Manataka American Indian Council





Wintu Traditional Stories





by Alice Shepherd


Long ago, among the real Indians, there was some kind of being nobody knew what it was. They called it Anamet. It came from the mountains and made believe that it was a person. It carried women away on its back. It also took children who were playing outside and carried them away. Anamet would say "K-ete p'iw!" [one jump] as it jumped away with them.

What could it have been? The Indians called it Anamet. It stole children and they would say, "Don't let children play late in the evening." They brought all the children inside at dusk.

They also took their children along wherever they went, saying "Don't leave them home along," for fear of Anamet.

Once some people left home for only a short time and whey they returned their children were gone. Anamet had already taken them.

They did not know what it was. It was a terrible thing; not a person.

In My Own Words. Stories, songs and memories of Grace Mckibbin, Wintu
[1884-1987]. by Alice Shepherd, 1997.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories





Bat and His Wives

by Alice Shepherd

Bat was married. He was married to two mallard duck women. He went hunting all the time. He hunted in all the mountains. In the mountains he went west and north. He went down along the creek.

He took a fir limb and lay down facing up. He turned his belly inside out, pulled out his liver, and cut it out. Then he got up. He sewed up his belly and took the liver home. He was going to feed it to his wives. He did this all the time, bringing it home.

Then one of the women, the younger one, said, "This is bad! I don't want to eat this food any more. It tastes bad."

The Older one said, "Oh, what's the matter with you? You always talk too much!"

"Well, let's go see how many of them are hunting, and what they are killing," the younger one said.

They left. They went to watch him and he went downstream alone. They followed him.

He went downhill to the north and lay on be back. He turned his belly inside out and took out his liver. They saw that and ran home. They ran, took their clothes, got dressed, and went floating downstream.

The man cam home and noticed that the two were missing. He missed them.

He searched everywhere, went upstream and downstream. He went far. But he did not meet anyone anywhere.

Then he saw Gray Squirrel who was climbing, cutting fray pine cones.

Bat asked, "Have you seen my wives?

Gray Squirrel gave no answer. He just kept on cutting pine cones. Bat spoke again: "Have you seen my wives? Have you seen anyone here?

Gray Squirrel became angry. "Get over here under the tree, get close, look up, close your eyes and look up, and I'll tell you where your wives are!" he said.

"Okay," said Bate.

He went over and looked up. Gray Squirrel dropped pitch in his eyes. "I'm blind," called Bat. "Something fell into my eyes. Get me something to take out the pitch!" He felt around, took a pine needle and poked at his eyes. "I can see. I can see a little," he said. And he left.

In My Own Words. Stories, songs and memories of Grace Mckibbin, Wintu [1884-1987]. by Alice Shepherd, 1997.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories

Children of the Woods

by Alice Shepherd

[The incident described in this legend took place near Big Bar in a steep, rugged shale area. Grace McKibbin and her aunt, Kate Luckie were told this story by the famous shaman John Doctor.]

A long time ago two Indians went hunting and heard many children. It sounded like twenty children talking in the mountains. There on the bluff with coarse shale, children seemed to be playing and sliding. They were noisy and made the dust fly. They played and laughed together, going down the canyon and coming back out. Again they went down and came out to play. They laughed and talked together.

The two Indians who heard them moved closer and slid up behind the bushes where they would not be visible. It sounded as if many children were coming out on top. But as they looked, they saw only one. Although it sounded like many children talking and playing, there was only one laughing loudly. 

Again they sat down, went sliding, and when they got down, many children laughed. There seemed to be terribly many, but he was sliding all by himself. Again the children came north uphill to the top of the bluff and laughed together there.

The two real Indians who were watching saw only one boy who looked just like an old man. There were no children, only an old man. Even though he looked like an old man, he was not gray or stooped. He walked upright, but when you looked in his face, he was an old man. He did not see the two who watched him.

Long before, they had been told the story of the Children of the Woods and so they recognized what they saw. They had already heard about the Children of the Woods.

They saw his face. They saw that nowhere were there any children, and that only one was making such noise. So they watched him.

The children continued to play for a long time. When they ran, it sounded like many children running, yet only one was running and going out of sight.

The two got up and looked at the place where he had played. It looked as it children had been playing. All the shale looked as if swept down but the rocks were still there, loose and sliding. They stayed and looked for a long time, but the children did not return. They went home.

Then they went back to the place, making believe they were going hunting. They heard the children talking again. Downhill to the east the two Indians heard children talking and coming down, and they said, "Let's go to our hiding place again!"

They sat down behind the bushes close to the ground and watched. It sounded as it many children were coming, making noise, talking. They got up to the top of the bluff to slide down and talked terribly loud.

The two Indians had already seen him. One person was standing, talking, laughing, and shouting, making believe. He alone sat down and went sliding down the canyon, making them hear the noise of children laughing. The two real Indians saw that there was only one who was doing this. He was laughing. It was the Children of the Woods. They saw him playing for a long time. Then they went home. They knew of the Children of the Woods.

They told the other Indians. "We heard many children playing there. We saw him, the Children of the Woods. There is only one, but he talks loudly, shouts, and laughs, and he alone slides down. He goes down the creek alone, laughing and shouting just like a group of children. We saw him playing. He was an old man. There were no children. We saw him playing. He was an old man. There were no children. Only an old man, but small. Even though he was an old man, he was not gray, but had black hair. He stood upright and was not stooped."

Well, it was the Children of the Woods from the story of long ago. The Indians had been told and knew. "We have already heard the story of long ago, the story of the Children of the Woods," they said.

In My Own Words. Stories, songs and memories of Grace Mckibbin, Wintu [1884-1987]. by Alice Shepherd, 1997.
From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories.