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(Death Valley, California. Shoshoni)

At one time many people lived at Koso Hot Springs. These were animals who were then people. Even Sun was a person. Bear and all kinds of animals were there.

The people were going to have a race. In this race they bet themselves [that is, their lives]. Two of them made a fire to cook those who lost the race. One of the firemakers was Mudhen. 20

Every one went south to a place where there were some willows. Coyote was with them. Many people, who were going to race, gathered there. When the race started, Coyote walked off to the willows and began to eat a white sugar [sap] on the stems. Frog went to Coyote and struck him. Coyote came out of the willows, and found that all the people had gone. He started to run; he was way behind them. As he ran he saw Frog ahead of him, sitting down. Coyote stopped and urinated on Frog. Then he went on. Soon he saw Frog ahead of him again sitting down. Again he urinated on Frog and ran on. The people were getting close to Koso Hot Springs. While they ran, Frog jumped over Coyote and urinated on him. The people were near Koso Hot Springs. Frog got there first and won the race. After the race, the firetenders threw the losers into the fire. Only Bear and Sun remained. When they started to drag Bear to the fire, he roared, but they threw him into it. Only Sun was left. The people started to talk about Sun. They said, "We had better leave him so that there will be light." Coyote, who was chief, said, "If he had beaten me, he would have thrown me into the fire. We must throw him in." Coyote took hold of Still. When he did this, Nighthawks, Chipmunks, and all the other people ran for the house. 21 Coyote dragged Sun to the fire. His friends were afraid that it would be dark; they ran to the house. When Coyote was ready to throw Sun into the fire, he looked to see which way he would have to run to get to the house. Then he pushed Sun into the fire and all went dark. Coyote ran toward the house but

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could not find it. He ran around looking for it and shouting. The people in the house heard him, but would not answer. Coyote looked all around, shouted, but heard no answer. He found a flat stick, a kind of paddle, and knew that he was near the house. He said to himself, "I am here." He had climbed over the house many times before, but had not known where he was.

All this had happened in the fall, and Coyote had traveled around all winter looking for the house. He became thin. In the spring he was still looking for the house. While he was looking, the people inside talked about him. They said, "We had better tell him to come here. He is smart. He might tell us what to do." After this, they answered Coyote when he shouted. Coyote went inside the house. While he was crawling in, Chipmunk sat by the door. Coyote put his hand on Chipmunk and said, "I am putting my hand on my brother-in-law." He went on into the house.

Owl and Nighthawk went out into the darkness to get green plants to eat. They did not give any to Coyote. Coyote heard them chewing, and said, "What are you people eating?" They put some of it into Coyote's mouth. Coyote said, "I don't want you to do that." They said, "We have been eating that kind of stuff (tuhuvida)."

Coyote started to talk. He said, "We had better start to make the sun. There are a lot of different kinds of people here. Some of us ought to know how to make the sun." The people said, "That is fine." Some of them started to shout, and a little light appeared. Nighthawk wanted it all dark, because he traveled at night. All the people were there. Coyote said, "When I shout, the sun will come out." Coyote shouted and it became completely dark again. Woodpecker and Mallard Duck were there. They shouted, and the sun came out. After this, the people came out and found that there were many green plants everywhere.

Coyote started to eat tuhuvida. Coyote said, "I am going to make it sweeter," and urinated on it. 22 After this, some of the people tasted it. It had been sweet before, but Coyote made it salty and bitter.


268:19 The literal translation is Gosip, "dust," and Ute, from the fact that the Gosiute live in the very dusty, alkali deserts south of Great Salt Lake.

268:20 Possibly hell-diver, a bird which has a red eye, said to have been caused by making the fire. B. D. doesn't remember who the other firemaker was.

268:21 In other versions, Coyote had allowed his people time to build a house before throwing Sun Into the fire.

269:22 Tuhuvida, some kind of plant with yellow flowers. It was sometimes eaten by Shoshoni, but has an unpleasant flavor for which Coyote is held responsible.

Next: The Race to Koso Hot Springs (Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni)