Kol Tibichi

Kol Tibichi was born at Norpat Kodiheril on Wini Mem, just before

daylight. When a small boy, he used to go out by himself. If he went

to play with other boys sometimes, he would not stay with them. He

went out of sight, disappeared, and was lost. Then his father or

mother or others would find him in this place or that unexpectedly.

Sometimes they found him at home, sometimes at a distance, far away in

some gulch or on some mountain. It happened that his mother would look

at his bed in the night-time and see him there sleeping. She would

look again and find that he was gone. She would look a third time, and

find him just as at first. In the day he would be seen in one place

and be gone the next moment.

Once he was playing with children; they turned aside to see something,

then looked at him. He was gone. After a while they saw him in the

water under the salmon-house. Another time he disappeared.

"Where has he gone?" asked one boy.

"I cannot tell," answered another.

Soon they heard singing.

One asked, "Do you hear that?"

"Yes," said the other; "where is it?"

They listened and looked. Soon they saw Kol Tibichi sitting near the

north bank of the river, under water.

"We must run and tell his father and mother."

Two of the boys ran to tell his father and mother. "We lost your son,"

said they. "He went away from us. We looked for him a long time and

could not find him. Now we have found him; we have seen him sitting

under water; we don't know what he is doing."

His mother hurried out; ran to the river.

"We think he must be dead," said people who had gathered there. "We

think that some yapaitu [spirit] has killed him."

They soon saw that he was alive; he was moving. "Come, my son," called

his mother, stretching her hands to him,--"come, my son; come out,

come to me." But he stayed there, sitting under water.

A quarter of an hour later they saw that the boy had gone from the

river. The people heard singing in some place between them and the

village. They looked up and saw that the boy was half-way home and

going from the river.

"That is your son," called they to the woman.

"Oh, no," said the woman; but she ran up and found that it was her


Another time the boy goes south with some children. These lose him,

just as the others had. In half an hour they hear singing.

"Where is he?" ask some.

"On this side," says one.

"On that," says another.

South of the river is a great sugar-pine on a steep bank. They look,

and high on a limb pointing northward they see him hanging, head

downward, singing.

They run to his mother. "We see your son hanging by his feet from a


The woman hurries to the river, runs in among the rocks and rubbish

around the tree, reaches toward the boy, throws herself on the rocks,

crying, "Oh, my child, you'll be killed!"

In a moment he is gone; there is no sign of him on the tree. Soon a

shouting is heard at the house: "My wife, come up; don't cry, our son

is here!"

She crawls out of the rocks and dirt, runs home, finds the boy safe

with his father.

The people began now to talk of the wonderful boy. Soon every one was

talking of him. There were many people in the place. Norpat Kodiheril

was a very big village.

"Some yapaitu is going to take that boy's life," said they; "some

yapaitu will kill him."

One morning the boy went down on the north side of the river with

children, but apart from them, behind, by himself. He looked up, saw a

great bird in the air flying above him. "Oh, if I had those wing

feathers!" thought the boy. Then he blew upward and wished

(olpuhlcha). That moment the great bird Komos Kulit fell down before

him. Just after the bird fell he heard a voice in the sky, a voice

high, very high up, crying,--

"Now, you little man, you must call yourself Kol Tibichi. You are to

be the greatest Hlahi [doctor] on Wini Mem."

"Look at that boy!" cried the other boys. "See! he has something."

They were afraid when they saw the great bird, and the boy stretching

the wings and handling the wonderful Komos Kulit. Some of them ran to

his mother and said to her,--

"Your son has a very big bird. It fell down from the sky to him. We

are afraid of that bird. We could not lift such a big bird."

Old people ran down; saw the boy handling Komos Kulit. "How did you

get that bird?" asked they. "Did he fall to you?"

"Yes. I saw the shadow of a big bird on the ground. I looked up. It

fell, and was here."

The old people talked,--talked much, talked a long time. There were

many of them.

"We do not know what to do; we do not know what to think. We do not

know why that bird fell," said some. "We ought not to talk about the

bird, but we ought to think about this boy, find out what he is


"Oh," said others, "he made that bird fall by blowing at it. That boy

will be a great Hlahi."

The boy killed the bird with a yapaitu dokos (spirit flint); he wanted

its wings.

The father and mother of the boy said: "Two wise men should pull out

the longest wing feathers for the boy. He wants them; he wants them to


"Let that be done," said the people; and they found two men to pull

out the two longest wing feathers. The boy went to one side while they

were pulling them, pretended not to see or care what they were doing;

but the two men knew that he knew why he did so. When the two men had

pulled out the feathers, the boy said to his father,--

"I like those feathers; save them for me; I want them."

