Creation Myths of Primitive America, by Jeremiah Curtin, , at sacred-texts.com
After each name is given that of the creature or thing into which the personage was changed subsequently.
Damhauja, the moon just before renewal; Darijua, gray squirrel; Halaia, morning star; Jupka, butterfly of the wild silk worm; Juiwaiyu, acorn of the Eastern black oak; Kechowala, blue jay; Mahari, Eastern black oak; Pahnino, a kind of ocean-shell.. Periwiriwaiyu, another kind of Eastern black oak.
Juiwaiyu lived far away in the east, in the southern part of it. His father, Periwiriwaiyu, was old. His mother, Maharia, was old, too; but both were very beautiful.
Juiwaiyu hunted, fished; was happy till one night he dreamed of two girls who lived beyond Wahkalu, lived north of that mountain.
"I dreamed of two sisters," said he to his father and mother next morning, "I saw two women last night. They are both very beautiful. I must find them; I will bring them home if I can."
"You must not go," said his father and mother. "If you go, you will never come back to this country. We shall not see you again if you leave us. We know that those people will kill you. We shall never see you again if you go from here." Then they cried bitterly, both of them.
But his father and mother could not stop Juiwaiyu; he would go. When he was ready to start, his mother said,--
"Your uncle lives at Shultsmauna, near Kamshumatu. Stop there. You must see your uncle, you must talk with him. His name is Jupka. He is very wise; he will help you. There will be thunder and a sprinkle of rain here when you touch your uncle's house. I shall know then that you have got that far in safety."
Juiwaiyu began to sing. He started, and rose through the air. He went very high, and cried--cried and sang as he travelled. Though he had made up his mind to go, he feared that his mother's words might come true, that the people beyond Wahkalu might kill him. He looked far ahead, and saw smoke near the edge of the sky. "That may be smoke from my uncle's house," thought Juiwaiyu.
He moved toward the smoke; went on till he was straight above his uncle's house. He went down to the roof then, and peeped in through the smoke-hole. The old man, who was lying with his back to the fire, saw him look in. Jupka stood up, looked again, grabbed his spear.
"Is that the way you look into my house? What do you want here?" cried Jupka, aiming his spear at the stranger.
"It is I. uncle,--I, Juiwaiyu."
"Why did you not call me uncle when you looked first? Why did you not say who you were when you came? I might have killed you; I came
very near killing you with my spear. Come down, come down; let me see you, my nephew."
"I will," said Juiwaiyu; "I have travelled far to-day, I am tired."
He went down on the central pole.
"Uncle, I have come to talk with you, to let you know where I am going."
"You would better eat first," said Jupka; and he took Juiwaiyu in his arms, smoothed his hair, and was glad to look at him.
"You are tired, my nephew; you are hungry; you must eat."
"I am not hungry; I have no time to wait; I am in a great hurry."
"Where are you going, my nephew?" asked Jupka.
"I had a dream last night, my uncle; I dreamed of two sisters, daughters of Damhauja."
"You would better stay at home. My nephew, stay at home; you would better not go for those sisters. Forget them; don't think of those girls," said Jupka. "If you go, you will never come back. The place where they live is a bad one; every stranger gets killed who goes there. I have seen many men on the way to Damhauja's; many a man has passed here to look for those sisters, but never have I seen any come back with or without a woman. I have been in that country myself, I know it well. I had to fight for my life there, and came near being killed. I am many times stronger than you, know people better than you do, and I would not go to that country."
"No matter what kind of country that is, no matter what kind of people live in it, I must find those two sisters. I have dreamt of them. There is no use in trying to hold me back. I must go; I cannot stop, I cannot help myself"
"Well," said Jupka, "if you must go, I will go with you; you would be lost without me. I must save you, my nephew. I will make myself small; you can put me on your head, you can tie me up in your hair easily."
The old man made himself small, and Juiwaiyu put him on the top of his head, bound him firmly in his hair, bound him so that no one could see him. Then he went up on the sweat-house and turned toward the sun.
"Sun, O Sun, I wish you to be slow," said he. "I must go very far; I wish the day to last long."
