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Native American Legends

The visit to the Dead

A Yaudanchi Yokut Legend

A woman died. Her husband went to where she was buried. At night he slept there. The next night he went and slept there. The next night he slept there again. Then in the middle of the night his wife came out of the grave. She stood tip and brushed the earth from herself. She faced north, not looking at him, and brushed herself entirely clean. She brushed her hair clean. Then she went north [khushim, actually somewhat west of north, in a direction at right angles to the prevailing course of the streams]. Her husband followed her.

They went on during the night. Then the dead woman turned into a log. At night she arose and brushed herself. Then they went on again. Then she turned to a log again. Again she got up and brushed herself and again they went on. Then they came to the bridge of the world of the dead [chedangdu wa tibiknicha]. There the woman crossed. Her husband was unable to.

On the other side were watchmen. They saw the man across the water. Then the watchmen were told to make a bridge for him. Then he crossed. The watchmen smelled of him. They told him: "Sit there." Then he sat in that place. The watchmen knew how he felt. They said: "Perhaps he is hungry. Give him something to eat." Then they gave him one pinenut. He ate the pinenut. Then there were more in his hand. He ate these and again there were more. At last he was satisfied.

At night the people there danced. Next day they again danced at night. Then the watchmen told him: "Take away the woman." They said to her: "It will be well if you too go back." Then they started. But they told him: "Do not sleep." Now they went. They spent a night on the way. They went on again. Again they spent the night. They went another day. Then at night he slept. Then he was lying with a log.

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