Little people for Kisal and Shane

by Locust Brother

Happy Thanksgiving

Sometimes, folks, I just can't stand lurking. Some of us old-timers, ancient people like me are forgotten, along with our work, a new generation reinvents the wheel... again and again... ad hoc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. In my case, I went out of my way to have a lot of my work buried and forgotten, so it's understandable that a new generation of BFr's may not have seen the research about the little people that I compiled long ago. PLease think of this as my thanksgiving gift to the conference, I'm trying to save you some time and effort.

Kisal, you live somewhere in SW Oregon, do you not?
Babyfoot Lake and Babyfoot Creek are in your neck of the woods. If you ever have the time, take a look in your local historical society or library and see how they got those names... haha <g>

all the best

XVIII. Wah’-tee -tas

Wah' -tee -tas was a word that Louis Mann used in 1916, when he was describing to L.V. McWhorter the: “'ancient people', also interpreted 'animal people'. They are described as dwarfs, not exceeding two feet in height. They were seen only during the evening twilight or in the early dawn of the morning. Death invariably followed on the heels of those who beheld the Wah' -tee -tas, except as Talismanic, as in the case of children set forth in the (oral histories). Of course an adult can commune with his or her tahmahnawis (spirit power) with beneficial results. It is claimed that Chief We-yal-lup Wy-ya-cika obtained much of his power as a medicine man from friendly Wah' -tee -tas. I do know that the Chief told me before he died that he could explain to me the meaning of all the Puh-tuh num, (meaning ‘pictured’ or ‘marked’) and that he would sometime do so. But unfortunately death claimed him before this was done. We-Yal-lup also had power from the great horned chief of the Wah' k-puch, (poison-snake) which he saw in Teiton Canyon. Schop-tash and Puh-tuh num, of the preceding story, refer to the same pictographs, or rock-paintings, to be found on great cliff in the Naches Gap near Yakama. It will be noticed that there is a slight difference in interpretation, but there should be no confusion connected with the rendition of the two appellations"

Yakama Indian Tokiaken Twi-wash told L.V. McWhorter this story in 1912. “I am now old. it was before I saw the sun that my ancestors discovered the Wah’-tee -tas, the little ancient people who wore robes woven from rabbit’s hair. They dwelt in the cliff. My people saw a little short fellow, like a person. marking the rocks as you now see them. He walked from rock to rock, hunting the smooth places. You see some of the paintings high up upon the wall. We do not know how Wah-tee -tas got up there to do the work. We see it there; we know that it is true...
Sometimes the people would see the Wah’-tee-tas once or twice a year, see them in the evening dim, or in the morning before the sun, while it was yet a little dark. The Wah’-tee-tas were spirits, but not bad.”

Chief Sluskin and an Indian named Holite gave this account to McWhorter in September, 1917. “No one knows how old the Schop-tash are, nor what they mean... It was after the flood that Man came. It was then that the Schop-tash was painted. The Schop-tash was the law for the Yakamas. They came in the night and painted the hands. Then the other paintings were made, were finished completely. These were often repainted, made bright during the night. But after white man came, this ceased. No more painting was done. The people who made the Schop-tash were small, small but full grown. No one knew where they lived. They might be seen standing on top the cliff, seen after the sun had gone down, or before it was up in the morning. But anyone seeing them died soon afterwards. No one wanted to see them. It brought death.”

“The little Wah’-tee-tas watched over the paintings, the markings, and never let them grow dim. It is too bad that white man destroyed the Puh-tuh-num. It was the law of my people, painted there on the rocks by the Wah’-tee-tas, the Ancient People.”... “I, [L.V. McWhorter] asked an old Indian there who knows these pictures who made them. He answered that they were made by some other people before the Indians came.”

XIX. Te-chum’ mah

L.V. McWhorter wrote: "The Te-chum' mah, or ground people, are diminutive, invisible dwarfs, inhabiting the more heavily-timbered peaks and summit ranges of the Cascade Mountains, especially around Lake Keechelas ... Also, up in the timbered region of the Wenas waterhead, there is a small lake known to the Yakamas as Wat-tum wat-tum, "Lake-lake," where the Te-chum' mah also reside ... They also known to reside around Fish Lake ... Their abode is the cavity of an upturned tree .”

