Coyote And The Mesquite Beans

: 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.