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Main > United States folktales > Fairy tale "The Little Boy and Girl in the Clouds"

The Little Boy and Girl in the Clouds

THE PEOPLE OF THE MIWOK TRIBE in northern California tell a story about a magical hill called Tutokanula. Other mountains and hills were formed many years ago when the earth was young, but this hill magically appeared overnight. One day it was an ordinary rock, but overnight it rose and stretched until it poked through the clouds above the tallest treetops.

The story began years ago when one late summer afternoon, a boy and girl were playing in a stream that crossed through their valley. Toward the end of the day they climbed out of the water and shivered in the cool air.

"Look!" said the boy to his sister. "The sun's shining on top of that rock."

"Let's go," said the sister. "The moss on top looks as soft like a blanket."

So they climbed on top of the rock, stretched out on the thick green moss, and fell asleep under the warm sun.

While they slept - no one knows how or why - but the rock inched upward, bit by bit. Their sleep was so deep the children didn't stir at all, and all that night the rock rose upward more and more. When the villagers awoke, they noticed a rocky hill taller than the highest tree that had mysteriously appeared overnight.

Meanwhile, the parents were searching everywhere for their children, but in vain. No one had seen them playing in the stream, and no one knew they were on top of the rock that had risen overnight. The parents asked Antelope, Jack Rabbit, Raccoon, and many other animals to help, but everyone had been quite busy the afternoon before and none had any idea where the children might be.

It was Coyote, cleverest of all, who sniffed the ground around the stream, then followed the scent to the mysterious new high hill.

"Your children must be on top," he announced.

The villagers and animals gathered around. How did the rock rise overnight? And more important - how to get the children down?

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