Cahuilla Tales And Beliefs

Future Life

Mukat created a place in the east as a residence for the spirits of the dead. This was called Telmikish (compare telewel, spirit). At the entrance to Telmikish were two constantly moving mountains or large hills. They would come together and separate, come together and separate this movement never ceased.

Montakwet was made guardian of this entrance, and he will never die. When the spirits of the dead find their way to him, he questions them. One of the tests he puts to them is the making of many figures in the game we know as “cat s cradle.” After they pass the tests he gives them, they try to enter Telmikish. If they have lived good lives, been generous at all times, thoughtful and respectful to the old people, and have obeyed all of Mukat s orders, they pass through the entrance without any trouble. If they have not done these things, the mountains come together as they pass through and they are crushed. When this happens, the spirits become bats, butterflies, rocks, or trees near the entrance.

The spirits know each other in Telmikish. Often they gather and decide that they want a certain person with them. This decision causes that person to die soon after, and he goes to his friends in Telmekish.

Sometimes a man dies undesignedly and the spirits in Telmikish have not been prepared for his arrival. If they do not want him there, he is sent back. This is evidenced by the fact that often a person who has apparently died, in a minute begins to breathe again. When this occurs, the person who has died but come to life again must not tell what he saw in Telmikish. At the end of three years he may tell, but if he does so earlier, he will die and his spirit will be caught between the moving mountains.

This is all according to Mukat s plan. Many people do not pay any attention to his commands, however, especially young people. Evil will come to them in the end.

Enemy Songs

Up to a few years ago, each clan possessed songs known as enemy songs. They sang them during fiestas so that their enemies might hear them. Each side took turns. There was usually the kindliest feeling toward these so-called foes.

This custom no doubt started from real troubles, but after the passage of years the descendants, though not knowing what the enmity had been, still continued singing these songs of ridicule as though it were a religious duty. The main point in singing them seems to have been to reveal the fact that the secret name of the opposing clan had been discovered. This is described below in the section on the naming of children.

Occasionally, hand to hand fighting started among the women on account of something said in a song. Because of this, and because of a desire to prevent any new enmity being created among clans, the singing of these songs was abolished a few years ago.

The words of a few are as follows

1. His food gave out, his water gave out,
Leave him now, go away from him:
Isilwelnet (enemy name)
(Repeated as many times as desired.)

2. Bury him now, plant him now:
And then they buried him, and then they planted him:

3. There stands the whirlwind, there stands the whirlwind,
Where they burned him, where they burned him

4. In the middle of the desert land, Lying on his back,
Lying on his stomach:

5. They are coming back again,
They are coming back again,
Those moon-eaters and sun-eaters,
Those moon-eaters and sun-eaters.


In the beginning, Takwich 1 was a man whom Mukat created and to whom he gave great power. He was the first shaman. The people disliked him very much, so he ran away to the San Jacinto Mountains. He still lives in a canyon there known as Takwich or Tahquitz canyon. His home is in a large rock. Though no one knows what rock it is, Takwich, and the people he has stolen, can see out of it as plainly as we see through glass. The Cahuilla never venture into this canyon for they are afraid Takwich will get them.

A meteor that is seen occasionally is believed to be Takwich hunting for wandering souls. The stealing of spirits is his main occupation. He takes them to his home on San Jacinto and there eats them; he often steals people as well as their souls.

The story is often told of a young Indian girl who bathed near Takwich canyon. Takwish desired and stole her and took her to his house in the rock and treated her as his wife. He often left her and brought back spirits for their food.

Here he kept her several years. She became very tired of eating spirits, and he decided to let her return home. First, he warned her that for three years she must not tell anyone where she had been, or she would surely die. Then he took her back to where he first found her and from here she went home.

Her people, who had never expected to see her again, rejoiced greatly and asked her where she had been. She refused to tell, but they kept urging her. In a year, when they were still questioning her, she told them to build her a large house and she would then tell them. After the house was built, she told all the people to gather there, and she then told them everything that had occurred to her while she was with Takwich. The next morning, just before sunrise, she died just as Takwich had said she would.

Occasionally, a rumbling sound is heard issuing from Takwich canyon. They say that some girl is begging Takwich to let her go and that he is growling at her.

