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Yana Texts, by Edward Sapir, [1910], at


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Many were the people that lived together with Bluejay. He had a sweat-house and used to kill deer. Bluejay had as wife Wildcat Woman. Wildcat Woman became pregnant while Bluejay was killing deer. Bluejay had good luck as hunter and had deer meat hanging around all over to dry. It rained and it snowed. The woman gave birth to a child, gave birth to it inside the sweat-house. Bluejay did not see her as she gave birth to her child. Wildcat Woman washed her boy. Bluejay came back home. "I have a baby," said Wildcat Woman, speaking to Bluejay. "Indeed!" he said, speaking only a little. He spoke very slowly as he answered her. During the night she washed her boy, and when it was daylight Bluejay stood outside the sweat-house. He shouted around to his people, waking them up. "Get up, all of you!" His voice was heard in the east, his voice was heard in the west. "Flake your flints! Warm up your bows over the fire! Let us look for deer."

The people did so, they arose while it was not yet day. The people went off to go to hunt deer. "I shall walk around beside you. My wife has given me a baby." 101 The people went off, those people now hunted deer. But Bluejay did not hunt deer; he just walked around with them. When it was dark Bluejay returned home and sat down where he was always accustomed to sit. Bluejay had one boy. When he had been growing two days (Bluejay said to his wife,) "Give the boy to me." Wildcat Woman gave it to him in his arms and Bluejay fondled him. "He is very pretty, our boy is very pretty," and he played with his child. Young Bluejay grew older and the young man came to look just like his father.

Young Bluejay played on the side of a smooth hill south of the house, throwing a ball up hill and watching it roll down. In

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the morning again Bluejay went outside the house and shouted to his people, "Wake up, all of you! Hunt for deer!" The people did so, waking up. They went off, went to hunt deer. Bluejay came home when it was dark. "Again I am pregnant," said Wildcat Woman, speaking to Bluejay. Bluejay laughed when his wife said that. When it was daybreak again, Bluejay went off, went to the east. He did not hunt deer, but merely walked around with the men.101 His wife gave birth to another child. She gave birth to it on the north side of the house; Bluejay lay on the south side of the house. Bluejay arrived home. Again she had a baby, and she said to Bluejay, "I have given birth to a child." "Indeed! It is good," (he said), and the woman washed it in the night-time. In the morning Bluejay did not go away. He said, "Give him to me." Young Bluejay was playing outside. He was playing ball on the hillside, making balls out of buckeyes. When it was full day, she put her child in Bluejay's arms. He took his child in his arms and looked into the baby's eyes.

Snow was falling outside. Bluejay was angry. "I do not like your child," he said to his wife. He handed it back to her and she took her baby back to herself. "This is not my child. Another man has given you that child." The woman cried as Bluejay told her that. "Go outside!" said Bluejay to the woman. "Stay outside! I do not like to have you stay in the sweat-house. Take the baby outside with you!" But the woman did not go out. Bluejay arose and said, "Give me your child." He snatched his boy away from her and threw him out of the smoke-hole towards the north, while the woman wept, cried for her child. "That child does not belong to me. His eyes are big, he is big-eyed. Look at his hands! They are not like my hands," said Bluejay, speaking, to the woman. "Your child has no crest on his head, he hasn't it." Bluejay would not recognize him as his child. "That one outside is my child. He has a crest like me." 102 The woman went outside after her child and

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came back into the sweat-house, holding it in her arms. Again Bluejay snatched it away from her, and again he threw it out of the smoke-hole to the north. "Go out! go out! go out!" The woman took her child up into her arms again, but did not come back into the house. Weeping, she stayed outside, and built a bark house for herself.

After a while young Wildcat ran around. (Young Bluejay asked his mother,) "Why are you staying here outside, mother?" "He has driven me out of the house." "Mother, I am going to play on a hill a short distance from here to the south. I shall take this one along with me." "Take him along, take him along. Play with him, play with him." They now went off and proceeded to play. They played all day on the side of a hill to the south. Now they went to the west, playing. Young Wildcat was now grown up. Young Bluejay sat down on a rock and looked around, thinking to himself, "M‘! m‘!" Young Bluejay said within his heart, "You have thrown my brother out of the house, father." He arose and walked west all day. They walked till they came to Wī'tc‘uman?na. 103 They played, swimming in the water. "You will not see me again, father!" (young Bluejay said to himself). Wildcat called for her children. They did not come. The woman ran about looking for them, but she did not find her children. Bluejay likewise looked for them. Then Bluejay wept and put dirt on his face. "Wai!" said Bluejay, "come back, my son. Where can you have gone to?" Young Bluejay and young Wildcat kept going west, walked until they reached Djitc‘it?t‘p‘ā'maana. 104 Young Bluejay sat down, while they in the east were weeping. Young Bluejay arose and walked as far as Tc!ī'yu, 105 where they sat down.

