Beginning of War and Death of Mo-Cot the Creator
Mukat, by Antonio Patencio, age 11
After the moon had gone away, Mo-Cot began teaching the people. He taught them to shoot rocks from split sticks toward each other, by snapping the stones from the sticks. Then he made the pa hal, a cane, to grow. This is what he made the arrow sticks from. It was cut while somewhat green, then they dried it. Some dried crooked, and then they took a certain dark stone and cut straight grooves in it.
This stone is called in Indian Ya na pish. It was used for straightening the arrow sticks. It was heated red hot; they wet the arrow with saliva from the mouth; then, by twisting and turning and pulling the arrow through the slots, it became perfectly straight.
This that they made became known as arrows, Hoo yel; the plain stick, Hoo I- the stick and point altogether complete. The Hoo I was used for war, to kill by being poisoned; the Hoo yel was not poisoned, but used to kill for food.
When the arrow was finished, Mo-Cot made the arrowhead, or point. It was made in his lungs, and came out of his mouth. When he was making the arrowheads they were heard rattling in his lungs-this in Indian is called S i vat.
There were all kinds of arrow heads-white, red, pink, blue, black, yellow, all kinds of colors and shades, hundreds of them. They were heated in the fire red hot, to make the shapes. There were two shapes, one for food () and one for war (). The one used for food could be pulled out, but the one used for war could not be pulled out, or had to go through, or be taken out.
When this was all finished, the arrowheads were fastened on the arrow sticks.
Mo-Cot called for is baw al (redwood) to make the bows. It is strong and hard to split, it is very strong and shoots the arrow a long way.
Now that everything was complete, Mo-Cot began teaching the people how to shoot each another, by drawing off the arrow heads, which left only a harmless stick. They learned how to shoot at each another by drawing up sides, and no one was hurt. After they had learned to shoot well, Mo-Cot drew up sides, and putting on the arrow heads told them to shoot. Some of the people were wise, and knew what would happen when Mo-Cot told them to shoot, and this they refused to do.
Now there were three kinds of natural birds, also the butterfly, that could not be shot with the arrows; no matter how close they were, they could not be hit. Not the birds we see today, but the first created birds, they were different. One was the crow, one the water-bird, and the other like the red breast sparrow.
So the crow went up first and asked them to shoot him, then the others did the same thing; now the butterfly went and asked the same thing. They told the people not to be afraid, because they could not shoot them, they could not be shot, but the people were afraid.
Then Tahquitz, one of the first created Indians by Mo-Cot, was very wise, and knew many things. He said, “You watch me now, because there is no danger.” He then took an arrow, pushed it down his throat, then thrust it in his side, then through his head at the temples, then stabbed himself through the lungs. He said, “You can see it is nothing. I am not dead, it is only play.” This is what he told them all.
They believed him and thought that they could do anything that he could do. Then, when they began shooting at each another, many were killed.
Up to this time the people were as one family of brothers and sisters, but after the killing they became angered and missed the ones that were gone. They were unhappy and lonely. So when night came they went where the dead bodies of their friends were lying, to see if they could come back to life again. Every night they went to see if they had come back, but they did not.
One night they went and saw lights from all sides; they heard talking, and knew from the voices who they were, but they could not see them plainly like those living, only the lights at night. When the daylight came they could not see them. Then they went to the place where the moon used to teach them, and the spirits came there. There they played and talked to them and were glad and happy. The spirits thought they could come back after a while, but could not come.
This was not in one day or one week-perhaps a thousand years, or maybe much time more that the spirits were suffering on this earth with the people; so they got tired of it, but did not know where there was a place for them to go. One night they gathered together and started to go north. They went so far that they thought they were going to find a place for themselves, but they could not, and came back to the place where the moon had taught them among the living people. There they stayed for a time; then started towards the West.
They went up through the open spaces, as they had done to the North, thinking that they would find a place for themselves there, but they found it no use going farther-all they found was book ray whenit (endless space). So they turned back, and in a little while they heard voices in the North. Then they came back to where the moon had taught them.
After a time they started to the South, then they went up, and they saw the endless space; but there was no stopping place, so they turned back, but they heard sounds in their mouths and lungs. After some time they returned to the place by the pool, where their sister the moon had taught them among the living people.
