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

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tongues eager to explain the lack of game. Night
after night the six oldest brothers had nothing for
their wives. Tucay alone each sundown produced
a rabbit for his Lilote. In silence the sisters roasted
their roots and shared them with their husbands.

This experience was repeated daily for eight
moons. Then the sisters began to grumble among
themselves. Fosate, the eldest, said: "This will
not do. My bones are rattling in my skin. I want
flesh food. We must think of something to do to
save ourselves."

The next morning the seven husbands took their
bows and arrows and went to meet the sun. Then
Fosate said to her youngest sister : " Lilote, you
must stay here to-day. Hide yourself behind the
willows, and when our husbands come home, watch
what they do. Then you can tell them that you
stayed at home because you had a pain in your
face."

When the sun was smiling its broadest, Lilote
heard the brothers returning. She hid herself
behind the willows. Laughing, each man threw
down two rabbits and busied himself renewing
the fire. As the flames changed the wood into
coals, they skinned their prey. Tucay chose the
larger of his rabbits and laid it to one side.



THE STORY OF THE PLEIADES 151

Thereupon Socoy, his eldest brother, laughed
at him. "O stupid Tucay ! to stint yourself, when
your Lilote knows nothing of your success ! We
men need the flesh to give us great strength. It
is a woman's place to deny herself for us."

The five other brothers argued in the same strain.
Tucay answered each time: " You do what you like.
I wish to save half of my game for my wife."

"And the better half at that," scoffed Socoy;
and all the others joined in teasing their youngest
brother.

Lilote behind the willows heard and saw all. Her
heart quickened as she listened to Tucay's words.
Her mouth watered when the rabbit legs sizzled on
the hot coals, but she kept as still as the quail in
the thicket.

The brothers licked their lips in satisfaction over
the last morsels, and hid the bones and skins in the
gulch below the village. Then they settled around
the fire to smoke.

In a little while Lilote came noisily out of her
own hut. She rubbed her eyes and yawned broadly.
Her face was bound up in cascara leaves. As she
saw the brothers, she stopped in apparent surprise.
" Are you home so soon, or have I slept all day ?
I had a pain in my face this morning and did not
go out. How much game did you get ? "



152 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

She seemed sleepy and unsuspicious. The broth-
ers asked a few questions, and then believed that
she knew nothing of their feast.

When the sisters returned that night, there was
the same old story of no game. Then in silence
they roasted their roots and shared them with their
husbands. As Lilote watched the men eat, she
thought: "These must surely be gopher snakes.
No man could eat a meal so soon after their
gorging."

When the brothers settled around the fire again
and began smoking, the sisters crept behind the
willows. There Lilote whispered the story of their
husbands' treachery.

" Let us steal down to the lake," murmured
Fosate, "and there think what to do."

Down along the stream's bank they stole with-
out a word: When they reached the shore of the
lake, they huddled together in the darkness.

Fosate declared : " We must do something to get
away from these greedy men. What shall we do?"

"Let us change ourselves into water," suggested
Alachu, the second sister.

"Oh, no! They would drink us," the others
answered.

" Let us change ourselves into stone," said
Moquem, the third sister.



THE STORY OF THE PLEIADES 153

"Oh, no! They would step on us," came the
response.

" Let us turn ourselves into trees," recommended
Yacumu, the fourth sister.

" Oh, no ! They would burn us," was the chorus.

" Let us change ourselves into quails," advised
Ajalis, the fifth sister.

"Oh, no! They would shoot us," the others
replied.

" Let us turn ourselves into stars," said Tacchel,
the sixth sister.

" Oh, no ! They would look at us," rang out five
voices.

But Lilote said: "Yes, let us change ourselves
into stars. Then we shall be out of reach."

"And we can watch them hunt for us," added
Tacchel. This decided the sisters. Stars they
would be.

They said to the tules on the lake's brink: "O
tules ! give us your aid. We wish a boat lighter
and swifter than any canoe. We want to sail
into the very heavens, away from these greedy
husbands."

