“I guess that the old
woman is dead,” said he, “or maybe she’s
gone across the river.” But the Evil One loses his power if he
touches water, so he dare not cross the river to follow her.
The old woman watched him
from the top of the rock. Many times
she feared lest he should find her, and she covered the baby
At last when he had given up the hunt, she saw him take a great basket and set it down in the road. Into this basket he put great bunches of elderberry roots, and as he put each bunch in, he gave it a name—Washoe, Digger, Paiuti, and so on. Then he put the lid on tightly and went off through the forest.
The old woman watched till
the Evil One had gone. Creeping
quietly down, she came with the child—she was a little girl
now, not a wee baby any more—and sat down near the basket.
Presently there was a murmuring
in the basket. “Oh,
grandmother, what’s that noise?” said the little girl.
said the grandmother, “don’t you touch
But the little girl kept teasing,
“Oh, grandmother, what’s in
And the old woman would say, “Don’t you touch it!”
The old woman turned her back just one minute and the little girl slipped up and raised the lid ever so little. There was a great whirring noise; the lid flew off and out came all the Indians. Off through the air they flew—Washoes to Washoe land; Diggers to Digger land; Paiutis to Nevada—each Indian to his own home.
The story given above is the one told by Jackson, but his wife, Susan, tells the same story with these essential differences. In her narrative there is no Evil One. The old woman scolded the young people for playing, but they are not all killed. It is the old woman herself who took a Paiuti water-bottle and after filling it with water, took wild seeds and placed them in the bottle, naming them the different Indian tribes. The seeds swelled in the water until they were as big as eggs and out of these the Indians hatched like chickens, and began to fight. It is the noise of the fighting that the baby hears.
As in Jackson’s story the baby lets them out, but it is the wind that carries them off to their various homes.
HOW THE INDIANS FIRST GOT FIRE
The Indians were having a
“big time” in a great log cabin.
All the birds were there too, for in those days the Indians,
birds, and animals could talk to each other.
They were dancing all around
the room and all were merry as
could be. They had a huge wooden drum and, as they passed
this, the dancers kicked it to make music.