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Where all is fragmentary, the connections between external objects and the ideas they stand for must become obliterated by time; and if the story is given at second-hand, little can be learned with precision. Most of the writer's material has been gathered directly from the old men who are the only real authorities; but Sant, the Diegueño interpreter, told the little that he remembers to have heard about the Awikunchi ceremony.'

Awikunchi is the name of a certain rock in the middle of which there had been carved the figure of a tiny coiled snake. When a man makes a hole in this rock, it will grow together again. It is the only rock that is known to have this property.

Finding that it was within accessible distance, I went to see it. It is a large, low, sloping rock of soft, loose granite; but it was with difficulty that the carved figure of the snake could be seen, for this had been damaged by some iconoclast who had dug it partly away, perhaps in the expectation of seeing it grow again.

In the old days no one could be found so sacrilegious as to deface such an object; but American influence is shown in the younger generation, who have been robbed of their past and preserve no reverence for it.

The connection between the rock and the song-series which bears its name could not be discovered. This series was sung for fair weather. If it rains for some time, they may say, "Let us sing Awikunchi to end

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the rain." So they sing all night to the accompaniment of a basket rubbed by a stick; and perhaps the rain stops in the morning.

The story of the songs is forgotten; but Sant recalls a mere fragment. A certain number refer to a boy named Kwilyu, who could eat more than any one in the world. His father grew tired of a son who ate so much, and planned to run away and leave him. So he made himself a boat. And he went out in it to the islands of the ocean. He thought the boy could not catch him there; but he could not escape in this way, for Kwilyu overtook him. The forgotten sequel of the story may never be known.


231:1 It is said that in this dance the singers alternate, one man taking up the song when the other stops.

231:2 Wi means "rock" in Diegueño. Wily, with the sound of Spanish liquid ll, is another form of the word. The initial w is pronounced so as to give the sound of a before it, but the vowel does not actually belong there.

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