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Legendary Native American Figures: Water Babies

Name: Water Babies
Tribal affiliation: Paiute, Shoshone, Washo, Achumawi, Cahuilla, Cupeno, Luiseno, Serrano, Yokuts, Salish
Native names: Paakniwat, Pangam kiktam, Pa'-nawi-s, Pa-nugis, Para Ub, s'o:lmexw
Also known as: Water-Babies, Waterbabies, Water-Baby Spirits
Type: Native American little people, water spirits, mermaids
Related figures in other tribes: Halfway People (Mi'kmaq)

Water babies are mysterious and dangerous water spirits from the folklore of California and other Western Native American tribes. Water-babies are said to inhabit springs and sometimes ponds or streams. Water babies usually take the form of beautiful human infants (although in some tribes they have fish tails, or appear as reptilian beings that merely make cries resembling human babies.) In many tribal traditions, the cry of a water baby is an omen of death. In others, responding to a water baby's crying by picking it up results in catastrophe.

Water Baby Stories

*Washoe Legend Creatures:
    Washoe stories about water babies and the Ong bird.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Annikadel: The History of the Universe:
    Collection of Achumawi mythology and oral history.
Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the California Indian tribes.
The Deetkatoo:
    Traditional tales about little people from 14 different Native American tribes.

Additional Resources

 Achomawi myths
 Achumawi language
 Atsugewi language
 California Native Indians
 California Native American culture group
 Hokan language group



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