The Two Sisters Haka Lasi And Tsore Jowa
: Creation Myths Of Primitive America
After each name is given that of the creature or thing into which the
personage was changed subsequently.
=Chuhna=, spider; =Haka hasi=, loon; =Hitchinna=, wildcat; =Jamuka=,
acorn worm; =Juka=, silkworm; =Metsi=, coyote; =Tsanunewa=, fisher (a
bird); =Tsore Jowa=, eagle.
* * * * *
At some distance east of Jig
l matu lived old Juka. He had a great
many sons and two daughters--a big house full of children.
Juka's two daughters were Tsore Jowa, the elder, and Haka Lasi, the
younger. After a time Haka Lasi fell in love with her brother
Hitchinna. One day she fell asleep and dreamed that he had married
Metsi lived, too, in Juka's house. He was no relative; he just lived
as a guest there.
One day all the men were out hunting. It was then that Haka Lasi saw
Hitchinna in a dream. She began to sing about him, and she sang: "I
dream of Hitchinna; I dream that he is my husband. I dream of
Hitchinna; I dream that he is my husband."
All the men came back from the hunt at night. At daylight next morning
they went to swim, and Tsore Jowa made ready food for them. Haka Lasi
took a very nice staff in her hand, and went on top of the
sweat-house. She looked in and sang,--
"Where is my husband? Send him up here to me. I will take him away. We
must go on a journey. Where is my husband? Send him up here to me."
All knew that she had no husband.
"You have no husband," said they.
Hitchinna was lying in one corner wrapped up in the skin of a wildcat.
"You have no husband in this house; all here are your brothers," said
"I have a husband, and I want him to come here to me," answered Haka
"Well," said the eldest son, "I will go up to her. Let us hear what
she will say." He went up.
"You are not my husband," said Haka Lasi. "Do not come near me."
She drove that one down, and called again: "Where is my husband? Send
him up to me."
"Go you," said Juka to the second son.
"I don't want you," said Haka Lasi to the second son.
She refused one after another, and drove them away until none was left
but Hitchinna. Juka went then to Hitchinna and said,--
"My son, get up and go to her; it looks as though you were the one she
"He is the one," said Haka Lasi; "he is my husband. I want him to go
away with me."
Hitchinna said not a word, but rose, washed, dressed himself nicely,
and went to the woman.
"The sun is high now," said Haka Lasi; "we must go quickly."
She was glad when taking away the one she wanted. They travelled
along, and she sang of Hitchinna as they travelled, sang of him all
the time. They went a long distance, and at night she fixed a bed and
they lay down on it.
Young Hitchinna could not sleep, he was frightened. When Haka Lasi was
asleep, he rose very quickly, took a piece of soft rotten wood, put it
on her arm where she had held his head, covered it, and then ran away
quickly, hurried back toward Juka's sweat-house with all his might.
About daylight he was at the sweat-house.
Now Chuhna, Juka's sister, lived with him. She was the greatest person
in the world to spin threads and twist ropes. She had a willow basket
as big as a house, and a rope which reached up to the sky and was
"My nephew," said she to Hitchinna, "I will save you and save all from
your terrible sister. She will be here very soon; she may come any
moment. She will kill all in this house; she will kill every one if
she finds us here. Let all go into my basket. I will take you up to
the sky. She cannot find us there; she cannot follow us to that
"I will lie lowest," said Metsi. "I am a good man, I will go in first,
I will go in before others; I will be at the bottom of the basket."
Metsi went in first; every one in the sweat-house followed him. Then
Chuhna ran up, rose on her rope, and pulled the basket after her.
The sweat-house was empty; no one stayed behind. Chuhna kept rising
and rising, going higher and higher.
When Haka Lasi woke up and saw that she had a block of rotten wood on
her arm instead of Hitchinna, she said,--
"You won't get away from me, I will catch you wherever you are."
She rushed back to the sweat-house. It was empty; no one there. She
ran around in every direction looking for tracks, to find which way
they had gone. She found nothing on the ground; then she looked into
the sky, and far up, very high, close to the sun, she saw the basket
rising, going up steadily.
Haka Lasi was raging; she was so awfully angry that she set fire to
the house. It burned quickly, was soon a heap of coals.