A Chehalis-Yakama Indian gave this account of the Te-chum' mah to L.V. McWhorter:

“Sometimes I hear these little people as I travel in the night. They are small. You cannot see them if you look. One time I saw them in a dream, saw them just as if I were awake. But I was not awake. I was asleep. I saw them asleep. They look nice, about this high [ eighteen inches]. They look like big people, only they were small. I heard them talking. They are afraid of strangers. When they saw anybody coming, they said to each other, 'Doctor [medicine man] coming!' They ran and hid somewhere. When out in the woods at night, when anywhere in a lonely place, you hear them whistling like birds. You better not answer them, better not try to follow them. If you do, they make you crazy. you do not know where you are going. you run! you run! you run! You run until you die. You will not look where you go. You do not stop for anything. Maybe you fall from high rocks and die. Maybe you get lost and are never found. Do not pay attention to them. They cannot hurt you. They call like one kind of bird at night. They call like this, "W-w-wh-hah! W-w-wh-hah!"

“You have heard them. Once called close to me in the dark. I was scared! My head felt just like baked! I did not answer! I would not follow that call. I did not want to go crazy; I did not want to die. I kept going, kept traveling to get away from that place.”

XX. Pah-ho-ho-klah

The Tenino Indians (also called the Warm Springs Sahaptin), occupied a portion of the south bank of the Columbia River in North Central Oregon and the lower watershed of its southern affluents. They spoke of the Pah-ho-ho-Klah, the “ground people” or “people of the ground”, who are described in similar terms as the Te-chum-mah. This tale was told to L.V. McWhorter by Ah-nah-chu Pick-wah-pah (“Behind the Rock”), and intelligent young man of the warm springs tribe, gave McWhorter his experience with the Pah-ho-ho-klah: “calling”, “signaling” or “answering”. No date cited.

“Hunting in Oregon, I got lost in the fog and rain. I killed one deer. I did not get crazy! I did not run like wild. I thought to stay where I was when the fog came up, wait until all cleared away again. I do this when I find I’m lost. It is not good to travel when lost. You might get killed. Their are high rocks where you fall and die. I got under a big tree, a heavy topped tree. With plenty of dry wood, I built a fire out from the tree; I took a place between the fire and tree. I was close against tree, a safe place. I roasted meat from the deer and ate.”

“Not long after this I heard calling, calling like birds in the trees about my camp. It was getting dark! Other voices like birds answered farther away. I knew the birds were not there. It was the Pah-ho-ho-klah , the little people of the mountains. I was scared! I did not answer them! I sat still! I did not move, did not make any noise. If I answered the calls, I would go crazy, be lost five days and nights. It would rain and be foggy five days and nights. I sat against the tree in the firelight, holding my gun. I watched just like a soldier! I did not sleep all day. I kept the fire burning, watching everywhere. The sun traveled behind the clouds; no light was in the woods.”

“Night came, dark, plenty of fog, wet rain. I must sleep! I made a big fire to light up all around the camp. I lay down, my feet to the fire and my head close against the tree. I slept long. I did not know how good I slept; then I awoke. There! I looked good! I looked sharp! Only a short distance from me, in the light of the fire, I saw him! I saw Pah-ho-ho-klah! He was sitting down, had an arrow! Yes! He was biting that arrow, sighting it with his eye! He was making the arrow straight.”

“I looked at him fixing his arrow. I saw him good. He had on buckskin clothes, a shirt filled with holes, a summer-shirt. I can make that shirt. He had a band of cedar band this wide (two fingers), tied around his head. His hair was braided like mine, hung to the middle of his breast, maybe a little shorter. I saw above his left shoulder the feather-ends of about ten arrows and a bow, all in a case on his back. The Pah-ho-ho-klah was an Indian all right, the same color as me. He was straightening arrows with his teeth, biting out crooked places. I was not scared now. I lay still. I was lots sleepy. I went to sleep again.”