They fashioned the tules into a boat and carried
it to a high point of rock. Then they stepped into
it and rowed off into space. When they were far
enough away, they got out and sat together in a



154 IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE

group in the sky. Then they let the tule boat glide
back to earth.

From their seat on high they watched their hus-
bands. The six oldest brothers looked around a
little while and then settled back to smoke by the
fire. But Tucay, the youngest, wandered around
wailing. "My wife, my fair Lilote," he cried, "come
again and warm my heart. No more shall I follow
the advice of my brothers. You shall have all that
I slay. Come, Lilote, come, or I perish in this
loneliness."

Lilote watched his misery for a day and a night.
Then she declared : " I shall throw myself back to
earth. I cannot leave him so."

" And would you not grieve for us ? " inquired
Fosate.

" We will never go back," cried the other sisters.
" O little one ! do not desert us."

Lilote endured her husband's sorrow for another
day and another night. Then she said, "I must
go back, sisters, although I shall ever grieve over
your absence."

" No, little one," answered Fosate. "You will stay
here, and we will bring your beloved to you. He
has proved himself worthy of our companionship."

All the sisters agreed to this, and they told
Tucay how to use the tule boat. He came speeding



THE STORY OF THE PLEIADES 15$

up to them, and they changed him into the constel-
lation Taurus.

You can still see them sitting in the high heavens,
the Pleiades and Taurus, always in happy compan-
ionship and ever watching over the loyal lovers of
this world.

" Oh, I 'm so glad they took up Tucay. You
would n 't eat all the rabbits and give me none,
would you, Tonio ? " and Juanita pressed her head
against her brother's arm.

" No, Ninita mia." Antonio moved himself free.
" I 'd get the rabbits, and you'd get the roots, and
we would build a big fire as they do at the barbe-
cues, and roast them. Let 's play barbecue now.
I '11 go back of the corral and make a fire. You
can go and ask Maria for a piece of meat. And
get some figs. They '11 do for roots," and Antonio
started off.

" Aha, Tonito ! So Juanita will be bringing both
the rabbit and the roots. You 're worse than the six
brothers," and Wantasson chuckled as the children
sped away to their play.



GLOSSARY OF CALIFORNIA TERMS

Abalone : a shellfish found on the Pacific coast, having an

iridescent shell.
Adobe : originally the sun-baked bricks ; also applied to

buildings built of these bricks.
Barbecue : the roasting of a whole animal in a pit, the

principal feature of many a festivity.
Cascara sagrada : a medicinal plant whose value is now

appreciated by the whole world. Tons of the bark are

shipped from California annually.
Chiquita : a diminutive of endearment.
La Fiesta del Senor : Christmas Day.
Lagunita : a little lake.
La Pastorela : a play performed at all the Spanish-Californian

settlements on Christmas Eve. It represented the story

of the Nativity and of the triumph of the Faith over

the wiles of Satan.
Madre : mother.
Mission San Francisco d'Assisi : the foundation of the

present city of San Francisco.
Ninita mia: "my little girl," a very common term of

endearment.
Padre : father.

'57



158 GLOSSARY OF CALIFORNIA TERMS

Pobrecita : " poor little one," commonly used to-day.
Quadrangle : the Spanish-Californian homes of the better class

were built in the shape of a quadrangle, with a central

court.
Ripe olives : the ripe olives are those which are not picked

from the trees until they are mature. They are pickled

in brine, just as the green unripe olives are, but are as

much more delicious as is a ripe plum than an unripe

one.

Senor: sir.
Tortillas: unleavened cakes of Indian corn or of wheat

baked on the coals.
Tules : water reeds.
Whalebone : the vertebrae of the whale were used to pave

streets and yards. A vertebra was often used as a

seat.



