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Creation Myths of Primitive America, by Jeremiah Curtin, [1898], at

The following four spirit songs are from my Wintu collection. Two I give in the original, with literal translation; the other two, in translation only. The lightning song, by referring to the connection between lightning and the sucker, which has one of the most formidable spirits, enables us to suspect why the sucker is so much feared by Wintus. In the Olelbis song, the great one above is the cloud-compeller, as in classic mythology. The tanning is described in "Olelbis." In the Hau song, the celestial Hau is described as travelling along the Milky Way. This is the Wintu comment on the text. Many readers will agree, I think, that the Polar Star song, the fourth, is composed on a scale truly immense. The lightning song sounds wonderfully like an extract from the Sanscrit, "Rig Veda."


1. Walokin tsawi, Lightning's Song.

Mínom tóror wéril chirchákum sáia
Dúne wérem winwar dún bohémum.

I bear the sucker-torch to the western tree-ridge.
Look at me first born (and) greatest.

2. Olelben tsawi, the Song of Olelbis.

Olél bohéma ni tsulúli káhum síka ni.

I am great above. I tan the black cloud (there).

3. Song of Hau (red fox).

"On the stone ridge east I go.
 On the white road I, Hau, crouching go.
I, Hau, whistle on the road of stars."

4. Song of Waida Werris (the Polar Star).

"The circuit of earth which you see,
The scattering of stars in the sky which you see,
All that is the place for my-hair." 1



516:1 Hair in Indian mythology, as in other mythologies, is the equivalent of rays of light when connected with the sun and with planet luminaries.

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