They used to attribute all earthquakes to Takwich and whenever one occurred they would hold a dance.

When people are killed in an accident, it is often because their spirits have been stolen by Takwich.

Once when they were boys, Francisco and Jim Torres were playing near the canyon. Suddenly they saw Takwich coming out. He had a rod stuck through his head. He leaped over the hills and dis appeared. Some women who were washing saw him at the same time.

Ambrosio, the medicine man, whose guardian spirit is Takwich, says he sees Takwich often, and that he looks like other men.

Chehaum And Tukwishhemish 2

There once were three little girls, Moki, Kipi, and Tewe. They were small and not at all pretty, but were constantly laughing.

Tukwishhemish was a large woman and very pretty. When she laughed, she never opened her mouth. This made the little girls very curious. One day they made her laugh very hard, and she opened her mouth. They then saw that instead of having one row of upper teeth she had two. The little girls thought this very funny and they laughed at her.

Tukwishhemish was ashamed, so she ascended to the sky and became a star. Soon the little girls became so lonely that they too went to the sky.

Tukwishhemish can be seen to this day. She has her arms out stretched and wears a beautiful pin at her neck which shines very brightly in the sky. The three little girls are known as the Chehaum. They keep trying to look at Tukwishhemish but she keeps turning away from them.

Up to the time these four women went to the sky, there had never been a marriage, but the people were beginning to desire something of the kind.

Two men, Isilihnup and Holinach by name, heard of these girls and decided to go to them and make them their wives.

When they arrived at the home of the girls and found that they had left, they felt very badly. They looked all over the world for them but of course could not find them.

One night they slept in the big house. When Isilihnup woke up in the night, he could see through the smoke-hole. There he saw the Chehaum and knew that they were the little girls. He wondered how he could get near them.

At last he spied a greasewood stick. He put it in the fire until it began to burn, then threw it through the smoke-hole, and it went to the sky. He followed it. As the stick went through the hole, some ashes fell off. Since then, whenever ashes fall, it is a sign that it is going to snow. Isilihnup became a star and still may be seen at one side of the Chehaum.

When Holinach woke up, he missed his partner and wondered where he could have gone. That night he slept in his brother s place. When he woke in the middle of the night, he too saw the Chehaum. He then knew where his brother had gone.

He took a naswit branch, lighted it, and threw it through the smoke-hole as his brother had done. Ashes fell just as they had done before. Holinach followed and went to the other side of the Chehaum. There Isilihnup and Holinach can still be seen guarding the Chehaum.

The old people can tell what the weather is to be like by watching these stars. If they throw a dim light, the weather will not be good, but if the light is bright and clear, the weather will be fine.

Both Isilihnup and Holinach are represented by two stars, one for the body and the other for the burning stick they threw ahead of them. When the star representing the burning stick appears, that signifies the beginning of the first month. When Holinach and Isilihnup them selves appear, that means the beginning of the second month. This continues for the four winter months. 3

Kunvachmal And Tukvachtahat 4


There was once a man by the name of Tukvachtahat. He was very powerful and could do many magical things. He had a wife, and a son whose name was Kunvachmal. Tukvachtahat and his wife quarreled all the time until they separated.

Soon Tukvachtahat married again and had two sons by this marriage. He was very rich and he and his family had everything they wanted. Kunvachmal and his mother were very poor and lived near Tukvachtahat. One day he visited his half-brothers. Tukvachtahat saw him there and told his boys not to have anything to do with him, for he hated him.

However, Kunvachmal had been there long enough to see what fine things his half-brothers had to play with, and was jealous of them. He went home and told his mother he wanted things such as his brothers had. She told him that they were poor and could not have such fine things. The boy began to cry. His mother went outside and made a bow and arrow out of mesquite bark. When she handed it to Kunvachmal, he complained because it did not have eagle feathers as his brothers arrows had. She told him to go outside and pick up any kind of feathers he saw. He gathered quail feathers and she put them on his arrows and he was satisfied.

Next day, Kunvachmal took his bow and arrows and went to see his brothers again. They looked at his arrows and then broke them. Kunvachmal cried and went home and told his mother about it. She told him not to go back there an} more, but he returned, and each day they broke his arrows.

