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Smokyriversongs' Look At Indian Life And The Lore
Mayan - Navajo













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Mayan

 

The Coyote And The Hen

Once upon a time a hen was up in the branches of a tree, and a coyote came to her:

"I've brought some good news for you. Do you want to hear it?" asked the coyote.

"Do you really have some good news?" the hen asked.

The coyote answered: "It's about the two of us." hear this, the coyote and the hen made peace. Now we are going to be friends and you can come down from the tree. We will hug each other as a sign of good will."

The hen kept asking if it were true what the coyote was saying: "Where was the peace treaty approved, brother coyote?" The coyote answered:

"Over there by the hunting grounds on the other side of the mountain. Hurry up and come down so that we can celebrate this moment of peace."

The hen asked: "Over there on the other side of the mountain?"
"May God witness that I am telling the truth. Come down from the tree," insisted the coyote.

"Maybe your telling the truth brother. I see that dog is coming to celebrate with us, because you and he are also going to make peace. I see him coming near, I hear him coming. He's coming fast and he's going to grab me, now that you and he have made peace. Do you hear, brother coyote, do you hear?" asked the hen. She was very happy and came down from the tree.

The coyote accepted this explanation and ran away. As the hen said the dog was coming, that's why he left. The hen didn't want come down from the tree in front of the coyote, if she had he would have eaten her, She had realized he was telling her lies.

 

 

 

 

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Mbaya Indian Lore:

 

 

"The Beginning Life of the Hummingbird"

Our First Father, the absolute, grew from within the original darkness.

The sacred soles of his feet and his small round standing-place, these he created as he grew from within the original darkness.

The reflection of his sacred thoughts, his all-hearing, the sacred palm of his hand with it's staff of authority, the sacred palms of his branched hands tipped with flowers, these were created by Ñamanduî as he grew from within the original darkness.

Upon his sacred high head with its headdress of feathers were flowers like drops of dew. Among the flowers of the sacred headdress hovered the first bird, the Hummingbird.

As he grew, creating his sacred body, our First Father lived in the primal winds. Before he had thought of his future earth-dwelling, before he had though of his future sky-his future world as it came to be in the beginning-Hummingbird came and refreshed his mouth. It was Hummingbird who nourished Ñamanduî with the fruits of paradise.

As he was growing, before he had created his future paradise, he himself, Our Ñamanduî Father, the First Being, did not see darkness, though the sun did not yet exist. He was lit by the reflection of his own inner self. The thoughts within his sacred being, these were his sun.

The true Ñamanduî Father, the First Being, lived in the primal winds. He brought the screech owl to rest and made darkness. He made the cradle of darkness.

As he grew, the true Ñamanduî Father, the First Being, created his future paradise. He created the earth. But at first he lived in the primal winds. The primal wind in which our Father lived returns with the yearly return of the primal time-space, with the yearly reassurance of the time-space that was. As soon as the season that was has ended, the trumpet-vine tree bears flowers. The winds move on to the following time-space. new winds and a new space in time come into being. Comes the resurrection of space and time.

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Menomini Indian Lore:

 

Manabush

Manabush was the first born son of four sons of a great mana- to who came to earth and chose a wife from among the people on the earth. He became friend of the human race, the mediator between man and the Great Spirit. The second son was Chipiapoos, the man of the dead, who presides over the country of the souls, the third was, Wabosso, who as soon as he saw the light fled towards the north, where he was changed into a white rabbit. The fourth son, Chakenapok the man of flint or firestone, was a cruel villain, In coming into the world he cause the death of his mother.

When he reached manhood Manabush resolved to avenge the death of his mother. He pursued Chakenapok all over the earth. After several encounters he destroyed him. His entrails became the vines and took root in the forests. The flint stones scattered over earth and indicate where the struggles between the brothers took place.

Manabush was the benefactor and protector of the Indian people. He taught them how to make implements to aid them in their hunting and fishing and to protect them against their enemies. He traveled over the country to destroy the evil spirits, giants, and other monsters which troubled his red children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Porcupine Quills

Some Indian women who had once befriended Manabush, went to him. They wanted some porcupine quills. With them they wished to ornament some garments. He gladly promised to try to get them.

He traveled through the forests and over hills to find Porcupine. They were friends. When he found him he told him of his mission. But Porcupine refused to give away any of his quills.

Neither would he exchange any for anything which Manabush could offer. he was going to a dance and ceremony and needed all of the quills he had.

Manabush determined to have some of the quills. He said he was very hungry and asked Porcupine if he had a kettle. Manabush gathered various edible herbs of which his friend was very fond and could produce sleep. Porcupine ate heartily of the meal and fell asleep. While he was asleep Manabush drew a lot of fine quills from his body and went away. The women were greatly pleased with the quills. They flattened and dyed them in bright colors. When Porcupine later visited the Indian camp he saw all the women wearing buckskin garments, beautifully ornamented with porcupine quills. He was suspicious, but too late.

 

 

 

 

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The Reed Dancers

Once after a long journey Manabush entered a pleasant little valley. Here he heard the sound of a drum, rattles and people singing and dancing. As he drew nearer he saw the dancers stepping about in lively fashion. their head feathers were moving about in every direction. It was just dusk, he did not recognize any of the dancers. No one paid any attention to him. He received no friendly greeting. He felt like dancing and wanted to join in this dance. He laid his hunting bag and knife at the roots of a tree. Several times he asked to be invited to dance, but the dancers brushed by him and none replied to his request. So he joined in the dance anyway and greatly enjoyed himself. then the bright moon overhead reveled how he had been deceived. He had wandered into a field of tall reeds, mistaking these with there feathery plums for warriors with eagle feather head dresses. Wearily now he spread his blanket beneath a tree and went to sleep.

 

 

 

 

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The Shut Eye Dance

Manabush was wandering along, stopping now and then to examine a flower, or to watch the flight of a bird or butterfly, when he suddenly saw at a little distance a number of water birds of different kinds. There were ducks, geese and swans among them. They were dancing in a circle and were enjoying themselves. As he drew near them he said to them, "my friends I have brought some song with me> I will sing for you while you dance. You must all keep your eyes closed while you dance, if not, I will stop signing." The birds consented and began to dance. As One of them came near to him he grasped it's neck to keep it from crying out. In this way he killed a number of birds. One bird a duck, was not hearing the voices of it's friends opened it's eyes. It saw the dead dancers laying at the feet of Manabush. It flew into the air and cried out, "My brothers Manabush is killing us. Fly, or we shall all be killed!" Instantly all of the birds opened their eyes and flew in all directions. All escaped. Manabush called to the duck that had sounded the warning, and said, "For this disobedience you shall always have red eyes." To this day the rings around the eyes of this duck are red.

 

 

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Micmac Indian Lore:

 

Micmac Creation Story

ONE

GISOOLG

Gisoolg is the Great Spirit Creator who is the one who made everything. The work Gisoolg in Mik'Maq means " you have been created ". It also means " the one credited for your existence".

The word does not imply gender. Gisoolg is not a He or a She, it is not important whether the Great Spirit is a He or a She.

The Mik'Maq people do not explain how the Great Spirit came into existence only that Gisoolg is responsible for everything being where it is today. Gisoolg made everything.

TWO

NISGAM

Nisgam is the sun which travels in a circle and owes its existence to isoolg. Nisgam is the giver of life. It is also a giver of light and heat.

