Sacred Texts  Native American  Native California  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


The Southern Mewuk of Mariposa region say:

Many people wear a Wep'-pah (amulet) around their necks to bring good luck and keep harm away. Some wear lucky stones, some lucky shells, some a forked feather--particularly the forked feather of a Bluejay, which is very lucky.

But the luckiest feather in the world, and the luckiest thing in the world, is a feather from O-lel'-le. O-lel'-le is a bird about the size of a Flicker, but no one ever had a good look at him. He lives in cold springs, down deep under the water, and sometimes makes the water bubble, and sometimes makes it muddy. He comes to the spring just at dark and dives down without stopping on top. In the morning just at daylight he comes up and jumps out of the water and flies away quickly, so it is very hard to see him.

Sometimes, once in a great while, a person finds one of O-lel'-le's feathers at the spring. This makes the strongest Wep'-pah in the world, and the person who finds it wears it on a string around his neck as long as he lives and always has good luck.

Next: Soo-koo'-me The Great Horned Owl