How Death Came To Be - A Wintun Legend
As the creator-god of the Wintun, or Wintu, Olelbis lived in Olelpanti, or heaven. Olelbis had intended that man live forever. When they were old, they could climb a ladder to Olelpanti where they could eat and live with him. In one version of the myth, Olelbis sent two buzzards to build the ladder, but a coyote (who is the trickster god in Wintun mythologys) came by and persuaded them to stop building. The buzzards stopped working, but they warned the coyote that one day he too would die. So the coyote tried to reach Olelpanti by flying, but never succeeded and died without going to Olelpanti.
In another version of the myth, it is two brothers instead of two buzzards. But Sedit, trickster-god of the Wintun, appeared on the scene and persuaded one of the brothers that it would be better to sleep with someone, and so procreate the human species. The one persuaded by Sedit argued the other into agreement, and both defected from Olelbis and joined together to destroy the road they were building to heaven. Sedit, horrified when he finds he has brought death to the human race and must die himself, tries to escape his fate. He makes himself a mechanism of boughs and leaves (a sort-of plane) hoping to fly to Olelpanti. But he crashes and is killed. Olelbis looks down from the heights of heaven and says, “See. The first death! From henceforth (all) men shall die.”