Creation Myths of Primitive America, by Jeremiah Curtin, , at sacred-texts.com
After their transformation the personages in "Haka Kaina" were mainly birds. I have not been able to identify the majority of them, and would refer to the notes to this myth. Hwipajusi, the father of the three girls, is a whistling swan; we find among the characters Gowila, a lizard, Malwila, meadow-lark, and Maibyu, wood dove. The only way to identify such characters surely is to hire men to shoot them in the woods and mountains. This I have done as often as possible, but in the present case the specimens were lost before I could fix their identity. All the information at my disposal now will be found in the notes.
Haka Kaina was the greatest chief in this country; his very large and beautiful sweat-house was Wahkalu.
One time Haka Kaina stole the three daughters of Hwipajusi, a chief who lived down in the far south, beyond the valley of the Daha. When Haka Kaina had brought the three girls home, he said,--
"I must find a good man, a careful man, now, to guard these three girls, a man who never sleeps in the night-time. Hwipajusi will send people here to steal them back; we must be ready for his men."
At last the chief chose Hohwitina because he whistled all night, Every one thought that he never slept, for he whistled all the time, whistled without stopping from evening till daylight. Hohwitina watched the three girls a good many nights;
he never looked after them during daylight, for he rested at that time. They were brought to him at dusk every evening to the central pillar of the sweat-house. The arms of each girl were tied together; one girl was tied to Hohwitina's left arm, the second to his right arm, and the third behind to his waist.
After a time old Hwipajusi sent ten of the best southern men to bring back his three daughters; the names of these men were Pusi Tena, Wija Lala, Chami Nuri, Malwila, Gowila, Grana Rana, Dekkech, Pushi Chowa, Manu Rana, Taki Lapiki. These men were called Yolaina,--that is, the bravest, men who feared nothing.
These men painted their arms and faces black before starting, took good bows and arrows, and went to Wahkalu.
Hwipajusi had kept his three daughters always hidden away in his sweat-house, rolled up in otter-skin carefully; but Haka Kaina, the chief of Wahkalu, had stolen in while all were sleeping and carried away the three maidens.
Hwipajusi's ten men came near Wahkalu one evening between dusk and darkness, and were right there near the sweat-house. Haka Kaina, the chief, saw them coming, and prepared all his forces to fight.
"These are people," said he, "sent by Hwipajusi, very brave and strong men. You must not let them come near the three girls; you must not let them go from here; you must not let them take the girls nor go away themselves; you must kill these ten enemies."
One of the Haka Kaina's men had a great hammer. He put a block of flint at the point which the ten men attacked when they came near; he struck the flint with his hammer; small sharp bits flew off from it like rain, fell on the attackers, and cut them terribly. The ten men had no fear of flint nor of other things. They rushed on until five were killed; the five others were not frightened and they went forward. The man with the hammer struck away on the flint block till five more were killed.
Now Hwipajusi's ten brave men who feared nothing were dead.
Hwipajusi waited for his men to come back, looked for them, hoped to see them bring his daughters, but the men could not come; they were dead. They had promised their chief to bring the girls surely, but they could not bring them; the ten were dead at Wahkalu.
Hwipajusi sent ten other men, men who were very wise and cunning. These ten were Itchi Watibila, Chini Pachuna, Maibyu, Tsigaga, Maltama, Howichi Laina, Aichuch Hisipa, Tsawila, Haiyude Maupa, Tarku Wana. These ten men came near the sweat-house, sat down, and hid there in the evening.
"I will go up first on the sweat-house," said Maibyu; "you are too heavy, your tread is heavy. If you go, they will hear you, they will wake up; we shall be killed, like the ten who came before us."
"I know the man who watches the girls," said Maibyu; "he whistles all night, but he sleeps; no
one in the sweat-house sleeps more soundly than he does. Now, when he is asleep, I will go down and take the girls from him."
"I will go myself," said Itchi Watibila.
Haka Kaina's people danced that evening, and played till late at night. Hwipajusi's ten men crept near and watched the people dancing, but no one saw them. Haka Kaina sat inside the sweat-house, smoking and talking, talking loud; the ten heard his voice. At last, when it was late, all the men went into the sweat-house and other houses, and in time they were asleep everywhere. All were silent except Hohwitina, who sat watching the girls at the central pillar; and he whistled all the time.
The ten went around the sweat-house; saw that all were sleeping. They heard no noise but the whistling of Hohwitina.
"I know that he is asleep now," said Itchi Watibila.
Four men went to the top of the sweat-house. The watcher was whistling not so loudly, but whistling. Itchi Watibila gave his arrows to Chini Pachuna, and Chini Pachuna gave them to Maibyu, for he had to lift up the girls.
"That man sleeps, I know," said Itchi Watibila; and he went down slowly along the pillar, reached the bottom, and sat a while to listen. He looked closely at Hohwitina, and saw that he was whistling with his eyes shut. Itchi Watibila laughed to himself. He saw that one girl was tied to each of Hohwitina's arms and one to his waist from behind. The girls were awake, all three of them.
