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Coyote And The Mesquite Beans

Source: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest

Pima (Arizona)

After the waters of the flood had gone down, Elder Brother said to
Coyote, "Do not touch that black bug; and do not eat the mesquite beans.
It is dangerous to harm anything that came safe through the flood."

So Coyote went on, but presently he came to the black bug. He stopped
and ate it up. Then he went on to the mesquite beans. He stopped and
looked at them a while, and then said, "I will just taste one and that
will be all." But he stood there and ate and ate until he had eaten them
all up. And the bug and the beans swelled up in his stomach and killed

Origin of the Sierra Nevadas and Coast Range
Yokuts (near Fresno, Cal.)

Once there was a time when there was nothing in the world but water.
About the place where Tulare Lake is now, there was a pole standing far
up out of the water, and on this pole perched Hawk and Crow. First Hawk
would sit on the pole a while, then Crow would knock him off and sit on
it himself. Thus they sat on the top of the pole above the water for
many ages. At last they created the birds which prey on fish. They
created Kingfisher, Eagle, Pelican, and others. They created also Duck.
Duck was very small but she dived to the bottom of the water, took a
beakful of mud, and then died in coming to the top of the water. Duck
lay dead floating on the water. Then Hawk and Crow took the mud from
Duck's beak, and began making the mountains.

They began at the place now known as Ta-hi-cha-pa Pass, and Hawk made
the east range. Crow made the west one. They pushed the mud down hard
into the water and then piled it high. They worked toward the north. At
last Hawk and Crow met at Mount Shasta. Then their work was done. But
when they looked at their mountains, Crow's range was much larger than

Hawk said to Crow, "How did this happen, you rascal? You have been
stealing earth from my bill. That is why your mountains are the
biggest." Crow laughed.

Then Hawk chewed some Indian tobacco. That made him wise. At once he
took hold of the mountains and turned them around almost in a circle. He
put his range where Crow's had been. That is why the Sierra Nevada Range
is larger than the Coast Range.

Next: Yosemite Valley

Previous: The Migration Of The Water People

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