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The Dawn of the World, by C. Hart Merriam, [1910], at

p. 44


As told by the Chowchilla Mewuk


Ah-hā'-le the Coyote-man

We'-wis-sool Chief of the Valley People, who became the Golden Eagle 7

Ah-wahn'-dah Keeper of the Morning, who became the Turtle

p. 45


As told by the Chowchilla Mewuk

IN the long ago time the world was dark and there was no fire. The only light was the Morning, 8 and it was so far away in the high mountains of the east that the people could not see it; they lived in total darkness. The chief We'-wis-sool, the Golden Eagle, felt very badly because it was always dark and cried all the time.

Ah-hā'-le the Coyote-man made up his mind to go and get the Morning in order that the people might have light. So he set out on the long journey to the east, up over the high mountains, saying, "I'm going to get the Morning."

Finally he came to Ah-wahn'-dah the Turtle. Ah-wahn'-dah was guardian of the Morning; he wore a big basket on his back. When Ah-hā'-le came close to Ah-wahn'-dah he was afraid something would catch him and carry him off. He said to himself, "I'm going to turn myself into a log of wood so I'll be too heavy to be carried off," and he turned into a big dry limb. Ah-wahn'-dah the Turtle put fire to the limb, but it would not burn; then he fell asleep.

p. 46

When the Guardian had gone to sleep Ah-hā'-le got up and said, "Now I'm going to get the Morning." So he changed back into his own form and put out his foot and touched the Morning, and it growled. He then caught hold of it and jumped quickly and ran away with it and brought it back to his people.

When he arrived he said to We'-wis-sool the Eagle, "How are you?"

We'-wis-sool answered, "All right," but was still crying because it was dark.

Then Ah-hā'-le said, "Tomorrow morning it is going to be light," but We'-wis-sool did not believe him.

In the morning Ah-hā'-le gave the people the light. We'-wis-sool was very happy and asked Ah-hā'-le where he got it, and Ah-hā'-le told him. Then the people began to walk around and find things to eat, for now they could see.


44:7 The word We'-wis-sool or We'-wŭ-sool is not of Mewan origin but is borrowed from the Yokut tribes immediately to the south--the Chuk-chan'-sy and Kosh-sho'-o. In the Mewuk language the Golden Eagle is called We'-pi-ahk or We-pi-ah'-gah.

45:8 Morning, in this story, is obviously synonymous with sun and light, and probably with fire also, as in the preceding story.

Next: How Tol'-le-loo got the Fire for the Mountain People