A Native Legend Of Mount Diablo

The following account was discovered in “The Dawn of the World” by C. Hart Merriam.


After a while the world cooled off and Wek’-wek came back to Oo’yumbel’le (Mount Diablo) to see his father Mol’luk and his grandfather Olet’te. He said to Mol’luk, “0 father;” and Mol’luk answered, “What is it my son?”

Wek’wek asked, “How can we make Mew’ko (Indian people) and have them in the country?”

His father replied, “I cannot tell you; ask your grandfather, he can tell you.”

So Wek’wek asked his grandfather, Olet’te, how they were going to make people.

Olet’te answered, “Hah-hah, it will take you a good while to do that. If you are going to do that you must have a head. If people are coming you must first put out (provide) everything everywhere so they can live. If you want to do this I will think about it.”

“I want to see it done,” answered Wek’-wek.

“All right,” said Olet’te, “I know how. I must catch the three birds — Choo’choo the Turkey Buzzard, Kok’kol the Raven, and Ahwet’che the Crow. The only way to catch these birds is to make-believe dead.”

So Wek’wek and O.let’te went out on the plain together and Olet’te lay down on the ground and pretended he was dead. He opened his mouth and let hi-s tongue out and relaxed himself so Choo’choo the Buzzard would think he was dead. He told Wek’wek he would call if he caught the birds: and Wekwek went away.

Soon Choo’choo the Turkey Buzzard came sailing over and saw the dead Coyote-man and circled around and lit on the ground beside him. Kok’kol the Raven and Ahwet’che the Crow saw Choo’choo go down and knew that he had found something to eat, so they too hastened to the place. Just as all three began to eat. Olet’te suddenly sprang up and caught them. He then called Wek’wek to come, and told him to pick off the feathers and. be careful not to lose a single one. This Wek’wek did: he picked all the feathers from the three birds and took them home.

Then he asked his grandfather, “What are we going to do next?”

“Make people,” answered Olet’te.

“All right,” said Wek’wek, “do you know how?”

“Yes,” answered Olet’te.

Wek’wek then told Mol’luk his father that they were going to make people. Mol’luk answered, All right.”

Next morning Olet’te and Wek’wek took the feathers, and traveled over all the country. They picked out the places where they wanted Indian villages to be, and in each place stuck up three feathers — one for Cha’kah the Chief, one for Mi’yum, the head woman or Woman Chief, and one for Soola’too the poor. And they gave each place its name – the name it has always had and bears today.

The next morning the three feathers at each place stood up and came to life and became Mew’ko (Indian People). This is the way people were made in the beginning and this is the way all the different rancherias or villages were named.

After that Olet’te said to Wek’wek, “Now we also are going to change; I am going to be a hunting animal and you are going to be a hunting bird.” So Olet’te the Coyote-man, whose form up to this time we do not know, changed to the Coyote, a furry hunting animal and became the first furry animal. And Wek’wek changed to the Falcon, a hunting bird.

Taylor, Pages 7-9

Three Feathers
Three Feathers
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