Blue-Jay

Blue-Jay
   A figure in the Creation Legend of the Chinooks who resembles in character the Coyote of the Californian Indians. He was originally a mischiefmaking individual who was eventually turned into a zoomorphic being by the gods. This may be a posthumous development. There is a trilogy of stories about Blue-Jay and his sister Ioi which resemble to some extent the initiation ceremonies described in the Popul Vuh. The stories tell how Ioi, Blue-Jay’s sister, begs him to take a wife to share her labour. He takes the corpse of a chief’s daughter from her grave, and carries her to the land of the Supernatural People, who restore her to life. The chief her father finds this out, and demands Blue-Jay’s hair as a recompense, but Blue-Jay changes himself into his bird shape and flies away. His wife dies again. The dead in the land of the Supernatural Folk then purchase Ioi his sister for a wife, and he sets off in search of her. He finds her surrounded by heaps of bones, to whom she alludes as her relations by marriage.
   The ghosts resume their human shape but on being addressed by Blue-Jay become heaps of bones once more, and he takes a mischievous delight in reducing them to this condition and in mixing up the various heaps of bones, so that the ghosts have the wrong heads, legs, and arms when they materialize again. There is a similar character in Zambian mythology.

Who’s Who in non-classical mythology . . 2014.

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