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In the reign of Coyote, folkflore from the Pacific coast online

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




-




Oi*i

m * -



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k




In the center sat Coyote "



IN THE

REIGN OF COYOTE

FOLKLORE FROM THE PACIFIC COAST




BY

KATHERINE CHANDLER

AUTHOR OF "HABITS OF CALIFORNIA PLANTS" AND "THE BIRD-
WOMAN OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION 1 '



DRAWINGS BY

J. W. FERGUSON KENNEDY



GINN & COMPANY

BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO LONDON



COPYRIGHT, 1905 BY
KATHERINE CHANDLER



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



55-7



Cfte atfttnaum

(1IXN & COMPANY PRO-
PRIETORS BOSTON U.S.A.



TO MY BROTHER
ALBERT E. CHANDLER

WHOSE STEADFAST SYMPATHY HAS MADE POSSIBLE
THIS COLLECTION OF FOLKLORE



545065



PREFACE

Some of the tales contained in this book have
already been published in the San Francisco Chron-
icle, Los Angeles Times, Sunset, Popular Educator,
Children's World, and Good Housekeeping.

The stories from Lower California, as related by
Tecla, were told to me by Mrs. Jules Simoneau
of Monterey, California, who is an Indian from
Mazatlan. The sources of those chapters contain-
ing stories of Alta California are as follows: "Old
Deer and Old Grizzly," Albert Samuel Gatschet
in The United States Geographical and Geological
Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region Contribu-
tions to North American Ethnology, II, Part I, 1 18 ;
"Why the Coyote is so Cunning," Stephen Powers,
III, 35; "How the Animals secured Fire," 38;
"Coyote's Ride on a Star," 39 ; " How the Animals
secured Light," 182; "Why the Bat is Blind,"
343 ; "The Creation of Man," 358 ; "The Creation
of the World," 273, and J. Owen Dorsey in The
American Anthropologist, II, 38; "The Story of
the Pleiades," Alexander S. Taylor in The Califor-
nia Farmer, " Indianology of California," January



Vlll



PREFACE



1 8, 1 86 1. The Oregon country represented by
Klayukat's tales is meant to include the vast un-
bounded territory known by that name previous to
1848. The material for the stories was garnered
from the following books : " How the Animals got
their Colors," Franz Boas, Bureau of American
Ethnology : Kathlamet Texts, Bulletin 26, 39 ;
" Why there is only One Southwest Wind," 67 ;
"The Robin and the Salmon Berry," 118 ; "Why
the Owl eats only Small Creatures," The Pacific
Northwest Oregon and Washington, 2 vols., com-
piled and published by the Northwest Pacific His-
tory Company, Portland, Oregon, 1889, II, 66;
" The Subjugation of the Thunderbird," 67 ;
" How the Animals secured Salmon," 68 ; " Why
the Tick is now Small," 69 ; " The Frog in the
Moon," 70 ; "Why the Sun travels regularly," 70;
"Why the Mosquito hates Smoke," 74 ; "Why the
Snakes change their Skins," 76 ; "Why the Dead
do not come back," 80.

While the essentials of the stories have been
retained, the narratives have been elaborated and
modified.

The setting of three Indians from different tribes
on the same Californian ranch is historically true.
Indian servants from Mexico and Lower California
accompanied the pioneers northward ; the California



PREFACE ix

Indians who were taught trades at the Missions
often drifted into the service of the families ; and
the records of San Carlos Mission show that on
November 14, 1791, seventeen natives of "Puerto
de San Lorenzo de Nutka en el Estrechos de San
Juan de Fuca " were baptized into the Holy Catholic
Church at that Mission.

I am indebted to Miss Harriet Hawley of New
York for criticism both of the spirit and the tech-
nique of these stories, and to my sister, Mabel G.
Chandler, for assistance in correction.



