Native American Legends
Lizard and Fox
A Miwok Legend
Lizard said, "I am going to see the worms." "Do
not come near me. Do not come near me," said Worm. You do not
smell good,'' Lizard said, when he saw Worm. "Keep away from
me. Keep away from me. Do not come near me. Keep away from me. Keep
away from me. I do not want that grass after it is cooked. It does
not smell good." Worm was on the fire. "I did not like
him after I had a good look at him," said Lizard. He said that
from the top of a big log. He did not like to drink water. He did
not want to drink water. Water did not smell good. "Keep away,
Tarantula. That grass smells bloody,'' Lizard said. He spoke this,
because he did not like grass.
Thus spoke Lizard when he sang about his food below. "I am
going below," said Lizard, "I go there to eat worms. Then
I will return and see where Fox is going to hunt." Thus sang
Lizard from the top of the log.
Lizard did not like seed. He did not like grass. Thus he sang from
the top of the log. When Tarantula brought him food, he said, "Keep
away from me. Keep away from me. I do not like grass. I would rather
eat worms below." Thus sang Lizard about his food below.
Tarantula asked Lizard, ''Why don't you like the food that I eat?"
Lizard replied, "It does not smell good to me. I am going.
I am going. The ground is damp below."
"Be sure to return," said Tarantula, "for Fox is
going to hunt." "I go below to eat worms," said Lizard,
"I shall return." Thus spoke Lizard when he was starving.
"I am going below, then I will return. There is no food for
me here." Tarantula said, "You shall surely return, because
Fox is preparing to hunt in the hills."
Fox was preparing to hunt. He said, "I wonder if Mountain
Lion is ready? Are all of you hunters ready? Mountain Quail may
go with us. Skunk may go with us. Coyote may go with us. Wolf may
go with us. We are going to hunt deer. Put Skunk on the lower side
of the hill. Dove may go with us. Hummingbird may go with us. They
may all run on the hill. Crow may go with us."
"I shall kill a large deer," said Mountain Lion, when
Fox told him that he might hunt. Mountain Lion continued, "Confine
Night Hawk, for he is likely to steal from us, if we leave the camp.
I am going ahead. I know where the big deer stay. Do not take Night
Hawk with you, because he might take a whole deer in his mouth.
I shall kill a large deer for us. I shall kill no small deer,"
boasted Mountain Lion. So spoke Mountain Lion, when he prepared
to hunt for the large deer. He said, "I am going into the hills
ahead of the rest, to get a large deer for us."
Mountain Quail said, "I will break the neck of the large deer.
I will break the neck. I will break it, I will break it." Thus
spoke Mountain Quail before he started. He continued, "You
people cannot enter the brush. I will enter the brush. I fear nothing.
I do not think that you people are brave enough to enter the brush.
I shall enter the brush between those large mountains. I shall break
his neck. I shall break his neck, when I meet him in the brush,
when I meet the large deer in the brush. I think that the rest of
you are not brave enough to enter the brush between those great
mountains. I am the one who always enters the brush." So spoke
Mountain Quail, while he traveled toward the brush between those
great mountains. "I am going into that brush. I think you people
are afraid to enter that brush, for fear that you might meet a bear."
So spoke Mountain Quail.
Bald Eagle said, "I am going too. I shall kill a large deer
also. I do not think you people can find a large deer. I do not
think you can fan the large deer. I do not think you can fan the
large deer. When I fan him, I shall put him to sleep. Then I shall
kill him. You tried to get ahead of me by leaving me behind. You
must think that I am too old. I shall fan the big deer with my two
wings, from both sides of the hill. From both sides I will fan him
with my two wings. I am going. I am going to help you find the deer.
I know where the deer stay. I will find them before you do. I shall
fan the large deer with my two wings. When I see one I shall put
him to sleep. I shall fan him. I shall fan him." Thus spoke
Bald Eagle, when he prepared to hunt, when he told the Mountain
Lion to prepare. Thus he spoke. Thus he spoke. "I am going.
You people stay on each side of the creek and I will fan him with
both wings from the middle."
Wolf said, "I shall chase him until I run him down. I shall
chase the fawns, which sneak away from the big ones. If they escape
from you hunters, I will chase them." So spoke Wolf, as he
prepared to hunt with Mountain Lion. "I will run them over
the hills. Just watch me. I will collect the deer in one place.
I will run from sundown until sunrise, so that you hunters can kill
them while I sleep. I will gather them in the night. Then when you
start, send Skunk to me. If they escape from you, awaken me and
I will pursue them until I capture them," said Wolf.