“The next morning it was getting light; I heard the same voices! They went farther, farther away! After calling five times out in the woods, then they quit. The Pah-ho-ho-klah Chief had called his people from that place. The rain had now quit; the fog was thin, waving like wind. The sun came up, shining warm. I went up on a hill, looked everywhere. I knew that country; I knew where I was. I carried the deer, traveled to camp about three hours. I was safe! I am telling you this tonight.”

XXI. Babies and Babyfeet

Baby Rock, in Lane county Oregon, “is on the southwest shoulder of Heckletooth Mountain, above the track of the Southern Pacific Company just southeast of Oakridge. It was named by the Indians. Mrs. Line a Flock gave the compiler an unusual legend about the name. Indians who slept near the rock were believed to have been bitten by some animals that left the footprints of a baby. The wounds were fatal. Finally two Indians determined to exterminate these peculiar animals, and hiding in the rocks above, they surprised the visitors, jumping down on them with blankets in such a way that they could not escape. The animals were twisted in blankets and burned up. Indian Charli Tufti would never go near this rock. (Tufti Mt. is just south of Baby Rock) Mrs. Flock’s grandfather, Fred Warner, was of the opinion that the peculiar animals were porcupines, which make tracks not unlike a small baby. Indians asserted that the baby tracks remained about the rock for many years, hence the name.” Babyfoot Creek, and the Babyfoot Lake botanical Area, in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Curry County OR, appears to have the same sort of Indian legend behind it.

“Between Mount Adams and Mount Rainier are many small lakes, in a region where Indians used to go late in the summer for huckleberries and game. In these dark, deep lakes surrounded by tall trees, the Indians believed, lived spirits that had control of the rain...Some of the lakes in that region were said to have strange animals living in them...At night, when all was dark and quiet, the spirits would come out and gather food on the shores. In some of the lakes were the spirits of little children who had lived in the days of the ancient people. Their cries sometimes broke the silence of the nighttime. The next morning the prints of their little naked feet were found in the wet sand along the margin of the lake.

The east side of Mt. Adams (12,307) at the top has many caves where many eagles breed and live. Near the north side of the mountain is Fish Lake. Between the two is a section of large broken up rocks.

XXII. The Dwarf Mountain People

This is an Umatilla Indian story of the Dwarf Mountain People who live in the Blue Mountains, told to L.V. McWhorter by an unknown Indian at an unknown date: The Umatillas lived by the mouth of the Umatilla river, where it joins the Columbia, due east of the Teninos.

“Three brothers Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou, Tem-mot-Cio-soota-cots, and We-yow Yets-chit-con, were hunting in the Blue Mountains where there was snow. Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou, a tribal warrior and whose widow and daughter are still living (1927), was riding alone. he saw fresh deer track and proceeded to follow it. Then he noticed a moccasin track which appeared following the deer, not larger than that of a baby’s footprint. he could not understand but though, “Maybe he is also tracking the deer”.

“After a time, looking a short distance ahead, he saw an old man, an old man not larger than a papoose, dressed in a spotted fawn-skin, standing on a log. He had a bow and arrows in a fawn-skin case. Riding up close, Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou saw that the little fellow was very old, face wrinkled, eyes set deep in the head. he thought to take IT home with him. he spoke, but there was no answer. he then motioned for IT to get on the horse behind him. IT held out a very oldish-looking hand, and when grasped by Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou, leaped to the seat on the horse. Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou gathered IT close and secure in the folds of his blanket, held fast as does the mother riding with her baby so wrapped behind her.”

“Riding thus, Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou met his two brothers. They all counseled and thought to take IT home with them, to see what IT would do, what would come of IT, letting people see the little old man. They rode on and, although it was daylight and the sun was shining, soon they missed IT from the blanket held fast and close by Cee-wal-tis-cou-cou. None knew when IT disappeared, or how gone. Nothing was seen of the little old man. Nobody knew where these people live but suppose it is in caves in the rocks. They may have fire. No one knows.”