KATHERINE CHANDLER



SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
May, 1905




CONTENT5




THE FROG AND THE COYOTE 3

i3| THE CREATION OF THE WORLD 7

A How THE ANIMALS SECURED LIGHT 14

Q THE BIG FROG AND THE LITTLE FROGS .... 21

A How THE ANIMALS SECURED FIRE 24

j6 THE ANT AND THE SNOW 31

fo THE CRICKET AND THE COUGAR 34

O WHY THE MOSQUITO HATES SMOKE 38

WHY THE SNAKES CHANGE THEIR SKINS .... 43

WHY THERE IS ONLY ONE SOUTHWEST WlND . . 47

THE Fox AND THE COYOTE 56

THE FROG IN THE MOON 59

How THE ANIMALS GOT THEIR COLORS .... 63

THE RACCOON AND THE MAN-OF-TAR 70

OLD DEER AND OLD GRIZZLY 76



xii CONTENTS



PAGE

" THE ROBIN AND THE SALMON BERRY 85

How THE ANIMALS SECURED SALMON 95

WHY THE TICK is NOW SMALL 100

WHY THE SUN TRAVELS REGULARLY 105

THE SUBJUGATION OF THE THUNDERBIRD . . . .109

/\ WHY THE BAT is BLIND 114

WHY THE OWL EATS ONLY SMALL CREATURES. . 118
WHY THE DEAD DO NOT COME BACK 125

A COYOTE'S RIDE ON A STAR 132

Pt THE CREATION OF MAN 136

WHY THE COYOTE is so CUNNING 142

A THE STORY OF THE PLEIADES 148



GLOSSARY OF CALIFORNIA TERMS 157

INDEX 159




IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE





THE FROG AND THE COYOTE

HEN Dona Juanita was a tiny girl like
you, Mabel, and Don Antonio was a
little boy like you, Joe, they lived on
a large ranch across the bay from San
Francisco. They had no school to
"3 attend, and they saw other white children
only at Christmas, or Easter, or Saint
Francis' Day, or some other such great feast time.
They had their lessons, of course, book lessons,
which were not long enough to weary them ; riding
lessons, which carried them over the hills many
hours a day ; and music lessons, which consisted
in practicing guitar and violin accompaniments to
the sweet old Spanish songs. In addition, Juanita
was taught all kinds of needlework, from plain hem-
ming to the finest embroidery. As for amusements,
they played dancing games with each other and with
the children of the Indian servants, and they listened

3



IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE



to the stories that Tecla, their nurse, old Klayukat,
the saddler, and Wantasson, the blacksmith, de-
lighted to tell.

There was a rivalry among these three story-
tellers, for they came from different tribes, and the
legends of their people were not the same.

Tecla was from Baja, or Lower, California, where
Juanita and Antonio's mother had once lived. Old
Klayukatjs tribal home was to the far north, at Puget
Sound. He had been brought down by a king's
vessel and given into the charge of the padres at
the mission of San Francisco d'Assisi. There he
had become a Christian and had been taught the
saddler's trade. He had been employed by the chil-
dren's grandfather ever since their father was a little
boy. Wantasson was from Alta California, which
is the California that now belongs to the United

~~ J _^

States. Before he had become Christianized at the
mission, he had wandered about and so knew stories
from the different tribes of the country.

To Juanita and Antonio it mattered little from
what places the stories came, whether from the
northern Oregon Country, Baja California, or their
own Alta California. All the tales were fascinating
to them, and they were always eager to do any
favor for Wantasson, Klayukat, or Tecla in the
hope of winning a story in return.



THE FROG AND THE COYOTE 5

One hot day the children and Tecla were lying
under the big oak tree by the spring, when they
saw a small green frog hop among the little yellow
water flowers which we call "brass buttons."

" Did I ever tell you the story of the frog and
the coyote ? " asked Tecla.

" Oh, no ; please tell it now" ; and Juanita clapped
her hands.

