Maidu creation story adapted from the telling of Roland Dixon
In the beginning Earth Maker and Coyote floated in a canoe on the sea. They sought land and after some time saw something that resembled a bird’s nest. Earth Maker attached ropes to the nest that stretched to the East, West, North, South and Northwest. They sang and through the songs Coyote created a world that is rough and hard to travel through. This showed Coyote’s evil qualities. Earth Maker told Coyote to lie on his face and he stretched the mass all directions so that no and can be seen of it. Coyote took off to tour the land and left Earth Maker alone. Earth Maker created two tiny figures, barely bigger than a seed. He planted these under a gopher hill and traveled about planting figures like this all over the place. He said that each pair would become people and grow and have children and that their children would have children. He made as many pairs as there are tribes and people. He built the house and dwelled there a long time. Coyote came back and built a house near there too. Earth Maker named all the people which were animals. Earth Maker called a counsel and persuaded the nonhuman persons to destroy Coyote who is evil. They destroyed all the Coyotes except one which they catch. They try various ways to destroy Coyote but he escapes. Earth Maker brought a flood. All the animals escaped in a canoe and Coyote managed to get in it unseen. Earth Maker gave up and created a wife and told Coyote to do the same. There will be another race of people – the human beings. Coyote caused life for humans to be difficult and that they shall die rather than living forever as Earth Maker had wished. Earth Maker gave up and left and left a reed that turned into a rattlesnake that killed Coyote’s son. Coyote tried to follow him and repented saying that human should live forever and life should be easy but Earth Maker didn’t hear. Coyote turned back. Earth maker traveled around destroying monsters that would make life dangerous for humans and created a lake that would bestow eternal life. Coyote went around and destroyed all that Earth Maker has done, including the lake. He boasted how clever he was. Earth Maker went to the East and disappeared. Coyote went to the West and disappeared.