The Mik'Maq people believe that Nisgam is responsible for the creation of the people on earth. Nisgam is Gisoolgs helper. The power of Nisgam is held with much respect among the Mik'Maq and other aboriginal peoples. Nisgam owes its existence to Gisoolg the Great Spirit Creator.

THREE

OOTSITGAMOO

Ootsitgamoo is the earth or area of land upon which the Mik'Maq people walk and share its abundant resources with the animals and plants. In the Mik'Maq language Oetsgitpogooin means "the person or individual who stand upon this surface", or "the one who is given life upon this surface of land". Ootsitgamoo refers to the Mik'Maq world which encompasses all the area where the Mik'Maq people can travel or have traveled upon.

Ootsitgamoo was created by Gisoolg and was placed in the centare of the circular path of Nisgam, the sun. Nisgam was given the responsibility of watching over the Mik'Maq world or Ootsitgamoo. Nisgam shines bright light upon Oositgamoo as it passes around and this brought the days and nights.

FOUR

GLOOSCAP

After the Mik'Maq world was created and after the animals, birds and plants were placed on the surface, Gisoolg caused a bolt of lightening to hit the surface of Ootsitgamoo. This bolt of lightning caused the formation of an image of a human body shaped out of sand. It was Glooscap who was first shaped out of the basic element of the Mik'Maq world, sand.

Gisoolg unleashed another bolt of lightening which gave life to Glooscap but yet he could not move. He was stuck to the ground only to watch the world go by and Nisgam travel across the sky everyday. Glooscap watched the animals, the birds and the plants grow and pass around him. He asked Nisgam to give him freedom to move about the Mik'Maq world.

While Glooscap was still unable to move, he was lying on his back. His head was facing the direction of the rising sun, east, Oetjgoabaniag or Oetjibanoog. In Mik'Maq these words mean "where the sun comes up " and "where the summer weather comes from" respectively. His feet were in the direction of the setting sun or Oetgatsenoog. Other Mik'Maq words for the west are Oeloesenoog, "where the sun settles into a hallow" or Etgesnoog "where the cold winds come from". Glooscaps right hand was pointed in the direction of the north or Oatnoog. His left hand was in the direction of the south or Opgoetasnoog. So it was the third big blast of lightening that caused Glooscap to become free and to be able to stand on the surface of the earth.

After Glooscap stood up on his feet, he turned around in a full circle seven times. He then looked toward the sky and gave thanks to Gisoolg for giving him life. He looked down to the earth or the ground and gave thanks to Ootsigamoo for offering its sand for Glooscap's creation. He looked within himself and gave thanks to Nisgam for giving him his soul and spirit.

Glooscap then gave thanks to the four directions east, north, west and south. In all he gave his heartfelt thanks to the seven directions.

Glooscap then traveled to the direction of the setting sun until he came to the ocean. He then went south until the land narrowed and he came to the ocean. He then went south until the land narrowed and he could see two oceans on either side. He again traveled back to where he started from and continued towards the north to the land of ice and snow. Later he came back to the east where he decided to stay. It is where he came into existence. He again watched the animals, the birds and the plants. He watched the water and the sky. Gisoolg taught him to watch and learn about the world. Glooscap watched but he could not disturb the world around him. He finally asked Gisoolg and Nisgam, what was the purpose of his existence. He was told that he would meet someone soon.

FIVE

NOGAMI

One day when Glooscap was traveling in the east he came upon a very old woman. Glooscap asked the old woman how she arrived to the Mik'Maq world. The old woman introduced herself as Nogami. She said to Glooscap, "I am your grandmother". Nogami said that she owes her existence to the rock, the dew and Nisgam, the Sun. She went on to explain that on one chilly morning a rock became covered with dew because it was sitting in a low valley. By midday when the sun was most powerful, the rock got warm and then hot. With the power of Nisgam, the sun, Gisoolg's helper, the rock was given a body of an old woman. This old woman was Nogami, Glooscap's grandmother.

Nogami told Glooscap that she come to the Mik'Maq world as an old woman, already very wise and knowledgeable. She further explained that Glooscap would gain spiritual strength by listening to and having great respect for his grandmother. Glooscap was so glad for his grandmother's arrival to the Mik'Maq world he called upon Abistanooj, a marten swimming in the river, to come ashore. Abistanooj did what Glooscap had asked him to do. Abistanooj came to the shore where Glooscap and Nogami were standing. Glooscap asked Abistanooj to give up his life so that he and his grandmother could live. Abistanooj agreed. Nogami then took Abistanooj and quickly snapped his neck. She placed him on the ground. Glooscap for the first time asked Gisoolg to use his power to give life back to Abistanooj because he did not want to be in disfavor with the animals.

Because of martens sacrifice, Glooscap referred to all the animals as his brothers and sisters from that point on. Nogami added that the animals will always be in the world to provide food, clothing, tools, and shelter. Abistanooj went back to the river and in his place lay another marten. Glooscap and Abistanooj will become friends and brothers forever.

Nogami cleaned the animal to get it ready for eating. She gathered the still hot sparks for the lightening which hit the ground when Glooscap was given life. She placed dry wood over the coals to make a fire. This fire became the Great Spirit Fire and later go to be known as the Great Council Fire.

The first feast of meat was cooked over the Great Fire, or Ekjibuctou. Glooscap relied on his grandmother for her survival, her knowledge and her wisdom. Since Nogami was old and wise, Glooscap learned to respect her for her knowledge. They learned to respect each other for their continued interdependence and continued existence.

SIX

NETAOANSOM

One day when Glooscap and Nogami were walking along in the woods, they came upon a young man. This young man looked very strong because he was tall and physically big. He had grey colored eyes. Glooscap asked the young man his name and how he arrived to the Mik'Maq world. The young man introduced himself. He told Glooscap that his name is Netaoansom and that he is Glooscap's sister's son. In other words, his nephew. He told Glooscap that he is physically strong and that they could all live comfortably. Netaoansom could run after moose, deer and caribou and bring them down with his bare hands. He was so strong. Netaoansom said that while the east wind was blowing so hard it caused the waters of the ocean to become rough and foamy. This foam got blown to the shore on the sandy beach and finally rested on the tall grass. This tall grass is sweet grass. Its fragrance was sweet. The sweet grass held onto the foam until Nisgam, the Sun, was high in the midday sky. Nisgam gave Netaoansom spiritual and physical strength in a human body. Gisoolg told Glooscap that if he relied on the strength and power of his nephew he would gain strength and understanding of the world around him.

Glooscap was so glad for his nephew's arrival to the Mik'Maq world, he called upon the salmon of the rivers and seas to come to shore and give up their lives. The reason for this is that Glooscap, Netoansom and Nogami did not want to kill all the animals for their survival. So in celebration of his nephew's arrival, they all had a feast of fish. They all gave thanks for their existence. They continued to rely on their brothers and sisters of the woods and waters. They relied on each other for their survival.

SEVEN

NEGANOGONIMGOSSEESGO

While Glooscap was sitting near a fire, Nogam was making clothing out of animal hides and Netaoansom was in the woods getting food. A woman came to the fire and sat beside Glooscap. She put her arms around Glooscap and asked "Are you cold my son?" Glooscap was surprised he stood up and asked the woman who she is and where did she come from. She explained that she was Glooscap's mother. Her name is Neganogonimgooseesgo. Glooscap waited until his grandmother and nephew returned to the fire then he asked his mother to explain how she arrived to the Mik'Maq world.

