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The Dawn of the World, by C. Hart Merriam, [1910], at

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The Hool-poom'-ne lived on the east side of the lower Sacramento River, beginning a few miles below the place where the city of Sacramento now stands. They are now extinct.


O-let'-te Coyote-man, the Creator Mol'-luk the Condor, father of Wek'-wek

Wek'-wek the Falcon, son of Mol'-luk and grandson of O-let'-te

Hul'-luk mi-yum'-ko the two beautiful women chiefs of the Star-people

Os-so-so'-li Pleiades, one of the Star-women

Ke'-lok the North Giant

Hoo-soo'-pe the Mermaids or Water-maidens, sisters of Wek'-wek

Choo'-hoo the Turkey Buzzard

Kok'-kol the Raven

Ah-wet'-che the Crow

Koo-loo'-loo the Humming-bird



O'-ye the Coyote-man

Wek'-wek the Falcon

Koo-loo'-pis the Humming-bird

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IN the beginning there was a huge bird of the vulture kind whose name was Mol'-luk, the California Condor. His home was on the mountain called Oo'-yum-bel'-le (Mount Diablo), whence he could look out over the world--westerly over San Francisco Bay and the great ocean; easterly over the tules and the broad flat Joaquin Valley.

Every morning Mol'-luk went off to hunt, and every evening he came back to roost on a large rock on the east side of the mountain. One morning he noticed that something was the matter with the rock, but did not know what the trouble was, or what to do for it. So he went off to consult the doctors. The doctors were brothers, two dark snipe-like little birds who lived on a small creek near the foot of the mountain. He told them his rock was sick and asked them to go with him, and led them to it. When they saw the rock they said, "The rock is your wife; she is going to give you a child;" and added, "we must make a big fire." Then all three set to work packing wood; they worked hard and brought a large quantity and made a big fire. Then they took hold of the rock,

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tore it loose, rolled it into the fire, and piled more wood around it. When the rock became hot, it burst open with a great noise, and from the inside out darted Wek'-wek the Falcon. As he came out he said 'wek' and passed on swiftly without stopping. He flew over all the country--north, south, east, and west--to see what it was like.

At that time there were no people. And there were no elderberry trees except a single one far away to the east in the place where the Sun gets up. There, in a den of rattlesnakes on a round topped hill grew lah'-pah the elderberry tree. Its branches, as they swayed in the wind, made a sweet musical sound. The tree sang; it sang all the time, day and night, and the song was good to hear. Wek'-wek looked and listened and wished he could have the tree. Near by he saw two Hol-luk'-ki or Star-people, and as he looked he perceived that they were the Hul-luk mi-yum'-ko--the great and beautiful women-chiefs of the Star-people. One was the Morning Star, the other Pleiades Os-so-so'-li. They were watching and working close by the elderberry tree. Wek'-wek liked the music and asked the Star-women about it. They told him that the tree whistled songs that kept them awake all day and all night so they could work all the time and never grow sleepy. They had the rattlesnakes to keep the birds from carrying off the elderberries.

Then Wek'-wek returned to his home on Oo-yum-bel'-le (Mount Diablo) and told Mol'-luk his

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<i>Mol'-luk</i> the Condor looking off over the World from his Rock on Mount Diablo
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Mol'-luk the Condor looking off over the World from his Rock on Mount Diablo


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father what he had seen. He said he had seen the beautiful Star-women and had heard the soft whistling song of the elderberry tree that keeps one from feeling sleepy. He asked his father how they could get the music tree and have it at their home on Oo'-yum-bel'-le.

Mol'-luk answered, "My son, I do not know; I am not very wise; you will have to ask your grandfather; he knows everything."

"Where is my grandfather?" asked Wek'-wek.

"He is by the ocean," Mol'-luk replied.

"I never saw him," said Wek'-wek.

His father asked, "Didn't you see something like a stump bobbing in the water and making a noise as it went up and down?"

"Yes," said Wek'-wek, "I saw that."

"Well," replied Mol'-luk, "that is your grandfather."

"How can I get him?" asked Wek'-wek.

"You can't get all of him, but perhaps you can break off a little piece and in that way get him."

So Wek'-wek flew off to the ocean, found the stump bobbing in the water, and tore off a little piece and brought it home. When he awoke next morning the little piece had changed into O-let'-te, the Coyote-man, who was already living in a little house of his own on top of the mountain. O-let'-te told Wek'-wek that he was his grandfather.

Wek'-wek told Mol'-luk his father and added, "Now I've got my grandfather."

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Mol'-luk replied, "Ask him what you want to know; he knows everything."

So Wek'-wek asked O-let'-te, "How are we going to get the elderberry music?"

"Ho-ho," answered O-let'-te, "that is very difficult; you might have bad luck and might be killed."

But Wek'-wek continued, "I want it."

Then the wise O-let'-te said: "All right, go and buy it, but mind what I tell you or you will be killed. You will find the Star-women pleasant and pretty. They will want you to stay and play with them. If you do so, you will die. Go and do as I tell you."

So Wek'-wek went. He flew fast and far--far away to the east, to the place where the Sun gets up. There he found Hul-luk mi-yum'-ko the Star-women and lah'-pah the elderberry tree. The Star-women were people of importance; both were chiefs. Wek'-wek had taken with him long strings of haw'-wut, the shell money, which as he flew streamed out behind. This he gave them for the elderberry music. The Star-women liked the haw'-wut and accepted it and led Wek'wek to the elderberry tree and told him to break off a little piece and take it home and he would have all. But when he reached the tree the rattlesnakes stood up all around and hissed at him to frighten him, for he was a stranger. The Star-women told him not to be afraid, they would drive the snakes away. So they scolded the snakes and sent them down into

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their holes. Then Wek'-wek took his soo'-pe [digging stick] and pried off a piece of the tree. The Star-women began to play with him and wanted him to stay with them, but remembering what O-let'-te his grandfather had told him, he paid no attention to them but took the piece of elderberry tree and carried it swiftly home to Oo-yum-bel'le.

When he arrived he said to O-let'-te, "Grandfather, I've brought the music-tree; what shall we do with it so we can have the music?"

O-let'-te laughed as he replied, "Do you really think you have it?"

"Yes," answered Wek'-wek, "here it is."

Then O-let'-te said, "We must put it in the ground over all the country to furnish music for the Mew'-ko [Indian people] we are going to make, for pretty soon we shall begin to make the people."

Wek'-wek answered "Yes," but thought he would wait and see who was the smarter, himself or O-let'-te-for he felt very proud because he had brought the music tree.

Then they went out and traveled over' all the country and planted the elderberry tree so that by and by it would furnish music and food and medicine for the Indian people they were going to make. O-let'-te told Wek'-wek that the berries would make food, the roots and blossoms medicine, and the hollow branches music.

Next: Ke'-lok and his Han-na'-boo