Miwok Legends

Miwok Legends


Article Index:

Guardian of Yosemite

A Miwok Legend: Guardian of Yosemite
as told by S. E. Schlosser

For many nights and many days, the guardian spirit of Tisayac watched over the beautiful valley of Yosemite. Often, the gentle spirit would drift invisibly among the good folk of the valley, and it was during one of these visits that she noticed a tall, proud man named Tutokanula.

How Lizard found fire and saved the people

In the beginning, the different people all spoke different languages, so they were always fighting because they could not understand each other. There was no fire, so they were also very cold and could not speak clearly.

Then one day Lizard climbed to the top of a big hill to lay on top of a rock to sun himself. As he lay there, he looked into the valley below. It was then that he found the fire. He saw the flames coming from the smoke hole in the top of a large assembly house. Lizard told Coyote that he saw fire below. Coyote doubted him. Lizard said, “Come up here on top of the rock,  and you will see sparks coming from the assembly house.”