Before Mukat died, he told his people they should hold a fiesta once a year, in memory of their dead. He said they should make an effigy of each one who had died and with these they should dance. This fiesta was to be held in the winter, when they had time. He further explained that it would take six nights; that during the singing of the songs which he had taught them, all should sit quietly on the ground, around the fire. One man must be appointed as the leader of the singing. He promised them that during the fiesta the spirits of the dead would return for the last time and would know just what was going on. All of the facts concerning Mukat and Tamaioit must be kept secret; anyone telling them would either die or become very ill.
They planned to make a fiesta for Mukat, as he had told them to do, but they did not invite Coyote. He found out about it, however, and came. By that time, the people were no longer angry at him. When he returned he was very thin.
All were sad after Mukat died. Coyote said, “Let’s live in a different house and burn this one, so as not to think about Mukat so much.” This they decided to do.
When they were ready to hold the fiesta, Coyote told them he knew what to make effigies of, and offered to go to the end of the world to get it. Misvut (a seaweed) was what he got. It grew far under the water. It had probably been made in the beginning for this purpose.
After Coyote made the body out of this, he made the eyes out of shells and decorated the body with feathers. Then they held a fiesta and Coyote was Net (chief). They have been doing this every since, when a person dies.
In the new house the people now lived in, Coyote became one of the pillars (?). However, they did not like that, so they made a roof of him. Before that, Coyote sang a great deal; he divided the songs into Mukat or Wildcat songs, and Tamaioit or Coyote songs. Because of this, the Wildcat people sing Mukat songs, and the Coyote people sing Tamaioit songs. During the time that Mukat and Tamaioit were in the stomach of the darkness, they had decided that Mukat would be a Tukut (wildcat person), Tamaioit an Isil (coyote person).
During that first fiesta, the Isil people wanted some more misvut. When they went to get it, the water bubbled and made a queer noise. It was talking to them, but they could not understand it at first. Soon they understood that Misvut was asking them what they wanted. They told him they wanted the big stone, sharvovoshal, which was to pound things on, more misvut, and a pipe made of rock. The misvut was always kept rolled up and had a stone pipe in it. Net had given a feast in order to get this pipe, for Mukat had told them that this was necessary. This pipe is used only at fiestas and can be obtained only after the Net has given a feast.
As soon as the new home that Coyote had suggested was built, the people scattered. When they got tired of wandering some turned into trees and deer. A few went out at midnight and therefore became dark-skinned. Some went in the daylight and so were white. Some went early in the morning and are brown-skinned.
After Mukat dies, Crow returned to where he had been burned, fell down into the pit, and thus became black. Buzzard also did this, and his head has been bald ever since. The white-spotted hawk fell in and became a mottled color.
One day, Buzzard saw a lot of queer looking things growing out of the pit where Mukat’s body had been burned. He told the people about them. These things were different kinds of vegetables, but they had never heard of such things, and did not know what to do with them. They decided to send Palmechewet, the man who never slept, to Mukat to ask him what they were for.
Palmechewet started out to find Mukat, and as he was going through the brush and mountains, he constantly prayed to Mukat to guide him to his abode. Finally he heard Mukat but could not see him. Mukat said, “Those things are to eat. You killed me before I had a chance to teach you about them. Tobacco is for the old people to smoke. The melons grow from my skull; pumpkins from my stomach; corn from my teeth.4 Return to my people and tell them that all of these things are good.” Palmechewet returned to the people and repeated these words. They had never eaten vegetables before.
To view the other two creation stories, please click here.
4 These are the characteristic plants of native agriculture. The Cahuilla have never been reported as having farmed before the advent of the Spaniards, but the neighboring Yuman tribes on the Colorado River grew these plants, except perhaps melons.
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