Silkworm 106 was living all alone at Tc!ī'yu. "Let us go to our uncle and rest there," he said, speaking to young Wildcat.

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[paragraph continues] "I wish that there may come to me two bows and many arrows. I wish that there may come to me an otter-skin quiver full of arrows." So it happened; the bows and arrows came to him. Now they started in to shoot, shooting their arrows in rivalry. Both of them shot with great strength. Young Bluejay shot and sent his arrow to a great distance to the south. "Now you shoot!" said young Bluejay, and young Wildcat shot his arrow, sending it off to a great distance. "It is good now," said young Bluejay. Young Bluejay slung his otter-skin quiver over his shoulder, and young Wildcat did likewise. Now, when it was dark, they walked on to the west. They looked into Silkworm's house; young Bluejay entered. He had his javelin sticking in the ground where he was accustomed to sit. Silkworm looked outside and said, "Hê!" as he put out his hand for his javelin. "Who are you two?" "It is I, uncle." "You call me uncle, do you? Well!" said Silkworm, "come in and sit down." The two of them sat down. "Whence do you come?" "We come from Ba'n?xa." 107 "Indeed!" "My father threw this brother of mine here out of the house, because he thought he was another man's child." "Indeed!" said the old man. "Whither are you going?" "I intend to go to see the New Moon Chief of the West." The New Moon Chief of the West dwelt to the west on this side of the Sacramento river. "I intend to woo his daughter. I should like to have his daughter." "Indeed!" said Silkworm. "Hehe'?! That's a bad place. Many are the people whom he has killed. People go to woo his daughter, and he kills them." He had many children and people that belonged to him. "How is it that he kills people?" "He fills a pipe with the bones of dead people, he makes tobacco out of the bones of dead people. He fills his pipe with the brains of dead people," said Silkworm. "First he smokes away at his pipe; then he offers his pipe to the people. The people smoke; they who have come to woo his daughter smoke and drop back dead. Then New Moon Chief throws out to the north those whom he has caused to die. Many are the people that have died in that way."

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Young Bluejay listened to him. "Well," (he said,) "let us go to see him." "I shall go along with you, my nephews," said Silkworm. Now they went to the west, walked down the small hills toward the west. Two women were sitting on the east side of the sweat-house. Bluejay tied his hair up round into a topknot, he wrapped his hair around. "Let me sit down there in your hair," said Silkworm, and Bluejay seated him there in his hair. "I shall look down from your right side," said Silkworm. "When you enter the house, do thus. Set your back to him as you sit down," thus said Silkworm, he himself talking. Now, when it was dark, they all entered the sweat-house and sat down with the women. New Moon Chief turned to look, looked across the sweat-house to the east. "What sort of person is that yonder?" (he said to his daughter). "I do not know. He is a stranger." "Give me the pipe. I shall fill it." He rolled his tobacco in his hands, and filled his pipe. Now New Moon Chief finished smoking. "There! Give it to my son-in-law. Let my son-in-law smoke." The woman took the pipe and said to Young Bluejay: "Take it." Now Bluejay smoked. It was not really Bluejay that smoked, it was Silkworm that smoked the dead people's bones. He shook the ashes out of his pipe and handed it back to him. Again he filled the pipe. "What has he been doing, that he does not perish?" said New Moon within his heart. Again New Moon filled his pipe (and said to his daughter), "There! Give it to my son-in-law. Let my son-in-law smoke." Young Bluejay smoked. New Moon looked across the sweat-house to the east (and said to himself), "What can he have been doing, that he does not perish?" Truly it was Silkworm there that was smoking, only it looked as though young Bluejay was smoking. Young Wildcat alone did not smoke. Now New Moon became frightened, for Bluejay did not perish. He stopped filling his pipe.

