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Native American Legends

The Pleiades

A Tachi Yokut Legend

The Pleiades were five girls and a flea, baakil. The girls sang and played all night in the sky. The flea constantly went with them. They did not like the other men that came to them; they liked only him. They did not like the other men that came to them ran away, but the flea went with them. And they let him marry them. He married all five.

Now he turned into a flea, and in summer became sick with the itch. The girls did not like him any longer. They said: "Let us run away. Where shall we go?" Then they agreed to go east together. "When shall we go?" they said. "As soon as he sleeps."

Now the flea slept and the five got up and went off. After they were far away the flea woke up and thought: "Where are my wives?" He found that they had gone away.

He thought: "Where shall I go?" He went east. At last he came in sight of them, just before he reached the ocean. He said: "I will catch you."

They said: "He is coming. Let us go on." They ran on again. Then one asked: "Do you see him again!" Another said: "Yes, he is near." Then they said: "Let us go up into the air. Then he cannot come with us." Then they went up. But the man rose, too. That is why there are five stars close together now in the Pleiades and one at the side. That one is he, the flea.

Note : The Yaudanchi have a myth about the Pleiades. They say that they were girls who rose to the sky. One was pregnant and could not rise. She turned to a rock. One or more stars near them are young men who followed them.

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