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Native American Legends

The First Man and Woman

A Nishinam Legend

The first man created by Coyote was called Aikut. His wife was Yototowi. But the woman grew sick and died. Aikut dug a grave for her close beside his camp fire, for the Nishinam did not burn their dead then.

All the light was gone from his life. He wanted to die, so that he could follow Yototowi, and he fell into a deep sleep.

There was a rumbling sound and the spirit of Yototowi arose from the Earth and stood beside him. He would have spoken to her, but she forbade him, for when an Indian speaks to a ghost he dies.

Then she turned away and set out for the dance-house of ghosts. Aikut followed her. Together they journeyed through a great, dark country, until they came to a river which separated them from the Ghost-land. Over the river there was a bridge of but one small rope, so small that hardly Spider could crawl across it.

Here the woman started off alone, but when Aikut stretched out his arms, she returned. Then she started again over the bridge of thread. And Aikut spoke to her, so that he died. Thus together they journeyed to the Spirit-land.

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