Oban's Myths & Legends
Native American - Miwok tale
retold by Oban
A long time ago, in the land of the South People, it was time for Pelican Girl to become a woman.
A special dance and ceremony was planned, to celebrate the event in the proper way of the South People.
All the people of the village gathered for the dance, including Little Owl, the Snipe family, and Coyote and his grandson Hawk Chief. All the right ceremonies were carried out for Pelican Girl.
“This party is so cool, ” said Pelican Girl to the Snipe sisters as they danced to the beat of the drum.
When the dance finally finished and the drums were quiet, the women of the village took Pelican Girl to the women’s house. She had to stay there until the moon had become small and then grown full size again.
When the moon had finished its cycle the women took Pelican Girl out of the house to receive her beads of womanhood. They placed the beads around her neck, wrists and ankles.
Pelican Girl was told that for the next few weeks she must stay close to the village and she was not allowed to gather food or bend down to pick up anything. This was the custom of the South People when a young maiden became a woman.
As Pelican Girl sat outside her home the Snipe sisters walked by with their pack baskets.
“Where are you going?” asked Pelican Girl.
“We're going to pick berries. Come with us and we'll tell you all the latest gossip,” answered the Snipe sisters.
Pelican Girl asked her mother if she could go, but her mother said no, because it was forbidden.
“I want to go! I want to go!” screamed Pelican Girl as she clenched her hands tightly and stamped her feet.
“It’s OK,” said the Snipe sisters to Pelican Girl’s mother. “We'll pick the berries for her.”
Finally her mother agreed. “OK, you can go but remember you're not allowed to pick any berries or bend over to lift anything off the ground.”