" Do tell it, my good Tecla," added Antonio.
(Spanish Californian children were trained to be
always polite to their elders, no matter what social
position these occupied.)

" Well, sit still, thou restless Nita, and I will
tell it as my godfather told it to me."



One day the coyote found a frog in the road,
and said, " Now, I shall eat you up."

The frog replied : " Oh, don't eat me to-day,
Brother Coyote. Let us run a race to-morrow,
and if you win, then you may eat me."

The coyote said, "All right."

Then the frog went to see his frog friends, and
said, " I am going to run a race with the coyote
to-morrow, from the spring to the elder tree and
back, and if he wins, he is to eat me."

" Ha, ha ! Of course he will win," laughed his
friends.



IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE



" Not if you will help me, as friends should," said
the frog. " One of you go to the turning stake and,
when you see the coyote coming, give three jumps
to show him that you are ahead. I will stay near the
home stake and jump in ahead of him when he is
coming back. " The frog's friends agreed to help him.

The next day the coyote came to run the race.
The frog was there, and at the appointed time they
both started, but the frog gave only three jumps
and then lay down on the grass to rest. The
coyote ran very fast ; and, as he did not see the
frog, he thought him far behind. As he neared
the turning post, he saw the frog jump three
times in front of him.

" Oh, this is strange," said the coyote; " I did not
see you pass me. But I will beat you home."

He ran as fast as he could, but when he came in
sight of the home stake, there was the frog making
the three last jumps.

Then the coyote ran away in disgust;



"The frog was not a gentleman," commented
Antonio, "for he was acting a lie."

"Your Senora Madre calls," said Tecla ; "we
must go to her. God willing, to-morrow I will
tell you about another frog, and he was not a
gentleman either."





THE CREATION OF THE
WORLD

IATER that afternoon Antonio wan-
dered to the blacksmith's shop. Wan-
tasson was hammering a wheel tire into shape.

"Well, young Antonio, have you minded the
heat this day?" he inquired, as he wiped his
forehead with his sleeve.

" Oh, no, Wantasson ; we have been down by
the spring where it is always cool. And Tecla
told us a new story. It was about the frog that
raced with the coyote and won the race by acting
a lie."

" Ugh ! That woman Tecla does not get her
stories straight. How could a frog lie to Coyote ?
Coyote would know it. Why, Coyote is the most

7



8 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

cunning of all the animals. And all the other
animals know it. If it had n't been for Coyote
there would n't be any other animals, or any world,
or any you, or any me, or any Tecla to tell such
false stories. Now would there, young Antonio ? "

"Wouldn't there be anything without Coyote,
Wantasson ? "

" No, nothing ; not even that sunflower against
the fence. You know Coyote made the world,
don't you ? "

" Coyote ? " Into Antonio's mind flashed the
words he had learned in his catechism, " God made
the world" ; but his desire for the story brushed
them aside for the mement. "Will you tell me
how he made it, Wantasson ? "

" Yes. Wait until I put this tire to cool ; then
I will rest awhile and tell it to you."

Antonio made a trumpet of his hands and
shouted: "Nita, Nita, come here. Wantasson
will tell us a story."

Juanita came hurrying, and soon the children
were sitting in the shadow in front of the smithy,
listening to Wantasson's story.



In the beginning of things it was all dark and
still. There was no wind and neither was there
any rain. There was no world as we see it to-day.



THE CREATION OF THE WORLD 9

All was water except for one little point of rock.
On this rock lived Coyote and Eagle, and they
were the only living things in the world.

Coyote lay on the rock thinking. After a long
time he said to Eagle, " Sister Eagle, go to the edge
of the rock and watch to see if anything happens."

In a little while Eagle called out, "O Brother
Coyote, far to the north I see a tree rising out of
the water."

"Very good," answered Coyote. "That tree
shall be the ash, and all people shall esteem it for
all time. Watch again, Sister Eagle, and see
what now happens."

