Myths & Legends of California and the Southwest


The myths of California, in general, are of the same type as those given in a preceding volume on the myths of the Pacific Northwest. Indeed many of the myths of Northern Californian tribes are so obviously the same as those of the Modocs and Klamath Indians that they have not been repeated. Coyote and Fox reign supreme, as they do along the entire coast, though the birds of the air take a greater part in the creation of things. These stories are quaint and whimsical, but they lack the beauty of the myths of the desert tribes. There is nothing in all Californian myths, so far as I have studied them, which in any way compares with the one of the Corn Maidens, referred to above, or the Sia myths of the Cloud People. In the compilation of this volume, the same idea has governed as in the two preceding volumesÑsimply the preparation of a volume of the quainter, purer myths, suitable for general reading, authentic, and with illustrations of the country portrayed, but with no pretensions to being a purely scientific piece of work. Scientific people know well the government documents and reports of learned societies which contain myths of all kinds, good, bad, and indifferent. But the volumes of this series are intended for popular use. Changes have been made only in abridgments of long conversations and of ceremonial details which detracted from the myth as a myth, even though of great ethnological importance.

 

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