Fire-People Dance Picture

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Perhaps the most dramatic fire-myth of all is the elaborate Ute version, in which Coyote is again the hero. It was in the age when Coyote was chief, but when the animals had no fire, though the rocks sometimes got hot. Once a small piece of burnt rush, borne by the winds, was discovered by Coyote, and then he knew that there was fire. He made for himself a head-dress of bark fibre, summoned the animals in council, and dispatched the birds as scouts to discover the flame country. The Humming-Bird descried it; and headed by Coyote, they made a visit to the fire-people, who entertained them with dance and feast. As they danced, Coyote came nearer and nearer to the flame, took off his bark wig, and with it seized the fire. Then all fled, pursued by the enraged guardians. Coyote passed the fire to Eagle, Eagle to Humming-Bird, thence to Hawk-Moth, to Chicken-Hawk, to Humming-Bird again, and once more to Coyote, who, nearly caught, concealed himself in a cavern where he nourished the one little spark that remained alive. The disappointed fire-people caused rain and snow, which filled the valleys with water; but directed by the Rabbit, Coyote discovered a cave containing dry sage-brush. Here he took a piece of the dry sage-brush, bored a hole in it, and filled it with coals. With this under his belt he returned home and summoned the people who were left; then he took the stick, made a hole in it with an arrow-point, and whittled a piece of hard greasewood. After this he bored the sage-brush with the greasewood, gathered the borings, and put them in dry grass; blowing upon this he soon had a fire. "This dry pine-nut will be burned hereafter," he said. "Dry cedar will also be burned. Take fire into all the tents. I shall throw away the rocks. There will be fire in every house."
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