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Native American Legends

The Eagle's Son

A Yaudanchi Yokut Legend

The eagle had a boy. He said to him: "Do not go over that hill." The boy grew up. One day, saying: "I am just going off somewhere," he went over the hill. When he came back he said to his grandmother: "I saw something on the other side of that hill."

"What did you see?" she asked.

"Many people," he said.

Next day he went over again. Then a number of girls who were gathering clover saw him. They were the woodpecker, the bluejay, the quail, the mountain quail, and the rat. When he came near them they spat on him the clover they were eating and ran off.

The boy went toward the house in that place. Coyote who was there prepared to shoot him. Moving his band over his mouth he shouted: "Wuwuwuwuwuwu! Some one is coming." The boy was carrying arrows also, but did not take them out of his quiver.

Coyote came near him, drew his bow, and shot. He missed the boy. Then the dog, the right side of whose face was black, shot. He missed also. When the two saw that they could not hit the boy, they said to him: "Come, my friend, sit here." Then he came and sat down with them.

When he said: "I must go," Coyote told him: "Well, come again." The boy returned home. He told his father: "I have been to see people over the hill. I want to go again tomorrow."

Then the eagle said: "Do not go. You will be killed."

The boy told him: "They have already tried to kill me."

Next day he went again. He came to the same place and the girls were there as before. He was dressed beautifully now. He looked so fine that the girls did not know him again. This time they tried to embrace him. They were so jealous that they were ready to fight one another. They all went to where he lived. All of them had long hair and were beautiful; and each came carrying a load of food.

The bluejay went into the house and said to the boy's grandmother: "Go outside and get my load. I have brought something to eat. I want to live with this young man."

The old woman did not bring it in. All the girls came in, one after another, and each told the old woman to take her food inside, but she did not do it. Then the woodpecker came in. She was the only one of them who had not spit on the boy when he first came to them.

When she said to the old woman: "Bring in my load. I want to live here," the old woman said: "Yes," and carried it in. Then the other girls were angry, and struck the woodpecker on the head, and the blood that came is the red that is now on the woodpecker's head.

Then the woodpecker threw ashes on the bluejay, and made her blue, She threw fire on the mountain quail, which therefore is spotted with red. She rubbed charcoal on the quail, from which its head is black, and she threw fire on the rat, from which this has a reddish belly. Then the woodpecker lived there.

After a time the young man went over the hill again. He went to fight Coyote and the black-faced dog. He shot both and killed them. Then the eagle said to him: "Let us go and kill all of them." Then those people all fled and scattered over the country.

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