Western Shoshoni Myths:
Rat and Mountain Sheep
Rat (Kawa) had a home on the top of a mountain, 29 where he was building a dance corral. When he finished the corral, he went out to hunt Mountain Sheep.
Rat stood on a mountain, calling in his own language, "Nikadawa piwiavi, nikadawa piwiavi," inviting the Mountain Sheep to come join his circle dance and have a big feast. The Mountain Sheep answered "Hoho'’o." That night the Sheep came to his dance. When they arrived, Rat began to sing his circle dance song in a monotone:
He picked out the largest of the Mountain Sheep and said to him, "You are my friend. I want to dance close to you." Then he said to all the Mountain Sheep, "Carry your babies with you on your backs while you are dancing." He told them all to shut their eyes while they were dancing. Rat sang his dance song and they danced all night. When it was nearly morning, while the people had their eyes shut, Rat stabbed the big Mountain Sheep that was dancing next to him. He killed him. Then Rat shouted, "Who killed that man? It must have been a Wavitc." 30 The people opened their eyes and looked around. They all began to cry. Rat leaned his head on his hand and said, (crying in a falsetto) "Tana ho nano ho' budi." Then Rat said to the people, "Well, you people can go home now. I'll put this man into a fire and burn him up. After that, I will go home."
The Mountain Sheep went home. When they were gone, Rat, who was left alone, skinned Mountain Sheep and dried all the meat.
When Rat had eaten all his meat, he went out again and called the Mountain Sheep as before. Again they answered and came down to
his dance that night. He told the biggest one to dance close to him and the others to dance with their babies on their backs and their eyes closed. But this time the Mountain Sheep said, "It is probably Rat who is doing this. Tell the children to watch him while we dance." The children watched Rat while they danced and saw him stab the Mountain Sheep next to him. Then Rat ran for his bow and said, "Where is the Wavitc who is doing this stabbing?" After the people had left, Rat cooked the Mountain Sheep he had stabbed.
When Rat had no more meat, he went into the mountains and called the Mountain Sheep as before. They answered and came down to his dance. Again he asked the biggest one to dance beside him and told the others to carry their babies and keep their eyes closed. But while they were dancing, the Mountain Sheep next to Rat stabbed him in the belly. Rat ran away and the people ran after him. They looked for him in his hole but could not find him. While they were looking, they found Mountain Sheep meat that he had dried.
29 Tucki Mountain, southwest of Bungalow City, according to W. P.
30 The Indians to the south of the Shoshoni; Wavitc = "tough."
ed: Words and music omitted.