After a time Eagle again raised her voice.
" Look to the south, Brother Coyote. There is
another tree peeping up out of the water."

"Very good," answered Coyote. "That tree
shall be the cedar. Throughout all ages all peo-
ple shall delight in its breath. Watch again,
Sister Eagle, and see what next appears."

Presently Eagle announced: " Look to the south-
west, Brother Coyote. Something strange and red
comes out of the water there."

" Ah ! " exclaimed Coyote, " that must be land."
He rose to his feet and gazed toward the southwest.

A red mass was slowly approaching the place
where he stood. It floated up until it touched



10 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

the point of rock. It was land, but it was shaking
like a jellyfislT>Coyote pressed it with his paws
to steady it. When it had become solid and still,
he looked* over it.

"This is not enough land," he muttered; "we
must have more."

He picked up three pieces of rock and two
clumps of earth. He threw one piece of rock
and then listened as it sank down, down into the
depths of the water. He threw a second piece
of roqk and again listened as it went down, down
through the water and struck the first rock lying
at the bottom.

"Very good," he laughed. "Now, third rock,
go and rest upon the other two."

He threw the third rock and listened as it sank
down, down through the water and settled on top
of the second rock. Then he threw in the two
clumps of earth, one at a time, and when the last
struck the water, land appeared at the surface.
Then the water began to dash in great waves and
to embrace the land and to withdraw from it.

" Very good," said Coyote. " Thus shall the
water always act, and people for all time shall
call its movements the tides." That is why we
have tides to-day, because Coyote said it should
be so.



THE CREATION OF THE WORLD I i

Coyote looked over the land and saw great
dents on its surface. "Those do not please me,"
he said. "They mean sickness. Water, come
up and cover over the land again."

The water swirled and hurled itself all over the
land. Then Coyote blew softly, saying the while,
"Land, come up again."

The land returned. It still had great dents on
its surface. "What! still sickness!" exclaimed
Coyote. " This must not be. Water, cover over
the land again."

Again the water swirled and whirled and covered
the land. Once more Coyote blew softly on it
and said, " Land, come up again."

The land reappeared, but again its surface had
dents upon it. " Sickness yet ! " and Coyote be-
came angry. " Sickness shall not remain upon
the land. Water, cover over the land again."

The water did as it was bidden, but when Coyote
called up the land again, its surface was dented as
before. He ordered it under water once more ; but
for the fifth time it remained unchanged.

Then, indeed, Coyote's anger was great. " I
will try no more," he cried. "As the land has
chosen sickness, sickness it shall have for all time."
That is why we have sickness to-day, because
Coyote said it should be so.



12 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

When Eagle looked over the land and saw that
it was flat, she said, " There is no place for me to
perch."

"That is easily changed," replied Coyote; and
he rounded up some little hills.

" Huh ! those are only footstools," objected
Eagle. "I must have lofty cliffs for my perch."

" Well, then, Sister Eagle, make better ones to
suit yourself," returned Coyote.

"Thank you, I will," answered Eagle; and she
set to work. She dug her claws into the earth
and scratched up some mountains. As she worked
hard over the task, some of her feathers fell out
and rooted in the earth. The long feathers became
trees, pines, firs, redwoods, and the other tall
trees ; the pinfeathers grew into manzanita and
coffee berry and chaparral and similar shrubs ;
while the down from her breast brought forth
poppies and baby-blue-eyes and buttercups and
all the little flowering plants.

"Very good," said Coyote. Then he took two
hairs from his body. One he threw into the water
and the other upon the land. They both wriggled
about and writhed themselves out into two great
Serpents. The one in the water coiled itself
around the land five times, so as to hold the earth
together. The Land Serpent twisted itself up into



THE CREATION OF THE WORLD 13

one of those dents which Coyote could not remove
and breathed out storms through its fiery nostrils.

Then Coyote pulled out two other hairs from
his body and threw them upon the land. They
bunched themselves into a roll and then waggled
themselves into two Dogs.

