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


p. 187

"She is pregnant. Wait by my wife. She will be sick. She tells me, 'Go and bring my mother!' She is always sick in the night, and I am afraid. I shall not go about, I shall always stay at home. 'You shall not go about,' she says to me. She eats too much, perhaps her child will grow too fast." "Yes!" (said her mother). "It seems she never listens to what I tell her. Whenever she goes out of the house, I say, 'Do not look back when you go outside. Your child will imitate that. Do not eat too much. Your child might grow too quickly.'" She cried when she was told that. "You should not tell me that. I do not feel any pain in my back."

Now she said, "I am sick." Four days elapsed, and the medicine-man was sent for. (Her mother said,) "I can do no more. I am tired out now and good for nothing. You always greatly doubt what I say. You girls do not know anything. Being old, I give advice. It is I that always speak about that.

p. 188

[paragraph continues] Would that she took my advice to herself!" Now the medicine-man came. "What, pray, shall I do to her? I do not know what to do (in such cases)." She was very dry. "Hehe'?! What shall we do with her? Do you (women) press upon her belly! 292 I am always afraid, carefully I give counsel." "Please give me some water to drink!" (said the pregnant girl).

"Let me see! Give her supporting sticks as a seat, and she shall get up. Go clear around the house!" "Alas! I shall die," she said. "Step out, do not be worried. You never take my advice to yourself. I know what I say, that is why I tell it to you." Twice she ran around her house. Now a fox gives a bad omen, a fox talks before daybreak, and she sat down again on the supporting sticks.

"Oh! What have I done to you?" (said her mother). The husband wept in the woods. (Her mother said to him,) "Now! Go up on the mountain! 293 Build a fire, break off spruce twigs and put them down, and get pine needles!" Now he was building a fire. He flew about busily at his work, his heart being very joyful (with hope). Yonder is he, who has gone far off building the fire. He came back at midnight. "How did she get along?" "She is about to die," (said her mother). "Her mouth is all dry." Suddenly she died.


188:292 A woman in confinement did not lie down, but was always seated, while one of the women in attendance sat behind her, gently pressing upon her belly in order to hasten the delivery.

188:293 Round Mountain (Djīga'lmadu) is meant.

Next: XVIII. Death and Burial