“If you are lost in the woods, and hear a calling, do not answer. It is the Little People , and they will take you wrong. It is dangerous to answer unknown callings when in the mountain forests.”

The Makah Indians of the Straight of Juan De Fuca tell a story about the cause of the northern lights.

“The northern lights come from the fires of a tribe of dwarf Indians who live many moons’ journey to the north. These dwarfs are no taller than half the length of a canoe paddle. They live on the ice, and they eat seals and whales. Although they are small, they are so strong and hardy that they can dive into cold water and catch whales with their hands. Then they boil out the blubber in fires built on the ice. The lights we sometimes see, are from the fires of those little people boiling whale blubber. The dwarfs are evil spirits, or skookums, and so we dare not speak their names”.

‘Thomas C. Pitka related his finding of many strange bare footprints of a child 7-9 years (old?) around the Green Point Upper Reservoir, SW of Hood River Or. The tracks were about 6” long, and he thought it odd that there were no other tracks about.’

‘Bud Darcor asked Ray Crowe if he wanted to “hear something strange?” It was way back in 1944 he said, and he was spending the weekend deer hunting with a younger brother near the Bly Mountain Lookout, OR., where he had a friend that worked, and had invited them up. As they were looking over the forest from the lookout tower, there appeared a bright ball that flew towards a nearby tableland. It looked like the bright ball landed on east end mountain about two miles away. The next day he and his brother hiked over to the site and were surprised to find next to a water hole, in a small clearing by the edge of a creek, a burnt patch. It was about 30 feet across, he said.

Still scratching their heads, they were hiking back to the L.O. when they had a weird feeling... then they saw “baby” footprints in the pumice dust of the road. The footprints crossed the road and went up the roadcut bank, and “sat down”. The butt print was about 6 inches across he said, and the prints were about 4 1/2 inches long. We put a board across the footprints to preserve them, and went to talk to the local Forest Service boss, and another government guy. The government guy suggested that a monkey had fallen out of an airplane, while the F.S. fellow said, “we didn’t see nothin’, and don’t know nothin’.”

This letter from Hugh Barnes appeared on the Internet on 9 Sept. 1994

Hello all!
It's been a while since I posted, so here we go. Last time I was asking for help identifying a recurring spirit...this time it is a quest for some simple info. The bogey in question is the Green Man. A friend of a friend (and I) both saw the fellow out in a local woodland. I have heard references to him before as a Native American spirit of some sort, so I thought it would be pretty easy to get some information...not so! Two days of free time were killed by yours truly for the net gain of zero. I couldn't even find a mention of it by that name, description, or anything else. I suppose I just missed it due to my having to approach the problem with next to no information, so maybe one of you can help. The "green man" (which was gray in my was dark out) is short legged, long armed, moderately woolly-looking and struck me as rather old. Picture an emaciated gorilla that stands on its hind legs and has a human face and you have it. He also struck me as shorter than the average human. If there are any opinions on this, I'd like to hear them, thanks! Hugh Barnes

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote “Sword at Sunset” (Copyright 1963, Coward-McCann, NY), which is a novel about King Arthur which attempts to be somewhat historically accurate, about the “People of the Hills”, who were also called the “Little Dark People”, that lived in the “Hollow Hills”, and were allies of Arthur...Arthur was surprised one night in camp by them, and “his first thought was to curse men of the guard for sleeping on watch. But that was before I came to know the pure-blooded People of the Hills as I came to know them later. When I did, I never again was hard on a sentry who let the Dark Ones slip through, for they move like shadows on the grass.” Arthur went to visit them in the Hollow Hills, and when he was about to leave, the Old Woman of the Hills offered him a drink. “Drink, my Lord the Bear, it will shorten the long way back” she said. “Drink; there be no harm in it. Or do you fear to sleep and wake on a bare hillside and find when you return to it, the fort empty and your spear brothers dead a hundred years ago?”

Posted on Nov 21, 2001, 2:22 PM
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