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Old Man Above And The Grizzlies

Source: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest

Shastika (Cal.)

Along time ago, while smoke still curled from the smoke hole of the
tepee, a great storm arose. The storm shook the tepee. Wind blew the
smoke down the smoke hole. Old Man Above said to Little Daughter: "Climb
up to the smoke hole. Tell Wind to be quiet. Stick your arm out of the
smoke hole before you tell him." Little Daughter climbed up to the smoke
hole and put out her arm. But Little Daughter put out her head also. She
wanted to see the world. Little Daughter wanted to see the rivers and
trees, and the white foam on the Bitter Waters. Wind caught Little
Daughter by the hair. Wind pulled her out of the smoke hole and blew her
down the mountain. Wind blew Little Daughter over the smooth ice and the
great forests, down to the land of the Grizzlies. Wind tangled her hair
and then left her cold and shivering near the tepees of the Grizzlies.

Soon Grizzly came home. In those days Grizzly walked on two feet, and
carried a big stick. Grizzly could talk as people do. Grizzly laid down
the young elk he had killed and picked up Little Daughter. He took
Little Daughter to his tepee. Then Mother Grizzly warmed her by the
fire. Mother Grizzly gave her food to eat.

Soon Little Daughter married the son of Grizzly. Their children were not
Grizzlies. They were men. So the Grizzlies built a tepee for Little
Daughter and her children. White men call the tepee Little Shasta.

At last Mother Grizzly sent a son to Old Man Above. Mother Grizzly knew
that Little Daughter was the child of Old Man Above, but she was afraid.
She said: "Tell Old Man Above that Little Daughter is alive."

Old Man Above climbed out of the smoke hole. He ran down the mountain
side to the land of the Grizzlies. Old Man Above ran very quickly.
Wherever he set his foot the snow melted. The snow melted very quickly
and made streams of water. Now Grizzlies stood in line to welcome Old
Man Above. They stood on two feet and carried clubs. Then Old Man Above
saw his daughter and her children. He saw the new race of men. Then Old
Man Above became very angry. He said to Grizzlies:

"Never speak again. Be silent. Neither shall ye stand upright. Ye shall
use your hands as feet. Ye shall look downward."

Then Old Man Above put out the fire in the tepee. Smoke no longer curls
from the smoke hole. He fastened the door of the tepee. The new race of
men he drove out. Then Old Man Above took Little Daughter back to his

That is why grizzlies walk on four feet and look downward. Only when
fighting they stand on two feet and use their fists like men.

Next: The Creation Of Man-kind And The Flood

Previous: The First Man And Woman

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