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Native American Legends

Yellokin the Man-Eating Giant

A Miwok Legend

There once was a giant bird. The biggest bird in the world. He had a habit of carrying off children up to fourteen years old. He grabbed them by the top of their heads and carried them up through a hole in the sky which was his home. Up there he killed and ate the children. The bird's wife was the Toad-woman, the aunt of the Eagle. Yellokin, the giant bird, had stolen her from earth and taken her up to his house above the sky. He did not kill her, but kept her as his wife. He brought her people to eat, but she would not eat them.

One day Yellokin caught Eagle by his head and carried him up through the sky. A boy saw this happen and shouted for people to help, but they could not kill Yellokin. When Yellokin left Eagle, Eagle looked around and saw his aunt, Toad-woman. She told him to be careful because when Yellokin comes back he will kill you. He will take you to a big tank of blood and ask you if you want to drink. You must say," Yes," and pretend to reach! down and tell him you can't reach it, you're afraid of falling in. Ask him to show you how to get it. "Okay," said Eagle. "I will do that." Then his aunt gave him a big stone knife to cut off Yellokin's head. Soon Yellokin returned and asked Eagle to drink the blood. Eagle told him he could not reach it, he was afraid of falling in. He then asked Yellokin to show him how. When Yellokin leaned over and reached deep down in the tank, Eagle stabbed him in the head with the big knife. Yellokin banged around in the tank, flapped his big wings, made a great noise and finally fell into the tank and died.

Coyote was down on Earth. Eagle was his uncle. Coyote asked some people, "Where is my uncle, Eagle?" The people told him that he had gone up to Yellokin's house. Coyote looked, but didn't see the hole they had gone through. Coyote looked for a south hole, but he didn't see it. He looked at the north hole in the Thunder Mountain, but it was too cold to go that way. Coyote ran in the village and sprang high in the air and made it in the hole in the sky, the same hole Yellokin and Eagle were in. At the same time as Coyote sprang up, he saw Eagle stabbing Yellokin. Coyote saw him die. Who lost many people. Then Eagle showed Coyote the tank of blood where Yellokin had done his killing. After awhile, Coyote asked, "What are you going to do with Yellokin?"

Eagle said, "I am going to burn him, so he will not come to life again."

"No uncle, you had better not burn him," said Coyote.

Then Eagle asked, "What are you going to do with him?"

Coyote answered, "I think we should cut off his wings and take them down home and then we should plant the big feathers and grow trees and other plants. Once we are done planting we can make more people." When he was done speaking, Coyote went down to earth through a hole of his own, he was a witch doctor. After Coyote had left, Yellokin's wife Toad-woman asked Eagle how he was going to get down." I don't know, "answered Eagle. I will take you down, "said Toad-woman. How?" asked Eagle." You will see ,"she replied. And she gathered the strong green grass that grow by the river, and made a long rope out of it. With it Toad-woman lowered Eagle down to earth. Coyote planted the feathers from Yellokin's wings, and when they had come up, he watched them grow into different types of plants and trees. Coyote told them all to bear seeds every year so people would have lots to eat. He also made rivers and rocks. Now it was time to make people so he planted more feathers. Soon their! villages were all over the land!

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