Now among the people there was a man named Mom tak wit and he was angry for his brothers’ spirits suffering around for a place where they could be, and he was thinking about these things.
Then the spirits went again to the East. They rose higher and higher still, but could see nothing but endless space as before. Then they came to the end of the world and could go no farther, and there they found Mo-Cot-tem-ma-ya-wit with his people. He said that they were different, and he stopped them before they got among his people. He said that they were not cooked well done, as they should have been, and that their smell was different.
He told them, “That was what I was saying to my oldest man in the Beginning, but he did not believe me. Now you suffer much. Why does he not show you a place for you to be? But now you to go back to Yo le wit and Tew i wit and Chim no Ra,” which meant that they must return to that place which was created.
He told them to take a handful of clay and make a cross on their breast from one shoulder to the other. Then he said: “My oldest man and I we made a hang a wit and san han wit. You might break some switches off, and whip yourselves around the bodies. Maybe that would help you.
They went back and did that, and it helped for a while. They were happy in the night time, but in the daytime they had no place to go, as before.
This man Mom tak wit, he was thinking so much about what they should do. So he got up and went out and made a whò ya no hut, such as a Bishop’s staff, like Mo-Cot and Mo-Cot-tem-may-ya-wit made to create in the First Beginning, and he took it in his hands and struck it in the earth, and shook it, and shoved and moved it around until he opened up a place in the earth, so that all of the spirits went in. And when they went in they made rumbling sounds in the earth, and this is the place that all spirits go, even today.
Now these people (No cot em) that were left behind became dissatisfied, so they were having a talk with each another, what they should do with this Mo-Cot.
Ta va wit, the great woodpecker, said, “Pe om,” which meant for the witch doctors to witch Mo-Cot. Before, the woodpecker was not saying this word, but ever since he can be heard saying “Pe-om-pe-om.”
They all wanted to know what to do with this Mo-Cot. He was always lying down, he was never standing up or going about, he was always lying down in the house.
Then they told the great smoke-colored lizard that lived in the desert among the sage, to watch at night; so he did. He watched that night and saw, as the people went to bed, that Mo-Cot cause them to sleep deep. Mo-Cot took a pipe; there was no tobacco or fire in it, but he lighted it and smoked it. He blew the smoke to the North and to the West and to the South and to the people. Then he stood up and took the who ya no hut, and he struck it among the people, and where he struck it, he put his foot, first one and then the other.
The lizard was watching and following in his shadow, and he saw Mo-Cot go away over to the sea, and he had a post set there at the edge of the ocean. But the lizard could not go there, because of the water.
The lizard saw that Mo-Cot went there to take a bath; that he used this place for a bath room. When Mo-Cot came back from the ocean, the lizard came back with him too. Then he went to the same place and he lay down again.
Next morning the spirits went to the pool to play, where the moon had taught them, and the lizard told them all that he had seen last night.
The people said that was all right, that was nothing. Then they told the great skipper that walks on the water, “You go and kill him. You go to this place and watch for him.”
So that night the skipper, he went to this place, and stayed there until the middle of the night, when Mo-Cot came down. But the skipper could not get near enough to bite him, because the waves of the ocean were too strong, and they floated him about until he could not stay still. Next morning the people went to the same place where the moon was teaching, and they asked him: “How did you come out?” The skipper said, “I could do nothing, because the water was too strong and I could not hold myself. You had better try somebody else.”
So they picked out the great green frog and told him to go and try it. He agreed, and started for the place at once. That night he stayed on the bottom of the ocean, waiting for Mo-Cot to come. About midnight he came.
Now, the great green frog had not only much power, but he was ready to poison him as well as bewitch him. Always when Mo-Cot went into the ocean there was a rumbling and a thundering. The frog was sitting tight against post on the bottom of the ocean. The frog was using his power, and when Mo-Cot did not hear any rumbling or thundering, he did not know what to think about it.
He took the whò ya no hut and began to poke all about in the water with it. This he did three times, but the frog was hiding and sitting close to the post, so the who ya no hut only scratched his back. Then Mo-Cot gave it up; he was not feeling very well, and was shaking.
The next morning the people went to the same pool where the moon had been teaching, and they asked the frog what he had done, and he said he thought he had done it all right. The people were all very glad to hear that, and told each another when they got sick not to go to Mo-Cot to be cured.