His father took the feathers home and saved them.

Another time this boy was walking up Wini Mem--some time before he had

been at a Hlahi dance, and had seen there beautiful collars of

flicker-tail feathers, and remembered them. He walked forward and said

to himself,--

"I wonder where that man found those feathers. I would like to have

feathers like them."

"Pluck a bunch of grass with your mouth," said the yapaitu, "drop it

into your hand, and look at it."

He did so, and flicker feathers were in his hands. He counted them,

and found five hundred. "These are nice feathers; I will keep them,"

said the boy.

"Kol Tibichi is your name," said the yapaitu. "You will be the

greatest Hlahi on Wini Mem, but you must obey us. You must listen to

our words, you must do what we tell you."

Kol Tibichi took the flicker feathers and walked westward, walked

across a wide gulch till he came to a black-oak tree above Norpat


"I like that oak-tree," said Kol Tibichi. "I think that is a good

place for my mother to get acorns." He blew then, and said: "You must

be very big, wide, and high, give many acorns every fall. I will call

your place Olpuhlchiton" (blowing upward place, i. e. wishing


He went home then, and gave the flicker-tail feathers to his mother.

"Now, my mother," said he, "I wish you to keep these feathers for me."

"Where did you find them, my son?" asked she. "You are always doing

something. You did not find these yourself; the yapaitu got them. I

will keep them. I am sorry for you, but I cannot stop what you are

doing. You cannot stop it yourself. But I will keep these feathers for

you; I will keep them safely."

All the people talked much of Kol Tibichi now.

Once there was a doctor's dance, and the boy remained at home till one

night when the yapaitu came to him and he began to hlaha. His father

and mother did not know what the trouble was.

"Bring him here," said the oldest doctor.

"He is a Hlahi," said the doctors, when they saw him. "Sak hikai [the

rainbow] is his yapaitu. You must give him to us till the yapaitu

leaves him. While the yapaitu is with him, let him stay inside."

They were five or six days making Hlahis (doctors). The boy stayed in

the sweat-house six days, never eating, never drinking; some others

ate and drank, but Kol Tibichi neither ate nor drank.

"Something must be done to make that yapaitu leave him. You must put a

band around Kol Tibichi's head," said the chief, "and the yapaitu will

leave him."

They got a white wolf-tail headband. The yapaitu did not go. "This is

not the right kind of a headband," said the doctor, after a while.

They tried fox, wildcat, coyote, a white-deer band, without effect.

"We don't know what he wants," said some Hlahis.

Next they tried otter, fisher, coon, badger, black bear, grizzly bear,

silver-gray fox, mink, beaver, rabbit, red-headed woodpecker.

"What does he want?" asked some.

"Now," said the old doctor, "you ought to know that this boy should

have food and drink, and he cannot have them till the yapaitu goes.

You should know that the headband that his yapaitu wants is a tsahai

loiyas" (woman's front apron made of maple bark, painted red).

They brought this apron, made the headband, and tied it on his head.

"This is the one," said the yapaitu.

Kol Tibichi began to sing; the Hlahi danced a few minutes. The boy

blew then, and the yapaitu left him. Kol Tibichi ate venison first and

drank water, then took other kinds of food. From that time on Kol

Tibichi was a Hlahi.

Soon after the great Hlahi dance, perhaps two weeks, Notisa, chief of

Norpat Kodiheril, fell sick; he began to have a bad feeling at midday,

and in the evening all his friends thought he would die. In the early

night people in Norpat Kodi saw a light going to Kol Tibichi's house.

"People are coming; there must be some one sick in the village," said

the boy's father and mother. "People are coming. See, there is a big

light moving this way."

Two men came to the door. "Come in," said Kol Tibichi's father. "We

thought some one was sick when we saw your light coming."

"We are here because Notisa is sick," said the men. "He got sick at


The two men spread out a marten skin and said: "We brought this to

show it to you and your son. We have heard that he is a powerful

Hlahi. The chief gave us this skin to show you. We are afraid that

Notisa will die. We want your son to go with us to see him."

They gave the skin to Kol Tibichi. It was the best skin in the chief's


"We will go," said Kol Tibichi's father. "I do not say that my son is

a Hlahi, but he can do something."

They waked the boy, made him ready to go. "Come," said his mother; and

she carried him to the chief's house.

"My mother, put me down," said Kol Tibichi, when they had come near

the house.

"I do not like to put you down," said the mother.

"Put me down, put me down a moment," said the boy.

