The Sisters are Lured by a Flute
They say long ago many people were living at a certain place. Two
girls, sisters, heard a strange sound. It was a flute they heard.
"Sister," one of them said to the other, "somebody is making a
pleasing sound. Let us go where he is." They two started out and
walked in the direction until they came to a red bird who asked them
where they were going. "We are going where a pleasing sound is being
made," they replied. " I am the one who is making that noise," the
bird said. When asked to sing the bird sang, "djeuk, djeuk." The
girls said that was not the sound they were searching for and went
on their way. They next came to Quail who also asked their errand.
They made the same reply to be assured that Quail was the one they
were seeking. When told to sing, Quail said " ga, ga - ." "You are
not the one we are seeking," they replied and went on. They came
where there was a dove who asked whither they were going. When told
they were seeking the author of a pleasant song the dove said he was
the one they had heard. When requested to sing, the note " wo-o-,
wo-o-", was produced. "It was not you we heard," the girls said and
went on. As they went along they came to Road-runner. " Where are
you going?" he asked. "We are going where someone is making a
pleasing sound," they replied. " Well, sing for us then," they said.
Road-runner sang " i-, i-." "You are not the one," the girls said
and went on. They then came where the pleasant sound was and heard
the flute again. " We hear it here, the one for whom we are seeking,
sister," one of them said. "We will come to the place by sunset. We
will spend the night there, hear the flute and then we will return
to our homes."
When they came there they found two boys and their grandmother who
were living together. One girl and one boy spent the night at a
distance from the other couple. When it was morning they got up and
one of the boys, mounting a flat-topped shade, played the flute for
them. They were pleased. They built a house with a bed on either
side of the doorway. The girls liked the boys and lived there some
time. The old woman made fires of wood that snapped and sent out
sparks which annoyed the girls who were lying near. "Let us go home,
sister," one of them said. "We are going back where we used to
live," the older sister said to the boys. "You must come to see us
sometimes." They came back to their former home and lived there
When a long time had passed the boys started to go there. They came
along until the house was to be seen in the distance and sat down.
The girls knew them and invited them to come in. They refused,
saying things were strange to them. The younger girl went to them
and was happy when she saw them. "We two came here as you told us to
do," one of them said. The girl, saying that it was well, went back
to the camp and told her relatives that the two men they had visited
were sitting nearby. "Prepare some seeds for them to eat and take
them to the men," the chief directed. When they had prepared a meal
they took it to the young men who ate it. After that many people
went to the strangers and built a house for them there. They lived
in this house. Some time after, they came there in a band to the
doorway of the house and killed one of the strange boys. The other
escaped by turning himself into a downy feather and passing through
the top of the house. The wind blew it away. Escaping thus he
started back where his home was.
When he came back where his grandmother lived he told her his
brother had been killed. She reminded him that she had told them not
to go that way.
The two girls ran away and were fleeing in the direction the boys
had lived. A large number of men ran after them. There was one boy
with the girls. When the people were approaching him, he with the
girls came to a large river by which a heron was making a pottery
vessel. They called to her, "Put your leg across toward us." "Why?"
she asked. "Many people are running after us to kill us," they
replied. Heron put her leg across and they walked over the river on
it. Then they said to her, "Grandmother, those people yonder will
kill us if they overtake us. If they ask you to put your leg across
for them you must pull it back when they are right in the middle of
the stream. Tell them they hurt you and spill them in the water and
so save our lives." When those who were behind came near the heron
they asked her to put her leg across. She replied that she was not
strong enough to do what they requested, that she was making pottery
there. She put her leg across, however, and when they were halfway
over she pulled her leg back and they fell into the stream and
turned into ducks. They swam down on the surface of the water.
The three who were going along stopped and built a house where they
lived for a time.
One day Wildcat came to visit them, spending two days with them.
When he started home he invited them to come to see him some time,
saying he had a good house. They said they would and after some time
one of them proposed they should return Wildcat's visit. They went
to Wildcat's house and spent two days becoming his friends. They
returned to their own camp and lived there.