"I will tell you now of the road," said Jupka. "When you come near a small mountain east of Wahkalu, there will be three roads there before you; one on the right hand very narrow. You can hardly see that road, it is so little beaten, but you must find it, for you cannot go by another. There is a middle road, smooth and wide; you will see fresh clover scattered on the road, just as if women had carried some over and dropped a little here and there. If you go over that road, you will be killed by lice and wind. On the left hand is a road; if you take that, you will lose yourself and never reach any place."
"I will sing now," said Juiwaiyu, "and my song will be heard everywhere, north, south, east, and west."
He began, and rose in the air as he sang; he rose, and as he moved forward, the whole world heard him; every one looked up to see who was singing, but no one saw anything.
"That sounds like the song of Juiwaiyu," said some of the people. "I think that is the voice of Periwiriwaiyu's son," said others; "I think that is he, for that's how he sings when he travels."
They tried to see who was singing, but saw no one. The song seemed just above them, but it was high up, very high in the air.
"Hurry, my nephew, hurry," said Jupka; "I don't like to camp on the journey, I want to be at that place before sunset."
Juiwaiyu sang faster now; he could not move without singing. He moved swiftly, and soon they were east of Wahkalu.
"Look down carefully," said Jupka; "if you see clover scattered on a road, you must not go over it. Go over that road on the right, do not look at the other."
Damhauja had sent people to scatter clover on the middle road and entice men, make them think that the road was to his sweat-house.
"The middle road lies straight toward the mountain," said Jupka; "all people die who try to pass over it. A great many lie dead on that road now, my nephew; do not go near it."
Juiwaiyu kept on; soon they heard laughter ahead on the small mountain, loud laughter.
"You are on the wrong road," said Jupka. "Turn back, my nephew; if not, you will die
surely. That was the laughter of people sent by Damhauja to kill all who go over the middle road."
Juiwaiyu kept on; he would not listen to his uncle. Soon a great wind came, bringing clouds of lice with it; the air was filled with them. They fell on Juiwaiyu, and ate the flesh off his body. The wind drove him far back on his journey, and blew the beads from his neck. The people of the mountain did this,--people put there and kept by Damhauja.
Juiwaiyu was angry. He rushed forward a second time.
"I will pass, I will go through this time," said he.
"I told you of this trouble," said Jupka, "I warned you. I said that this was an evil road over which no one can pass. Stop, or you will be dead before night comes. Stop! Let me down; I will save you.
Juiwaiyu came to the ground, and took out his uncle.
"I will save you," said Jupka; "I will give you back flesh and strength."
The old man took his pipe and drew smoke through it. The wind went away; the lice disappeared, not one was left anywhere. Jupka took up a rose-twig. With this he whipped Juiwaiyu, and he was as sound and strong as ever. He had all his flesh back in a moment.
The people of the mountain saw this. "We cannot kill him," said they; "he has too much power for us."
"You must turn back and start where the roads part," said Jupka. "On the right is a small narrow trail; you can barely see it, but you must find this trail. You cannot go to Damhauja's house by another way."
Juiwaiyu went back to where the paths parted.
"You are looking for the way," said Jupka. "If you see a narrow little trail, that is it."
He found that trail at last. "That is the right way," said the uncle.
It was so narrow that Juiwaiyu, was barely able to see it. He went forward easily; went fast, like a man who is running down hill. They came to the small mountain, and when Juiwaiyu was above it, he heard laughing at a distant village. "That must be the place to which we are going," said he.
"My nephew, look out now, be careful. When you go into Damhauja's sweat-house and sit with his daughters, he will give you a pipe filled with crushed bones of people instead of tobacco. If you breathe smoke from that pipe, you will die the next moment. With this smoke he has killed those who escaped lice and wind from the mountain."
Juiwaiyu, rested a while, and thought of the beads he had lost. "I wish my beads would return to me," said he. That moment the beads were on his neck. They were as beautiful as ever.
"My beads, you must not go again from me. You must stay with me, and you must be in plenty. Pahnino Marimi, I wish you to send your daughters for leaves, wood, and water. Be kind when I come
to you. Do not kill me. Let us go on," said he to his uncle.
They went forward, and soon they saw two girls, one holding the other by the hand. These girls were coming toward the mountain, swaying their hands and singing. Juiwaiyu came to the ground, hid behind a tree, and said, "Let there be wood here in plenty, wood for these women." The wood was right there in one moment.
