Hawk-Man (Achomawi)

Published on January 25, 2013 by Carol

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Hawk-Man (Achomawi)

Sun had a wife, Shell-Woman. She said to her husband, “There are two chiefs living over there. Let our children go and marry them.” So Sun agreed; and Shell-Woman said, “Now, go ye! There are many chiefs there. They have much to eat. Ye must go to Pine-Marten. He is the best.” Then the sisters got ready, put in their pack-baskets of shell, salmon and acorn-bread and manzanita-berries for food, and came from the west hitherward, across the Fall River. As they came around the point of woods in the valley, Coyote was burning down a tree, and saw them, The youngest sister knew at once who he was, but the oldest fell in love at once. The youngest said, “Go on! Don’t stop! That is Coyote.” Then Coyote said to himself, “I wish that she should not know who I am,” and ran ahead, calling for all kinds of fine clothing to come to him. At once they were there, at his hand, and, putting them on, he disguised himself so that he looked different, covering up a dimple which he had. But when he again met the sisters, the youngest knew him again at once. She said, “Go on! Don’t stop! That is Coyote.” So they went on.

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By and by they saw smoke rising. “Some one lives there. Let us go and visit, and find out where to go.” So they went, and found in the house Hawk-Man. He was a shaman, and lay with his back to the fire. “Where do you come from?” he said. “Where are you going?”–”Our father and mother told us to go to Plat?thtau’ika,” said the oldest, “to the Pine-Marten brothers, who defecate only dentalia. To them they told us to go.”–”Ah!” said Hawk-Man, “I think they must have meant me. I am Hawk-Man, and I defecate only beads. I am a chief. I go out to hunt, and send my people out to hunt and get wood. What kind of a house did your father say this man lived in to whom you were going?” Then the oldest sister said, “At the house there is a post on which hangs a bear-hide, they told us.”–”Yes,” said Hawk-Man, “I am the one they meant. The bear-hide hangs there. Wait a moment, I will prove to you that I am the one. Hold out your caps.” Then they held out their caps, and he ran up and defecated in them. He defecated rattles into the caps. Then he said, “Close your eyes,” and they did so; and when they heard the rattling, they thought it was dentalia, And Hawk-Man said, “Let us go!” and they said, “Yes.”

They put on their packs and started. “Do ye go slowly. I will go on ahead.” So they went; and he hurried on, and reached there first. The post with the bear-hide was standing outside the door of the house opposite his, and so he quickly pulled it up and set it by his door. Then the sisters arrived, and saw the post and the hide, and went at once to his house and took off their packs. Now, Hawk-Man had a wife; and he told her to go over and sit on the opposite side of the house, and not to call him husband, but son. And she promised. When the sisters came in, Hawk-Man told them to sit in the wife’s place, and they did. Then people came, bringing deer, and piled it up, and sent a boy to Hawk-Man’s to call him. When the boy came, Hawk-Man made a noise with some dried grass, so that the sisters should not hear what the boy said. Then he told them that he had to go out to divide up the meat. “I only took what I wanted for myself before, for I had no wife,” he said. “‘Now I shall have to bring more.” So he went out, and took a basket with him. Going over to where the people were, he sat down, and opened his mouth. As they ate their meat, they tossed the bones to him, and he swallowed them; while they joked him, saying, “Did you hear that some girls were coming to marry you?” Then they laughed. After they had finished, he went off, sat down behind the house, and sliced the flesh off of his thighs, and put it into the basket. He carried it back, and his wives cooked the meat; and although it smelled and tasted very badly, yet they ate it, thinking it was deer. Then they went to sleep. In the morning he went off, as he said, to hunt, but instead cut off more of his flesh, and put it and his entrails into the basket. In the evening when he got back, his wives again cooked the meat, and ate. Again the boy came and called him to come out, and, as before, he made a noise so that the women should not hear. He went out, and the people threw him bones, taunting him as they had the previous night. Meanwhile the youngest sister crawled softly after him, and saw what was going on, and came back and told her sister. “You always do what you want. You will not take advice. I know that the chief we were to marry lives opposite. This man we live with came on ahead of us, he took down the bear-hide, and brought it over here.” Then Hawk-Man came in again with his basket of flesh, but they would not eat any.

In the morning he went off to hunt again. Then the two sisters destroyed their children, dressed themselves up finely, took their baskets, and went out. They went across to the other house, and, going in, sat down by Pine-Marten’s side. By and by the people came in from the hunt, and brought deer. They skinned and cut it up, cooked it, and ate supper. Weasel, however, did not like it that these two women, Hawk-Man’s wives, should sit by his brother Pine-Marten. But Marten just sat there and said nothing, but smoked marrow all the time. Meanwhile Hawk-Man came back, and found that his wives had gone. He grew very angry, and at once put on his shaman’s ornaments, and began to dance, and to sing, “Kētj kētja wi’nīno, ketj ketja wi’nīno.” At once it began to rain. Only Weasel noticed it and spoke of it. All night it poured. The water rose higher and higher till it ran in at the door. “Tell them to go back, these two women! That Hawk-Man will kill us, he will drown us.” But Pine-Marten said nothing until morning. Then he said, “I do not like this. Where is a brave man? I want him to go over and kill Hawk-Man.” So a man got up and went over, taking a knife and a shield. Meanwhile Hawk-Man was dancing harder and harder, and at every leap his head came up through the smoke-hole. The man crept nearer and nearer, and finally struck Hawk-Man and cut off his head. And at once the rain stopped, and the cloud cleared away, and the water sank. Then the people said to each other, “If a shaman is bad, we will kill him. That is how it shall be.” Then they went off to hunt.

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