Loon-Woman (Achomawi)

Published on January 25, 2013 by Carol

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Achomawi Baskets

Loon-Woman wanted a husband. She wished to marry Wildcat. He was a treasure, something that was kept in a sack hung up in the house, and no one ever touched it or saw him. So she asked the people to take down the sack, but they were afraid. Then Pine-Marten, who was the chief, said, “Take it down;” and they did so, and gave Wildcat to her. So Wildcat and Loon-Woman went away together toward the sunset; and when night came, they stopped and camped. Early in the morning Wildcat, being weary, rose from his bed while Loon-Woman still slept, and went back to where his people lived. Then they took him and put him back in the sack, and tied it up, and put it under the roof where it had been before.

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By and by Loon-Woman awoke, and missed her husband, and was angry. She rolled about on the ground, crying, “Oh, oh!” and as she did so, fire burst out from beneath her; and as it blazed, it cried, “Tup, tup, tup!” Then the ground burst open, and there was a great canyon there. Loon-Woman walked about, saying all the time, “Oho, oho, oho!” and always the fire blazed up, and all the earth was burned. The rocks cracked and split, and the ground turned red.

The people in the house where Wildcat was began to be afraid as Loon-Woman came nearer; and they sat about, hanging their heads. Then Cocoon-Man spoke, and said, “Why do you sit hanging your heads? Why don’t you kill her? A little while ago you killed Hawk-Man when he tried to drown you. You are strong only in talk.” Then the people and the chief thought what they could do. The Mice brothers took rye-grass and spliced it together, and shot it with an arrow into the sky, so that the rye-grass cord hung down to the earth, and came in through the smoke-hole. Then all the people began to climb up away from the earth. Coyote was snuffling “Hs, hs, hs!” for he was sorry to leave his daughter Loon-Woman behind. And as he climbed he looked down, and the rope broke just as he was almost up to the sky; and all the people fell back to the earth, falling into the midst of the blazing house which they had escaped from. Loon-Woman saw them fall, and hurried to make a net, that she might catch their hearts as they burst. One by one the hearts flew out; and Loon-Woman caught them, and threaded them on a cord, and put them about her neck for a necklace. Some of the hearts she did not keep, however, but gave them to Silver-Fox. Then she ran away, and travelled all over the world. Her sister, Eagle-Woman, searched everywhere for her, for she wanted to get the hearts, that she might restore the people to life. As she sought, she kicked up the earth, and so the mountains were made. Finally she secured the hearts, 1 and brought them back to where the house had been. She rebuilt the house, and then put the hearts in water, in the river; and at daybreak they came to life, and the people came trooping back into the house. Then Silver-Fox named them, and told them to go away and spread all over the world, and said where each was to live. And to every one he gave his cry, and he painted them with their colors, and they went away, some in one direction, some in another.

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@ article {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com2014,
    title = {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged},
    month = Jul,
    day = 25,
    year = 2014,
    url = {http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/loon-woman-achomawi/},
}
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