Neganogonimgooseesgo said that she was a leaf on a tree which fell to the ground. Morning dew formed on the leaf and glistened while the sun, Nisgam, began its journey towards the midday sky. It was at midday when Nisgam gave life and a human form to Glooscap's mother. The spirit and strength of Nisgam entered into Glooscap's mother.

Glooscap's mother said that she brings all the colors of the world to her children. She also brings strength and understanding. Strength to withstand earth's natural forces and understanding of the Mik'Maq world; its animals and her children, the Mik'Maq. She told them that they will need understanding and co-operation so they all can live in peace with one another.

Glooscap was so happy that his mother came into the world and since she came from a leaf, he called upon his nephew to gather nuts, fruits of the plants while Nogami prepared a feast. Glooscap gave thanks to Gisoolg, Nisgam, Ootsitgamoo, Nogami, Netaoansom and Neganogonimgooseesgo. They all had a feast in honor of Glooscap's mothers arrival to the world of Mik'Maqs.

The story goes on to say that Glooscap, the man created from the sand of the earth, continued to live with his family for a very long time. He gained spiritual strength by having respect for each member of the family. He listened to his grandmother' s wisdom. He relied on his nephew' s strength and spiritual power. His mother' s love and understanding gave him dignity and respect. Glooscap' s brothers and sisters of the wood and waters gave him the will and the food to survive. Glooscap now learned that mutual respect of his family and the world around him was a key ingredient for basic survival. Glooscap's task was to pass this knowledge to his fellow Mik'Maq people so that they too could survive in the Mik'Maq world. This is why Glooscap became a central figure in Mik'Maq story telling.

One day when Glooscap was talking to Nogami he told her that soon they would leave his mother and nephew. He told her that they should prepare for that occasion. Nogami began to get all the necessary things ready for a long journey to the North. When everyone was sitting around the Great Fire one evening, Glooscap told his mother and nephew that he and Nogami are going to leave the Mik'Maq world. He said that they will travel in the direction of the North only to return if the Mik'Maq people were in danger. Glooscap told his mother and nephew to look after the Great Fire and never to let it go out.

After the passing of seven winters, "elwigneg daasiboongeg", seven sparks will fly from the fire and when they land on the ground seven people will come to life. Seven more sparks will land on the ground and seven more people will come into existence. From these sparks will form seven women and seven men. They will form seven families. These seven families will disperse into seven different directions from the area of the Great Fire. Glooscap said that once the seven families their place of destination, they will further divide into seven groups.

Each group will have their own area for their subsistence so they would not disturb the other groups. He instructed his mother that the smaller groups would share the earth's abundance of resources which included animals, plants and fellow humans.

Glooscap told his mother that after the passing of seven winters, each of the seven groups would return to the place of the Great Fire. At the place of the fire all the people will dance, sing and drum in celebration of their continued existence in the Mik'Maq world. Glooscap continued by saying that the Great Fire signified the power of the Great Spirit Creator, Gisoolg. It also signified the power and strength of the light and heat of Nisgam, the sun. The Great Fire held the strength of Ootsitgamoo the earth. Finally the fire represented the bolt of lightening which hit the earth from which Glooscap was created. The fire is very sacred to the Mik'Maqs. It is the most powerful spirit on earth.

Glooscap told his mother and nephew that it is important for the Mik'Maq to give honor, respect and thanks to the seven spiritual elements. The fire signifies the first four stages of creation, Gisoolg, Nisgam, Oositgamoo and Glooscap. Fire plays a significant role in the last three stages as it represents the power of the sun, Nisgam.

In honor of Nogamits arrival to the Mik'Maq world, Glooscap instructed his mother that seven, fourteen and twenty-one rocks would have to be heated over the Great Fire. These heated rocks will be placed inside a wigwam covered with hides of moose and caribou or with mud. The door must face the direction of the rising sun. There should be room from seven men to sit comfortably around a pit dug In the centare where up to twenty-one rocks could be placed. Seven elders, seven wild willows and seven beech saplings will be used to make the frame of the lodge. This lodge should be covered with the hides of moose, caribou, deer or mud.

Seven men representing the seven original families will enter into the lodge. They will give thanks and honor to the seven directions, the seven stages of creation and to continue to live in good health. The men will pour water over the rocks causing steam to rise in the lodge to become very hot. The men will begin to sweat up to point that it will become almost unbearable. Only those who believe in the spiritual strength will be able to withstand the heat. Then they will all come out of the lodge full of steam and shining like new born babies. This is the way they will clean their spirits and should honor Nogami's arrival.

In preparation of the sweat, the seven men will not eat any food for seven days. They will only drink the water of golden roots and bees nectar. Before entering the sweat the seven men will burn the sweet grass. They will honor the seven directions and the seven stages of creation but mostly for Netawansom's arrival to the Mik'Maq world. The sweet grass must be lit from the Great Fire.

Glooscap's mother came into the world from the leaf of a tree, so in honor of her arrival tobacco made from bark and leaves will be smoked. The tobacco will be smoked in pipe made from a branch of a tree and a bowl made from stone.

The pipe will be lit from sweet grass which was lit from the Great Fire. The tobacco made from bark, leaves and sweet grass represents Glooscap's grandmother, nephew and mother. The tobacco called "spebaggan" will be smoked and the smoke will be blown in seven directions.

After honoring Nogami's arrival the Mik'Maq shall have a feast or meal. In honor of Netawansom they will eat fish. The fruits and roots of the trees and plants will be eaten to honor Glooscap's mother.

Glooscap's final instruction to his mother told her how to collect and prepare medicine from the barks and roots of seven different kinds of plant. The seven plants together make what is called "ektjimpisun". It will cure mostly every kind of illness in the Mik'Maq world. The ingredients of this medicine are: "wikpe"(alum willow), "waqwonuminokse"(wild black-cherry), "Kastuk"(ground hemlock), and "kowotmonokse"(red spruce). The Mik'Maq people are divided into seven distinct areas which are as follows:

1.Gespegiag
2.Sigenitog
3.Epeggoitg a, Pigtog
4.Gespogoitg
5.Segepenegatig
6.Esgigiag
7.Onamagig

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Rabbit And The Moon Man

Long ago, Rabbit was a great hunter. He lived with his grandmother in a lodge which stood deep in the Micmac forest. It was winter and Rabbit set traps and laid snares to catch game for food. He caught many small animals and birds, until one day he discovered that some mysterious being was robbing his traps. Rabbit and his grandmother became hungry. Though he visited his traps very early each morning, he always found them empty.

At first Rabbit thought that the robber might be a cunning wolverine, until one morning he found long, narrow footprints alongside his trap line. It was, he thought, the tracks of the robber, but they looked like moonbeams. Each morning Rabbit rose earlier and earlier, but the being of the long foot was always ahead of him and always his traps were empty.

Rabbit made a trap from a bowstring with the loop so cleverly fastened that he felt certain that he would catch the robber when it came. He took one end of the thong with him and hid himself behind a clump of bushes from which he could watch his snare. It was bright moonlight while he waited, but suddenly it became very dark as the moon disappeared. A few stars were still shining and there were no clouds in the sky, so Rabbit wondered what had happened to the moon.