The two girls set down their baskets and filled them. "I wish that man would come," said one sister to the other, "the man we dreamed of last night."
They put down their hands to take the baskets. Juiwaiyu caught their hands. They looked around, saw him, and were frightened.
"Why are you frightened? I dreamed of you last night, you dreamed of me. Go, home, go ahead, hurry forward, I will follow; I will be at your father's house soon."
They put the baskets on their backs, ran quickly, reached home soon, threw down the baskets outside the doorway, and rushed into the sweat-house.
"What are you scared at, my daughters? You saw some young man in the woods, I think," said Pahnino, their mother, who was making acorn bread outside the doorway. "I think that some brother-in-law was watching you near the mountain."
"You have never seen the man we met," said the sisters.
Pahnino went to look; she looked carefully, but saw no man coming toward her from any side.
[paragraph continues] The two sisters spread a black bearskin and sat on it, sat near each other and waited. The old man went out to look, put his hand over his eyes to see a new son-in-law, but could see no one. Juiwaiyu was on the house now; he went down through the central pillar, passed through the ground, and came up between Damhauja's two daughters. Pahnino Marimi walked in at that moment to scold her daughters. She looked, and saw Juiwaiyu between them.
"Some one is sitting with our daughters," said she to the old man.
Damhauja went for his pipe, put in crushed bones of Mapchemaina, and handed the pipe to his daughters.
"Give this to my son-in-law," said he.
They did not like to take the pipe, but they could not refuse their father, they could not help themselves. They were crying.
"You must not smoke this," whispered they; "we will give you another kind." They took the tobacco out and put in some of the common sort. The old man did not watch sharply at first; he was thinking only to see Juiwaiyu drop dead. The girls handed back the empty pipe to their father.
Jupka, who was sitting on his nephew's head, laughed in his own mind.
"I don't know what sort of man this is," thought Damhauja; "I have never seen such a person. I think he must have come to fight with me; I will try him once more."
He filled the pipe a second time, and gave it to
his daughters. They handed it to Juiwaiyu. This time they could not change the tobacco. Damhauja was watching too carefully. Jupka smoked this pipe. No smoke could hurt him. Damhauja, who hoped to see Juiwaiyu fall dead, became frightened when he saw him as well as ever.
"What am I to do?" thought he. "I give this tobacco to every man who comes for my daughters, and every man who smokes dies right away. I am afraid of my new son-in-law. I will not fight with this man. Let my other sons-in-law try him. My daughters, I want you to give nice food to your husband; give him good things to eat, take the best care of him, treat him well. My boys, I want you to bring plenty of nice food to my son-in-law."
"I will give venison now to these sisters," thought Jupka; and he took out a small piece of fat venison as large as a walnut. This he gave to Juiwaiyu, and told him to ask for a large basket. They brought it.
"You, venison, keep this size," said Juiwaiyu, "be no smaller, you must not be gone;" and then he cut slices.
Damhauja carried off three great baskets of meat, then went out on the house-top and called all his sons.
"Come for venison, my sons," said he. "There is plenty for all of you."
Damhauja had a great many sons-in-law on the west beyond a river. All his daughters were married except two. These sons-in-law heard him call and wondered. "What has happened?" asked
they of one another. "We've never heard the old man talk that way before. He must have found a new son-in-law; he must have found a husband for Halaia and Pahnino Marimi."
All Damhauja's sons came into the sweat-house.
Kechowala, a son-in-law and chief on the west side, sent his two sons, Kechowala and Darijua, to see what was happening at the sweat-house.
When the boys came and looked in, the elder saw a man, he thought, but did not know him, Damhauja's sons were dancing a fire-dance. The two brothers looked around carefully, but the younger did not see the strange man. They ran down from the sweat-house, and on the way home began to quarrel.
"I think our grandfather has a new son-in-law; I saw him," said Kechowala, the elder.
"You did not," said the younger.
"Why do you try to hide him, why do you deny? I saw him surely."
"When we get home, you will say that you saw a stranger in the sweat-house; but if you do, you will lie."
"We shall see great trouble, I think," said the elder; "there will be fighting now our grandfather has a new son-in-law, there will be great fighting."
The two boys ran very fast, disputing as they went. They got to the river, swam across, ran home.