Finally, the brothers tired of this and decided to play a game with him by which they thought they could win the arrows and keep them for themselves, instead of breaking them, for they were beautifully made arrows.

At first they won, and each day Kunvachmal went home without any arrows. Soon he began to win, however, and took home the fine arrows belonging to his brothers. This made them angry and they told their father how things were going.

Tukvachtahat did not like this at all and told his boys they must get even with Kunvachmal. He told them to have a race to the water next day and go swimming. He said the water looked like just a small pool but that in reality it was the ocean. He told them to let Kunvachmal win and dive in.

The next day they suggested to Kunvachmal that they have a race to the water and that the first one there should dive in. They took off their clothes and started out. As agreed between the boys, Kunvachmal won and dived in. He sank clear to the bottom and since it was the ocean, it was very deep.

Now Kunvachmal s father was a powerful wizard, so Kunvachmal had a great deal of power, too, but he had not known it until then. He sat down on the bottom of the ocean and wondered what he could do to get out. He sang one of his songs, turned himself into a frog, and swam to the top of the water. When he got there, he saw that there were very high banks around him which a frog could not climb. He turned himself into many things, trying to reach the top of the bank, but was not successful until he turned into a water-ant.

He had been gone from home some time and his mother was very much worried. She cried all night, every night. In the middle of each night she heard a sound, and, thinking it was Kunvachmal returning would jump up to greet him, but it only proved to be his spirit. One morning she went to the home of the other boys and asked them where her son was. They pretended ignorance.

When Kunvachmal finally returned, his mother was very happy. When her crying ceased, Tukvachtahat knew Kunvachmal must have returned, and he was very angry that the boy had outwitted him. He then thought of another way he might get rid of Kunvachmal and told his boys about it.

Accordingly, they asked Kunvachmal to go hunting with them. They all went out into the thick brush, started a fire on one side, and then tried to drive the rabbits into it. While Kunvachmal was killing the rabbits which had been trapped the boys caused the fire to sur round him. When Kunvachmal saw his danger, he sang his song and then gradually moved down into the ground. Fire kept drawing closer around him but he got clear under the earth before it reached him.

Before coming up out of the ground, he had to wait for it to cool off. At daybreak he came out and went home taking much game with him.

His mother had cried all night. When he returned she stopped crying. Then Tukvachtahat knew that Kunvachmal had gotten the best of him again.

Once, when Kunvachmal had been visiting his brothers, he noticed that they had mush to eat with their meat. He told his mother he wanted some to eat with his meat, so she should heat the water. She did as he told her, but was sure that they were too poor to make any mush. But the boy had brought some home under his fingernails from his father. He now put this in the hot water. It multiplied until the pot was full.

One day, Kunvachmal saw Tukvachtahat plant wheat. Kunvachmal wanted to plant some wheat too, so he stole a few grains oat of his father s sack and sowed it in the mountains.

His brothers saw him do this and told their father about it. Tukvachtahat was so angry he made it rain hard and wash all of Kunvachmal’s wheat away. Kunvachmal, desiring revenge, sang his song and made it rain still harder and made the wind blow so as to carry his father s wheat away also. He told the birds and insects to gather the wheat which had been washed out of his father s ground and bring it to him so he could store it away.

Because of this, Kunvachmal became very rich and Tukvachtahat poor. The time came when Tukvachtahat came to Kunvachmal and begged for food, that he and his sons might eat, for they were starving. Kunvachmal said, “Surely, go help yourself.”

Later on, a big feast was being held some distance away. Tukvachtachat and his sons were invited to attend and to sing.

Kunvachmal was very anxious to go but his mother would not let him. She said he did not have fine enough clothes and did not know how to sing.

Tukvachtahat and his two boys went and were welcomed. Contrary to his mother s wishes, Kunvachmal went but nobody would pay any attention to him he was too poorly dressed. He felt very badly and decided to go into a hole and get clothes made of the colors which are on a worm. He then decided to have the mosquitoes sing for him.

When he was all ready, he returned to the feast. Everyone stopped admiring his father and half-brothers to gaze at him. His clothes far surpassed those of any of the other guests and his singing was beautiful.