Coyote said, "I shall be there when the deer run. I shall
eat them, while they run. There is no use of you hunters running,
while I am there. You know that I am a good runner. If the deer
get away from you, I shall chase them. I shall chase them. I shall
chase them. I shall chase them. I shall chase them whether the ground
is rough or smooth. I shall capture them just the same." So
spoke Coyote before the party set out. "I will bite the leg
of the deer while he runs. The deer will have no chance to escape,"
"I shall go with you, for I can find the deer in any place.
I can find them anywhere. I know how to find them. I shall look
down from the hills just before sunrise. I can find. more deer than
all of you. I will eat nothing but deer's' eyes," said Crow,
for he was very fond of them. "When we hunt, I shall find the
deer for you. I know how to find them. When we return, all that
you need give me. are the deer's' eyes. Perhaps you do not believe
that I can find deer. I can find the deer before sunrise or after
sundown. Eagle thinks that he is the only one who can find deer.
I shall go with you. I shall find those deer for you. I excel Eagle
in finding deer."
Fox prepared the men to hunt. He said, "We are going. Get
ready. Get ready. Get ready, Mountain Quail. Get ready, Eagle. Get
ready, Coyote. Get ready, Wolf. Awaken Skunk, prepare him, for he
must walk on the side of the hill. Keep track of Night Hawk. Keep
him hidden, for he is likely to swallow a whole deer." So spoke
Fox, when he became the head chief and when he prepared his people
for the hunt. "Gather Mountain Lion, Coyote, and Wolf on one
side of the hill in an open place. They are good hunters."
Black Fox said, "I always go into the difficult places. I
am going, too. I am going into the middle of the brush, when we,
hunt. I shall scent the deer from there. I shall enter the deep
canyons and look for their tracks." So spoke Black Fox. Mountain
Lion warned him, "You must be careful, when you enter the hills."
"I fear nothing," Black Fox retorted. "I will enter
the thickest brush. I will enter the brush and drive out the deer."
So spoke Black Fox to Fox. Fox said that he was ready to start whenever
his men were. "You must keep the big deer separate," he
said to Black Fox. Black Fox said, "I shall start ahead and
enter the hills. When you are ready, send Mountain Quail to awaken
Skunk said, "Just watch me hunt. I am going out to kill deer.
I get them from both sides. After you have separated the large deer,
tell me where they are and I will eject my fluid upon them. I will
kill them all. I will make the fluid, which I eject upon them, very
strong. But I want someone to carry me, because I cannot walk fast.
I will have a load on me, anyway. I want to be sure to get a number
of deer with my fluid. From the north side, I will eject my fluid.
From the west side, I will eject. From the east side, I will eject.
From the south side, I will eject. After you have gathered the deer,
carry me to the place where they are. I will take my son-in-law
with me. I will dance on the top of a small rock, singing my song."
Dove said, "I shall eat seed before I go. I shall eat seed
before I go. I shall run. I shall run after I eat the seed. You
people cannot run. You stay in the brush." Thus spoke Dove
to Chief Fox. "If a deer escapes from you, I shall capture
him," continued Dove. "If you people eat the deer, I shall
eat the seed. I shall help you to obtain the deer." When Dove
was ready, he said, "Let us go, Let Hummingbird come with me."
Dove took Hummingbird with him, when he went ahead of the rest of
the part. He said to Hummingbird, "Let us race. We will see
who kills a deer first. Let us race. Let us race." Hummingbird
accepted the challenge.
Hummingbird said, "When I ran a race with Dove, I traveled
quite fast. We were just about even at the end. I will try to eat
the seeds that Dove eats. I will also eat flowers. I shall run another
race with him. I shall run a race with him to the end of the world.
I shall not go only to the middle of the world in my race with Dove.
I shall race him to the end of the world. When he and I race, it
is a tie. I shall run a race to the end of the world. If he ties
me again, then he and I will travel together for all time. If he
ties me, he and I will return and help Fox to kill the deer. He
and I eat the seeds and flowers. Let him try the flowers and I will
try the seeds."
Fox said, "Tell Hummingbird not to get in the middle. Tell
him not to get in the middle. The men had better not travel too
fast at first, for they will have plenty of running after we enter
the hills." So spoke Chief Fox, when he prepared his hunters.
He said to Mountain Lion and to Eagle, "Get ready. Take up
certain stations, where the deer come out.'' He told Wolf to take
his station near a place, where the deer always come out. "Dove
and Hummingbird are to run first," he told Chief Mountain Lion.