Someone or something came stealthily through the trees and then Rabbit was almost blinded by a flash of bright, white light which went straight to his trap line and shone through the snare which he had set. Quick as a lightning flash, Rabbit jerked the bowstring and tightened the noose. There was a sound of struggling and the light lurched from side to side. Rabbit knew b the tugging on his string that he had caught the robber. He fastened the bowstring to a nearby sapling to hold the loop tight.

Rabbit raced back to tell his grandmother, who was a wise old woman, what had happened. She told him that he must return at once and see who or what he had caught. Rabbit, who was very frightened, wanted to wait for daylight but his grandmother said that might be too late, so he returned to his trap line.

When he came near his traps, Rabbit saw that the bright light was still there. It was so bright that it hurt his eyes. He bathed them in the icy water of a nearby brook, but still they smarted. He made big snowballs and threw them at the light, in the hope of putting it out. As they went close to the light, he heard them sizzle and saw them melt. Next, Rabbit scooped up great pawfuls of soft clay from the stream and made many big clay balls. He was a good shot and threw the balls with all of his force at the dancing white light. He heard them strike hard and then his prisoner shouted.

Then a strange, quivering voice asked why he had been snared and demanded that he be set free at once, because he was the man in the moon and he must be home before dawn came. His face had been spotted with clay and, when Rabbit went closer, the moon man saw him and threatened to kill him and all of his tribe if he were not released at once.

Rabbit was so terrified that he raced back to tell his grandmother about his strange captive. She too was much afraid and told Rabbit to return and release the thief immediately. Rabbit went back, and his voice shook with fear as he told the man in the moon that he would be released if he promised never to rob the snares again. To make doubly sure, Rabbit asked him to promise that he would never return to ear, and the moon man swore that he would never do so. Rabbit could hardly see in the dazzling light, but at last he managed to gnaw through the bowstring with his teeth and the man in the moon soon disappeared in the sky, leaving a bright trail of light behind him.

Rabbit had been nearly blinded by the great light and his shoulders were badly scorched. Even today, rabbits blink as though light is too strong for their eyes; their eyelids are pink, and their eyes water if they look at a bright light. Their lips quiver, telling of Rabbit's terror.

The man in the moon has never returned to earth. When he lights the world, one can still see the marks of the clay which Rabbit threw on his face. Sometimes he disappears for a few nights, when he is trying to rub the marks of the clay balls from his face. Then the world is dark; but when the man in the moon appears again, one can see that he has never been able to clean the clay marks from his shining face.

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The Bird Whose Wings Made the Wind

 

An Indian family resided on the seashore. They had two sons, the oldest of whom was married and had a family of small children. They lived principally by fishing, and the their favorite food was eels.

Now it came to pass at a certain time that the weather was so stormy they could not fish. The wind blew fiercely night and day, and they were greatly reduced by hunger. Finally the old father told his boys to walk along the shore, and perhaps they might find a fish that had floated ashore, as sometimes happened. So one of the young men started off to try his luck in this line; when he reached a point where the wind blew so fiercely that he could hardly stand against it, he saw the cause of all the trouble. At the end of the point there was a ledge of rocks, called Rocky Point, extending far out; at low water the rocks were separated from one another by the shallow water, but nearly all covered when the tide was in. On the farthest rock a large bird, the storm-king, was standing, flapping his wings and causing all the trouble by the wind he raised. The Indian planned to outwit him. He called to the big bird, and addressed him as "my grandfather," said, "Are you cold?" He answered, "No." The man replied, "You are cold; let me carry you ashore on my back." "Do so," was the answer. So the man waded over to the rock on which the bird was sitting, took him on his back, and carefully carried him from rock to rock, wading over the intervening spaces of shoal water. In going down the last rock, he stumbled on purpose, but pretended it was an accident; and the poor old bird fell and broke one of his wings. The man seemed very sorry, and immediately proceeded to set the bone and bind up the wing. He then directed the old fellow to keep quiet and not move his wings until the wounded one healed. He now inquired if it pained him much, and was told that it did not. "Remain there and I will visit you again soon, and bring you some food." He now returned home, and found that the wind had all died away; there was a dead calm, so that before long they were supplied with a great abundance of food, as the eels were plenty and easily taken. But there can be too much of even a good thing. Calm weather continued for a succession of days, causing the salt water to be covered with a sort of scum. The Indians say it is the results of sickness and vomiting among the larger fish; this scum prevents the fishermen from seeing into the water, and consequently is adverse to eel-spearing. This took place on the occasion referred to, and so they sought for a remedy. The big bird was visited and his wing examined. It was sufficiently recovered to admit of motion, and he was told to keep both his wings going, but that the motion must be steady and gentle. This produced the desired effect.

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The Invisible One

 

There was once a large Indian village situated on the border of a lake, --Nameskeek' oodun Kuspemku. At the end of the place was a lodge, in which dwelt a being who was always invisible. He had a sister who attended to his wants, and it was known that any girl who could see him might marry him. Therefore there were indeed few who did not make the trial, but it was long ere one succeeded.

And it passed in this wise. Towards evening, when the Invisible One was supposed to be returning home, his sister would walk with any girls who came down to the shore of the lake. She indeed could see her brother, since to her he was always visible, and beholding him she would say to her companions, "Do you see my brother?" And they would mostly answer, "Yes," though some said, "Nay," -- alt telovejich, aa alttelooejik. And then the sister would say, "Cogoowa' wiskobooksich?" "Of what is his shoulder-strap made?" But as some tell the take, she would inquire other things, such as, "What is his moose-runner's haul?" or, "With what does he draw his sled?" And they would reply, "A strip of rawhide," or "A green withe," or something of the kind. And then she, knowing they had not told the truth, would reply quietly, "Very well, let us return to the wigwam!"

As they entered the place she would bid them not to take a certain seat, for it was his. After they had helped to cook the supper they would wait with great curiosity to see him eat. Truly he gave proof that he was a real person, for as he took off his moccasins they became visible, and his sister hung them up; but beyond this they beheld nothing not even when they remained all night, as many did.

There dwelt in the village an old man, a widower, with three daughters. The youngest of these was very small, weak, and often ill, which did not prevent her sisters, especially the eldest, treating her with great cruelty. The second daughter was kinder , and sometimes took the part of the poor abused little girl, but the other would burn her hands and face with hot coals; yes, her whole body was scarred with marks made by torture, so that people called her OOchigeaskw (the rough-faced girl). And when her father, coming home, asked what it meant that the child was so disfigured, her sister would promptly say that it was the fault of the girl herself, for that, having been forbidden to go near the fire, she had disobeyed and fallen in.

Now it came to pass that it entered the heads of the the two elder sisters of this poor girl that they would go and try their fortune at seeing the Invisible One. So they clad themselves in their finest and strove to look their fairest; and finding his sister at home when with her to the wonted walk down to the water. Then when He came, being asked if they saw him, they said, "Certainly," and also replied to the question of the shoulder-strap or sled cord, "A piece of rawhide." In saying which, they lied, like the rest, for they had seen nothing, and got nothing for their pains.

When their father returned home the next evening, he brought with him many of the pretty little shells from which weiopeskool, or wampum, was made, and they were soon engaged napawejik (stringing them).