The basket was almost at the sky when Metsi said to himself, "I wonder
how far up we are; I want to see." And he made a little hole in the
bottom of the basket to peep through and look down.
That instant the basket burst open; all came out, poured down, a great
stream of people, and all fell straight into the fire of the
Now, Tsore Jowa was outside on top of the basket. She caught at the
sun, held to it, and saved herself.
Hitchinna went down with the rest, fell into the burning coals, and
was burned like his brothers.
Haka Lasi was glad that they had not escaped her; she took a stick,
fixed a net on it, and watched.
All were in the fire now and were burning. After a while one body
burst, and the heart flew out of it. Haka Lasi caught this heart in
her net. Soon a second and a third body burst, and two more hearts
flew out. She caught those as well as the first one. She caught all
the hearts except two,--Juka's own heart and his eldest son's heart.
Juka's heart flew high, went away far in the sky, and came down on the
island of a river near Klamath Lake. It turned into Juka himself
there. He sank in the ground to his chin; only his head was sticking
The heart of the eldest son flew off to the foot of Wahkalu and turned
to be himself again. He fell so deep into the earth that only his face
was sticking out on the surface.
Now Haka Lasi put all the hearts which she had caught on a string,
hung them around her neck, and went to a lake east of Jigulmatu. She
wanted to live at the bottom of the lake, but could not find a place
deep enough. So she went northwest of Klamath Lake to Crater Lake,
where she could live in deep water.
Two Tsanunewa brothers lived near the lake with their old grandmother.
One morning early these brothers were out catching ducks, and just at
daybreak they heard some one call.
"Who is that?" asked the elder brother.
"I don't know," answered the younger.
Soon they saw Haka Lasi spring up on the water and call. She had a
large string of hearts around her neck. Then she sank again in the
water. Again she came up at some distance and called a second time.
Now Tsore Jowa came down from the sun and went to the old sweat-house,
where she found nothing but a heap of bones and ashes. Putting pitch
on her head and on her arms, and strips of deerskin around her neck
with pitch on them, she cried and went around mourning. After a time
she began to look for her sister. She went everywhere; went to Klamath
For some time the two Tsanunewa brothers had heard a voice singing,--
This was old Juka. He was lying in the ground where he had fallen, and
Tsore Jowa searched, inquired, asked every one about Haka Lasi, and
told what she had done,--that she had killed her own brothers and
Tsore Jowa came at last to the house of the two Tsanunewa brothers one
day about sunset, and spoke to their grandmother. "My sister, Haka
Lasi, has killed all my brothers and my father," said she; and she
told the whole story.
The old woman cried when she heard what Tsore Jowa told her. The two
brothers were away hunting; they came home about dark with a large
string of ducks. "This woman," said the grandmother, "is looking for
her sister, who has killed all her people."
The two brothers cried when the story was told to them. When they had
finished crying, they said to the old woman, "Cook ducks and let this
woman have plenty to eat."
When all had eaten, the two brothers said to Tsore Jowa: "Tell us what
kind of a person your sister is. Which way did she go?"
"I don't know which way she went," said Tsore Jowa.
"Three days ago," said the elder brother, "just as daylight was
coming, we saw a woman jump up in the lake where we were fishing. She
seemed to have large beads around her neck. That woman may be your
"Catch that woman for me. I will give you otter-skins and beads. I
will give bearskins. If you wish, I will stay with you here, if you
"We want no beads nor otter-skins nor bearskins," said the brothers.
"What do you want?"
"We want red deer-bones and green deer-bones; small, sharp ones to
stab fish with."
"You shall have all you want of both kinds," said Tsore Jowa.
Next morning she set out with a sack, went away to high mountains,
gathered deer-bones, red and green leg-bones, and put them in her
sack. At sunset she went back to the house, with the sack full.
The two brothers were glad, now. The elder took red, and the younger
green bones. (The fat on the leg-bones of deer turns some red and
"You must catch her bad sister for Tsore Jowa," said the old woman to
All that night the brothers sat sharpening the bones and then
fastening them to the spear-shafts. They did not stop for a moment.
"Let us go now; it is near daylight," said the elder brother.
They started. When they reached the lake, they went out on the water.