This house of theirs stood by itself. "Let us go where the people
are living," one of them said. They went further over. Coyote came
to them and calling them cousins said he would sleep by their camp.
To this they consented. "Let us move up the river," he suggested.
Consenting they moved up stream. Then he proposed they go and live
where there were many people camping to hunt. They came there and
joined the camp and lived properly. They settled down there where
there were many houses.
"There is no other way for us," he said.
The Sisters Are Lured By A
Flute (Second Version)
Long ago there were two sisters living at a certain
camp. They went for wood, and as they were returning the older said,
"Sister, some one is singing nicely; let us go there."
They started away and came to. Woodrat's house. He asked them why
they had come. They replied that having heard nice singing, they had
come there. "Was it you we heard?" they asked. Woodrat said he was
not the person they had heard.
They went on and a little way from there came to Ground Squirrel.
They told him why they had come and asked him if he was the one they
had heard. He said he was not the one.
They went on again and came to a dove sitting on a tree. , The girls
said they had come there because they had heard someone singing
nicely. They asked Dove if he were the one who had sung. Dove said
he was the one. "Let us hear you sing," the girls asked of him. He
sang, " Hou wu hu." The older girl said that was nearly like what
she had heard, but suggested they should go still further.
They went on and soon came where a red bird was sitting 'on a tree.
This bird asked the girls why they had come. They replied that they
had heard a pleasing song. The bird said that it was his song they
had heard. They asked to hear him sing and he sang, " Tcit tcit
tcit." "No," they said. As they climbed to the top of the hill they
heard him again. As they went down they heard a flute playing.
"Sister, that is the one," the older girl said. The sound they heard
was like, "Hi i, hi i hi i hi i hi i hi i."
The boys who played the flute were living there with their
grandmother. She was away then after wood. The girls came up on the
hillside. They came to the grandmother and ground corn for her and
then they hid themselves. The boys who were away hunting asked on
their return who had come to visit them. The grandmother said no one
had been there. The boys then called attention to the marks on the
ground made by the buckskin dresses of the girls. The grandmother
said that she had been sitting there and had made the imprints on
the ground. The old woman went for wood. When she came back she was
angry. " Why are you angry?" they asked her. She struck the boys and
knocked them down.
The girls started to return to their homes. The younger of the two
girls was pregnant and gave birth to a boy by the roadside. They two
returned to their mother's house. When the boy had grown to some
size he went out to hunt. He shot a quail and broke its leg. His
father had come to see them with his brother. The quail said to the
boy, " I will tell you something if you will restore my leg for me."
The boy came to the quail and fastened its leg in place with some
clay and made it good again. When he had done this the quail told
him that those at the boys' home had eaten his father and flew off.
The boy threw away his bow and ran home, crying. He found out at his
home that his father had been eaten. He lay down and covered himself
with a blanket. His mother said, "Here is your father's hand," and
Then a gopher came up under him. He put a flat stone over the hole
so it could not be seen. After the boy had gone down the hole the
blanket was crying, "hi," it said.
The woman pulled the blanket away and the boy was gone. She hunted
over the ground with her hand and found a hole in the ground. The
three of them, his mother, his aunt, and his grandmother went down
the hole after him. The boy was running along way beyond. Then the
ones whose child it was said, "Look back at me just once."
The boy came to a river where a duck was making pottery. The boy
said, "Over there are those who kill people. They are running after
me." The old woman put her leg across the stream and the boy crossed
on it. He told the old woman when those who came behind were halfway
across she should say her leg was breaking and drop them in the
river. She did that as they were crossing on her leg. His mother
fell in the river. He saw some clothes floating on the water. Three
times he saw something floating down.
1 Told in 1914 by Albert Evans.
This story was obtained by Miss Constance Goddard Du Bois from the
Diegueños among whom it is part of their major myth. Du Bois,
The tale is common among the Yuman peoples according to Prof. A. L.
Carlos Apache Mythology
This site includes
some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes
reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place.
These items are presented as part of the historical record and
should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way
endorse the stereotypes implied .
Myths And Tales From The San Carlos Apache, 1918