Pomo Creation Story I I – – adapted from the telling of Edwin Loeb
Coyote had no wife but he had a son named Thunder Man. They lived together. Thunder Man went out to fish, beginning at the South Pole and traveling North. At each stream he set out basket traps and build a dam. He had no luck until one day he, his wife and Coyote came to Big River where he set out a trap. It grew into a large oak which is there to this day. After this he went home. He helped Coyote check the dam. He saw that the sticks were tied with snakes and this caused him to faint. Thunder Man went to check on Coyote and in the basket he found a whale which he dragged to shore. He cut off the tail. Thunder Man’s wife went out together wood. She was unable to lift the basket with the tail in it. When she checked Coyote was hanging on the bottom of it. Coyote jumped up and seized the woman. Thunder Man’s wife was crying when he got home but she did not tell him what had happened. Thunder Man cooked the whale’s tail in a hole in the ground. He threw Coyote in the fire and covered it with ashes. He dug his way out but his fur was all singed. Thunder Man’s wife became pregnant and kept on crying. Thunder Man pulled and kicked his wife out. She clung to trees and bushes but he kicked her further towards the ocean. Thunder Man kept pursuing his wife forcing her to the cliffs. He kicked her into the ocean where she gave birth to a seal on some rocks. That is how seals started. Thunder Man called for his wife to come back but she would not come. He threw sticks at her. Each stick turned into a different fish. Thunder Man went home and ate the whale’s tail, giving none to Coyote. Then he took out his robes and baskets and sang love songs. Skunk girls and female birds and animals came in. When the female Mallard ducks came in he stopped singing. He said, “Something stinks.” It was the skunk girls. Thunder Man told everyone to help themselves to the whale’s tail. They were bashful but finally Crow Girl ate some. Thunder Man tied the Mallard girls with hairs from his head because he wished them to be his wives. To Coyote he gave Toad Woman who was not a beauty. Thunder Man put beads on the neck, waists, and wrists of the Mallard Girls. All the rest departed except for Frog Woman. Thunder Man gathered wood by taking a large rock and breaking a tree. He gathered three or four days’ worth of wood. He stayed with his wife for four days and then left with all his fur robes and bead nets. He left wearing all of them. Thunder Man walked on top of the water. He had four hairpins which he stuck at equal distances across the water. Then he went under the water. The fourth hairpin began to cry out. Coyote heard this and imitated his son, wearing his finest robes. He stepped across the water, stepping each time on a hairpin. Coyote built a boat of tule and stuck the four hairpins into it. When he was finished he pointed the boat East but not but did not get in. Thunder Man came out from under the water and caused it to thunder, rain and hail. Coyote said, you can make it rain but you are no longer my son. The storm destroyed the boat. Thunder Man raised Coyote up into the air. Coyote cried, “Son, Son, Son.” Coyote said that Thunder Man’s wives would turn into birds and that his frog wife would stay under the water. He wished that they all would have a hard time. Coyote continued into the heavens, stopping four times. Finally, he went right up into it and was never heard from again.