The people asked who he was and Tukvachtahat said, “He is a poor son of mine, why look at him ? Why not look at some fine boys like these others of mine?” and he pointed to his other sons. But the people paid no attention to him and kept admiring Kunvachmal.


Soon Tukvachtahat became ashamed and very much chagrined, so he went away. He started out alone and had many strange experiences on his journey.

At the first village he came to, he saw a great many houses but they were all deserted and he wondered why this was. At the last house in the village, he found two old women. These old women were very much frightened when they saw Tukvachtahat. He asked them why, and they said, “There is a wild man around here who has been capturing two of the village people every day, taking them away with him, and then eating them. We were afraid at first that you were that man.”

He reassured them and asked them all the particulars about this man. He said he would stay all night and see what he could do to help them. The women were very glad, for they were the last ones in the village, so it was their turn to be stolen that night.

Tukvachtahat hid where he could watch what was going on. About midnight, there was a noise in the sky, a roaring and shaking of the entire earth. There then descended from the sky an awful-looking giant. He had a long cane with a hook on one end. He rested a minute, breathing hard, then reached out and hooked the two women with his cane and laid them before him. As he was getting ready to ascend to the sky and take them with him, Tukvachtahat reached out with his own cane and put the women back where they had been at first. This same thing happened three times. The wild man was very much puzzled, for he could not see Tukvachtahat. After the third time, he became angry and afraid and attempted to return to the sky, but Tukvachtahat killed him.

The two women were very grateful and wanted to go along with Tukvachtahat in his journeys but he would not let them he said he was going far arid the road would be dangerous.

He went on farther and came to a big rock. This he used for a bed. It is said that the hole is still there where he lay down.

He met a very tiny man and began to talk to him. The little man was bald and his head was soft like a baby s. Tukvachtahat pressed it hard and tried to run his finger through it but could not. The little man was exceedingly small and he had a very small bow and arrow. Tukvachtahat tried to break each part of the little man s body, also his bow and arrow, but could not. The dwarf s name was Keatkwasimika. He will live forever and no one can harm him. Every once in a while someone sees him. Pancho Lomas saw him once a long time ago.

When Tukvachtahat left Keatkwasimika, he resumed his journey and soon came to a little house where there were two beautiful girls preparing cactus fruit. They warned Tukvachtahat not to come near, for fear he would get thorns in his eyes. He insisted that thorns would not hurt him, but the girls said they knew they would. He lay down to rest. The girls were just about to put thorns in his eyes when he blew very hard and the girls turned into rats, which they had formerly been.

Tukvachtahat had passed from Phoenix to San Jacinto, through Ferris valley and had now come to the ocean. Here he jumped in and later ascended to the sky and became a star. This ended the career of Tukvachtahat.


The two sons of Tukvachtahat, Isilihnup and Holinach, 5 had returned home after their father left them. It did not seem like home to them any more. On the way from the fiesta they had gathered two sticks, one of greasewood and the other a paloverde 6 stick, each about two feet long. These they were to use as guides, in case they cared to take a journey.

The older one, Holinach, decided to run away since he was not happy at home but he did not know just how to start. One night he awoke and saw just above him a hole in the roof of the house. He took his stick, put it in the fire a minute, and threw it up into the hole. It sailed up to the sky and made a path of light for him to follow. He then became a star.

When Isilihnup awoke and could not find his brother, he was very sad and looked for him and sang about him for three days. On the third night he slept in his brother s bed. Waking up in the night, he saw the same hole in the roof. He then knew what his brother had done, so he took his stick, threw it up through the hole, and followed it to the sky. He also became a star.

These two stars, Holinach and Isilihnup, are now side by side in the sky.


Kunvachmal returned home from the fiesta very happy. Very soon he too went to the sky and became a bright star. This star comes up at night just over the horizon for a little while and then goes right back again.

Takweltekesnikish 7

A mother, her son, and daughter were the last ones left of their people. The rest had all been killed by their enemies. They lived near Indian Wells. The boy s name was Takweltekesnikish. He took care of his mother and sister in the best way he could. His mother made his arrows for him. When he was still quite young, he went hunting and killed small rats. As he grew older, he killed squirrels and rabbits and took them home to his mother. He grew very fast.