INDEX



Abalone, 69

Acorn, 22

Adobe, 32, 47

Alder, 92

Alta California, vii, 4

Ant > 3 J -33
Antelope, 13, 137
Ash, 9
Awl, 80, 81, 104

Baby-blue-eyes, 12

Baja California, vii, 4

Bat, 114-117

Bear, 26

Beaver, 13, 50, 96-99, 139

Blacksmith, 23, 33

Blue Jay, 48-50, 53~S4, 63, 64,

66, 67, 68, 69
Brass buttons, 5, 22
Buttercups, 12

Canary, 125, 130, 131
Cascara, 47, 151
Cassiopeia's Chair, 148
Cat, 32, 74
Cedar, 9, 193
Chaparral, 12
Chicken Hawk, 53



Clam, 68-69

Cloud, 31-32

Coffee berry, 12

Colors, 63-69

Cottonwood, 92

Cougar, 13, 35-37, 137, 144, M6

Coyote, 5-6, 7-13,1 5-20, 25-29,
38-41,56-57,95-99, 100-104,
109-113, 118-124, 125-131,
132-135, 136-141, 142-147

Crab apple, 39, 4041

Crane, 82-83, 90-91, 115, 116

Cricket, 34-37

Crow, 91

Cypress, 127

Daughters of Blue Jay, 65-69
Deer, 76-83, 101, 102, 104, 137,

138, 139
Dipper, the, 148

Dog, 13, 3 2 . 74
Dog Star, 54

Eagle, 9-13, 44-45, 126-130,

139

Elder, 39, 40, 98
Elk, 28, 89, 101
Epiphany, 75



i6o



IN THE REIGN OF COYOTE



Feather, no, in
Fig trees, 105
Fir, 12, 93

Fire, 25-29, 32-33, 93, 115, 116
Fish, 137, 139
Flea, 37
Flint, 17, 19
Fox, 28, 57

Frog, 5-6, 21-22, 28-29, 59-61,
128, 129, 144, 146

Good Kings, 74, 75

Great Bear, 54

Grizzly, 13, 76-83, 137, 138, 143

Hawk, 16-19

Hazel, 39, 40, 85, 134

Jack Rabbit, 105-108
Knife, 33

La Fiesta del Senor, 74

Land, 9-12

Land of the Dead, 125-131

Lark, 49, 61

Lizard, 115-116

Loon, 53

Lower California, vii, 4

Man, 135, 136-141, 142-147
Man-of-tar, 70-74
Manzanita, 12, 144, 146
Maple, 92
Mole, 139



Moon, 19-20,56-58,59-61, 128,

129

Mosquito, 37, 38-42
Mountain sheep, 101, 137, 138
Mountains, 12
Mouse, 32, 52-53, 137, 139

Nightingale, 49

Oak, 5, 21, 40, 41

Orion, 148

Owl, 53, 113, 118-124, !39> T 4

Ox, 33

Panther, 26
Pine, 12, 39, 41
Pleiades, 148-155
Poppies, 12
Potentilla, 65, 66

Rabbit, 105-108
Raccoon, 70-74
Rat, 52-53
Rattlesnake, 43-46
Redwood, 12
Robin, 49, 52, 85-94

Salmon, 95-99
Salmon Berry, 85-90
Serpents, 12-13
Seven sisters, 148-155
Sickness, n
Skate, 49-50
Skunk, 50-52
Snow, 31



INDEX



161



Southwest wind, 47-55

Squirrel, 28, 74

Star, 132-135, 140, 144, 148-155

Stick, 32

Sun, 15-19, 31, 105-108, 144

Sunflower, 8, in, 132

Taurus, 155

Three Wise Kings, 75

Thrush, 49

Thunder, 109-113, 114



Tick, 100-104

Tules, 17, 19, 153, 154

Turkey, 53

Vine maple, 93

Water, 33

Whip-poor-will, 60-61
Willow, 91-92
Wind, 32, 47-55> II6
Witch, 44-46
Wren, 49



UN.VERS.TY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY

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Online LibraryKatherine ChandlerIn the reign of Coyote, folkflore from the Pacific coast → online text (page 7 of 7)