Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/208

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thology, man having himself made the firmament for his own purposes. The origin of men and animals is the same as that which recommends itself to the Bushmen, to the Basutos, and to the Greeks, who thought themselves autochthonous.[1] Some of the degraded Digger Indians of California have the following myth of the origin of species. In this legend, it will be noticed, a species of evolution takes the place of a theory of creation. The story was told to Mr. Adam Johnston, who "drew" the narrator by communicating to a chief the Biblical narrative of the creation.[2] The chief said it was a strange story, and one that he had never heard when he lived at the Mission of St. John under the care of a Padre. According to this chief (he ruled over the Po-to-yan-te tribe or Coyotes), the first Indians were coyotes. When one of their number died, his body became full of little animals or spirits. They took various shapes, as of deer, antelopes, and so forth; but as some exhibited a tendency to fly off to the moon, the Po-to-yan-tes now usually bury the bodies of their dead, to prevent the extinction of species. Then the Indians began to assume the shape of man, but it was a slow transformation. At first they walked on all fours, then they would begin to develop an isolated human feature, one finger, one toe, one eye, like the ascidian, our first parent in the view of modern science. Then they doubled their organs, got into the habit of sitting up, and wore away their tails, which they

  1. Callaway, i. 50; Moffat, Missionary Labours, 262; Casalis, Basutos, p. 240.
  2. Schoolcraft, vol. v.