"There is a strange man over there; grandfather has a new son-in-law," said Kechowala.
"Don't believe what he says," cried Darijua to his father; "I could not see any man."
"Why do you want to hide him, why do you deny? You must have seen him plainly."
"I did not see him, and you did not. I saw all who were there. but I saw no stranger."
"I saw him sitting between the two girls," said Kechowala.
"He is there," said the father. "I will see that man to-morrow."
"My son-in-law," said Damhauja, "you must be careful to-morrow. I have a great many daughters besides your two wives; their husbands will try to kill you." Then Damhauja said to his sons: "We will go to sleep and rise early; take good care of your brother-in-law to-morrow."
All went to rest; Juiwaiyu and his wives as well as others.
When all were asleep, Juiwaiyu took Jupka out of his hair and rose up. "I wish for daylight quickly," said he.
Thunder roared then. and some rain came; Juiwaiyu wished to let his mother know that he was well. He went out, took one step and went from the sweat-house to the other side of the nearest mountain, with the second step he went to the top of a mountain beyond.
Jupka was angry because Damhauja had tried to kill Juiwaiyu with the poisonous pipe. Now he took vengeance. He put the two sisters on a high place in the sweat-house, made a great storm of wind and rain. Soon the whole place was filled with
water. It rolled and swept through the sweat-house, drowned Damhauja and his wife; washed their bodies out through the door away.
Juiwaiyu on the mountain took his yaiyauna flute and began to play. All the world heard him, all people went to hill-tops and mountain-tops, all stretched their heads up and listened, all said, "That must be Juiwaiyu; no one plays in that way but Juiwaiyu." Deer began to come from the east along the same way over which Juiwaiyu had come, and all stood before him.
"Let one stand in front of me and look this way," said Juiwaiyu, "let all the others stand behind that first one."
They stood in the line, a fawn in the first place. He shot them all with one arrow, hundreds of them. The arrow entered the mouth of the front deer and went out near the tail of the last. Then Juiwaiyu took the little fawn and opened it, made the deer very small, put them all inside the fawn's body, took that home in one hand, threw the fawn down on the sweat-house. The deer inside the fawn became as big as ever, rolled down, filled the whole place around the sweat-house.
Juiwaiyu now saw Damhauja and Pahnino Marimi lying cold and dead. He ran then to Jupka in the sweat-house. "Bring them to life, my uncle; bring them to life again!"
Jupka whipped both with a rose-twig and brought them to life. Damhauja shook himself and said, "I slept too hard."
"You would not have waked up at all but for
my nephew. You wanted to kill him. I punished you."
Damhauja knew Jupka now. "Oh, why did you not let me know that you were here? I would not have tried to hurt Juiwaiyu."
The old man saw so many deer around the sweat-house that he didn't know what to think. At last he went up on the sweat-house. "Come, my sons, come," cried he; "there is venison here for all of you."
All the sons came. Each had one deer, and there were many others to spare.
All the sons-in-law in the west were angry that Damhauja's sons had so much venison.
"We will go over and see this man," said Kechowala, the chief. "We will have some fun to-day with him."
When Damhauja's eldest son was bringing venison to his father, he saw Kechowala. "He is coming," said the son.
Kechowala had an angry face; he walked fast. When he reached the sweat-house, all were eating venison. He went to the top of the sweat-house, took his arrow from under his arm, and said, "Wake up, be ready; we must play to-day."
Then he looked in and saw Juiwaiyu sitting between the two sisters. "I know now who that man is; he is from the east. Feed him well, dress him well, father-in-law; we must have fun before he goes from here. He must show what he can do before he leaves us."
The old man went out and scolded Kechowala:
[paragraph continues] "You talk loud, you want fat venison; that's what you have come for, that's why you are at this sweat-house."
Jupka heard all that Kechowala said.
"I will go home now," said Kechowala, "and be here after breakfast."
"My son-in-law will be killed to-day," said Pahnino Marimi; "what can we do? They are going to kill our son-in-law who brings so much venison. Stay in the house, do not go out," said Pahnino.
"Do not go out," said the brothers; "we will meet those people."
All looked, and saw a great crowd coming from the west. The brothers-in-law were coming, and when near they shouted to Damhauja's sons. The two sisters tried to stop Juiwaiyu.