Every morning at daybreak. Haka Lasi sprang up to the surface and
called from the lake. The elder brother took a stem of tule grass,
opened it, placed it on the water, made himself small, and sat down in
the middle of it. The younger brother fixed himself in another stem of
tule in the same way. The two tule stems floated away on the water,
till they came near the place where the brothers had seen Haka Lasi
spring up the first time.
"Let me shoot before you," said the elder brother.
"Oh, you cannot shoot; you will miss her," said the younger. "Let me
shoot first. You will miss; you will not hit her heart."
"I will hit," said the elder.
They watched and watched. Each had his bow drawn ready to shoot.
Daylight came now. Haka Lasi rose quickly, came to the top of the
water, and held out her arms before calling.
The younger brother sent the first arrow, struck her in the neck; the
elder shot, struck her right under the arm. Haka Lasi dropped back and
sank in the water.
The brothers watched and watched. After a time they saw two arrows
floating, and were afraid they had lost her. She had pulled them out
of her body, and they rose to the surface. After a while the body
rose. Haka Lasi was dead.
The brothers saw that she had a great many hearts on a string around
her neck. They drew her to the shore then, and carried her home. They
left the body hidden outside the house, and went in.
"We did not see her," said the elder Tsanunewa to his grandmother.
All sat down to eat fish, and when they were through eating, the elder
said to Tsore Jowa, "Come out and see what we caught this morning."
She ran out with them, and saw her dead sister with a string of hearts
on her neck. Tsore Jowa took off her buckskin skirt, wrapped up the
body, and put it in the house. She counted the hearts.
"My eldest brother's heart is not here, and my father's is not here,"
"Every morning we hear some one crying, far away toward the north;
that may be one of them," said the two Tsanunewas.
Tsore Jowa started out to find this one, if she could, who was
calling. She left the body and hearts at the old grandmother's house,
and hurried off toward the north. She heard the cry soon and knew it.
"That is my father," said she.
Tsore Jowa came near the place from which the cry rose; saw no one.
Still she heard the cry. At last she saw a face; it was the face of
Juka, her father.
Tsore Jowa took a sharp stick and dug. She dug down to Juka's waist;
tried to pull him up, but could not stir him. She dug again, dug a
good while; pulled and pulled, until at last she drew him out.
Juka was very poor, all bones, no flesh at all on him. Tsore Jowa put
down a deerskin, wrapped her father in it, and carried him to the old
woman's house; then she put him with Haka Lasi's body, and carried
them home to the old burned sweat-house east of Jigulmatu.
She was crying yet, since one brother was missing. She put down the
basket in which she had carried them, hid it away, covered it
At the foot of Wahkalu lived a certain Jamuka, an old man who had a
wife and two daughters.
"Bring in some wood," said the old man one day to his daughters.
The two girls took their baskets and went to bring wood. Soon they
heard some one singing,--
"I-nÃ³ i-nÃ³, I-no mi-nÃ¡
I-nÃ³, i-nÃ³ I-no mi-nÃ¡."
"Listen," said the younger sister; "some one is singing."
They listened, heard the singing; it seemed right at the foot of
Wahkalu. They went toward the place from which the sound came.
"That is a nice song," said the younger sister. "I should like to see
the one who sings so."
They went near, saw no one yet. "Let us take the wood home," said the
elder sister, "then come back here; our father may be angry if we stay
They took the wood home, put it down, and said nothing. Both went
back to the place where the singing was and listened. At last the
younger sister came to the right place, and said, "I think this is he
who is singing."
There was a head sticking out of the ground, and the face was covered
with water. The man had cried so much that he looked dirty and ugly.
The sisters took sharp sticks, and dug all around the head, dug
deeply. They could not pull out the person; they had only dug to his
waist when night came and they must go.
"Why did you stay out so late?" asked their father.
"We heard some one singing, and wanted to know who it was, but were
not able. We will go back in the morning and search again."
"That is well," said Jamuka. He had heard how Juka's sons had been
killed. "Perhaps one of those people is alive yet," said he; "you must
look for him."
They went early next morning to dig, and drew the man out. They took
off their buckskin skirts then, and wrapped him up carefully. He was
nothing but bones, no flesh at all on his body. The younger sister ran
home to get wildcat skins to wrap around him.
"We have found a man, but he is all bones," said she to her father.
