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Native American Legends

The Bear and Deer Children

A Pohonichi Miwok Legend

The thunders were two boys with supernatural powers. Their mother was the deer. The grizzly bear also had two children. The two women went to the creek looking for clover. Now they loused each other.

Then the bear bit the back of the deer's neck and killed her. The two deer-children made a little sweat-house. After the bear had killed and eaten their mother, they killed the two bear-children in this sweat-house with fire.

Then they struck the ground and made a noise and fled to their grandfather. He was powerful and had a large sweat-house. The bear pursued them. She had nearly caught them when they escaped into the sweat-house. The bear put in her head looking for them. Her hind legs were still outside.

The boys' grandfather had supernatural powers with fire; his amulet was a white rock at the top of the house. When all the bear's body except her hind legs was in the house as she looked about for the two boys, the white fire-rock entered her anus and burned her to death inside. Then the two young deer became thunders.

After awhile they also had supernatural powers. They made so much noise in the house that their grandfather was afraid. They went up above, where they still are.

The half-Chukchansi from whom the Pohonichi tales just given were obtained did not seem to know any story of the stealing of the sun, of a hero who is dug out of the ground as a child, and of a contest between the coyote and the lizard determining the shape of the human hand.

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