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p. 52


by Constance Goddard Du Bois

The Journal of the American Folklore Society, Vol. XIX, No. 72, pp. 52-60.


IN the beginning all was empty space. Ké-vish-a-ták-vish was the only being. This period was called Óm-ai-yá-mal signifying emptiness, nobody there. Then came the time called Há-ruh-rúy, upheaval, things coming into shape. Then a time called Chu-tu-taí, the falling of things downward; and after this, Yu-vaí-to-vaí, things working in darkness without the light of sun or moon. Then came the period Tul-múl Pu-shún, signifying that deep down in the heart or core of earth things were working together.

Then came Why-yaí Pee-vaí, a gray glimmering like the whiteness of hoar frost; and then, Mit-aí Kwai-raí, the dimness of twilight. Then came a period of cessation, Na-kaí Ho-wai-yaí, meaning things at a standstill. 2

Then Ké-vish-a-ták-vish made a man, Túk-mit, the Sky; and a woman, To-maí-yo-vit, the Earth. There was no light, but in the darkness these two became conscious of each other.

"Who are you?" asked the man.

"I am To-maí-yo-vit. And you?"

"I am Túk-mit."

"Then you are my brother."

"You are my sister."

. . . . . . . . .

By her brother the Sky the Earth conceived and became the Mother of all things. Her first-born children were, in the order of their birth, See-vat and Pá-ve-ut, 3 Ush-la and Pik-la, Ná-na-chel and Patch'-ha-yel, Tópal and Tam'-yush. 4

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Then came forth all other things, people, animals, trees, rocks, and rivers, but not as we see them now. All things then were people.

But at first they were heavy and helpless and could not move about, and they were in darkness, for there was no light. But when the Sun was born he gave a tremendous light which struck the people into unconsciousness, or caused them to roll upon the ground in agony; so that the Earth-Mother, seeing this, caught him up and hid him away for a season; so then there was darkness again.

After the Sun was born there came forth another being called Chung-itch'-nish (spelled Chin-ig-chin-ich by Boscana), a being of power, whose voice sounded as soon as he was born, while all the others rolled helplessly upon the ground, unable to utter a word. The others were so terrified by his appearance that the Earth-Mother hid him away, and ever since he has remained invisible.

The rattlesnake was born at this time, a monster without arms or legs.

When all her children were born, the Earth-Mother left the place and went to Ech'-a-mo Nóy-a-mo. The people rolled, for like newborn babies they could not walk. They began then to crawl on hands and knees, and they talked this way: Chák-o-lá-le, Wá-wa, Tá-ta. This was all that they could say. For food they ate clay. From there they moved to Kak-wé-mai Po-lá-la, then to Po-és-kak Po-lá-lak.

They were growing large now and began to recognize each other. Then the Earth-Mother made the sea so that her children could bathe in it, and so that the breeze from the sea might fill their lungs, for until this time they had not breathed.

Then they moved farther to a place called Na-ché-vo Po-mé-sa-vo, a sort of a cañon which was too small for their abiding-place; so they returned to a place called Tem-ech'-va Tem-eck'-o, and this place people now call Temecula, for the Mexicans changed the Indian name to that.

Here they settled while everything was still in darkness. All this time they had been travelling about without any light.

The Earth-Mother had kept the sun hidden away, but now that the people were grown large enough and could know each other she took the Sun out of his hiding-place, and immediately there was light. They could all see each other; and while the Sun was standing there among them they discussed the matter and decided that he

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must go east and west and give light all over the world; so all of them raised their arms to the sky three times, and three times cried out Cha-cha-cha (unspellable guttural), and he rose from among them and went up to his place in the sky.

After this they remained at Temecula, but the world was not big enough for them, and they talked about it and concluded that it must be made larger. So this was done, and they lived there as before.

It was at Temecula that the Earth-Mother taught her children to worship Chung-itch'-nish. Although he could not be seen, he appointed the Raven to be his messenger, flying over the heads of the people to watch for any who had offended against him. Whenever the Raven flew overhead, they would have a big fiesta and dance.

The bear and the rattlesnake were the chosen avengers for Chung-itch'-nish; and any who failed to obey would suffer from their bite. When a man was bitten by a rattlesnake it was known that he had offended Chung-itch'-n ish, and a dance would be performed with religious ceremonies to beg his forgiveness.

The stone bowls, Tam'-yush, were sacred to his worship; so were the toloache and mock-orange plants. All the dances are made for his worship, and all the sacred objects, stone pipes, eagle feathers, tobacco, etc., were used in this connection.


52:1 This paper has been communicated as part of the Proceedings of the California Branch of the American Folk-Lore Society.

52:2 Boscana alludes to the periods of time in the Creation Myth which he records, the story to-day being analogous to that which he obtained from the Indians eighty years ago. He says: "We have the six productions of the mother of Ouiot, corresponding to the six days of the creation of the world." I did not obtain this series thus distinctly stated, but on the other hand the introductory periods of creation were clearly named and defined. Whether these eight periods show any trace of Christian influence I am not as yet prepared to say. The myth in its entirety is strictly primitive. Only the slightest traces of any external influence could be suspected.

52:3 Pá-ve-ut is the name given to the sacred pointed stones of chipped flint, etc., used, not for arrow points, but for insertion in the end of the sword-shaped staff carried by the chief in the religious ceremonials. Boscana gives as the second production of Mother Earth "rocks and stones of all kinds, particularly flints for their arrows."

52:4 Tam'-yush, or Tam-ish (obscure sound) is the name for the sacred stone bowls, p. 53 incorrectly called mortars, hollowed out of solid rounded stones, large and small, used in the toloache fiesta for mixing and distributing the drink, and placed upon the ground in the sacred house (called temple by Boscana) during the religious ceremonies. They were painted with bright colors within and without; and when not in use were carefully buried from sight in places known only to the religious leaders.

Next: 2. The North Star and the Rattlesnake