"Take good care of the stranger, feed and nurse him well," said
Jamuka; "he may be Juka himself, and he is a good man."
They wrapped the man in wildcat skins. A great stream of water was
running from his eyes, and deer came down the hill to drink of that
The girls lay on each side of the man, and gave him food; stayed all
night with him. Next morning they went home for more food.
"Feed him, give him plenty," said Jamuka; "he may get health and
The sisters went back and stayed a second night. The man began to look
better, but he cried all the time, and many deer came to drink the
water that flowed from his eyes. The girls went home the second
morning. "The man looks better," said they to their father.
"I have heard," said old Jamuka, "that Juka's sons were killed. This
must be one of them."
They went back right away, and stayed another day and night with the
stranger. The man looked as though he might get his health again. He
began to talk. "Has your father a bow and arrows?" asked he of the
"He has; he has many."
"Bring me a bow and arrows; many deer come near me to drink, I may
They took the man's words to their father. Jamuka gave them a bow and
some arrows, and they went back to the sick man.
"You may go home to-night," said he. "I wish to be alone."
The girls left him. At sundown a great buck came and drank of the
tears, he killed him; later another came, he killed that one; at
midnight a third came, he killed the third; now he had three. At
daylight a fourth buck was killed; he had four now. "That is enough,"
When the girls came and saw four great bucks lying dead near the
stranger, they were frightened; they ran home and told their father.
Old Jamuka was glad when they told him. He sharpened his knife,
hurried out to the woods and looked at the stranger. "That is Juka's
son," said he; "take good care of him, daughters."
Jamuka dressed the deer, carried them home, and cut up the venison for
drying. Next evening Juka's son sent the girls home a second time, and
killed five great deer that night. Next morning the girls came to see
him, and ran home in wonder.
Their father was very glad. He dressed the five deer as he had the
four, and cut up the venison.
Tsore Jowa was hunting everywhere all this time to find her brother.
She had left the hearts, her sister's body, and her father hidden away
carefully; had done nothing yet to save them.
The night after Juka's son killed the five deer the two girls took him
home to their father. He was well now and beautiful, in good health
and strong. He cried no more after that. A salt spring was formed in
the place where he had fallen and shed so many tears. The spring is in
that place till this day, and deer go in herds to drink from it.
People watch near the spring and kill them, as Juka's son did. Tsore
Jowa went to every house inquiring about her brother. At last she came
to Jamuka's house, and there she found him. She was glad now and
satisfied. She left her brother with his two wives and hurried home.
Tsore Jowa made in one night a great sweat-house, prepared a big
basket, and filled it with water. When the second night came, she
dropped hot stones into the water; put all the hearts into the basket.
Opening her sister's body, she took out her heart and put it in with
the others. At this time the water in the basket was boiling. She
covered the basket and placed it on top of the sweat-house. Then she
went in, lay down and slept.
The water was seething all night. At daybreak the basket turned over,
and there was a crowding and hurrying of people around the
sweat-house. They began to talk briskly.
"We are cold, we are cold!" said they. "Let us in!"
Soon broad daylight came. Tsore Jowa opened the door, and all crowded
into the sweat-house. Tsore Jowa said not a word yet. All the brothers
came; behind them Haka Lasi. She looked well, she was good. Her heart
was clean; there was nothing bad now in it.
"Where is our eldest brother?" asked all.
"He is well; I have found him. He has two wives," said Tsore Jowa.
Juka was in good health and strong. She had washed him and given him
All were happy, and they went hunting.
"I think your husband would like to go home," said Jamuka one day to
Juka's son and his two wives set out to visit his father; Juka saw
his son coming; took a big blanket quickly, caught him, placed him in
it, and put him right away.
Now the wives of Juka's son came in and sat down in the house. Two
other brothers took them for wives. They stayed a long time, never saw
their first husband again. Old Juka kept him secreted, made him a
WeÃ¤nmauna, a hidden one.
After a time the two women wished to go home to visit Jamuka. They
took beads and blankets, nice things of all kinds, and went to their
father at the foot of Wahkalu.
"We have never seen our husband," said they, "since we went to his
father's. We have new husbands now."
"I think that is well enough," said Jamuka. "His father has put him
away. His brothers are as good for you as he was."
The sisters agreed with their father, and went back and lived at
Juka's house after that.