After that Coyote made .Grizzly, Cougar, Ante-
lope, Beaver, and all the other animals. He made
that day two of every kind of animal that is now
on the earth. And everything he said that day still
holds as a law. We still have earth on the top of
the land and rock underneath, because Coyote threw
the rocks into the water .first, and then the earth.
All of Coyote's laws still hold to-day.



" And if there had n't been any dents, Wantasson,
would n't we have the measles and have to drink
tansy tea ? " A recent siege was fresh in Juanita's
memory.

" But what made the dents, Wantasson ? " in-
terrupted Antonio. " What made them when
Coyote did n't want them ? "

"You ask too many questions, young Antonio.
Look at the dents in that wheel tire. They came
there and / did n't want them. I 've got to heat it
again and straighten those out." And not another
word could the children win from him that afternoon.




HOW THE ANIMALS SECURED LIGHT

ATER breakfast the next morning Antonio
and Juanita were each given two nectarines
to eat in the garden.

" Let 's eat only one ourselves and take the others
to Wantasson," suggested Antonio. "He didn't
feel well yesterday afternoon."

"Let's," agreed Juanita. "Then perhaps he'll
become good-natured and tell us another story."

"Well, don't ask any questions at the end and
make him cross again."

" Don't ask questions yourself. Your question
was what made him angry."

14



HOW THE ANIMALS SECURED LIGHT 15

" But it was what you said that made me think
of the dents. Sh ! Wantasson will hear us."
As they were talking, they had skipped across the
quadrangle to the smithy.

" Good morning, Wantasson ; we 've brought you
some nectarines, some that came from Santa Clara
yesterday," said Juanita.

No work could be so important as eating nec-
tarines. Wantasson sat down in the sunny door-
way to devour the fruit. The children stood in
the shade inside.

" You like the bright sunshine, don't you, Wan-
tasson ? " volunteered Juanita.

" Yes, child, I like the sunshine. I get as much
of it as I can, for I remember that once the earth
had no sun and no light, and I don't like to get
into those ways."

" How did the earth get the sun ? We should
like to know about that," said Antonio.

" Yes, please tell us," added Juanita.

" It was because of Coyote. You will see that
Coyote has much sense and is not easily fooled, as
that woman Tecla tells you. Coyote is a very
cunning animal."

The children waited eagerly until Wantasson
settled his shoulders against the door jamb and
began his story.



16 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

In the early days the earth was wrapped in dark-
ness. The animals could not see more than a step
in front of them. They were always bumping into
each other, and they had bruises all over their bodies.
Their limbs were growing stiff through lack of exer-
cise ; yet no one dared to run for fear of colliding with
some other animal. They just groped about with
staring eyes, trying to see what was ahead of them.

One day Coyote was thinking hard as he walked
and forgot to peer into the darkness. Suddenly
his head banged into somebody moving fast toward
him. He fell back and saw lights dancing up and
down before his eyes.

" Caw-hou! " came Hawk's voice. " My head is
split. Oh, this terrible darkness ! I wish we had
some way of seeing how to get about. Oh, my
poor head is split ! "

"And my poor head, too," rejoined Coyote.
" You 're not hurt worse than I. Lights are
dancing up and down before my eyes."

" Is that you, Coyote ? You can't be hurt so
much as I, for you are heavier. If you have lights
dancing before you, why don't you catch them and
hang them up to give us all light ?"

"The lights are gone now," answered Coyote,
"but your thought is a wise one. Let us see
what we can do."



HOW THE ANIMALS SECURED LIGHT 17

He thought for a long time. Then he said,
" Wait here for me."

He groped his way down to a swamp and gath-
ered a bunch of dry tules. He picked up a piece
of flint and wrapped the tules around it, making a
ball. Then he groped his way back to the waiting
Hawk.