One day, while he was out hunting, he saw smoke in the north. When he came home that night, he told his mother what he had seen and asked her what it was. She would not answer him. The next day he saw the same thing and again asked his mother and again she refused to answer him. On the third day, when he saw the same thing again, he was very insistent. His mother then said to him, “Those are the enemies who killed all our people.”

He became a man and could make his own arrows. One day he became curious and walked a long distance from home until he found himself quite close to this smoke. He then looked carefully to see what kind of arrows his enemies had and noted that they had several different kinds.

When he returned home, he asked his mother why they had several kinds of arrows and he only one kind. She told him that was because they had many men there, each of whom could make a different kind, while she, being only one person, could make only one kind.

Takweltekesnikish began to think very seriously. He wanted to kill those people, but he was alone. Finally he made an arrow and threw it to the sky. After a time it fell down and was a large eagle instead of an arrow. Now the youth could put eagle feathers on his arrows.

Next morning, he went to the mountains to hunt but did not find anything. Next day when he went he noticed two things which he had not seen before, a track and a seed. He went home and told his mother that there were seeds up there and he wished she would go gather them. This she did.

The day after that the youth went to see if he could find the track again, but he could not. After that, he hunted again without success. In doing so, he came close to Sewia and saw a fire in two places.

Takweltekesnikish had a brown dog with him. While he was looking down the side of the mountain toward the fire in the valley, he kept walking nearer and nearer to it. Soon he came to a long net in which the people caught rabbits. 8 Takweltekesnikish had never seen anything like this before. Next, he saw many tracks, two horses, and some people. He did not know who these people were, but decided to find out. He sent his dog first.

The dog went to the first house. The man who lived there was a chief. He was also a Molnekek (?), so the dog would not go in. The chief called to him and said, This is a good house, come in and I will give you tobacco and food.” He repeated this three times. The dog paid no attention but went to the next house. This was the home of Tahtemeyawich. He walked right in and lay down. The man there told his people to prepare a meal for the dog. They cooked something which the dog had never smelled before, so he would not eat it; he just lay quiet without moving. They then cooked something else, with the same result. The man began to get worried, for he was anxious to please strangers. Finally they prepared a meal for the dog which smelled like what he was used to. He ate this greedily and was then willing to move around and look at things.

Takweltekesnikish soon followed his dog. At the first house, the same man came out and tried to entice him in, just as he had done with the dog. But Takweltekesnikish would only do as his dog had done. With his bow and arrow, he kept pointing to the dog s track and following it, and he saw that his dog had not gone into the first house. When he came to the second house, he went in and sat by his dog. The man there prepared mush for him.

The people who lived there took the boy s bow and arrow; they also took his cap of owl feathers. In return, they gave him their own bow and arrows and a cap of crow feathers.

The next day, he returned to his home. He told his sister about his visit, how well he had been treated, and what nice people they were. He told her he wished she would go to see them too, that she could find the way by just following his tracks and for her to be sure and go to the second house, not the first one.

The next morning, about sunrise, she did as her brother had told her to do. When she arrived at the village, the man in the first house tried to get her to enter, but she went by and entered the second house. She sat down without asking any questions. The man was very glad to see her for he had no woman. He asked her to stay and be his wife; he told her he would treat her well and give her plenty of everything. She decided to do as he wished. 9 She very seldom went outside. After a while, it was time for a child to be born to her.

Early one morning, they heard a strange noise outside. It \vas her father star who blew a horn to scare the people. It had the desired effect. The chiefs got their bows and arrows and tried to find where the noise came from, for they were afraid. The woman and her husband were lying down. Tahtemeyawich wanted to rise and get his bows and arrows as the others were doing but she told him it was only her father and there was no need for him to go. The other chiefs heard her they then knew it was her father who had frightened them. They also knew she was to have a child, so a wizard bewitched her and she died.

After this occurred, Takweltekesnikish, his mother, and his dog started for Torres. Takweltekesnikish was still a young man, but he bewitched himself to look old. He then had only a little hair, was very much stooped, and had to walk with a cane.

On their way, they came to a house where a man lived whose name was Yuyuelkik. They decided to rest there. Yuyuelkik asked them to come inside. Takweltekesnikish said, “No, I shall have to stay outside because my mother is with me.”

