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Native American Legends

About Rope

A Wintu Legend

You have rope there already, tangled up. You untangle it. You untangle it and tie knots. You tie knots and tie it together. You pull it toward yourself and tie it tight. You pull out more rope and tie it together twice so it won't come untied. You untie it, and if you cannot untie it, you cut the rope. And you bring it toward you, fix it, and tie another knot. You tie it together where it was cut. You tie it together with a know and when you are finished, you wind it around between fingers and elbow and put it down.

Then you make a new rope. You make another strong one. You twist the rope on your knee, twisting wild riri for rope. And you make a long rope. It will be a very strong rope that nothing can break. A deer caught in it cannot break it. It will now break. That rope is really strong. And with that rope you can set a trap. With that rope you can trap deer. When a deer is caught in the rope, it hangs itself. You tie down a sugar pine or a fir and set a trap that way. When a deer is driven into it, it is caught in the rope. The tree flips up and hangs the deer. It dies there, choking to death in the rope.

The Indians would take the rope home and take good care of it, not letting it get wet. In the summer they did not put it out in the sun. The hung it in the shade. They took care of that rope. And for birds, too, they made a small, thin rope, and made the bird peck it to trap it. This time a long willow branch is fixed so it flips up. The ends are tied with a string and bent down to trap the bird. Acorns are put down, and when the bird pecks at them, it is caught in that little string as if hung. That is how the Indians trapped a long tome ago.

They trapped mountain quail, Steller's jays, and towhees. They ate them in the winter. You cannot catch gray squirrels, though, because they quickly cut themselves loose. When a gray squirrel is caught in a rope, it cuts it. Gray squirrels are strong. They hold on to the rope, hanging sideways, pull themselves up with one of their paws, and cut the rope. You cannot catch gray squirrels.

That is all.

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