Mo-Cot could not understand how his sickness got started to him. “Perhaps the water, or maybe my house,” he said.
And when he was so sick that he could not take care of himself any more, coyote was taking care of him. He did everything he could for him but Mo-Cot was afraid of coyote. He told his people that they must watch coyote, “For, if any time at night I die, perhaps he would eat me,” so they watched coyote.
Then Mo-Cot told the people, “Send my creation, the swallow, to the north wind and tell him to come and doctor me.”
The swallow went, but the wind was so strong that he could not get near it. Then he flew under it, near the ground, and got to where the wind was, and he told the wind that Mo-Cot was sick and wanted him to come and doctor him.
The wind said, “All right,” he would be there the next morning.
Next morning early he came down with all the power he had, to try and help Mo-Cot.
He blew the sand and the dirt and shook the houses until Mo-Cot was rather afraid, so he told his people to tell the wind to go back home, that his eyes and ears were all full of sand. So the people told the wind to quit and go back home. The wind stopped, but nothing happened to Mo-Cot. He was getting worse.
Then he thought we would try the west wind. “Perhaps my creation the west wind would be better for me. You can go and ask him to come down.”
So the same bird he went, and the wind was very strong, as before, and the bird could not get in to him, but he flew underneath the wind, close to the earth, and went anyhow to the wind and told him that Mo-Cot wanted him to come down.
The wind said, “All right, I will be there in the morning.”
Next morning he came down very strong, shaking all the houses and bringing dust until they could not see each another.
Mo-Cot told the west wind to quit and go back home, that his eyes and ears were full of dust, so the west wind went home.
The tried the south wind. “Perhaps my creation, the south wind, could help me. You had better go and ask him to come.”
So the same bird went, but he could not get in, for the wind blew so strong, so he flew under it again and got in that way, and told the wind that Mo-Cot wanted him to come down and cure him.
The south wind said, “All right, I will be down in the morning.”
The next morning he came with all the power he could, trying to help Mo-Cot get well, but he did no good to Mo-Cot--he was getting worse.
Of course the winds knew and understood that the people were witching Mo-Cot, so they were not wanting to cure, they wanted to kill him. They did him no good, they put even more sickness upon him.
The people knew why he was getting no better. He was a trouble maker, and they were determined to get rid of him. Mo-Cot then told the people to send wes so not the hawk to go after pa e wet the long tailed desert rat. The hawk went after the rat, but he never came back, because he found the living so good he forgot all about bringing the rat back. Mo-Cot could have told his people where they could have found some things to eat, but he never did, and this was the first time that any of them had found anything.
Mo-Cot told his people to send all wot, the crow, to go after “those my creation (pe e whem em).” The crow went, but he did not come back that same day, because he found them so good to eat, and so many of them, that he like to live at that place with them.
The pe e whem em were very large worms, something like the army worms today. When they were roasted on hot rocks or hot coals they were considered very fine eating. Tribes of Indian often quarreled over the boundary lines when these worms were in season.
Mo-Cot ate them, and they did him so much good that he sent the crow back again for more. The Mo-Cot began explaining to his people, “Maybe I die in the month of Sowl,“ which means before you can see the new moon. “Or the moon Seva (the crescent of the new moon). Perhaps I shall die in the new moon, chan a, or the half moon (Ky vo), or the moon tan cha (three-quarters), or the full moon (te ve).
“Maybe I shall die in the moon (tes sa) going back to three-quarters, maybe I shall die in the Le we moon. Maybe I shall die in the ca ve moon, maybe I shall die in he qua moon. Maybe I shall die in Too moon.
He told his people, “When I die, you better watch my creation coyote. When I die you must tell him to go for my creation Rockfire and Sunfire.” He told this to his people.
The Rockfire and the Sunfire were very far away, and very strong, so Mo-Cot knew that coyote would be a long time and could not get them. “Then when my creation coyote goes for the Rockfire and the Sunfire, you must start to my creation that is a girl, a very fine girl, Min my wit the palm, and make a fire out of her.”
Now the girl who was a palm heard and began to cry, the tears were running, but Mo-Cot told the people, no matter how much she screamed or cried, or the blood ran out of it, to keep on twisting the stick in the hole until they made the fire.
So one night Mo-Cot died.