Itchi Watibila untied the right-hand girl carefully; raised her to Chini Pachuna, who gave her to Maibyu at the top of the sweat-house. Hohwitina whistled on, and Itchi Watibila took the left-hand girl, raised her to the other man; at last he took the third, the youngest daughter of Wipajusi, made no noise, raised her to the others, then climbed up himself, rested a moment on the top of the sweat-house, looked down. Hohwitina was whistling away and asleep all the time. The ten slipped down without noise and started home; hurried off toward the south with Hwipajusi's three daughters.
Old Haka Kaina rose up at daylight, walked around the sweat-house, went to the central pillar to look at Hohwitina and the three girls he was guarding. He saw Hohwitina, heard how he was whistling, saw nobody near him,--no girls tied to his arms or his waist.
"He has let the girls go," thought Haka Kaina.
"You whistle all night, but don't watch," said Haka Kaina, pushing him. He woke him.
Hohwitina looked at his right arm, no girl; looked at his left, the second was gone; felt at his back, there was no one there.
"Where are the girls?" asked Haka Kaina.
"I cannot tell," said Hohwitina.
Haka Kaina looked around and saw tracks; in the ashes.
"You said that you never sleep at night; now look at those tracks; those are somebody's tracks, somebody came here last night. What were you doing? Were you awake? were you sleeping? Did
you let the girls go because you were willing, or did somebody take them while you were sleeping?"
Hohwitina said nothing, held down his head. Haka Kaina went out, and saw tracks on the sweat-house, then he saw tracks below at some distance away from the sweat-house.
"People came from the south and took the three girls," said he; "of course they were sent by Hwipajusi."
Haka Kaina talked all the next night to his people, told how sorry he was that the girls had been taken, and to two men he said, "You must go and bring back the girls to us."
The two were Bohkwi and Simu Nupchowa; they could run fast, and were very wise persons.
Now, on the top of his sweat-house, at the central pillar, Hwipajusi had posted Matsklila as a sentry, and he watched carefully to see who would come. Hwipajusi knew that Haka Kaina would try to get the girls back again. Matsklila had a knife in his nose and one in each arm.
Bohkwi and Simu Nupchowa set out to bring the girls back from the south. Just at sunset one evening they came near the village; they saw crowds of people everywhere, young men and women at play in the great village.
Old Hwipajusi sat talking; and a great many people, old and young, men and women, sat around him and listened. Haka Kaina's two men went near the sweat-house.
"I am going in," said Bohkwi.
"No, I am going," said Simu Nupchowa. "You
cannot run fast. You stand near, and when I come out you run ahead, and I can carry the three girls easily. I will catch up with you."
The people sat there near the sweat-house and listened to the chief as he talked. "Be on the watch; they will come to-night, they will come, I am sure," said Hwipajusi.
After a time all separated, went to their houses, and lay down to sleep. At midnight, when all was silent. Haka Kaina's two men crept up and climbed the sweat-house to look in at the top. Matsklila was at his post behind the central pillar, standing still. Haka Kaina's men did not see him.
"I will look in," said Bohkwi.
"So will I," said Simu Nupchowa.
They stretched their heads and looked. They leaned over the opening, stretched their necks far. That moment Matsklila moved quickly, and both their heads dropped off, rolled down, and fell to the earth outside the sweat-house.
When Hwipajusi rose up in the morning, he went outside and saw two heads lying near the sweat-house.
"Wake up, jump up, my sons," cried he, calling to the people; "enemies were here last night."
All hurried out and saw two bodies and two heads. One asked, "Who is this lying dead?" A second asked, "Who is the other man?"
"I know them both," said Hwipajusi. "One is Bohkwi, the other Simu Nupchowa, two great men in Haka Kaina's forces."
The two lay there behind the sweat-house all the
day. That evening Hwipajusi summoned in his people, and talked to them. "Fix your arrows well, look at your bows, and have all your arms ready. Haka Kaina will send men here against us; he wants to steal my daughters again, or take them away in spite of me."
They waited at Wahkalu for Bohkwi and Simu Nupchowa. When the two men did not come, old Haka Kaina said, "I think those two men are dead."
He called all his people together and said: "We must go down and make war on Hwipajusi; there is no other way. He stole those three girls from me. Those three girls are mine. I must have them back again."
All dressed next morning, put on their feathers, blackened their faces.
"Now, my men," said Haka Kaina; "arm, stand out on a broad place, let me see you, then stand in a circle round the sweat-house. I want to see how you look when all together."
They went out and stood together on a broad place. Haka Kaina was a long time going among them. After that all came back and stood in a circle around the whole sweat-house. All shouted and sprang about a good while; then they went back, took off their big elkskin armor.
"You look well," said Haka Kaina. "You are ready for war, and we will start to-morrow early."
Next morning the women painted their faces, put on feathers and beads, danced behind the men, sang, and said good words to them at parting. As
the men marched along southward, there were so many that the dust which rose from them went up to the sun. They went forward singing. Haka Kaina himself sang as he led this great army. When near Hwipajusi's country, Haka Kaina sent Pokil Kama, Gaman Atpa, Pahninopa, and Tsanu Noipa to examine everything and bring back news.
