A Trickster fragment


When Melville Jacobs worked with Annie Peterson in 1933 and 1934, he got a long saga of five generations of tricksters (which was printed in his “Coos Myth Texts” printed by University of Washington Press in 1940). She also told a couple of other trickster fragments. This one is very short, in Hanis, about how a trickster (perhaps the fourth one, Coyote) walked around the world and left his foot prints in the rocks. I’ve transcribed it out of Jacobs’ notebook 101, pages 33 and 35:

lɛ-t’łda hauts, t’ǝ´m•a lɛ´-ła’áyáq’ham, t’łǝm•ɛ´’ní.

lo-tl’da hauts, t’oma lo-hla’ayaqam tl’omeni.

The-earth make.TR, at.same.time-the-go.PASS, weir.VRB

He was making the earth, at that time he was going around, he was making a weir.


lau-Gɛntc-hí’ní tsxít’s

lau-qanch-hi’nii tsxits

DEM-place-there step.on-TR

He stepped there at a place.


yu’wúts hats yixɛi haq’.

Yuwuts hats yixei haq’

sometimes just one track

Sometimes just one track (was left there).


lɛ´u-wɛntc tł’ɛ´ts x-yaGandjim mɛ´• hantł lɛ´u-kwnáiwa‘t nǝ´n-haGádi.

Leu-wench tl’ets xyaqanchim me hantl lau-kwinaiwat non-haqati

DEM-thus speak.TR ERG-after people FUT DEM-see.ITR my-tracks

So he said “The next people will see my tracks.”


wɛ´ntc wɛ´•u nɛ•djis lɛ´-t’smí•xwn

wench weu nechis le-ts’miixwon.

Thus ? Tricks the-Trickster

That’s they way the trickster was being tricky.


Yú’wɛ t’łdá cyǝ´Ɣitci’áq’miya.

Yuwe tl’da shyoghichi’aq’miya

when earth turn.around-PASS-INCH

Whenever he was going around the world.


x-wɛ´ntc-wɛ• lɛ´wɛ•lɛ´u x-mɛ´kwnáiwa‘t la•haGadi.

Xwench we leu-leu xme kwinaiwat la-haqati

ADV-thus at.that.time DEM-DEM ERG-person/people see.ITR the-tracks

That’s why the people see the trickster tracks.

Her niece Lottie also mentioned hearing stories of Trickster tracks left behind in the rocks. She said “Coyote made the land. The mountains were made by the waves. You used to see children’s tracks on the rocks, they ran around when everything was soft. My father said when he was young he used to see lots of those tracks. Now they all wore out.” (Harrington 1942[24]:555a)


Jacobs, Melville. 1932–1934. “Coos Ethnologic Notes,” Notebooks 91–99, 101, Jacobs Collection. University of Washington Archives, Seattle.

Harrington, John P. 1942. “Alsea, Siuslaw, Coos, Southwest Oregon Athapaskan: Vocabularies, Linguistic Notes, Ethnographic and Historical Notes.” John Peabody Harrington Papers, Alaska/Northwest Coast. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
This entry was posted in Myths, vocabulary words and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Trickster fragment

  1. sofia cisn says:

    ahhh so wonderful. Thank you~!

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