.
"We are old," said the second Lasaswa; "our ropes are too short. You young men must try to-morrow."
Each old man had nine sons. Each person was one day making the trial--all were twenty days trying--no one had a rope long enough, "What shall we do now?" asked the old men on the twenty-first day.
"There is a boy in the house making rope yet; let him try," said Norwanchakus.
"Oh. he is only playing. He hasn't much rope; he just makes ropes of the shreds that others throw away," said one of the old men.
"Go in and ask him," said the second old man.
Norwanchakus went in and said, "You are a small boy, but will you try your rope for me?" and he took hold of the boy's hand. He kept his rope in a little basket. When Norwanchakus took his hand, he seized the basket with the other hand and carried it out.
"Why do they bring out that little boy?" cried the young men. "He hasn't any rope. We had long ropes, and all were too short; his rope is only to play with."
"My cousin," said Norwanchakus, "you are small, but I think you know something. Here are three presents. When you reach the sky, give them to Sas." Then he told him what to do.
When Norwanchakus had finished, the boy bowed his head and said "Yes" to him. "You men have long ropes, but they were too short. My rope may not reach the sky, but I will try;" and he started.
Tsiwihl's breast and stomach were as blue now as the sky, and blood was trickling from his eyes, he had looked so long and so hard. After the boy was some distance up, those below could not see him, and they said to Tsiwihl, "Tell us, tell us often what he is doing."
After a while Tsiwihl said: "He is almost as
high as the others were. He is as high; he is as high as the highest was."
They looked at his rope. There seemed to be more than when he started. It seemed to grow all the time.
"He is higher than any--he is going and going."
"Do not lose sight of him," said Norwanchakus.
Tsiwihl's eyes were full of blood.
"How much rope is there?" asked Norwanchakus.
"Oh, there is plenty of rope," cried the others.
"He is going and going," said Tsiwihl.
"How far up is he? Can you see him?"
"He is high, very high, almost as high as I can see--he is nearly at the sky."
"He will go to it, he will go to it!" cried some.
"He is at the sky," said Tsiwihl. "He is there, he is there! He has his hand on it--he is on the top of it--he is there!"
There was plenty of rope on the ground yet.
"Well," said one of the old men, "he is on the sky. He never talked much, that little boy, or seemed to know much, but he has gone to a place where we could not go."
The sun was almost half-way up in the sky. Tsiwihl lay watching, watching, looking hard. Sas had passed the middle of the sky when Tsiwihl said: "I see the boy. He is coming down, he is coming nearer and nearer."
Soon all could see him. At last he was standing on the ground.
"Now, my cousin," said Norwanchakus, "tell
me. Let me know what you saw and what you heard. What do you think of that country up there?"
"I went to the top," said the boy. "The country up there is good. I saw a road from east to west. I went east a little, and at the south of the road saw a tobacco tree. I sat under the tree and looked east. Far off I saw an old man coming with a pack on his back. I sat watching him. At last he came to where I was and passed without looking at me, went forward a little, stopped, put down his pack on the south side of the road, and then came toward me. I was sitting with my face to the north. He sat down at my left side, looked at me. looked at the headband, the fire-drill, and the straightener, and laughed. 'What are you doing here?' asked he. 'From what place are you? How did you come up to this land, where no one ever travels but me, where I have never seen any one? You are small. How could you come here?' 'I am here,' answered I, 'because Norwanchakus sent me. He sent me because he has lost his brother, Keriha. He has looked for him all over the world, has asked every one, and no one knows about Keriha. He sent me here to ask you about Keriha. He said that you must know, for you look over the whole world, see all people, see everything.' I put the three things down before him and said, 'Norwanchakus told me to give you these things for your trouble in telling about Keriha.' Sas smiled again, took up the headband, the fire-drill and straightener, held them in his hand, and said: 'These are good
[paragraph continues] --I know all that is passing in the world. I know where Keriha is. I have seen him every day since he went from his brother--I know where he is now. The Supchit woman took him one night, took him under the ground, came out on the top of Bohem Puyuk, went down again, came out, travelled by crooked roads westward, crossed the bridge made of one hair, went under the sky to the other side, to the middle house in a large village. She put Keriha in a little room in that house; he has been there ever since, he is there now. He is very weak and will die to-morrow unless some one saves him. Tell Norwanchakus to start to-night and be there in the morning if he wants to save Keriha.'"
"Then Sas put his hand in his bosom and took out a kolchi bisi [sky cap], gave it to me, and said, 'Take this to Norwanchakus, and tell him to give it to Tsiwihl for his trouble.' Sas gave me also a piece of the sky. 'This is for Tsiwihl, too,' said he; 'let him wear it on his breast for a blue facing.'"
Norwanchakus gave these to Tsiwihl, and then made him a blanket of oak leaves. He wears all these things to this day.
"My cousin, are you sure that Sas said this?" asked Norwanchakus.
"I am sure. Sas told me all this."
"Wait now, my cousin." Norwanchakus went northeast, stretched his hand out; an armful of kúruti (silkweed which grows at the end of the world) came on it. "Now, my cousin," said he,
[paragraph continues] "I will pay you well for your trouble. All your life you can make as much rope as you like of this kúruti, and you can go up on it anywhere,--north, south. east, or west."
Norwanchakus started at midnight, and went westward quickly. He knew the way well. He crossed ridges and valleys, passed places where he had found tracks of Keriha and lost them, went to the bridge of one hair, sprang from the bank to the middle of the bridge. The bridge swayed and swayed. Underneath was a wide, rushing river, but Norwanchakus did not fall. With one spring more he touched the other bank, ran swiftly till he reached the big village beyond the sky. He saw the chief house, ran in through its door at the east, went to the little room. and found Keriha with his head on the palm of the Supchit woman's hand. He caught his brother and rushed out, shot past all the people, and stopped only when he was far outside the village.
"Now, my brother," said he, "you told me always that you knew something great, that you wanted to do something great, that you wanted to be something great. What have you been doing here thirty years? I have looked for you everywhere. You never let me know where you were."
"Oh, my brother," said Keriha, "I am so drowsy, I was sleeping, I didn't know where I was."
Norwanchakus crossed the river at a bound, without touching the bridge of one hair. He went on then, never stopped till he reached Keri Buli.
Next morning at daybreak Keriha heard a voice from above. The voice said,--
"Leave that place, Norwanchakus and Keriha. The world will change soon. You two must come here. Leave that place down there quickly."
"Now, my brother," said Keriha, "you are so slow, I don't know where you wish to go, or what you want to do."
"My brother," said Norwanchakus, "I will do the best I can, and do you do the best you can. We have finished our work here. People to come will know the names that you gave to rivers, mountains, rocks, and hills. Hereafter they will call these places by the names we gave them."
While in this world Keriha wore a duck-skin, and when they were ready to go he threw off this skin on the other side of Bohema Mem, and from it have come all the ducks on the rivers of this country.
Norwanchakus had always carried his ash stick from the fish-net. When he was going, he thrust it into the ground at Tsarau Heril. "I will leave this here," said he, "and people to come will make pipes of it." There is plenty of ash to this day in Tsarau Heril.
At the other side of the sky the brothers parted. Norwanchakus went up on high, and stayed there. Keriha went far away to the east, and is living there now.