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(Elko, Nevada. Shoshoni)

At one time there were no pine nuts in this country. All the pine nuts were up north, where Crane kept them on a high pole.

One day Crow, Coyote, Frog, Snake, Mouse, and all the other animals and birds were lying on a hill, looking down at some boys who were playing a game. Suddenly a puff of wind blew from the north and they could smell pine nuts cooking. They asked each other what the smell was. Coyote said, "It is pine nuts cooking." Crow said, "We will go up north and get them."

All the people started from somewhere south of Beowawee and traveled toward the north. They went past Owyhee and could smell the pine nuts in the north. On their way, they planned how they would get them. They traveled and traveled, many days. Some of the people got tired and stopped. Frog, Rattlesnake, and several others opt tired and could not go any farther. But the long-legged persons kept on going toward the north into what is now Idaho.

When Crow and the others got to Crane's place, where the pine nuts were, they suggested that everybody have a round dance. They all began to dance; they danced all night, until sunup. The girls at

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[paragraph continues] Crane's place talked about the different men. They said, "Look at Coyote. He is a bad man. He is ugly. Look at Skunk." They turned Skunk over and said, "He is a pretty boy. White Mouse and White Weasel are pretty boys, too." Everybody did the round dance. After while they stopped to eat. When they did this, Weasel and Mouse went away to hide; they went to sleep.

When morning came, all the people played the hand game. They played for bows and arrows, feathers, and other things. They played all day. Weasel and Mouse did not join the game because they were sleeping.

That night all the people did the round dance again. Mouse and Weasel came to the dance, but, after the people had eaten, went away to sleep. Everyone danced the round dance for 5 nights and played the hand game every day. By the time it was all over, they all went to sleep.

An old woman had been guarding the pine nuts. Mouse and Weasel tried to get the nuts, but they were tied on the top of a high pole and could not be reached. They took two woodpecker beaks, tied them together, and shot them at the pine nuts. All the pine nuts fell down. Crow and his people took the pine nuts and ran toward the south. When this happened, the old woman hollered, clapping her hand over her mouth. Crane woke up, and told his people to chase the thieves. They could see them running in the distance.

Crow saw that Crane and his people were pursuing them. A small bird among Crow's men tried to carry the nuts, but they were too heavy for him. Crane's people overtook Crow's people and killed them. Only Crow and Coyote remained. Coyote took some of the nuts. While he ran, he chewed them up and spit them out everywhere. Pine nut trees grew up wherever he spit. Crow also took some and put them in his leg. Then he sat down on the saddle of a hill. Crane saw Crow put the pine nuts under his arm and in his leg, and, when he came up to Crow, kicked and killed him. When he kicked Crow, the nuts were scattered all over the mountains. Then Crane looked and saw that the mountains were all black with smoke from places where the people were roasting pine nuts. 4

Crane took his two children to a place where there was smoke, hoping to get some pine nuts to eat. It was Crow's mother's camp. When she saw Crane coming, she said, "I will give Crane all the wormy ones." When Crane came up to her, she said, "I will open some good, fresh pine nuts for you." She opened one and it was full of worms; the next one had worms too. She opened one after another and they all had worms.

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Crane gave up trying to get pine nuts and said, "I will go down by the river and stay there." When Crane flew away, Crow's mother tried to strike him, but only knocked off his tail. That is why cranes have short tails.

Kaŋgwüsi gweak: 5 (Woodrat's tail, pulled off).


258:3 They evidently made one long, composite beak.

259:4 B. G. believes that because of Crow's part in procuring pine nuts, crows should not be killed today.

260:5 The conventional myth ending, meaning, in effect, "It is finished."

Next: The Theft of Pine Nuts (Winnemucca, Nevada. Northern Paiute)