Each day Takweltekesnikish went to the mountains, made himself young, and hunted rabbits. He always caught a great many. He was always able to find plenty of mescal plants, too. When he returned home, he resumed the appearance of an old man once more. Yuyuelkik kept asking him to live in his house with him but he would not do so.

Now Yuyuelkik had two daughters. One day they thought they saw the old man cooking meat. They themselves had not been able to get any. They knew that he went to the mountains and brought mescal home. One day, when he went to the mountains, they followed him and saw him become a young man. They returned home and soon saw the old man returning.

Finally Yuyuelkik persuaded Takweltekesnikish to live inside with him. The young girls, knowing he was young, went over and lay beside him the first night. Their father, seeing this, told them to keep away from the old man s bed because he was tired and old. But the mother told Takweltekesnikish to lie right down between the girls; this he did.

There was an older sister who was married already. Her husband told Takweltekesnikish to take a bath in cold water early in the morning. This he did and returned younger. Each morning after that he became a little younger in appearance.

The brother-in-law went hunting every day but could not get anything. One day Takweltekesnikish went with him. They came to a hole and Takweltekesnikish said, “I believe there are rabbits in this hole.” The brother-in-law did not think so, but Takweltekesnikish began to dig. Then he reached in and pulled out twelve rabbits. Takweltekesnikish was a wizard or he could not have done such things. The brother-in-law was a wizard too, but not such a powerful one.

One night he made a fire to dance around and asked Takweltekesnikish to dance. He did not answer. They asked him three times. The third time they asked him he got up and danced and sang. Soon he called on his helpers, Bear and Takwich, to come into the house. Yuyuelkik was afraid then and told Takweltekesnikish to stop, that he was too powerful.

Next day they all went to the mountains to get mountain sheep. Each was assigned a special place to watch for them. Yuyuelkik s family went on one side of the mountain and Takweltekesnikish went on the other side.

Mountain sheep always go together and walk in rows. Takweltekesnikish killed the last one. Yuyuelkik came and asked if any had yet been killed. Takweltekesnikish said, “Are you really talking, my father, my mother? The brother-in-law became very angry then.

They then saw many geese coming from the east. They said to Takweltekesnikish, “If you are so powerful, you can kill those so that we can eat them.” Takweltekesnikish then bewitched them and they all fell dead. Yuyuelkik and his family greedily gathered them to eat. About half of the people who ate them died.

Those who were left determined to kill Takweltekesnikish. He knew it because he knew everything. He told his mother that they must leave.

That night, he and his mother and his two wives and his dog started out around the hills. They gathered yucca stalks to make a shelter for the night. Here they sat that night and talked. As they talked, they spat into the fire. The saliva kept talking back at them and made so much noise they had to move on.

Yuyuelkik pursued them. As he and his people drew near the place where the yucca shelter had been built, they heard voices and thought they had found the ones they were looking for. However, it was only the saliva talking. They thought Takweltekesnikish was still awake so they decided to wait until later to attack them. Toward morning, they began to shoot arrows in that direction. They soon discovered there was no one there, so gave up the chase and returned home.

Takweltekesnikish and his people went as far as the place we now know as Warner’s Ranch. There was no water there then. Takweltekesnikish named it Kupa.

Takweltekesnikish took a basket and threw it around in a circle. It came back to him and fell right in front of him down into the rocks. Then he and his mother and his two wives and his dog jumped into the hole made by the basket. Soon after that, water began to issue from there and has been coming ever since. It is very hot water.

Origin Of The Birds 10

When Mukat died, the people who were still living at the big house did not know where to go or what to do. They went east, west, north, south, above, and below. They could not decide which direction they were intended to take. They finally reached the edge of the water and here they saw Sovalivil (pelican). He told them how to find Tamaioit. When they found him, he asked why they came to him. “I am different from all of you,” he said, “so I cannot help you, I fear. There is one thing I might suggest, however. I created the willow tree, which I forgot to bring with me get the branches of that and brush yourselves with it and perhaps you will then know what to do.” So they all returned and brushed themselves with the willow, then started out once more.