These four men saw many villages belonging to different people, and visited four of them. They went to the villages of Pareko, Chapilkeya, Chil Wareko, and Chil Dayauna. They saw a great many people at these four villages; each chief had an immense sweat-house, and Chil Dayauna's people had elkskin armor to fight in.
The four men went back about dusk and had not seen all that there was to see. They said to Haka Kaina, "We saw a great many people; you must be careful; our people must fight well."
Haka Kaina's men sharpened their arrow-points.
Two Tsoplaina boys went with Haka Kaina. The chief was very fond of these boys, and they liked him. They heard what the four scouts had said, and at dusk these two boys went to Wipajusi's and saw the three girls playing around the fire.
"Look, look at the mouse," said one of the girls.
"That is a mouse coming after you," said Hwipajusi, laughing.
"Where are the two brothers?" asked Haka Kaina, when he missed the Tsoplaina boys. No one had sent these young men to Hwipajusi's.
Now, the Tsoplaina brothers worked hard, worked all night. They went through more than half the
houses, and destroyed a great many bow-strings. At daylight they went back and told Haka Kaina what they had done.
Hwipajusi's people saw Haka Kaina's great army coming; they ran for their bows, but many were destroyed. Those who had bows left fought well. But Haka Kaina's men had arms of flint and arms of all kinds, and they beat down everything before them. At midday Hwipajusi's people were destroyed and he himself was killed.
Haka Kaina took the three girls and set out for Wahkalu again, taking everything that Hwipajusi and his people had. Now there were two brothers, Mini Auna, who lived with their sisters at Wamarawi, near a trail which Haka Kaina had not used before, but he started home on it this time.
When Haka Kaina's forces came in sight of Wamarawi, the two sisters were out husking acorns. They were frightened and ran home. One of them ran to her brothers and cried,--
"Come, brothers, hurry out and look. A great many people are coming. I do not know where they come from nor where they are going. Perhaps they will kill us."
Each of Haka Kaina's men had a great pack on his back holding all that he could carry. They were taking home everything from Hwipajusi's village.
The two Mini Auna brothers ran quickly to their sweat-house; each of them caught up a great piece of fire. The two sisters ran into the sweat-house and hid there. The two brothers went to the top of the sweat-house, and when Haka Kaina's great
army was near enough, they hurled fire around it, north, south, east, and west. All were surrounded. They looked to every side, tried to get out, but there was no escape anywhere. The great fire closed in around them, and every man perished. All were burned to death. Hwipajusi's three daughters died with the others. As soon as all were dead, the fire went out and disappeared; the two brothers went back into their sweat-house.
When the Mini Aunas were going to hurl the fire, Haka Kaina sent two swift runners to Wahkalu to let his women know that all were coming with great plunder, and bringing Hwipajusi's daughters. Sooner than these men were out of sight the fire was around the whole army, which perished before the eyes of the two swift runners.
When the swift runners reached Wahkalu, all the women were dancing; they thought that their husbands were fighting yet against Hwipajusi. When the swift runners were coming near, the women stopped dancing, and when both came up and said that Haka Kaina and his army were dead at Wamarawi, burned by the Mini Aunas, the women raised a cry of sorrow such as no one had ever heard in Wahkalu before. Soon some women said,--
"We must go down to Wamarawi, we must go a good many of us, and beg the two brothers to bring our men to life again."
They took beautiful presents, shells and otter-skins, put them on their backs, and started; went without waiting, travelled all night, travelled quickly.
[paragraph continues] They were at Wamarawi next morning. They went to the two brothers, gave them presents, begged them to bring their husbands to life again.
The brothers were willing at last to do this.
There was a great spring near their sweat-house, a spring as large as a lake of good size, and the brothers told the women from Wahkalu and their own two sisters to carry the bones to that water.
The Wahkalu women and the two sisters took baskets, carried bones all that day, and put them in the spring. At sunset the field was clear and all the bones were in the water.
"Now," said the brothers to the women from Wahkalu, "you must camp far away from the spring, and not go near it till broad daylight tomorrow; and our sisters you must not rise up to-night to go out of the sweat-house."
The two brothers closed the top of the sweat-house and did not sleep themselves.
About daylight they heard talking at the spring, then more talking, and later a great sound of voices. At broad daylight all had come out of the spring, and all the place around was full of people, crowds of people everywhere.
The two brothers looked from the top of the sweat-house, saw all Haka Kaina's army standing there strong and well. Each man had his pack with its treasures, the plunder brought from Wipajusi's village; each had on his war-dress and feathers. Wipajusi's three daughters were there, too, as well as ever.
Haka Kaina went to the house of the Mini Aunas
and talked to the brothers. He gave them otter-skins, beads, elkskins. He was grateful and very kind; called them cousins. After that he went home with his army and women. All those left at Wahkalu came out to meet the men, went far, danced, danced because all had come to life again and because the three girls were brought back.
The men put away their bows, arrows, and elkskins; all washed the paint from their faces.
"Now give us plenty to eat," said Haka Kaina.
They went into the sweat-house; all ate and talked till midnight. At midnight each went to his own place and rested.