"Let me go, wives," said he, "let me go. If I stay here, they will call me a coward; I will let no one give me that name."
"I want to see that new man who is here," cried Kechowala, "I want to talk with him."
"I will go out," said Juiwaiyu, to his wives. "My father and mother told me of this place. I know what it is."
"Come out!" called Kechowala at the door, "come out; don't be afraid of us, don't be a coward."
"I will come when I am ready, I will meet you."
Kechowala went to his people. "He will be here soon," said he.
All laughed; all were glad. "If he comes," thought they, "we will kill him."
Juiwaiyu went out and stood on the house-top, looked around, looked at his enemies, went down slowly, went as if he did not like to meet them.
"Why are you afraid?" asked Kechowala. "Do you think that we will hurt you?"
He went to them, he sat on a stone. He had but one arrow, and that without a point. This was a staff which his uncle had given him. The playground was beyond a hill at some distance from the sweat-house. "Stand up and play," said the sons-in-law; and they pushed Juiwaiyu to throw him, but he did not fall. All went to the playground. Juiwaiyu caught the bones on his club at the middle point, then hurled them; ran and caught them the second time, ran again, put the bones beyond the barrier. He did the same a second time, and won the first game. He won two games; no one else could win.
"Well," said the western brothers-in-law, "we have never seen any one play bone like him. We will try him in some other way."
Next they gave him a start in racing. The race was to a mountain opposite. Juiwaiyu was to get there first if he was able. They thought to strike him from behind, kill him easily, but they could not come near him. He was at the mountain before they had run half the distance. In the afternoon they played bone a second time. They thought to kill him surely in this way. Between the middle of the playground and Juiwaiyu's barrier they put a great poison spider right on the path where Juiwaiyu was to run, Jupka knew their plan,
and pointed out the spider to his nephew. Juiwaiyu jumped on the spider, crushed it right away before it could turn to poison him; then he took the bones beyond the barrier.
He went back to the middle of the playground. Kechowala's men said nothing, made no mention of the spider. Juiwaiyu took the bones beyond the barrier that time, and won the second inning. This made the first game of the afternoon. While they were making ready for the second game, Kechowala had flint knives and spear-points put on the path so that Juiwaiyu should fall and kill himself.
They commenced the second game. Juiwaiyu took the bones from all and ran ahead, ran quickly. When near the knives and spear-points, Jupka told him where they were; he came down between some, sprang over others, took the bones beyond the barrier, came back as if nothing had been put upon his path; went a second time and won the second game.
He had beaten all who had played against him. They were very angry. "We must kill him surely in another way," said Kechowala.
The playground was far from the sweat-house, and when Juiwaiyu had won the second game he turned to go back to the sweat-house. Kechowala sent a rattlesnake to meet him at one place and a grizzly bear at another. Juiwaiyu jumped on the snake, and crushed his head. When he came to the bear, he struck him one blow with his foot and killed him. He skinned both, took the skins, and hung them up before the sweat-house.
When Kechowala's men saw the skins, they were angry, terribly excited; they stopped before the sweat-house, jumped, and shouted,--
"We want to look at Juiwaiyu. Let Juiwaiyu, come out here; we want to see him."
Juiwaiyu went out. All the brothers-in-law from the west crowded up toward him, all wanted then to kill him. He had no arms but the staff given by Jupka. All he needed was to point that at any one and say, "I wish you dead;" that moment the person fell dead. No one could come near Juiwaiyu when running or hit him, and before they stopped threatening he killed half of Damhauja's sons-in-law. The others ran home then, killed their own wives and those of the dead men. "We will have nothing," said they, "that comes from Damhauja's." They killed all the children, too; none escaped but Darijua, who ran over to the sweat-house and told of the killing.
That night Jupka made a great storm, and drowned every western man left alive by Juiwaiyu. Next morning early he went over, struck the dead women and children with his rose-twig, brought all except the men to life again, and took them to Damhauja's.
Juiwaiyu had brought as many deer that morning as he had the first one. Damhauja made his house stretch out and grow to give room enough for all the children. They cooked venison and feasted, feasted all that day at the sweat-house.
Next morning Juiwaiyu went home with his two wives and his uncle.