In the middle of the night Bluejay unwrapped his hair and took Silkworm there out of his hair. He put him over to the north side, close to the ladder 108 of the sweat-house. Silkworm

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slept. He wrapped himself about with a blanket while he slept at the ladder, so that New Moon did not see Silkworm, In the morning the woman said (to Bluejay), "We are without fresh meat. We have not been eating deer meat." "Indeed!" said Bluejay. "Give me a basket-pan." He had put a big round lump of deer fat in his quiver. He cut the deer fat into slices and put some into the basket-pan. He gave it to New Moon. "Give me another basket-pan," (said Bluejay). It was given to him. He sliced off some pieces of deer fat and again gave them to her. She put it over to the west side. "Give me another basket-pan," said Bluejay. He spoke to the deer fat, "Do not become less. Remain always big." At last there was no more deer fat left.

"Go over, now, across the river to the east," said the Yā'?wi 109people. "The people over on the east side talk as if they had a good time. One does not often hear people talking over there. Someone must have come to woo his daughter, that is why they are happy." One man went across the river to the east. He arrived on the east side and saw, this one young man, young Bluejay and Wildcat. "Heh!" said New Moon, "what are you looking in for? Do you think that I am dead?" The Yā'?wi man hastened back home; he returned, crossing the river to the west. "A suitor has come," he said to the Yā'?wi People. Many were the Yā'?wi people on the west side. "Did you see him?" said the Yā'?wi. "Yes." "Who is it?" "A Tc‘unô'yā." 109 "Indeed!" All the Yā'?wi people were angry. Fish Hawk Chief, Crane Chief, the Yā'?wi chief, Heron Chief, Salmon Trout, the Yā'?wi chief, and Big Acorn Pestle,--that many were chiefs. "What are we going to do?" said the Yā'?wi people. "Let us catch salmon." Now they started in to get salmon, speared for salmon in the river. "Hasten across the river to the east. Go and tell the people of New Moon." Some one hastened to go to tell him. "They are fishing for salmon. Fish Hawk has sent for you people to come." "Indeed!" said the New Moon people assembled together.

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New Moon's people shot and speared salmon, but the others seized them and carried them over to their side, to the west; Fish Hawk's people pulled the salmon across to, the west, not letting them have them. "Where are they?" taunted the Yā'?wi people, "where are our friends from the east?" "Do not you two go off!" said the woman to Bluejay (and Wildcat). "Do you stay right here at home!" "We are tired," said Bluejay. "Let us go and see how the people are spearing salmon. Let us go off after them." They did so, he and young Wildcat went off after them. They stood by the river. The Yā'?wi looked across the river to the east and said, "Hehê! Here are our friends from the east." The (New Moon people) were not catching any salmon, the Yā'?wi alone had many salmon. "Give me one," said Bluejay to his brothers-in-law. "Give me a salmon-spear pole. I am going to spear salmon." He was given a pole. Fish Hawk kept on doing thus, spearing salmon. There was a big salmon right in the middle of the river. Bluejay shot at the salmon and speared it, also Fish Hawk speared that same salmon. Fish Hawk pulled the salmon across to the west with strength, also Bluejay pulled the salmon across to the east with strength. Bluejay jerked the salmon over to the east side together with Fish Hawk's pole, he pulled it right out of his hand. The New Moon people and Bluejay went off home. Young Bluejay went off, carrying the salmon on his back, while the Yā'?wi said, "Hê! The man from the east has beaten us."

"What shall we do?" said Fish Hawk. "Let us get fish with a seine net. Let us fish with a net. Go and tell New Moon, 'Let us fish with a net for the day!'" Some one hastened across the river to the east (and said), "He sends for you to come." "Indeed!" said New Moon. New Moon with great numbers of his people went off. "Now!" said Fish Hawk, and they swam into the water to fish with seine nets. They placed a water grizzly down on the bottom of the river. "Catch hold of Bluejay," said the Yā'?wi people to this water grizzly here. Now the water grizzly stayed there in the water., deep down. "Ha!" Bluejay swain in the river, swam southwards in the water with the seine net. But the salmon did not swim into the net, for

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they themselves had swum to the south in the water. There were ten people--five were Yā'?wi, five were New Moon people. Suddenly Bluejay was dragged down into the water, the water grizzly had caught hold of him. Bluejay did not come up again from the water. All the other people came out of the river, no longer fished with their seine nets. The Yā'?wi people shouted as Bluejay was pulled down by the water grizzly. The New Moon people all wept for him and went off home to cry, "My brother-in-law is dead, as he has been pulled down by a water grizzly," (they said), while the Yā'?wi people shouted for joy and clapped their hands.

