The Dawn of the World, by C. Hart Merriam, , at sacred-texts.com
WHEN Wek'-wek and O-let'-te were out hunting one day they went to Tah-lah'-wit the North and came to a rocky hill where they saw a great and powerful giant named Ke'-lok, sitting by his han-nā'-boo or roundhouse. Wek'-wek flew close to him and saw him well.
That night, when they had gone home, Wek'-wek said to O-let'-te, "Grandfather, I want to play al'-leh (the hand-game) with Ke'-lok." 11
When O-let'-te heard Wek'-wek say he wanted to play al'-leh with Ke'-lok he laughed and said,
"You! play hand-game with the Giant Ke'-lok!"
"Yes," answered Wek'-wek, "I want to play hand-game with Ke'-lok."
Then his grandfather told him that Ke'-lok was his elder brother.
"All right," said Wek'-wek, "I'm going to play al'-leh with my brother."
After a while Wek'-wek arrived at Ke'-lok's han-nā'-boo, and when Ke'-lok came out, said to him, "Brother, I have come to play hand-game with you."
"All right," answered Ke'-lok, and he at once built a fire and put eight round rocks in it and heated them until they were red hot. Then he said, "My young brother, you begin first."
"No," replied Wek'-wek, "I want to see you play first; you begin."
"All right," said Ke'-lok, and he immediately sprang up and darted up into the sky, for he was great and powerful and could do all things. As he went up he made a loud noise. Then he came down in a zig-zag course, and as he came, sang a song.
Then Wek'-wek began to throw hot rocks at him but purposely missed him, for he did not want to kill his brother. His grandfather O-let'-te the Coyote-man, called out to him from the south that if he hit Ke'-lok in his body it would not kill him, but that his heart (wus'-ke) was in his arm, under a white spot on the underside of the arm, and that if he hit that spot it would kill him; that was the only place on his body where a blow would kill him.
Wek'-wek answered, "I can easily hit that, but I don't want to kill him."
So he threw all the hot stones but took care not to hit the white spot under the arm. When he had fired all the rocks he picked them up and put them back in the fire to heat again.
Then it was Ke'-lok's turn.
When Ke'-lok was ready, Wek'-wek said, "All right, I will go now," and he shot up into the sky,
Click to enlarge
The Giant Ke'-lok hurling hot Rocks at Wek'-wek
making a great noise, just as Ke'-lok had done. Then he came down slowly, singing a song, and came toward Ke'-lok's roundhouse.
Then Ke'-lok began to throw the hot rocks at him and tried hard to hit him. But Wek'-wek dodged them easily and called out to O-let'-te his grandfather: "He can't hit me unless I let him; see me let him hit me"--for he thought he would not really be killed, believing that the magic of O-let'-te would keep him alive. So he let Ke'-lok hit him with the last rock.
Ke'-lok did hit him and he fell dead. Then Ke'-lok picked him up and hung him on his ha-nā'-boo.
Ke'-lok's place was at Tah-lah'-wit, the north. When Wek'-wek set out to go there, his grandfather O-let'-te had told him to pluck out and take with him one of his father's long wing-feathers and stand it up on top of Ke'-lok's han-nā'-boo so it could be seen a long way off. O-let'-te said the feather would stand so long as Wek'wek was alive, but if he was killed it would fall. While the hand-game was going on O-let'-te watched the feather, and when Wek'-wek was hit he saw it fall. Then he felt very sad and cried and told Mol'-luk, Wek'-wek's father, and they both mourned and cried.
Then O-let'-te said to Mol'-luk, "I'm going to play hand-game with Ke'-lok." So he took a long walking stick with a sharp point at one end and set out on the far journey to Tah-lah'-wit. When
he arrived at Ke'lok's han-nā'-boo he said, "Well, how are you getting along?"
Ke'-lok answered, "I'm getting along all right."
Then O-let'-te said, "I have come to play hand-game."
"All right," replied Ke'-lok; and he built a fire and heated the rocks red hot, just as he had done before. When the rocks were hot he asked, "Who will play first?"
O-let'-te answered, "I'm an old man, but I'll go first." So he shot up into the sky with a great noise, just as Ke'-lok and Wek'-wek had done before; and then circled around and came down slowly, singing a song of his own-different from the songs the others had sung.
Then Ke'-lok began picking up the hot rocks and throwing them at him. But O-let'-te, in spite of his age, was very agile and dodged all of the eight rocks so that not one hit him.
When Ke'-lok had fired all the rocks he said to himself, "Maybe my grandfather will beat me after all; I feel now that I am done for," and he was afraid.
O-let'-te, who was still in the air, then came down and said, "I'm old and tired of playing that way. Do you think old people can beat young people? I don't know, but I'll try anyhow."
It was now Ke'-lok's turn to go up and O-let'-te's turn to throw the hot rocks. Ke'-lok sprang up in the same way as before, and came down in the same
way, singing his own song. O-let'-te picked up the hot stones and threw them at Ke'-lok, one after the other, until he had thrown four, but did not try to hit him. He then looked toward Ke'-lok's han-nā'-boo and saw Wek'-wek hanging there, and was very angry. When he picked up the fifth stone he said, "Now I am going to hit the white spot on his arm, over his heart," and he fired the rock straight and hit the white spot, and Ke'-lok fell dead.
As soon as Ke'-lok was dead his fire sprang up and began to burn and spread. Then O-let'-te went to Wek'-wek and took him in his hands. Wek'-wek's feathers moved a little; then his head drew in a little; then his eyes opened and he stood up and came to life and exclaimed, "The country is burning!"
And so it was, for the fire was now sweeping fiercely over the land, spreading swiftly to the east and west and south, roaring with a mighty roar, consuming everything in its way and filling the air with flame and smoke.
O-let'-te directed Wek'-wek to fly quickly to the ocean and dive under the water, where he had two sisters named Hoo-soo'-pe 12 (the Mermaids), and stay with them while the world was burning. So Wek'-wek went into the ocean and found his sisters and remained with them until the fire had burnt over all the land and had burnt itself out. While with them he killed a great many ducks. His
sisters did not like him to kill ducks, so after they had spoken to him he killed only what he needed to eat.
75:11 Nowadays al'-leh is a guessing game, played with two small bones, one wrapped or 'dressed' to distinguish it from the other. But in those days it was different, for al'-leh was played by hurling rocks with intent to kill.
81:12 See the story of Ho-hā'-pe, page 238.