Paiute Creation and Origin Legends

edited by

D. L. Ashliman


  1. Southern Paiute Legend (J. W. Powell).

  2. Paiute Legend of Bryce Canyon (Indian Dick).

Southern Paiute Legend

Si-chom-pa Ka-gon (Old Woman of the Sea) came out of the sea with a sack filled with something, and securely tied. Then she went back to the home of the Shin-au-av brothers. She delivered to them the sack and told them to carry it to the middle of the world and open it. There they would meet Tov-wots, who would tell them what to do with it. Shin-au-av-pa-vits (the elder) gave the sack to Shin-au-av-skaits (the younger) and told him to do as Si-chom-pa Ka-gon had directed, and especially enjoined upon him that he must not open the sack lest some calamity should befall him.

As he proceeded, his curiosity overcame him, and he untied the sack, when out sprang hosts of people who passed out on the plain, shouting and running toward the mountain.

Then Tov-wots suddenly appeared, being very angry. "Why have you done this? I wanted these people to live in that good land to the east, and here, foolish boy, you have let them out in a desert."

Paiute Legend of Bryce Canyon

Before there were any Indians the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now -- some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces with paint on, just as they were before they became rocks.

The name of that place is Agka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces).

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

Revised January 9, 2003.