That day poor little OOchigeaskw', the burnt-faced girl, who had always run barefoot, got a pair of her father's old moccasins, and put them into water that they might become flexible to wear. And begging her sisters for a few wampum shells, the eldest did but call her "a lying little pest," but the other gave her a few. And having no clothes beyond a few paltry rags, the poor creature went forth and got herself from the woods a few sheets of birch bark, of which she made a dress, putting some figures on the bark. And this dress she shaped like those worn of old. So she made a petticoat and a loose gown, a cap, leggings, and handkerchief, and, having put on her father's great old moccasins,--which came nearly up to her knees,--she went forth to try her luck. For even this little thing would see the Invisible One in the great wigwam at the end of the village.

Truly her luck had a most auspicious beginning, for there was one long storm of ridicule and hisses, yells and hoots, from her own door to that of which she went out seek. Her sisters tried to shame her, and bade her to stay home, but she would not obey; and all the idlers, seeing this strange little creature in her odd array, cried, "Shame!" But she went on, for she was greatly resolved; it may be that some spirit inspired her.

Now this poor small wretch in her mad attire, with her hair singed off and her little face as full of burns and scars as there are holes in a sieve, was, for all this, mostly kindly received by the sister of the Invisible One; for this noble girl knew more than the mere outside of thins as the world knows them. And as the brown of the evening sky became black, she took her down to the lake. And erelong the girls knew that He had come. Then the sister said, "Do you see him?" And the other replied in awe, "Truly I do, --and He is wonderful." "And what is his sled string?" "It is," she replied, "the Rainbow." And great fear was on her. "But, my sister," said the other, "what is his bow-string?" "His bow-string is Ketaksoowowcht: (the Spirits Road, the Milky Way).

"Thou hast seen him, said the sister. And, taking the girl home, she bathed her, and as she washed all the scars disappeared from face and body. Her hair grew again; it was very long, and like a blackbird's wing. Her eyes were like stars. In all the world was no such beauty. Then from her treasures she gave her a wedding garment, and adorned her. Under the comb, as she combed her, her hair grew. It was a great marvel to behold.

Then, having done this, she bade her take the wife's seat in the wigwam,--that by which her brother sat, the seat next the door. And when He entered, terrible and beautiful, he smiled and said, "Wajoolkoos!" "So we are found out!" "Alajulaa." "Yes," was her reply. So she became his wife.

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Miwok Indian Lore:


The Coming Of Thunder
Bears' sister-in-law, Deer, had two beautiful fawn daughters. Bear was a horrible, wicked woman, and she wanted the fawns for herself. So this is what she did.

One day she invited Deer to accompany her when she went to pick clover. The two fawns remained at home.
While resting during the day after having gathered much clover, Bear offered to pick lice from Deers' head. While doing so she watched her chance, took Deer unaware, and bit her neck so hard that she killed her.
Then she devoured her, all except the liver. This she placed in the bottom of a basket filled with clover,and took it home.
She gave the basket of clover to the fawns to eat.

When they asked where their mother was, she replied,
"She will come soon. You know she's always slow and takes her time in coming home."

So the fawns ate the clover, but when they reached the bottom of the basket, they discovered the liver. Then they knew their aunt had killed their mother.

"We had better watch out, or she will kill us too," they said to one another.
They decided to run away and go to their grandfather. So the next day when Bear was out, they got together all the baskets and awls which belonged to Deer and departed. They left one basket, however, in the house.

When Bear returned and found the Fawns missing, she hunted for their tracks and set out after them.
After she had trailed them a short distance, the basket they had left at home whistled. Bear ran back to the house, thinking the fawns had returned. But she could not find them and so set out again, following their tracks.

The fawns meanwhile had proceeded on their journey, throwing awls and baskets in different directions. These awls and baskets whistled.
Each time she heard them, Bear thought that the fawns were whistling, and she left the trail in search of them. And each time that Bear was fooled in this manner, she became angrier and angrier.

She shouted in anger:
"Those girls are making a fool of me. When I capture them, I'll eat them." The awls only whistled in response, and Bear ran toward the sound. No one was there.

Finally, the fawns, far ahead of Bear, came to the river. On the opposite side they saw Daddy Longlegs. They asked him to stretch his leg across the river so that they could cross safely, because Bear had killed their mother and they were fleeing from her.
He did, and when Bear at last came to the river, Daddy Longlegs stretched his leg over again.

But just as the wicked aunt of the two fawns, walking on his leg, reached the middle of the river, Daddy Longlegs gave his leg a sudden twitch and threw her into the water.

However, Bear did not drown. She managed to swim to shore, where she again started in pursuit of the fawns. But the fawns were far ahead of their aunt and soon reached their grandfather's house.
Their grandfather was Lizard. They told him of the terrible fate which had overtaken their mother.
"Where is Bear?" he asked them.
"She is following us and will soon be here," they replied.

Upon hearing this, Lizard threw two large white stones into the fire and heated them.
When Bear arrived outside Lizard's house, she could not find an entrance. She asked Lizard how she should come in, and he told her that the only entrance was through the smoke hole. She must climb on the roof and enter that way, he said, and when she did, she must close her eyes tightly and open her mouth wide.

Bear followed these instructions, for Lizard had told her that the two fawns were in his house. As Bear entered, eyes closed and mouth open, Lizard took the red-hot stones from the fire and thrust them down her throat. Bear rolled from the top of Lizard's house and landed on the ground dead.

Lizard skinned her and dressed her hide, after which he cut it in two pieces, one large and one small.
The larger piece he gave to the older fawn, the smaller piece to the younger.
Then Lizard instructed the girls to run about and see what kind of noise was made by Bears' skin. The girls proceeded to run, and the pieces of skin crackled loudly.
Lizard, watching them, laughed and said to himself,
"The girls are all right. They are Thunders. I think I had better send them up to the sky."

When the fawns came to Lizard to tell him that they were going to return home, he said,
"Don't go home. I have a good place for you in the sky."

So the girls went to the sky, and Lizard could hear them running about up there. Their aunt's skin, which they had kept, makes the loud noises that we call thunder.
Whenever the fawn girls (Thunders, as Lizard called them) run around in the sky, rain and hail fall.



 


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Modoc Indian Lore:


People Brought In A Basket
Kumush, Old Man of the Ancients, went down with his daughter to the underground world of the spirits. It was a beautiful world, reached by one long, steep road. In it were many spirits -as many as all the stars in the sky and all the hairs on all the animals in the world.

When night came, the spirits gathered in a great plain to sing and dance. When daylight came, they returned to their places in the house, lay down,and became dry bones.

After six days and six nights in the land of the spirits, Kumush longed for the sun. He decided to return to the upper world and to take some of the spirits with him to people his world.

With a big basket in hand, he went through the house of the spirits and chose the bones he wished to take. Some bones he thought would be good for one tribe of people, others for another.

When he had filled his basket, Kumush strapped it to his back and together with his daughter started up the steep road to the upper world.
Near the top he slipped and stumbled, and the basket fell to the ground. At once the bones became spirits again. Shouting and singing, they ran back to their house in the spirit world, lay down, and became dry bones.

A second time Kumush filled his basket with bones and started toward the upper world. A second time he slipped, and the spirits, shouting and singing, returned to the underground world.

A third time he filled his basket with bones. This time he spoke to them angrily.
"You just think you want to stay here. When you see my land, a land where the sun shines, you'll never want to come back to this place. There are no people up there, and I know I'll get lonesome again."

