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|Legend of the Flood in Sacramento Valley
Maidu (near Sacramento Valley, Cal.)
Long, long ago the Indians living in Sacramento Valley were happy. Suddenly there came the swift sound of rushing waters, and the valley became like Big Waters, which no man can measure. The Indians fled, but many slept beneath the waves. Also the frogs and the salmon pursued them and they ate many Indians. Only two who fled into the foothills escaped. To these two, Great Man gave many children, and many tribes arose. But one great chief ruled all the nation. The chief went out upon a wide knoll overlooking Big Waters, and he knew that the plains of his people were beneath the waves. Nine sleeps he lay on the knoll, thinking thoughts of these great waters. Nine sleeps he lay without food, and his mind was thinking always of one thing: How did this deep water cover the plains of the world?
At the end of nine sleeps he was changed. He was not like himself. No arrow could wound him. He was like Great Man for no Indian could slay him. Then he spoke to Great Man and commanded him to banish the waters from the plains of his ancestors. Great Man tore a hole in the mountain side, so that the waters on the plains flowed into Big Waters. Thus the Sacramento River was formed.