(Death Valley, California. Shoshoni)
Many people had camps where they were hunting mountain sheep. Their chief went ahead and made fires (when they hunted).
There were two brothers in the sky (tugumbi, "sky"; duwitc, "boys"). They traveled along shooting arrows in competition with someone. 33 Doing this, the brothers lost all their arrows.
The brothers went to the camp of the sheep hunters; they went to the fire. When they arrived they had no arrows because they had lost them all. The people gave one arrow to each of the brothers, and said, "When you see a mountain sheep, the older of you must shoot it." All the people went hunting. The brothers went along together. They saw a sheep. The younger said, "I had better shoot him." The older one said, "No." The younger disagreed with him, and they argued. Finally, the older one yielded and said, "All right, shoot." The younger brother shot at the sheep, but did not hit
it squarely, and the sheep ran away. When the people had given them the arrows they had said, "If you do not kill the sheep, do not chase it. You might get into trouble." The brothers argued. The younger said, "We had better track it." The older said, "They told us not to do that because we might get into trouble." The younger had his way, and they started to track the sheep. They followed its tracks. They came to a pool of water that was near somebody's house. The brothers went to the pool and took a bath. While they were bathing, they saw a sunshade built near the spring. After their bath, they went to the shade where some people lived. This was Snake's home. Snake said to them, "Tell me who you are." The brothers did not want to tell him. They said, "We heard that our grandfather lived here," though they really had no grandfather. 34 Snake said, "What are you two doing in this place?" The brothers said, "We have killed a sheep near here." Snake said, "All right, but you two must go back at once." Snake had two wives. He said, "If you don't go back right away, my wives will kill you."
Snake's wives were gathering berries (hu:pi). One of them began to sing. . . . She said, "I believe someone has come to our house." The other said, "You had better go on with your work." The first went on singing and said, "I tell you, someone has come to our house." She stopped picking berries and stood still.
Snake said to the brothers, "Where did you boys kill the sheep?" They said, "We killed it right there," and showed him the place. Snake said, "You must get a stick and throw me to where the sheep is. I will get it." They threw Snake with a stick and he landed by the sheep. Snake brought back the sheep. The boys went away. While Snake was carrying back the sheep, he covered up the boys' tracks so that the women would not see them when they came home. The boys went away to the sky. They sat there.
Snake used the mountain sheep's feet to cover up the tracks the brothers had made around the spring. Then he went to his house. The women were still gathering berries and one of them sang. After a while the other began to sing; they both sang. They said, "Someone came to our house."
The women returned to the house. As they came near it, Snake had his head out of the house, looking toward the spring. The women knew that Snake was trying to deceive them. They said, "Someone gave him a sheep." Snake said to them, "Don't talk loudly. Some mountain sheep are watering at our spring." The women said, "Someone else killed this sheep." The women went to the
water to bathe. They found a long hair in the water. It had become tangled around them. They compared the hair with their own and found that it was longer. They knew what had happened. They said, "Someone has come to our place." They sang . . . After their bath, the women walked around and around the spring to find the tracks of the person who had come. The brothers were above in the sky, watching them. The younger brother thought, "I hope one of them will look up and see us." The women looked up and saw the brothers sitting there. Then the women lay on their backs and sang. They said, "You had better come down." The younger brother said, "We must go down." The older said, "No, we will be killed." The two women had long knives. The brothers argued about it and at last the younger had his way. The older said, "You go down . . . and come back alive." The younger said, "I will go down . . ." He started down while the women watched him. When he came to them, they cut off his head. The older brother was very sorry when this happened, and said, "I, too, must go down and die." He went down and the women killed him. After they had killed the brothers, the women stayed there that night.
The next morning the people at the sheep hunting camp were talking. Bat had had a dream and told them about it. He said, "I dreamed last night that there was blood on the sky." Bat was the boys' grandfather, and when he said that he cried. He knew the boys had been killed.
That morning the women began to track the boys to see where they had come from. They followed the tracks to where they had shot the sheep, and then to where they had built a fire. They went on to the hunting camp. The people had their houses in a hollow. The women approached and looked at the camp from behind a ridge. Bat saw them looking toward the camp. When the women saw that Bat was looking at them, they went around the hill to another place and watched. Again they saw Bat looking toward them. Then they went around to another place. While they were doing this, they split juniper trees into small pieces with their knives. The pieces became people. They went toward the camp and the women accompanied them. The hunters saw them coming.
Coyote said, "Maybe they are going to have a fight with us. I am going to be out in front of everyone." He ran out in front of the hunters. The people came closer; Coyote was the first to have his head cut off. The people came on and cut off everyone's head. When they were through killing the hunters and were standing there, the women noticed that Bat was absent. They said, "Where is Bat, who was looking at us?" They searched for him among the dead people, and heard a noise like a mouse inside a mountain sheep carcass. They
went to the sheep and found Bat hanging on the inside of the body. They took him out, and said, "This is our pet. We must take hill, home." Then they said, "Our husband might kill us. But our little Bat is pretty." They held him in their hands and made him fly. He flew around and lit on their heads. They said, "Our little pet is very good and pretty." They continued to do this. Bat flew around and lit on all parts of them. This made them angry and they tried to stab him with their knives but missed him. They continued to strike at him but stabbed themselves and died.
When the women were dead, Bat cut a piece out of each of them with a knife. He put both of the pieces around his neck like necklaces and started out for Snake's house. When he came to Snake, Snake said, "I know that you are wearing pieces of my wives." Bat said, "No, I won these a long time ago when I made a trip to the north. You were small at that time. You were in that cradle and I rocked you." Snake said, "No." He was angry and bit at a rock. Bat seized the shin bone of a deer and struck a rock with it. It made a red flash. He said, "I will do this to you, too." Snake became angrier. He was coiling, drawing himself higher and higher. Bat picked up a pebble and he flipped it into the air with his fingers. The pebble went high and as it fell became larger and larger. It fell on Snake's head and killed him.
Bat went back to where his dead grandsons were. He put a stick under one of them and threw him into the air. He came back to life. He did the same to the other boy, and he returned to life. He went back to his hunting camp and did the same to all the people who had been killed. They all came back to life. He did not do this to Coyote. Some people said, "We won't bother about Coyote. He always gets into trouble. We won't bring him back to life." But others said, "He is smart. He might tell us something." They threw Coyote up into the air with a stick and he came back to life. Coyote arose and said, "I have been sleeping."
287:33 They threw a bunch of willows ahead, over a bush where they could not see it, and shot to try to strike nearest to it.
288:34 But compare below.