Yana Texts, by Edward Sapir, , at sacred-texts.com
At Balā'wi 340b lived Flint Woman (Djuwa'lk!aimari?mi). Eagle, Buzzard, Bluejay, and other birds lived there too. Eagle stayed outside all the while, called all the people brothers. He
went out to hunt. The Bears had a house in Bear valley and were at enmity with the Flint people. Lizard lived with the latter. He told the young fellows to make a fire in the morning and they all went out to hunt, went up to Balā'wi. The Bears did not want them to hunt there, and came also. Lizard said, "Young people, look out. We'll have to fight today." The Bears said, "We don't want to fight." So they did not fight that day, and the young people killed deer and brought them home. Old Grizzly Bear said, "Tomorrow we'll have a fight. I'll go after more of my people."
Lizard was chief of the Flint people. He said, "Tomorrow we must fight, you must riot go hunting." Lizard called all the Bears to come to the fire where he had built it. He had a poor piece of flint. The bears came to the fire, looked as if they were going to eat up the people. Lizard had a bear-skin quiver. The Bear women said, "You can not hurt us with that little flint. (We can stick those flints into our hearts and they won't hurt us.)" Lizard said, "Let me see you do it." So the women each took one of the little flints and did so, but the flint stayed inside of them; they could not pull them out of their hearts as they had thought. Lizard told them to go off. They did so and fell dead. Lizard was much pleased.
Then the Flint people fought the Bears, fought all day. Each side killed half of its adversaries. Next day they fought again, and all the Flint people were killed except Lizard. The Grizzly Bears were all killed except two old women. Lizard hunted for these, but they caught him and killed him. The Red and Blue Flint people were dead. Striped Flint (pa'nma?amauna) had told the old Flint Woman that his spittle would come to life again. Flint Woman was not killed; she cried all the time, put lots of pitch on her head, so much that it stuck out of the sweat-house. The two old Bear women would come in the morning and bite off some of this. They thought that there were more people left.
One morning Flint Woman heard something calling out, "Dā, dā!" She jumped up and picked up something. She cleaned it with warm water, washed the child. She took the best black-bear hide and put him on it. She did not sleep that
night. After two nights and days he began to crawl about. She wanted him to lie still, and put another hide on him. After four days and nights he was nearly ready to stand up. Then he began to talk; he was called Tsawa'tdikapsu. He said, "I want to eat, grandmother." She had some deer fat and gave it to him, and he ate it. He wanted more, and he ate it. He wanted dried salmon, and he ate it.
He began to walk about. Many little animals looked into the sweat-house. Tsawa'tdikapsu saw them and told his grandmother to look at them. He asked her to make a little bow for him. She said, "No. You are too small to shoot." "Yes," he said, "make one for me. I want to shoot." She did so, made a string and bow. A mountain quail looked into the sweat-house, the boy shot it. She then took the quail and struck the boy with it on the small of his back, as was always done to a boy when he shot his first game. Presently the boy broke the bow, and asked, "Make me a big one, grandmother." She did so. Said he, "I want to go out." "No," said she, "there are bad people outside." The boy wanted to go, so she let him go. Said she, "Don't go far off." A rabbit came along, and the boy shot and killed him. He took it in; she was glad. Said he, "I saw something with big eyes and ears, small legs, and a short tail. When he eats, he keeps moving his tail." She said, "That's a deer." The boy went out again and saw an elk. He described it to his grandmother, who told him what it was. She said, "Don't shoot him, you can't kill him." The boy pulled his bow to show how he could, and broke it. The bows of the many people who had been killed were hung up all around the sweat-house. He asked his grandmother if he could try one of them. She said, "They are too strong for you. I don't think that you can pull them." The boy said, "I'll try." He started at the north, broke them; he went around to the east, south, and west, and broke them all. The last one was to the west, he could not break it. His arm doubled back. He asked, "Whose bow was this?" She said, "It belonged to one of those that were killed." Again he tried to break it, but in vain. In every way he tried to break it, but to no purpose. He tried to break it with his feet, with big rocks, but in vain. He said, "That is my bow." It was backed with deer sinew. He picked out the best flints.
She said, "Don't go far." The boy said, "I'm going to kill that big deer for you." "I don't think you can do it. You are too small," said the old woman. He went out. The elk was still there. He shot him and brought him back to his grandmother. "I wonder if I can shoot through that oak tree," said he. She said, "You are too small. Don't talk so, my grandchild." He went and shot through the tree.
