Search For Fire
Achomawi and Atsugewi Tales
After Hawk had been killed, and the flood had subsided, people found that all fires were put out all over the world. Nothing could be cooked, but for a time people did not trouble about it. Then after a few days they began to talk about it, and sent Owl to Mount Shasta to look all over the world and see if he could find any trace of fire. Owl took a feather blanket and went. Lizard watched him go, and told the people how he was getting on. After a while, when Owl did not come back, people thought he was dead. But Lizard said, "Sh! I can still see him." Owl got to the top at last, very tired, and wet with sweat. Lizard saw him look all about. He looked west twice, and there saw smoke coming from a sweat-house. After a while Owl came down from the mountain, and, coming back, told people what he had seen.
Next morning all got ready and went off to the west, to where
the smoke had been seen. Every one had a cedar-bark torch.
Dog had some punk hidden in his ear. Late in the evening they arrived
at the house, and asked to be allowed to warm their hands. Dog held
his ear down, and fire caught in the punk. Then every one thrust
their torches into the fire, and ran. The people in the house were
angry, and struck at them as they ran off. Coyote's fire gave out
first, then another's and another's, until finally all were out except
that which Dog had in his ears. The people who owned fire had made
it rain, and this put out the people's torches. No one knew that
Dog had fire. They got home and were much troubled, for they thought
the fire had all been lost. Dog was laughing, and said, "I am sweating."
Coyote got angry at this, and said, "Hit him! Knock him out!" Then
Dog said to Fox, "Look in my ear." When he did so, he saw the fire.
He took out the punk, made fire from it, and so people got fire again.
Dixon, Roland B.
The Journal of the American Folk-Lore
Cambridge: Harvard University, 1908
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