Yana Texts, by Edward Sapir, , at sacred-texts.com
Silver Fox (Boku'ina) had a sweat-house at Dī'yūrikdilla (or Dī'yūrimadu), in Cedar Creek valley. Coyote lived there too. Silver Fox went out to hunt deer, killed some, but did not bring them home. At night he alone would eat. A big snow came; there lay Coyote on one side of the house, he did not get up, though he was hungry. But at last he got up and went out to hunt for gophers. Whenever Coyote found a gopher, he killed him by jumping on his house; then he dug out various sorts of roots with which he filled his basket. He killed about twenty
gophers, came home, and cooked them. Silver Fox expected to have a part, but Coyote ate them all himself.
This sort of thing went on for six days. Silver Fox did not go out, for he had all kinds of food; six kinds he had-dried deer meat, salmon, roots, cedar gum, acorn bread, and pine nuts. The snow fell for seven days. Coyote could not get out, the snow was so deep. Silver Fox said, "I'll have two moons of winter. If we had five moons we should starve whenever a snow like this came." Coyote got up, sat with his head down, thinking. He said, "No, I want five moons of winter. If there were only two moons, widows could get plenty of wood and be happy. It is better to have five moons." Now Silver Fox said, "No. I want to have two moons. Every one will be good and well off. What should we eat if there were five moons of winter?" Coyote said, "It is better that widows be hungry, that they should not have much to eat."
By and by another big snow came, Silver Fox had made it come. Silver Fox went out; he had a long stick with a crotch at the end to pull down dry branches, and he had a burden basket on his back. Every time he pulled the branches down from a cedar, sweet roots (cu'nna) came down. He carried them home, but did not let Coyote see them. The next day he went out again. There were bunches of something on the pine trees that burned. He set on fire some pine needles and put them on the end of his stick, then held it up to the bunches all about. Then he lay down face down and soon many grouse hit him all over. When they were all down he got up and put them in a brush sack (kê'watc!i), filled it with the grouse. Coyote was not allowed to see it. After some time Silver Fox felt sorry for Coyote and let him see the food he had brought back. "Son-in-law, how did you get those roots?" said Coyote. Silver Fox said, "I took a stick, broke off cedar limbs, and down came the roots." Coyote said, "I will go and do the same." Silver Fox said, "I don't lookup when I do it." Coyote went, got hit badly, and looked up. He saw no roots, only branches. He went home sick. Fox said, "I did not look up when I was hit and hurt." Coyote saw him bring back grouse. "Son-in-law, how did you
kill them?" he asked. Silver Fox told him. Coyote said, "I'll do that too." Silver Fox told him what to do, but Coyote did as before. When four grouse came he said, "Stop! I want to eat." They stopped, only four grouse came. Coyote cooked and ate them. Then he went to another tree and repeated what he had done. He jumped up, could not stand being hit by the grouse. He looked about--there was nothing there. He went home.
He asked Silver Fox how he managed to bring back so many always, but received Do answer. Coyote asked, "Son-in-law, how did you catch those yellow-jackets!" Silver Fox said, "I smoked them out with leaves. After smoking them out I dug them up with my penis. When the yellow-jackets came, I did not run. There is lots of meat 335 down in the nest. When the sun rises I hold my hand over my eyes and see the yellow-jackets going into their holes." Coyote went out and did so. He saw the yellow-jackets' nest, smoked them, then dug out the nest with his penis. The yellow-jackets began to bite his penis. For a while he stood it, then could not any longer. He rolled on the ground with pain; then he went off. He said, "Son-in-law, I'm sick. The yellow-jackets bit me all over."
By and by Coyote lay down, and would not move when the snow came. Silver Fox got angry; he thought he would kill Coyote, because he did not believe him and do as he told him. Silver Fox had a wife, his shadow, and kept her in the space between the edge of the sweat-house roof and the ground. One night Coyote heard Silver Fox and his wife talking. Silver Fox went out to hunt. Coyote said, "Who is it that Silver Fox is talking to? He must have a woman somewhere." He hunted all about, asked everything. The main post said, "Here it is." Coyote tried to hold her, but suddenly she was gone, was never seen again. Silver Fox came home. He knew that his wife was gone, but did not say anything to Coyote.
Snow kept coming. Silver Fox thought that the best way to catch Coyote would be in a net. He did not know which kind of rope to use-deer-sinew or milkweed. By and by he began
to chew milkweed string; he had pine nuts in his mouth. Coyote said, "I know that Silver Fox is eating pine nuts." Silver Fox went out. Coyote hunted for the nuts, found several baskets filled with them. He filled the sweat-house with those that came down when he pushed about under the roof with a stick. He told the nuts, "Stop! Don't all come." Silver Fox came back, and Coyote said, "This food came down. I don't know what is the matter." Silver Fox said nothing. Then he said, "You eat it up!" and Coyote did so. Then he slept. Then Silver Fox began to roll a rope on his thigh. Silver Fox slipped up as Coyote was sleeping and measured the size of his head. Then he finished the net.
In the morning Silver Fox said to Coyote, "Let us go out and catch cottontail rabbits." Coyote said, "Yes." Silver Fox said. "I'll put in a trap over there to the south. When you drive them, run fast." He did so, found many rabbits. Silver Fox told him to run right up to the net. Coyote did so, but broke out of the milkweed net easily. All the rabbits escaped. So they went home.
Silver Fox called for a deer-skin to come to him. He made a net of the sinew, again of the size of Coyote's head. Again they went out together, set traps as before. Silver Fox told Coyote to drive the rabbits and cry out, and to run very fast as he came to the net. Coyote did so, and got into the net; he could not get out. Silver Fox had a big live-oak stick and with this he hit him. Coyote said, "Son-in-law, don't hit me." Silver Fox said, "Son-in-law, you don't believe me," and he hit him again, and killed him. Silver Fox said, "You don't believe me, so I shall have the food in the trees. People were merely to stretch out a hand when they saw deer, and it would fall dead. It is not to be so now." 326
Silver Fox went home. He hunted all around for the places where Coyote had urinated. He went all over the country except Klamath Lake. He thought he had killed all the Coyotes. One morning he heard one yelp. Coyote was angry, came back. and made a fire start all around. Coyote came over to this side
of Burney Valley. Silver Fox saw Coyote coming; he blew and said, "Come, grasshoppers! Come, plums! Come, cherries!" Coyote came along and saw the grasshoppers, plums, and cherries. They looked good, so he stopped to eat them. Silver Fox said, "When Coyote sees the food, he will stop and will not be angry." Coyote ate the plums and cherries, and said, "I want to eat. I'll not go and kill people." Coyote called for 337 a sack, filled it with the food, and came back. He said, "Son-in-law, I have good food." Silver Fox had called for 337 pitch. When Coyote asked him why he had put on pitch, he told Coyote that he was sorry he had lost him. 338 Silver Fox would not eat, though Coyote wanted him to. Silver Fox said nothing. Coyote said, "What are we going to do? It looks like spring." Silver Fox did not answer.
210:334 Compare the Hat Creek myth in Dixon, "Achomawi and Atsugewi Tales," Journ. Amer. Folk-lore, XXI, 171-174. Some of the incidents are also found in Takelma mythology.
212:335 The reference is to the larvae, formerly a favorite article of food when procurable.
213:326 These statements seem rather irrelevant here. The meaning evidently is that Silver Fox had intended to make the procuring of food easy for the people, but that Coyote had spoiled things by setting bad precedents.