Bluejay spoke to the water grizzly, "It's I, uncle." "Indeed!" said the water grizzly, "so it's you, is it? Take off my skin." He did so, took off the water grizzly's skin. The water grizzly did not kill Bluejay. "Take my hide home with you. Go off back home," said the water grizzly to Bluejay. "Pray hang up this hide of mine outside the sweat-house. "Then Blue-jay went back home from out of the water, and, when he had arrived home, he hung up the water grizzly's hide. Young Wildcat was speaking, "Keep still, all of you! Do not weep!" he was saying to the New Moon people. "I do not think that Bluejay is dead, he will soon come back home." They wept no more, ceased to cry. "Well," said the Yā'?wi, "they have stopped crying. Do one of you go over now across the river to the east. Go and see!" said the Yā'?wi. One Yā'?wi hastened across the river to the east in order to see. The water grizzly's hide was hanging outside. The Yā'?wi hastened back home, having seen the water grizzly's bide. Then he told the news to the Yā'?wi, "The water grizzly has been killed, Bluejay has come back home." Then the Yā'?wi people wept, wept for the water grizzly.

"What shall we do?" said the Yā'?wi. "Let us hunt deer and let us make a rattlesnake. Go to tell the New Moon people." They did so, went across the Sacramento river to the west to hunt deer. A rattlesnake was put down on the trail, and the Yā'?wi people proceeded north to hunt deer. "Where are those eastern men?" (said they to New Moon). "They must be back there somewheres, coming from the south," said the New Moon

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people to the Yā'?wi. They two were indeed coming from the south on the trail. (The Yā'?wi) had placed a rattlesnake down on the trail, it was coiled around a bush. Bluejay stepped on the rattlesnake. The rattlesnake jumped up and wound himself about his legs, encircling him completely. Bluejay trampled upon him with his feet, kept stamping on the rattlesnake, and cut him all to pieces. He killed the rattlesnake. The Yā'?wi people wept again (when they saw) that the rattlesnake had been killed. Bluejay went off home. In the morning he started off to go back and said to his wife, "Tell the New Moon people that I am going back home. I am tired now of this place. Come along with us if you like," he said to his wife. "He is about to go off home," she said to New Moon, her father. "Indeed! He is right, he is right." In the morning he went back home with his wife. He went back going east, went east till he arrived at Djitc‘it?t‘p‘ā'mauna, went back till he arrived at Wī'tc‘uman?na. "Get nearer, land! Do not be far off!" he said. He went back till he arrived at Ha'up!uk!aina. 110 Now he arrived back home to where his father and mother were.


50:100 This myth is one of the suitor tales characteristic of northern California. It is a variant of Curtin's "Dream of Juiwaiyu and his Journey to Damhauja's Country" (op. cit.), pp. 425-42. Damhauja is da'mhaudju, Jupka corresponds to dju'ga (garī'?i dju'kga). Though k‘ê'tc!iwāla "Bluejay" appears (as Kechowala) in Curtin's version, his place as hero is taken by Juiwaiyu.

66:101 For a period before and after childbirth hunting and fishing were tabooed to the husband. Cf. no. XVII.

67:102 We are not to understand that Wildcat Woman had really been guilty of infidelity to her husband. Her first child took after its father, her second after herself; Bluejay failed to see the point. Sam Bat‘wī used the incident to point a moral in regard to marriages between people of different races.

68:103 An Indian village on South fork of Cow creek (called Sa'ldu Cow creek, i.e., "white man's Cow creek," by Indians), at a distance of about five miles east of Millville, probably near the present hamlet of Clough. It was formerly the site of a salt marsh.

68:104 An Indian village on Bear creek, south of Cow creek.

68:105 A bare, rocky spot between the mouth of Bear creek, which flows into the Sacramento, and what is now Ball's Ferry.

68:106 The wild silkworm, feeding on poison oak.

69:107 An Indian village situated on a high hill between North Fork of Cow creek ("old Cow creek") and South Fork of Cow creek ("Sa'ldu Cow creek"). It is about twenty miles east of Millville on the so-called Tamarack road.

70:108 To sleep at the foot of the ladder near the fire was a sign of low station. wa‘t‘a'urisi, "he sits at the foot of the ladder," means "he is an illegitimate child."

71:109 Yā'?wi is now used as a general term for Wintun Indians, Tc‘unô'yā is "easterner," more specifically Hat Creek Indian (the Hat Creek Indians occupied Hat Creek and Burney valleys immediately to the east of the Yana.

74:110 A spot with many high rocks on South Fork of Cow creek, above Wī'tc‘uman?na.

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