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Yauelmani Yokut

The Beginning Of The World


A myth from the Yauelmani Yokut of California


At first there was water everywhere. A piece of wood grew up out of the water to the sky. On the tree there was a nest. Those who were inside did not see any earth. There was only water to be seen.

The eagle was the chief of them. With him were the wolf, Coyote, the panther, the prairie falcon, the hawk called po'yon, and the condor. The eagle wanted to make the earth. He thought, 'We will have to have land.' Then he called k'uik'ui, a small duck. He said to it: "Dive down and bring up earth."

The duck dived, but did not reach the bottom. It died. The eagle called another kind of duck. He told it to dive. This duck went far down. It finally reached the bottom. Just as it touched the mud there it died, but it came up again.


The eagle and the other six saw a little dirt under its finger nail. When the eagle saw the dirt he took the dirt from its nail. He mixed the dirt with Telis and Pele seeds and ground them up. He put water with the mixture and made dough. This was in the morning.

  From: A.L. Kroeber, Indian Myths of South Central California,
University of California Publications
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