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

fastened there.

"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,--

"Li-wa-éh, li-wa-há,

Li-wa-éh, li-wa-há."

This was old Juka. He was lying in the ground where he had fallen, and

was crying.

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

catch her."

"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

others green.)

"You must catch her bad sister for Tsore Jowa," said the old woman to

her grandsons.

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,"

said she.

"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-nó i-nó, I-no mi-ná

I-nó, i-nó I-no mi-ná."

"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

away longer."

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

strength yet."

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

shoot one."

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,"

thought he.

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

good food.

All were happy, and they went hunting.

"I think your husband would like to go home," said Jamuka one day to

his daughters.

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

Weänmauna, 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.