A third time Kumush and his daughter started up the steep and slippery road with the basket. When he came near the edge of the upper world, he threw the basket ahead of him, onto level ground.
"Indian bones!" he called out.

Then he uncovered the basket and selected the bones for the kinds of Indians he wanted in certain places. As he threw them, he named them.
"You shall be the Shasta," he said to the bones he threw westward. "You shall be brave warriors."
"You also shall be brave warriors," he said to the Pit River Indians and the Warm Springs Indians.

To the bones he threw a short distance northward, he said,
"You shall be the Klamath Indians. You'll be as easy to frighten as women are. You won't be good warriors."

Last of all he threw the bones which became the Modoc Indians. To them he said,
"You will be the bravest of all. You will be my chosen people. Though you'll be a small tribe and though your enemies are many, you will kill all who come against you. You will keep my place when I have gone. I, Kumush, have spoken."

To all the people created from the bones of the spirits, Kumush said,
"You must send certain men to the mountains. There they must ask to be made brave or to be made wise. There, if they ask for it, they will be given the power to help themselves and to help all of you."

Then Kumush named the different kinds of fish and beasts that the people should eat. As he spoke their names, they appeared in the rivers and lakes, on the plains and in the forests.
He named the roots and the berries and the plants that the people should eat. He thought, and they appeared.

He divided the work of the people by making this law:
"Men shall fish and hunt and fight. Women shall get wood and water, gather berries and dig roots,and cook for their families.This is my law."

So Kumush finished the upper world and his work in it. Then with his daughter, he went to the place where the sun rises, at the eastern edge of the world. He traveled along the sun's road until he reached the middle of the sky. There he built a house for himself and his daughter.
There they live even today.

 


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The Bat

Once there was a war between beasts and birds. Bat was on birds' side. Un the first battle, the birds were badly beaten. As soon as Bat saw that the battle was going against them, he snuck away, his under a log, and stayed there to the fight was over.

When the beast were going home. Bat slipped in among them, After they had gone some distance, they saw him and asked one another: "How is this? Bat is one of the men who fought against us?"

Bat heard them and said: "Oh, no! I am one of you; I don't belong to the bird people. Did you ever see one of those people who had double teeth, you can say I belong to the bird people. But I don't; I am one of your own people."

They didn't say anything more and let Bat stay with them.

Soon after there was another battle; in this battle the birds won. As Bat's side was getting beaten, he slipped away and hid under a log. When the battle was over and the birds were going home, Bat went among them.

When they saw him they said, " You are our enemy, we saw you fighting against us."

"Oh no," said Bat, "I am one of you, I don't belong to those beast. Did you ever see one of those people to have wings?"

They didn't say anything more, and they let Bat stay with them.

So Bat went back and forth as long as the war lasted. At the end of the war, the birds and beast held a council to see what to do with him. At last they said to Bat: "Hereafter, you will fly around alone at night, and you will never have any friends, either among those who fly or those who walk."

 

 

 

 

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Mohawk

The Two Mohawks


In the year 1747 a couple of the Mohawk Indians came against the lower towns of the Cherokee and cunningly ambuscade them through most part of the spring and summer.


The two killed above twenty in different attacks before they were discovered by any party of the enraged and dejected people. They had a thorough knowledge of the most convenient ground for their purpose, and were extremely swift and long-winded. Whenever they killed any and got the scalp they made off to the neighboring mountains, and ran over the broad ledges of rocks in contrary courses, as occasion offered, so as the pursuers could by no means trace them.

Once, when a large company was in chase of them, they ran round a steep hill at the head of the main eastern branch of Savanna river, intercepted, killed, and scalped the hindmost of the party, and then made off between them and Keeowhee.

As this was the town to which the company belonged, they hastened home in a close body, as the proper place of security from such enemy wizards. In this manner did those two sprightly, gallant savages perplex and intimidate their foes for the space of four moons in the greatest security, though they often were forced to kill and barbecue what they chiefly lived upon, in the midst of their watchful enemies.

Having sufficiently revenged their relations' blood and gratified their own ambition with an uncommon number of scalps, they resolved to captivate one and run home with him as a proof of their having killed none but the enemies of their country.

Accordingly, they approached very near to Keeowhee, about half a mile below the late Fort Prince George. Advancing with the usual caution on such an occasion, one crawled along under the best cover of the place about the distance of a hundred yards ahead, while the other shifted from tree to tree, looking sharply every way.

In the evening, however, an old, beloved man discovered them from the top of an adjoining hill, and knew them to be enemies by the cut of their hair, light trim for running, and their, postures.

He returned to the town and called first at the house of one of our traders and informed him of the affair, enjoining him not to mention it to any, lest the people should set off against them without success before their tracks were to be discovered and he be charged with having deceived them.

But, contrary to the true policy of traders among unforgiving savages, that thoughtless member of the Choktah Sphinx Company busied himself, as usual, out of his proper sphere, sent for the headmen, and told them the story. As the Mohawks were allies and not known to molest any of the traders in the paths and woods, he ought to have observed a strict neutrality.

The youth of the town, by order of their headmen, carried on their noisy public diversions in their usual manner to prevent their foes from having any suspicion of their danger, while runners were sent from the town to their neighbors to come silently and assist them to secure the prey in its state of security.

They came like silent ghosts, concerted their plan of operation, passed over the river at the old trading ford opposite to the late fort, which lay between two contiguous commanding hills, and, proceeding downward over a broad creek, formed a large semicircle from the river bank, while the town seemed to be taking its usual rest.

They then closed into a narrower compass, and at last discovered the two brave, unfortunate men lying close under the tops of some fallen young pine trees. The company gave the war signal, and the Mohawks, bounding up, bravely repeated it; but, by their sudden spring from under thick cover, their arms were useless. They made desperate efforts, however, to kill or be killed, as their situation required.

One of the Cherokee, the noted half-breed of Istanare [Ustäna'lï] town, which lay 2 miles from thence, was at the first onset knocked down and almost killed with his own cutlass, which was wrested from him, though he was the strongest of the whole nation. But they were overpowered by numbers, captivated, and put to the most exquisite tortures of fire, amidst a prodigious crowd of exulting foes.

One of the present Choktah traders, who was on the spot, told me that when they were tied to the stake the younger of the two discovered our traders on a hill near, addressed them in English, and entreated them to redeem their lives. The elder immediately spoke to him, in his own language, to desist. On this, he recollected himself, and became composed like a stoic, manifesting an indifference to life or death, pleasure or pain, according to their standard of martial virtue, and their dying behavior did not reflect the least dishonor on their former gallant actions.

All the pangs of fiery torture served only to refine their manly spirits, and as it was out of
the power of the traders to redeem them they, according to our usual custom, retired as soon as the Indians began the diabolical tragedy.

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Muscogee Indian Lore:

 


The Thunder Helper
Once there was a boy who had no mother or father. All day long he would take long walks and play by himself.

One day as the boy was walking along the creek, he heard a noise like Thunder. When he looked up, he saw a Tie-snake and the Thunder having a fight.
The Tie-snake called to the boy saying,
"Kill the Thunder, and I will tell you everything I know. I know all the things that are under the earth."
Just as the boy was putting an arrow to his bow, he heard a loud noise. It was the Thunder speaking to him,
"Boy, boy, don't pay any attention to the Tie-snake, I, Thunder, can help you to be brave, strong and wise. Shoot your arrow at the Tie-snake."
The boy shot at the Tie-Snake, killed him, and the Tie-snake fell into the creek.