A few, who became tired, stopped, and turned themselves into rocks and trees. The others reached the top of Mount San Jacinto and here they slept that night. At dawn, Isel (a bird with a yellow breast that is often seen around swamps), awoke them and made them look around. A bird which is larger than a buzzard (condor?) told them not to look, that there was nothing to see. Nevertheless, they all looked around and saw many beautiful green fields. They decided to go to these. On the way, one by one, they stopped. These that stopped became birds. When the others returned that way, they named the birds.

(The informant would not go on with the story; he said it would take all night to name the birds, and that was all that remained to the tale.)

Whirlwind 11

There are two whirlwinds, which are spirits, Teniansha and Tukaiel. They live in ant holes, and when a firebrand is put in their homes they came out very angry, letting out a whistling sound. These whirlwinds steal spirits just as Takwich does. They are always women.

Once August Lomas uncle was outside of his house and saw a whirlwind coming. He took a big stick and chased her and beat her badly. She became smaller and smaller as he beat and finally dis appeared altogether. When he told his people what he had done, they scolded him and said that he would have trouble before long, for Whirlwind is very revengeful. Not long after that, the uncle had to go away. A whirlwind came along, and a medicine man saw her. He asked her where she was going and she said, to destroy the home of the man who had beaten her. This she did. When August s uncle returned, his house lay in ruins as though a wind had blown it down.

There were a brother and sister living on the Colorado River above Yuma, near where Blythe now is. Each morning, the girl went out to gather sage and mesquite beans. One day she happened to go so far that she reached the home of Whirlwind. It was too late for her to run away. Whirlwind seized her and carried her to her home. Here she killed and ate her, as she did all of her victims.

The next morning, because the sister had not yet returned, the boy started out to hunt for her. He followed her tracks; they suddenly stopped and her basket was lying on the ground. He then knew that Whirlwind had caught her.

Now Whirlwind had a watch dog that stayed on top of the mountain and informed her of everything that was going on around the valley, for he could see a great distance. This dog, when he saw the boy, began to repeat over and over, “Someone is coming across your road, someone is coming across your road.

So Whirlwind went out to meet the boy and said to him, “How poor and bony you are! What are you doing here? He told her he wanted his sister. She said, “I’ll eat you too.” He said, “I am a man, your mouth is not big enough to eat me.” Whirlwind said.

Oh, is that so!” and opened her mouth wide. The boy looked at it and said, That isn’t nearly large enough. She opened it still wider. He said, That isn’t big, enough, either.” They continued this conversation for some time; each time she stretched her mouth a little wider. When it was really very, very large, the boy took his bow and arrow and rammed it down her throat and she died.

He then ran to her home. Here he first saw a big bundle. He opened it, and many heads fell out. Whirlwind always ate all but the heads these she tied up in bundles. He looked at each head, but not one was that of his sister. He looked into another bundle. Here he found his sister s head. When the boy saw it, he ran out of the house and toward his home as fast as he could. Just as soon as he got out side of Whirlwind s house, it became a flame. This flame chased him home but did not catch him.Citations:

  1. Or Takwish.[]
  2. Told by Ramon Garcia of Morongo, a Pass Cahuilla.[]
  3. With the Luiseno, Chehaiyam are the Pleiades, and Aldebaran is Coyote, who followed them (present series, viii, 163, 164, 1908). The first part of the name Isilihnup seems to mean coyote.[]
  4. Told by August Lomas.[]
  5. For another version of Isilihnup and Holinach, see the preceding tale.[]
  6. Parkinsonia Torreyana (Barrows, op. cit., p. 60).[]
  7. Told by Ramon Garcia of Morongo with the remark that he should not have narrated it as it was Pancho Lomas story. Pancho lives at Martinez. It argues a rather close connection between the Pass and Desert Cahuilla if they know each other s tales.[]
  8. Two or three hundred feet long and placed in the brush. Rabbits were scared into this from all directions and then wound themselves up in the net.[]
  9. This is said to have been the first marriage.[]
  10. Told by Alexandro of Morongo.[]
  11. Told by August Lomas of Martinez.[]


Hooper, Lucile. The Cahuilla Indians. Berkeley, California: University Of California Press. 1920.

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