" Here, Sister Hawk, take this in your bill and
fly as high as you can. When you are too tired to
go further, give it a twist and throw it up higher.
As you toss it, say, 'Give us light, O Tules.
Deliver us from darkness, O Flint.' Then you
may come back."

"All right," answered Hawk, and she flew, and
flew, and flew, straight up into the darkness, until
her wings could not lift her body one stroke more.
Then she gave the ball a twist and threw it above
her. " Give us light, O Tules. Deliver us from
darkness, O Flint," she murmured in a faint voice.

The ball spun upward. As it left her bill, it
grew bright. It sent out more and more light as
it sped, until finally it became the great golden Sun.
Hawk's eyes were blinded. She drooped her head
upon her breast and sank down to the earth.

There the animals were all sitting still in amaze-
ment. They covered their eyes with their paws.
They did not know what to do. After a while







" Hawk flew straight up into the darkness "
18



HOW THE ANIMALS SECURED LIGHT 19

Coyote said: "You grumbled over the darkness.
Now I have given you light. We will call this
light the sun. Henceforth no animal shall bump
into his brother, and you will no longer suffer from
bruises."

Turning to Hawk, Coyote continued : " You
have done well, Sister Hawk. Let us do more.
Let us make another sun so that this sun can
rest sometimes."

" All right," answered Hawk.

Coyote ran to the swamp and hastily gathered
an armful of tules. He took a piece of flint for
a center and wound the tules into a ball. Then
he sped back to Hawk.

" You need not fly so high this time, Sister
Hawk, but take it far enough away from the world
so that it will not burn us."

" Very well," answered Hawk ; and she flew and
flew, straight up, until she was tired. Then she
rested a moment. As she cast the ball from her,
she murmured, "Give us light, O Tules. Deliver
us from darkness, O Flint."

Now Coyote had hurried so at the swamp the
second time that he gathered damp tules. There-
fore this second ball did not give out a bright
golden light as the other did, but sent down pale
silver rays.



20 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

Coyote looked at it. " It is not very bright," he
muttered, " but it will be better than the darkness.
We will call it the moon, and it shall be in the sky
to show us our way when the sun gets tired."



"I should think the moon " began Juanita,
when Antonio raised his voice above hers with
"That's a fine story, Wantasson. Coyote did
have a lot of sense, did n't he ? "

" Yes, Coyote has sense, but you children must
run away now. I must make another tire, or your
Senor Padre will say that I don't work enough, as
he did yesterday."




I



THE BIG FROG AND THE
LITTLE FROGS

HAT afternoon, as Tecla was dressing the
children after their siesta, they clamored
for the other frog story.
"Tell it to us now, please, Tecla."
" Impatient ones ! Shall I waste the little breath
this hot sun leaves me ? No, no ; let us go to
the spring first, and then if you are good, we will
see what I can remember."

When they were settled in the oak's cool shade,
she told them the promised story.



Once there was a long, long rain, and all the
ground was wet. Three little frogs crept into a
hole to keep themselves dry. After a while a big
frog came along, looked in, and said, " Come, come,
what are you doing in there ? "

"We came in here so that we shouldn't get
drowned," answered the little frogs.



22 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

" I don't want to get drowned, either ; so let me
in, too."

"Well, come in, Big Frog"; and they huddled
together to make room for him.

The big frog came in. In a little while he
took a big breath and puffed out his sides.

The little frogs all cried, "Oh, don't do that.
You are squeezing us."

The big frog said nothing, but after a while he
again took a long breath and puffed out his sides
still more.

Then the little frogs cried, " Oh, oh ! you are
squeezing us so that we can't stand it."

The big frog answered, " Well, if you don't like
it in here, Young Frogs, you 'd better get out " ;
and he took another big breath and squeezed the
little frogs so hard that they were pushed out into
the cold rain.

"And did the poor little frogs have to stay out
in the rain all day? " asked Juanita.

"Oh, that didn't hurt them!" answered her
brother. " Frogs are always crying for rain, and


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