Now the Thunder made the boy strong and wise, but the Thunder told the boy that he must never, never tell anyone that the Thunder had made him strong, brave and wise.
The boy became the best hunter in the village. He was good and kind to all of the people. When he talked, the people listened.

In the cold time, the people were very hungry, for there was no food and very little corn. Many days passed, and the boy stood before them and said,
"Last night the owl in the tree talked to me. The owl told me to come to his tree. He told me there was a bear sleeping in a hole in the ground."
The young men of the village laughed at him for saying the owl talked to him, but the old men did not laugh for they knew the boy was wise.
One of the young men did not laugh. He told the boy he would go hunt the bear with him. He knew the people were hungry.

The young man and boy went to the tree with the owl in it. By the tree, in a hole in the ground, they found the bear sleeping.
They killed the bear and took it back to the village. The people were happy to have so much meat to eat.
Now, when the boy said something, the people found what he said was true.

The time came when the men of the village went to fight. Many men were killed. The women were so afraid; they knew the enemy would come and burn the village.
The boy stood before the women and said,
"Do not be afraid. I will go and kill the enemy. They will not burn our village."

The boy went into the woods and found the men of the village. He said to them,
"Stay where you are. I will go to meet the enemy and kill them. Never again will the enemy try to burn our village."
The men watched the boy as he went to meet the enemy. They saw the Thunder and the Lightening. The Thunder and Lightening came down upon the enemy. All the enemy were killed.

The men waited in the woods for a long time. The boy never came back. No one in the village ever saw him again.
When the old men hear the Thunder and see the Lightening, they know what to think. They are now wise in many things. They are sure that they hear the boy call in the Thunder, and when the Lightening illuminates the sky, the old men are sure they can see the face of the boy.

"The Thunder Helper laughs," the old men say, and then they go to sleep unafraid.



 

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Navaho Indian Lore:

 

The Changing Woman



Changing Woman (Asdzáán Nádleehé) comes closest to being the personification of the earth and of the natural order of the universe as to any other brief way of describing her. She represents the cyclical path of the seasons, birth (spring), maturing (summer), growing old (fall) and dying (winter), only to be reborn again in the spring.

The birth of Changing Woman was planned by First Man and First Woman. First Man repeatedly held up his medicine bundle toward Gobernador Knob at dawn. Somehow from this action Changing Woman was born and found lying on top of Gobernador Knob.

She was found by Talking God who was sent to investigate. First Man then presented her to the diyinii, saying that you could see that this is the child of the young man and young woman of exceeding beauty who themselves had arisen from the same medicine bundle to become the inner form of the earth. First Man raised and taught Changing Woman .

She grew from infancy to puberty in four days, thus acquiring the name Changing Woman. This occasioned the first puberty ceremony. The Holy People were called for and Talking God officiated at the ceremony.

Changing Woman was dressed in jewels (white shell , turquoise, abalone, and jet, blessed with pollen from the dawn and from twilight, and with pollen from many jewels and soft fabrics, symbolizing her control over these articles. After this blessing, her hair was bathed with dews and she was instructed to run toward the dawn as far as she could see and then to return.

As she ran, her dress of jewels jingled. She repeated this for four nights. On these days, when not involved in ceremonies, she occupied herself with planning for the future of the earth.

By the end of the ceremony she had made millstones, a whisk broom, pots, and stirring sticks.

The songs that were sung for Changing Woman as she ran are sung today for young women at their puberty ceremonies. At Changing Woman's next menstruation another puberty ceremony was held, similar to the first. But at this ceremony other procedures for the future were defined.

These decree that no menstruating woman shall be present at any ceremony. The order of songs at future Blessing way ceremonies was thus determined.

After this ceremony, Changing Woman would go outside and walk on the trail which had been prepared for her. One day at noon a strange man walked up to her and spoke to her.

He said "Prepare yourself for something that is going to happen, after a while I will visit you."

This stranger was so dazzling that Changing Woman had to look away. When she turned back, he was gone. She returned home and reported this encounter to First Woman and First Man. It seems that First Man was expecting this occurrence, which happened twice again.

On the third time Changing Woman was told to fix her bed outside, with her head to the east. When she fell asleep a young man came and lay beside her. This happened again and she asked who he was.

He replied, "Don't you know me? Didn't you ever see me? Don't you know that you see me all the time? It is I that takes care of all things, whatever there is on earth. I am the Sun's inner form. In my very presence you came into being, in my presence you were put into shape, even I was among them!"

He then indicated that First Man had directed him to do this.

The next day she decided to bathe because the young man might visit her again. While bathing the young man appeared again and with the collaboration of the dripping water impregnated Changing Woman. In nine days, twins were born to Changing Woman.

These twins were to become Monster Slayer and Born for Water. These two also grew in four day periods and in twelve days they were grown young men.

At this point Changing Woman asked for and receives the medicine bundle that First Man had brought up from the previous worlds. She moves to a hogan that was built for her at the base of Huerfano Mountain. Here she conducted the first wedding ceremony, the mating of corn.

After this ceremony Changing Woman left for the house that her sons had built for her, at the direction of their father, the Sun, in the west, at or on the Pacific Ocean.

Here Changing Woman grew lonely and created the Navajo People from skin rubbed off various parts of her body. The four pairs of people created at this time are the ancestors of all Navajo today.

Changing Woman also caused the abduction of the two children of Rock Crystal Talking God.

They were taken to her house in the west by way of a rainbow and a sunbeam. Here they were taught the Blessing way ceremony. They returned home to teach the ceremony to all of their people

The diyinii all gathered to learn the ceremony and to construct the original Mountain Soil bundle, containing soil from each of the sacred mountains, with which the ceremony is still conducted.

The Holy People then said that, after their departure from this ceremony, they would never be seen in person again but that their presence would be manifest in the sound of the wind, the feathers of an eagle, in various birds, the growth of the corn, and other aspects of the world surrounding the earth surface people.

The two children who had been taught the Blessing way ceremony then departed to live with the Holy People.

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Navajo Indian Lore:

 

At The Rainbows' End

Long, long ago when First Woman the Goddess was created, she became fully grown in four days. It seemed that every Dine (Navajo) Indian tribesman wanted her for his wife.

She did not love any of them, but she did like the handsome ones. Of all the men, however, she thought the most attractive was the Sun-God. Of course, she thought he could never be her husband.

To her surprise, one day Sun-God came up behind her and gently tickled her neck with a feathery plume. She was engulfed with warm sunshine, and in a magical way the Goddess became the wife of Sun-God. He fathered her firstborn, a son.

Not long thereafter, the Goddess was resting beneath an overhanging cliff when some drops of water fell upon her. Soon the Goddess gave birth to a second son, fathered by Water-God. Because the two boys were so close in age, they became known as the Twins of the Goddess.

They lived in a beautiful canyon that later became a part of Dine (Navajo) land. About that time, a Great Giant roamed over the country and ate every human he could catch. He discovered the Goddess but did not want to kill her, because at first sight he fell in love with her beauty.

The Goddess knew of the Great Giant's evil ways and would have nothing to do with him. He became very jealous of her when he saw footprints of the Twins outside her Hogan.

