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


THE beginning of this myth is somewhat similar to that of "Olelbis." A messenger is sent to invite the Master of Flint to come and show the Mapchemaina, or first people, how to kill deer. Kaltsauna, the owner of flint, is like Katkatchila of the Wintus; he is transformed later into a lizard. In character he is different, being old and testy though liberal, while Katkatchila is affable, but wonderfully tenacious of his weapon, and prizing it so highly that when the flint is stolen he does not hesitate to set the whole world on fire.

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Kaltsauna put the various kinds of flint in places where they are found to this day, and taught the first people how to make arrow points.

These hunts of the first people or gods are, for the Yanas, the great prototypes of hunting. To this day all sorts of game are under the control of certain spirits of the first people, whose favor is essential to success in bunting.

The story of Howichinaipa's change into a little bird gives a good case of forced metamorphosis, and also a good picture of the stern spirit of Indian vengeance inherited from the first people.

Vengeance is a sacred duty which they were not free to neglect under any consideration. 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will have it."

Machperkami, the tiny dog in the hair of Tuina (the sun), is an exact substitute for Winishuyat of the Wintus.

The descent of Tuina to the lower side of the earth, his night journey from west to east on the road made by Jupka, is described with clear and precise brevity. There is no doubt as to the nature of the water grizzlies who rise out of the ocean and go to the mountains at the approach of Tuina.

The account of the creation of the Yanas is as concise as possible, and at the same time complete.

Next: Wintu Places Mentioned in the Myths