"Grandmother," he said, "I'm going to start out. Tell me where are the people who killed my brothers." She said, pointing to the north, "They live there." The boy went. He saw two bears eating clover. The boy stopped and thought; asked his flints, "Which of you is the strongest?" The striped flint said, "I am." The red one said, "I am the one. When I hit people they die at once. Do not walk far off." The boy said, "Come, feathers!" There was a little bird that the boy told to go down below and call. "When the Bears hear it, they will stand end on and listen." The bird did so. The boy shot, and the arrow went into the mouth of one and out at the anus, and the same of the other. He skinned them, carried them back in the evening. His grandmother was frightened. "Don't be afraid," he said, "it is I." She cried; he hung up the two hides outside.
Next day he went again. He told five of these same little birds to come. "Go into that brush. If you find the bears, call; if not, do not call." They did so, and called. The boy told the birds to drive the bears out. They did so, drove out four. The boy killed them, and carried the hides home. He went all around that mountain, killing bears in this way every day. By and by the two wicked Bear women were the only ones left. They jumped on the boy, held him one on each side, and said, "Don't kill us. You are our husband. I'll keep you as my husband." He asked, "How many more bears are there?" "They are all gone but us," said they. The boy asked them if they were going to kill his grandmother, and they said, "No." They said, "I'm going to keep you as my husband, take you to my father." They went back with the boy to his house. His grandmother asked, "What sort of women have you?" "Bears," said he. "Why didn't you kill them?" she said. The boy said, "No. I'm going
to keep them as my wives, and they will show me their father."
One day he stayed, and asked the two Bears where their father lived. "In the west, where the moon sets," they said. "We will start tomorrow and go there." The boy said to his grandmother, "Where is there poison?" She said, "They will fool you, they will throw acorns into the fire and make you blind. That is the way they killed my people." The boy said, "Where is there poison?" "At Wula'uwitcu there is poison, there is a poisonous spring that smells bad." He went there, and one can see his footprint there where he made it. He took his pipe, held it over the spring, caused the poisonous air to go into it, then stopped it up. Then he came back, and the two Bears said, "We'll start tomorrow." He told his pipe, "When I smoke you, kill all the people."
There he went, with one step he went a great distance. Four times he stepped and came close to the sweat-house. He nearly broke it in as he stepped on it. It was Moon's house, and there lived the Bears. He asked, "What is the matter? Who is out there?" The two Bears came in, and Moon asked, "Who is there?" They said, "My husband. Don't talk." Moon said, "Why not?" When the boy came in, all the people thought, "We can kill him easily." Moon called him in, and everything shook when he came in or when he moved. He had on a woven rabbit-skin robe. Moon said, "We will have a big sweat," and all his people came in. They said, "Let us throw this man into the fire." They made a big fire; all Moon's people got up and danced. The boy did not move, sat with his head down. The rest made fun of him, told him to get up and dance. By and by Moon threw salt into the fire, thought to make the boy blind. He didn't move. Moon said to him, "Get up and dance." Then Moon put sweet acorns into the fire, but could not blind the boy.
Pretty soon the boy got up; when he stepped, the ground trembled. The Moon people began to push one another about, tried to push the boy, but could not move him. Soon he took out his pipe, smoked, and all the people fell dead, and Moon too. The boy said, "I do not want you to be trying to fight or to hit me. I am mā'pdjam?aina, 340c I cannot die." The two women he
did not kill, he kicked them down into the ground. He went out, and blew smoke all about, killed every one.
Then he came back, and went all around to the places where his people had been killed. He picked up an eyelash from each one. "Have you a big bucket?" he asked his grandmother. "Build a fire when it is nearly dawn and heat rocks." All the eyelashes he put into the bucket. Then he turned and lay down with his face to the ground. To his grandmother he said, "Throw the hot rocks in and lie down also." She did so. By and by they heard shouting, "Here's my bow. Here's my place," and so on. All those dead people were alive again. The boy got up and said, "You are my brothers. I told my grandmother that I would come back again when I died. I did so. I caused you dead people to come to life."
216:340a This myth was evidently obtained from Round Mountain Jack, as shown, among other things, by the linguistic form (North Yana) of the Indian names occurring in it. It differs considerably in detail from the form of the myth obtained by myself from Sam Batwī (no. I), and is therefore given here in full. Curtin's version also is evidently, a Central Yana one.
216:340b A mountain north of Stillwater creek.
220:340c See note 63.