Chief Fox told his men to get ready, when he prepared to hunt deer.
"I see that all of you are willing to hunt," he, said.
Brown Wren said, "Coyote and I shall race. I do not think
that Coyote can beat me running. When I come home, I will race with
California Jay. I will see. how fast Jay can run. Jay and I will
try each other in a shooting contest, to see who is the better.
Jay and I will shoot at each other with arrows to see who can jump
about the quicker. If he excels me at jumping, then perhaps he can
hit me. I shall shoot four arrows and he will shoot four. I shall
give him the first shot. Then I will shoot at him. I do not know
who will be next in the running of races. I fear that Jay will not
get out of the way in time, when I use my arrow."
California Jay said, ''I do not think that you can hit me. You
can try and try. Thus I will sing, when I dodge your arrows. Thus
I will do, I tire you. I do not believe that you can hit me. I eat
nothing but acorns. That is what makes me so lively. If I am seated
when the deer come out of the brush, I am not going to arise. I
will kill the deer without arising. Thus I will handle the deer,
when they come out of the brush. Are you a good dodger? Are you
a good dodger? You are going to fight me with the arrow,'' he said
to Brown Wren. "I shall dodge, you while I am seated. I shall
dodge you while I am seated. I do not think that you can hit me
after I have arranged my hair. You can try. You call try, but you
will find that I am a good dodger."
Turkey Vulture said, "That is the way I shall do, when I put
the deer to sleep. Thus shall I do. Thus shall I do. I shall look
for the deer in the hills. Thus shall I do, when I hunt them in
the brush. You will find them, when the blood turns into a rainbow.
Then you will find them. I shall do my best. I shall do my best
to be the first to obtain a deer. If I find dead deer after you
return home, I shall eat them." Thus spoke Turkey Vulture.
Thus he spoke, as they journeyed into the hills and as he looked
for dead animals in the hills. He continued, "I find the dead
animals from the high mountains. When I see the blood, I shall come
and tell you. When I look for deer, I wheel in one place. When the
sun rises, you will see the blood turn into a rainbow." So
spoke Turkey Vulture to Fox.
Turtle said, ''I will obtain water for the men when they are ill
the hills. I will obtain water for them, when they hunt. I will
obtain water to wash the intestines. I will carry water for the
hunters. I always carry water. I do not have to hunt with the men."
Thus spoke Turtle, as he returned to the water. "I shall get
no deer. I shall get no deer," he said. Turtle always carried
water for the hunters. He always carried water. He knows how to
carry water. He sings all the while, that he carries water. All
that he does is to sing beside the water. He sings that he is to
Fox told his hunters to go and they all departed. All of the deer
passed by Fox. All of the deer passed by Fox. He paid no attention
to them, but just watched them. The deer scattered. Each of the
other hunters obtained one. Most of the deer passed by Fox. He just
watched them until the last came. As the last one approached, he
put his arrow in the bow and shot it. The arrow passed through the
deer and penetrated all of the deer that were in line. In four gulches
were four different deer that Fox killed. That many deer he obtained
with one arrow. The feat showed that Fox was a better hunter than
Then Skunk visited his son-in-law (Fox), while they skinned the
deer. He said to his son-in-law, "May I ride on top of the
pack, when you carry it?" Thus spoke Skunk to his son-in-law.
His son-in-law replied, "You will be too heavy on top of the
deer. I have all that I can carry without you." So said Fox
Skunk became angry. He said to his son-in-law, "Don't say
that to me. If you don't carry me, I will eject my fluid upon you."
Fox retorted, "Don't say that to me. I will kill you. Don't
eject your fluid upon me. If you do, I will kill you. I will kill
you with an arrow." "Don't say that,'' said Skunk. ''I
do not wish to die. There is no one here to help me, if you shoot
me with an arrow."
Fox said to Skunk, "Night Hawk has the largest deer in his
month. Hurry, help me skin this deer, or Night Hawk will get them
all. Before we started I told you to leave Night Hawk home."
Fox went to prevent Night Hawk from eating the largest deer. Night
Hawk told Fox that he had nothing in his mouth. "The only thing
I have in my mouth is something which belongs to my uncle. I have
nothing of yours in my mouth" So said Night Hawk, when Fox
threatened to kill him. Fox threatened to kill him, if he did not
return the deer. While Fox was talking to Night Hawk, Skunk skinned
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