Native American Legends
Fish-Hawk and his Daughter
An Achomawi Legend
Fish-Hawk lived down at Pit River. When Sun traveled in winter,
he left his daughter at home, but he carried her about with him
in summer. Sun did not want his daughter to marry any poor person,
but a great man, like Pine-Marten, Wolf, or Coyote. Fish-Hawk got
angry at Sun because he talked in this way of poor people, so he
started and went down to the ocean, to Sun's place, and slipped
into the sweat-house. It was winter now, and Sun's daughter was
put away inside the house in a basket. Fish-Hawk stole her, carried
her on his back to Coyote's house, and hid her away. He made the
journey in one night.
Next morning Sun could not find his daughter, and did not know
where she had gone. That morning Fish-Hawk took the basket with
the woman in it, and put it away under the rocks in muddy water,
to hide it so that Sun could not see and could not find his daughter.
Sun searched everywhere in the air and on the ground, but could
not find her. Then he hired all men who were good divers or swimmers
to hunt in the water, for he thought she was hidden in the water.
All searched until they came to Pit River. One would search part
of the way, then another. Kingfisher was the last man to go in search
of her. He went along slowly to look where the water was muddy.
At last he thought he saw just a bit of something under the water.
Then he went over the place carefully again and again.
Many people were going along the river, watching these men looking
for Sun's daughter. Kingfisher filled his pipe, smoked, and blew
on the water to make it clear, for he was a great shaman. Then he
went up in the air and came down over the place. The people were
all excited, and thought surely he would find something. He came
along slowly, and sat and smoked again, and blew the smoke over
the water. Then he rose, rolled up his pipe and tobacco, and put
them away. Then he took a long pole, stood over the water, pushed
his pole down deep, and speared with it until he got hold of the
basket and pulled it out. Old Sun came, untied the basket, took
his daughter out, washed her, then put her back. He paid each of
the men he had hired. Part of their pay was in shells.
Kingfisher said that it was Fish-Hawk who had hidden the basket.
Sun put the basket on his back and started home. He was so happy
to get his daughter back that he did no harm to Fish-Hawk for stealing
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