It is interesting to compare with this story the corresponding myth of the Mohave. The Mohave live on the Colorado River in both California and Arizona. They are a primarily agricultural people with a more developed tribal sense and warlike spirit than the Mission Indians. Located as they are on the borders of the Southwest, in fact in part within it, they present many cultural features that are not found among the Mission Indians. In fact, as compared with the Mohave, the Mission Indians and the Indians of northern California form a unit as regards their general culture.
The Mohave origin myth has been obtained much more fully than the Luiseño, in fact at such length that it is possible to give only an outline in the present connection.
According to the Mohave, the first were the sky, a man, and the earth, a woman. These met far in the west, and from them were born, first Matevilye, and after him his daughter the frog, Mastamho who is usually called his younger brother, all the people, the animals, and plants. All these went upward toward the east, under the leadership of Matevilye. Matevilye himself did not walk. He merely moved four times, twice to the left and twice to the right. Thereby he arrived at Ahavulypo, a narrow defile on the Colorado River above Cottonwood Island, probably near the lower end of Eldorado Canyon. He stretched out his arms to the ends of the world and thereby found this spot to be the centre of the earth. Here he built a house. He became sick because the frog his daughter, whom he had offended by an indecency, ate his excrement; and it was known that he would die. When he died, Coyote, whose intentions were suspected, was
sent far away to bring fire for the funeral pyre, During Coyote's absence fire was produced among the people by the fly, a woman, who rubbed her thigh. Matevilye was then burned. According to the usual account, although this episode does not form part of the version on which the present relation is based, Coyote returned as the pyre was in flames. The people surrounded this in a close ring. Coyote succeeded in leaping over the head of the badger, who was short, seized Matevilye's heart, and escaped with it. Under the direction of Mastamho the people then made for Matevilye the first mourning ceremony in the world.
The remaining bones and ashes were offensive to the people. Mastamho therefore successively made wind, hail, and rain to obliterate them, but failed. As a fourth resource he then went far northward in four steps, taking the people with him. Plunging his stick into the ground, he made water come forth. Three times he stopped this with his foot, until the fourth time it flowed southward to form the Colorado River. As the water flowed, a boat emerged from the ground. He entered this and put the people into it with himself. They constituted six tribes not yet separated. As the boat floated down the river, he tilted it to one side and the other, making the river valley flat and wide in the places where he did so.
When the boat arrived at the ocean, the head of the Gulf of California, Mastamho left it and Went northward, carrying the people on his arms. The water was deep and he ascended a mountain. Everything was covered with water except the top of this peak. By taking a step in each of the four cardinal directions, he made the water recede. He then planted seeds of the vegetation which was to furnish subsistence to the desert tribes. Then, still accompanied by all the people, he went on northward to Avikwame, the sacred mountain of the Mohave, not far north from their villages, and called Dead or Newberry Mountain by the whites. There he too built a house for himself and the people.
He made the people shout four times and thus produced daylight, the sun, and the moon. Then he tried the medicine-men, making those sit down who did not talk properly, and designating those who spoke right. These men upon being born on earth would be successful shamans.
Far in the south in the ocean, in a house of hair, lived Humasereha, an immense snake. One of the people on Avikwame pretended to be sick, and Humasereha, the great medicine-man, was sent for. He came northward, rattling with his tail and making rain, and thunder. When he arrived he inserted his head into the door, It was so large that the house was almost tilted over. As soon as his head had entered the house it was cut off and he died. Therefore it is that
medicine-men, who are thought to be the cause of almost all disease and death, are killed by the Mohave.
Then Mastamho sent off five of the tribes, telling them what country to inhabit and how to live. The sixth, the Mohave, he ordered to stay in the adjacent country and there to live and build their houses. Then he was alone. He questioned himself what to do and how to "die," that is to say, what shape to assume to terminate his existence in human form. He tried departing in various directions and sinking into the ground, but was dissatisfied. Then he stretched out his arms. Feathers grew over him until he had wings. On the fourth trial he was able to fly. Then he went off as the fish eagle.
It is obvious that the general course and tenor of the Mohave creation is similar to that of the Mission Indians. All beings are generated by the primeval heaven and earth. The people move in a body, following a leader, whose death is later caused by the frog. At his death Coyote succeeds, in spite of the precautions taken, in seizing a part of his body. The second great leader, Mastamho, is relatively more important among the Mohave than his counterpart is among the Mission Indians, as Matevilye, the first, does little but lead the people from their place of origin to the centre of the world, build a house, and die. Mastamho makes the all-important river and the sun and moon. His other achievements all relate not to nature but to man. He journeys with the still united people, saves them from the flood, instructs them how to build houses, ordains and instructs medicine-men, provides food, and separates the various tribes, giving to each its distinctive customs. Other accounts, not here considered, deal more fully with his instructions to mankind regarding the arts of life and ceremonial institutions. The similarity of this tradition to the corresponding accounts among the Mission Indians, even in many points of detail, could not well be closer, and is the more important on account of the considerable cultural differences between the tribes. It is therefore evident that mythologically all the tribes of southern California, from the Colorado River to the sea, with the possible exception of the Santa Barbara islanders, of whose beliefs nothing is known, form a close unit as compared with the remainder of California.