His mother put him down. Then he saw some one looking around Notisa's

house, pushing about, looking, watching in the dark, lurking around,

holding arrows. This was a yapaitu, ready to shoot Notisa and kill


Kol Tibichi called his own yapaitu, who went to the one who was

watching and said: "What are you doing here? What do you want at this


"I am doing nothing," answered the yapaitu.

"You are waiting to do something. You want to do harm."

"Oh, no; I am only looking around here, just trying to find the door.

I wanted to see some one."

"You are ready to shoot a yapaitu dokos. You want to kill Notisa. You

are watching around here to kill him."

"Oh, no, I am not. I am just looking around, not doing anything."

"You are ready to kill Notisa, the chief. You are waiting to kill

him," said Kol Tibichi's yapaitu, who just took hold of the strange

yapaitu, twisted him, killed him right there, and buried him.

Kol Tibichi's mother took her son into the chief's house. The boy knew

what had been done. His yapaitu told him what he had done, and came in

with him. The boy sat down near Notisa.

People thought the chief ready to die, thought that he might die any

moment. "Let the boy put his hand on the sick man," said they.

"Put your hand on the chief," said the father. "You must do what you

can. You must try, do your best to cure him."

Kol Tibichi spat on his hands, passed them over Notisa's breast and

face. "I am sleepy, my mother, oh, I am so sleepy," said the boy, when

he had passed his hands over the chief.

"He cannot do more to-night," said the father. "We will go home."

Next morning people in the sweat-house heard a man talking outside. He

came in and said, "I am well!" This was Notisa.

"We are glad," said the people. "Kol Tibichi has saved you."

The boy grew up and became a great Hlahi. When twenty years old, he

was the greatest Hlahi on Wini Mem.

One year there was a Hlahi dance in El Hakam. Kol Tibichi was a man.

He was thirty years old then. He went to the dance. Tulitot was the

great Hlahi in that place, and he thought himself better than Kol

Tibichi. While dancing, Tulitot took a snake from his mouth, a large

rattlesnake, and held it in both hands as he danced. The snake was his

own child. Kol Tibichi looked, and thought he could do better; and,

dancing forward, he blew, as Hlahis do, and threw out long burning

flames on both sides of his mouth. All present were afraid, and with

Tulitot ran back before him in fear.

When the dance was over, Kol Tibichi went to Norpat Kodi and lived on,

a great Hlahi: lived till he was a hundred years of age and more. He

could not walk any longer. He knew that he could not live. "I cannot

live any more," said he. "My yapaitu tells me this,--I cannot walk. I

cannot do anything. My yapaitu tells me that I must leave Norpat

Kodiheril. [He was not sick, but decrepit.] My yapaitu is going to

take me and leave my bones in this place with you. When I go from my

body, do not bury it. Leave it on the ground out there. Let it lie one

night. Next morning you will see a large rock in place of it. When

people are sick, let them come and take a piece of the rock, or some

earth, or some moss from it; that will cure them."

"We will not do that," said Notisa, a son of the first chief; "we bury

every body, and we will bury yours like all others."

"Do not bury my bones," said Kol Tibichi.

"We should not like to see your bones all the time. We have no wish to

see a rock in place of them."

"Well, take my body to the black-oak tree, put it eight or ten feet

from the ground, leave it there one night; next morning you will see

water in a hollow of the oak. Any man may come and get that water, rub

it on his body, and drink some. It will cure him."

"No," said the chief, "we don't want to see the tree there every day.

We do not wish to look at it all the time."

"Dig a deep grave, then," said Kol Tibichi; "put my body in with

nothing around it. When you come to mourn, do not stand east of the

grave-mound. On the morning after my burial you will see a rainbow

coming out of the grave."

Kol Tibichi died. They did everything just as he told them. All saw

the rainbow and said, "We ought to have left his body above ground,

and to have done all that he asked of us at first. The yapaitu is

mourning for him."

The rainbow stood there two days and two nights at the grave, then

moved two feet eastward. Next morning it was four feet away, then

eight, going farther day by day till it was at the salmon-house where

Kol Tibichi used to go when a boy. It stood there by the salmon-house

five days. Next it was on the north bank of the river, then on the

hillside beyond, then on the hilltop, then on the mountain-slope, then

on the mountain-top. Next all the people in Norpat Kodiheril heard a

noise and knocking in the grave-mound one night, and early next

morning they saw an immense bird rising out of Kol Tibichi's grave.

First the head came, and then the body. At sunrise it came out

altogether, and flew to the sugar-pine from which Kol Tibichi had hung

head downward in childhood. It perched on the tree, stayed five

minutes, and then flew away, flew to the mountain, to the rainbow,

went into the rainbow. The bird and rainbow went away, disappeared

together. The bird was Komus Kulit. The rainbow was Kol Tibichi's


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