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Recital of the Ancient Myths in the Roundhouse at Night [Public Domain Image]
Recital of the Ancient Myths in the Roundhouse at Night [Public Domain Image]

The Dawn of the World

Myths and Weird Tales Told by the Mewan [Miwok] Indians of California

by C. Hart Merriam


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

Title Page

Part I: Ancient Myths

Stories of the First People--People Who Lived Before Real People Were Created
How Wit'-tab-bah the Robin Got His Red Breast
How Ah-ha'-le Stole the Sun For the Valley People
How Ah-ha'-le Stole The Morning
How Tol'-le-loo got the Fire for the Mountain People
Why the Lizard Man did not Restore Dead People to Life
The Coyote and the Lizard
How the People Got Five Fingers; How they Obtained Fire; and How They Broke up into Tribes
The Birth of Wek'-wek and the Creation of Man
Ke'-lok and his Han-na'-boo
The Creation of Man
How they got the Fire
How Kah'-kool the Raven Became a Great Hunter
How Kah'-kah-loo The Ravens Became People
The Bear and the Fawns
The Bear and the Fawns
How the Children of He-le'-jah Became People
The Greed of His'-sik the Skunk
Nek'-na-ka'-tah The Rock Maiden
The Jealousy of Wek'-wek and the Death of Lo'-wut
The Defeat of O-la'-nah the Coyote-Man
How Sah'-te Set The World On Fire
How Cha'-ka the Tule-wren Shot out the Sun
How Wek'-wek Was Saved From the Flood
Why the Bodega Bay Indians can not Stand Cold

Hoi-ah'-ko Tales of the Southern Mewuk

Yel'-lo-kin And Oo-wel'-lin, The Man-eating Giants
O-wel'-lin the Rock Giant
Tim-me-la'-le the Thunder
Wek'-wek's Search for his Father
Wek-wek's Search for his Sister
Wek'-wek's Visit to the Underworld People


Tah'-low The Thunder And Tah'-kip' The Lightning
He'-koo-lās The Sun-Woman
How O'-ye The Coyote-Man Discovered His Wife

Part 2: Present Day Myths

Part 2: Present Day Myths

Beliefs Concerning Animals

Bears Resemble People and Like to Dance
How He-le'-jah the Cougar Hunts Deer
How Too-le'-ze, The Timber-Wolf Hunts Deer
Too'-cha-mo, The Stump, And Choo'-koo Heng-il'-nah-as'-se, The Lost Dog
The First Teeth go to Soo-wah-tah, the Gopher
O-lel'-le the Mysterious Bird of the Cold Springs
Soo-koo'-me The Great Horned Owl
The Meadowlark, a Gossip and Troublemaker
Ki'-ki'-ah The Mountain Bluejay
Where the Ducks and Geese go to Breed
Po'-ko-moo The Poison Spider
Where Koo'-tah the Money-clam Came From

Beliefs concerning Ghosts and the Sign of Death

Ghosts Follow the Pathway of the Wind
Three Birds Scream to Frighten the Ghosts
Ghosts May Come Back in Soo-koo'-me the Owl
A Hole in the Nose Saves Turning into a Fish
What Good and Bad Ghosts Turn into
Ghosts Hide in Stumps and Whirlwinds
Ghosts Hunt for a Big Animal in the Ocean
Wah-tib'-sah the Sign of Death

Beliefs Concerning Natural Phenomena

The Rainbow
The Earthquake
The Echo
How the World Grew

Beliefs Concerning Witches, Pigmies, Giants, and other Fabulous Beings

How Witches Kill People
Pigmies and Water People
The Devil of San Rafael
Ho-hā'-pe the River Mermaid

The Rock Giants

Che-ha-lum'-che The Rock Giant Of Calaveras County
Oo'-le The Rock Giant of the Chowchilla Foothills
Loo'-poo-oi'-yes The Rock Giant of Tamalpais
Kā'-lum-me the Rock Giant of Wennok Valley


Scientific Names of the Animals
Scientific Names of the Trees and other Plants
Bibliography of California Mythology