Monday, January 7, 2008

from Jaime D'Angelo's "Indian Tales"

Here is an excerpt, much abbreviated from a story 16 pages long in the book, about how Weasel burned the world. He was in a rage because someone stole his beads, and he started a fire.

"Then, they say, the whole world caught fire. It was burning, burning everywhere, up the canyons and down the slopes and over the flats. For days and nights it burned. At last Coyote Old Man thought, 'I ought to stop that fire. where's my rain sack?' "

So Coyote Old Man caused a deluge which put out the fire, but also caused flooding and mud and darkness everywhere. In the aftermath he meets up with another survivor, his grandson Hawk Chief.

"In those days the world was dark, there was no fire, and Hawk Chief didn't like it. He grumbled, 'Why is there no fire and no sun? Grandfather, why don't we have fire?' 'Well, everything is destroyed, nothing left. You are just a boy, you don't understand the destruction of the world.' 'Oh, you could get them for us if you wanted to.' 'How can I?' 'Oh, you could if you wanted to.' 'All right, I'll go look for the fire.' "

Then, after some adventures:

"The fire blazed up and Hawk Chief was glad. Coyote and his grandson the Hawk now had fire but it was dark all over the land. Hawk Chief began to grumble again. 'Grandfather, why haven't we a sun? I want sunlight, I want sunlight!' 'Yes, yes, I hear you, nut how can I get it?!!' 'Oh, you know -- you know everything, Grandfather, and how it used to be before the destruction of the world. You can get the sun if you want to.' 'All right, all right, I'll go and see your cousins, the Doves. Maybe they can help us.' "

After more adventures, the sun jumped up into the sky.

"Now they had fire, and the sun shone over the world, but still Hawk Chief was not satisfied. He wandered around, grumbling. 'WHAT'S the matter now?' asked his grandfather, the Coyote.
'Grandfather, WHY AREN'T THERE people? I want the world to have people.' This time Coyote Old Man got mad. 'All right,' he said, 'and then WE will have to go away.' "

After much difficulty in making people:

"Hawk Chief wanted to stay, but the old man said, 'Well, you wanted PEOPLE, didn't you? Now we have to go away. COME ALONG.' That's the way they went. They went away. They went west, beyond the ocean." (to the land of the dead)

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