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Directions and Formula for the Brush Dance. 1

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Directions and Formula for the Brush Dance.

I always get up at dawn. I go to the south corner of the house and rap and call 1, then I do the same at the north corner, and last at the west corner. I do this to notify the people of the under-world that they must give back the soul of the sick person who is to be treated.


In the middle of the world there lived a woman with her granddaughter. After a time the granddaughter became pregnant. "Hei," exclaimed the grandmother, "it looks as if the Indians were about to appear," she said. "Their smoke in everywhere." The baby contracted some sort of sickness from its mother before its birth. The child was born.

"What shall we steam the baby with," thought the grandmother. "You must go out and try to find the medicine," she told the granddaughter. She went out and looked over the world. She was surprised to see something standing toward the southeast. Then she saw it was the herb, and going to it she dug it out. It was wild ginger. Placing it in a basket she put it under the baby and steamed it with it. It was then evening. At dawn she noticed the baby was feeling around in her armpit.

The old woman went out. When it was light she was surprised to see pitch sticks lying there. She carried two of them into the house. Having lighted them in the fire she waved them over the baby. When it was broad daylight she stopped. "Hei," she thought, "Indians are soon to come. It may be their babies will take sick from them. They will think about us. With what shall we make them think about us?" "Oh, yes," she

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thought, "one night will intervene between the dances. That is the way they will do. There will not be one medicine only," she thought.

Then she told her granddaughter again, "Go out and look for an herb." She went out again to look for it. She looked everywhere in vain. As she looked toward the east she saw Mount Shasta standing there. She started toward it and when she came near she saw a basket-cup floating at its base. She looked into the cup but saw nothing in it. There was not even a leaf which she could put into the baby's mouth.

She walked along after it. She turned her eyes away and when she looked again the cup was gone. She saw it floating by Kitōkût. She looked into it but there was nothing there. "I wonder why I can't find the medicine which I am to put into the baby's mouth?" she thought.

Again she missed the cup. She saw it floating by Kilaigyadiñ. It had floated by her. When she came where it was, she looked into it again. She looked away again and it was gone. She found it floating by Bluff creek. She went to it and looked into it. Again it disappeared and reappeared in a fog above Weitchpec. "Where am I to find that medicine?" she thought.

When she looked away again it was floating around below Weitchpec. She looked into it but there was no medicine in it. Again she looked away and the cup floated down the middle of the river. She saw it a little above Tcexōltcwediñ below the rock that stands in the water. Again she looked into it in vain. The cup did the same thing again. It went down the middle of the river and she followed it. Below Cappel it stopped until she came up and looked into it. There was nothing in it. It did that way again. It floated right down the middle of the river. She went after it. She was surprised to find it at Pecwan creek. She came up and looked into it. There was nothing in it. "Where am I going to find that medicine?" she thought. And then it did that again. It floated right down the middle of the river. She went after it. When she came to the mouth of the Klamath river she saw it floating across to the north. "Hei!" she thought. When she turned her head slowly about, the tears fell. "How can I find that medicine?" she thought.

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When she looked for it again it floated back. Then she went along the shore toward the south. The cup came back and floated along beside her. South of Redwood creek she came down to the beach. The cup floated back to her. She went along again and the cup floated after her. At Fresh-water Lagoon she again came down to the beach. She saw the cup was floating across the ocean toward the west, but it came back to her as if it had been shot from a bow. She looked into it. There was nothing in it.

She was surprised to see a house standing in the distance toward the east. "I will go there," she thought. She went to the house and went in. She saw an old woman sitting there. "You can't find that medicine anywhere," the old woman told her. " Day before yesterday it came into my head. This is what they said of you, 'This way her child does. In vain she will look for it.' There in the corner stands your cup." Then the old woman took the cup and held it up to the sky. Something fell into it. 1 She was holding it up pointing crosswise. She gave it to her saying, "Take it along and put it into your baby's mouth."


When I get through speaking I bathe the child with the medicine. In the morning I bathe it all over. I always leave the medicine there.

In the woods I always set up two forked sticks on each side. Then I placed the pitch sticks crosswise on them. I put four stones along side. I put pitch sticks and incense root on these stones. When there are good coals I put the incense roots into the fire. I always put the stones back from the fire. I do not drop the forked sticks just anyway, I always lay them down carefully. I tie up the pitch sticks.

I do not have my face white (unpainted). I have my face painted black. I paint my wrists, my shoulders, my ankles, my thighs, and my breast. I tie up my hair with tseûk. 2 I do not

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wear dirty things. I wear only good things. I take along all the utensils, I do not leave any of them for the one over whom I wave the fire.


241:1 Told at Hupa, December 1901, by the wife of McCann who is the only person living that has performed the ceremony.

248:1 The noise made consists of one or several knocks on the wall with the hand and the call "ha ha ha." This is to notify the people of Tcindintax, the world below, that they must give back the spirit of the sick. To make sure the omission was not accidental, the attention of the narrator was called to the fact that she had mentioned only three of the world-quarters. She volunteered no information as to why the fourth had been omitted. The world of the dead is underground toward the west. It is likely the east is not associated with the dead. The Hupa are never slavish adherers to the world-quarters.

250:1 It was the bark of the yellow pine, Pinus ponderosa, which fell into cup.

250:2 Tseûk are the ribbons of mink fur with which the clubs of hair are wound. These tseûk are sometimes covered with woodpecker scalps. See Life and Culture of the Hupa, p. 20 and Pl. 5.

Next: XXVII. Formula for the Eel Medicine