In the beginning of the world, when people and animals were all the same, there
was only one tobacco plant, to which they all came for their tobacco until the
Dagûlʻkû geese stole it and carried it far away to the south. The people were
suffering without it, and there was one old woman who grew so thin and weak
that everybody said she would soon die unless she could get tobacco to keep her
Different animals offered to go for it, one after another, the larger ones first and
then the smaller ones, but the Dagûlʻkû saw and killed every one before he could
get to the plant. After the others the little Mole tried to reach it going under
the ground, but the Dagûlʻkû saw his track and killed him as he came out.
At last the Hummingbird offered, but the others said he was entirely too small
and might as well stay at home. He begged them to let him try, so they showed
him a plant in a field and told him to let them see how he would go about it. The
next moment he was gone and they saw him sitting on the plant, and then in a
moment he was back again, but no one had seen him going or coming, because
he was so swift. “This is the way I’ll do,” said the Hummingbird, so they let him
He flew off to the east, and when he came in sight of the tobacco the Dagûlʻkû
were watching all about it, but they could not see him because he was so smalland flew so swiftly. He darted down on the plant—tsa!—and snatched off the
top with the leaves and seeds, and was off again before the Dagûlʻkû knew what
had happened. Before he got home with the tobacco the old woman had fainted
and they thought she was dead, but he blew the smoke into her nostrils, and with
a cry of “Tsâ′lû! [Tobacco!]” she opened her eyes and was alive again.
The people had tobacco in the beginning, but they had used it all, and there was
great suffering for want of it. There was one old man so old that he had to be
kept alive smoking, and as his son did not want to see him die he decided to
go himself to try and get some more. The tobacco country was far in the south,
with high mountains all around it, and the passes were guarded, so that it was
very hard to get into it, but the young man was a conjurer and was not afraid. He
traveled southward until he came to the mountains on the border of the tobacco
country. Then he opened his medicine bag and took out a hummingbird skin and
put it over himself like a dress. Now he was a hummingbird and flew over the
mountains to the tobacco field and pulled some of the leaves and seed and put
them into his medicine bag. He was so small and swift that the guards, whoever
they were, did not see him, and when he had taken as much as he could carry he
flew back over the mountains in the same way. Then he took off the
hummingbird skin and put it into his medicine bag, and was a man again. He
started home, and on his way came to a tree that had a hole in the trunk, like a
door, near the first branches, and a very pretty woman was looking out from it.
He stopped and tried to climb the tree, but although he was a good climber he
found that he always slipped back. He put on a pair of medicine moccasins from
his pouch, and then he could climb the tree, but when he reached the first
branches he looked up and the hole was still as far away as before. He climbed
higher and higher, but every time he looked up the hole seemed to be farther
than before, until at last he was tired and came down again. When he reached
home he found his father very weak, but still alive, and one draw at the pipe
made him strong again. The people planted the seed and have had tobacco ever