She saw Great Giant approaching, so she quickly dug a hole in the center of her floor and there hid her two children, whom she dearly loved. She covered the opening with a flat sandstone rock, spreading dirt over it to prevent the Great Giant from finding her Twins.

Another day, Great Giant saw the children's tracks.

"Where did these children come from?" he asked the Goddess.

"I have no children." she replied, because she knew that he would try to kill them if he found the Twins.

"You are not telling me the truth," he said. "I see children's footprints in the dirt, right here."

The Goddess laughed heartily and said "Those are only my hand prints. I am very lonesome for children, so I only pretend by making tracks with the heels of my hand and the tips of my fingers, like this. These are the tracks of my children."

"Now I believe you," he replied.

As the Twins grew larger, their mother could not hide them any longer. She was alarmed for their safety because of the Great Giant, who saw them one day and tried to catch them. But the Twins were too quick and got away.

The Spirit who made the Goddess appeared with a bow made of cedar wood for Sun-Child.

"It is time for you to learn to hunt," she said to him.

"We must now make some arrows and another bow for your brother," said the Goddess to Sun-Child.

"Mostly, we want to hunt for our father," said Sun-Child. "Mother, who is our father and where does he live?"

"Your father is the Sun-God, but he lives far away in the East," replied the Goddess.

Another bow was made for Water-Child and many arrows for both Twins. They began their journey to the East and traveled as far as they could, but without success in finding Sun-God. When they returned they asked, "Mother, have you lied to us? In the East, we looked everywhere and we could not find our father, the Sun- God."

"He must have gone to the South," she said. Again the Twins set out on another journey, this time to the South, returning without success.

"Please try the West and then the North, if at first you do not find your father in the West," said the Goddess.

She sent the Twins again on their hunting journey, anxious to keep them away and out of sight of the Great Giant. Many moons later, the Twins came back and said, "Mother, have you lied to us four times? Our father was neither in the North nor the West."

"Now I will tell you the truth, my sons," said the Goddess. "Your fathers, the Sun-God and Water-God, live far away in the middle of the great Western Water. Between here and there are great canyons where the walls of the cliffs clap together and would crush you.

"Even if you should succeed in getting through the canyons, there are the terrible reeds that you must cross. Their long knife-like sharp leaves will cut you into pieces.

"If you should escape the reeds, you can never cross the Grand Canyon, which comes first before you can reach the Great Water. You can never, never cross the water where your father's house is in the middle of the Great Water, the Western Ocean."

"But, Mother, we want to go and try to find our fathers," said the Twins.

The Goddess taught the Twins a song of protection for their next journey:

"We are traveling in an Invisible Way to seek our fathers, the Sun-God and the Water-God."

This song she taught them to sing four times, the magic number. Day after day as they traveled along, they sang their song for protection.

One day, as they passed a little spider hole in the ground, they heard a voice say, "Ssh!" four times. The Twins looked into the hole and saw Spider Woman.

"Do not be afraid of me, I am your Grandmother. Come down into my lodge," she said four times.

"We cannot enter your lodge, because your doorway is too small," said the Twins.

"Please blow toward the East wind, South wind, West wind, and North wind," Spider Woman called out.

The Twins blew in the four directions and the entrance enlarged enough for them to go through. Inside and to their amazement, they saw the lodge walls covered with bundles of bones wrapped in spider webs, exactly the way spiders wrap flies in a web.

"Do not be afraid, my grandsons," said Spider Woman. "These are the bones of bad men whom I killed."

Spider Woman talked with the Twins about encounters they might have on their trip. She taught them songs for their protection and explained what they could do to overcome obstacles they might meet on their way. "I will give each of you a magic Feather- Plume. Hold it before you as you travel, straight up or sideways to carry you safely forward," she said to the Twins.

"Be on the look out for a little man with a red head and a striped back. He will resemble a sand-scorpion, only a little larger--about the size of a Jerusalem cricket," she explained.

"Thank you, Grandmother, we'll be on our way," said the Twins.

Many days later, the Twins heard a voice from the ground. It was from the little man with the red head.

"Do not scorn me because I am so small," he said. "I can and want to help you. Put your hands down on the ground and spit into them four times. Now close your fists, saving the spit until you come to the Big Water. There you can wash off the spit."

The Twins did exactly as they were told, and after thanking the little man with the red head, they again began their travel. Soon the canyon walls that smashed together loomed ahead of them.

They repeated Spider Woman's prayers, holding the Feather-Plumes sideways. As they moved forward the clapping walls stopped long enough to allow the Twins to walk through safely.

When they came to the jungle of sharp reeds, again they sang the song Spider Woman taught them, touching the tops of the reeds with their magical Feather-Plumes. Behold! The reeds turned into cat tails, which pleased the reeds so much that they quickly opened a wide path for the Twins to pass through. A puzzling encounter for the Twins was the giant cliff. They walked around and around its rim, making a complete circle and finally returning to their starting place.

They were making no forward progress, so they sang songs taught them by their mother and Spider Woman. They prayed over and over again. When they opened their eyes, a beautiful Rainbow appeared, creating a large bridge for them to cross over the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

After this spectacular adventure, the Twins continued West for a long time, until they saw the Great Water before them. The Water spread so far, they wondered, "How can we ever reach the Turquoise House of Sun-God, which we know is in the middle of the Great Water?"

The Twins walked down to the beach to the edge of the water and washed the spit off their hands, singing and praying at the same time.

Behold! The Rainbow appeared again! A long Rainbow Bridge stretched before them from the beach to the Turquoise House.

Onto the Rainbow Bridge the Twins raced happily, find their two fathers, the Sun-God and the Water-God, who welcomed them in the Turquoise House at the end of the Rainbow Bridge.

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Spider Rock

 

Spider Rock stands with awesome dignity and beauty over 800 feet high in Arizona's colorful Canyon de Chelly National Park (pronounced da Shay). Geologists of the National Park Service say that "the formation began 230 million years ago.

Windblown sand swirled and compressed with time created the spectacular red sandstone monolith. Long ago, the Dine (Navajo) Indian tribe named it Spider Rock.

Stratified, multicolored cliff walls surround the canyon. For many, many centuries the Dine (Navajo) built caves and lived in these cliffs. Most of the caves were located high above the canyon floor, protecting them from enemies and flash floods.

Spider Woman possessed supernatural power at the time of creation, when Dine (Navajo) emerged from the third world into this fourth world.

At that time, monsters roamed the land and killed many people. Since Spider Woman loved the people, she gave power for Monster- Slayer and Child-Born-of-Water to search for the Sun-God who was their father. When they found him, Sun-God showed them how to destroy all the monsters on land and in the water.

Because she preserved their people, Dine (Navajo) established Spider Woman among their most important and honored Deities.

She chose the top of Spider Rock for her home. It was Spider Woman who taught Dine (Navajo) ancestors of long ago the art of weaving upon a loom. She told them, "My husband, Spider Man, constructed the weaving loom making the cross poles of sky and earth cords to support the structure; the warp sticks of sun rays, lengthwise to cross the woof; the healds of rock crystal and sheet lightning, to maintain original condition of fibers. For the batten, he chose a sun halo to seal joints, and for the comb he chose a white shell to clean strands in a combing manner." Through many generations, the Dine (Navajo) have always been accomplished weavers.

From their elders, Dine (Navajo) children heard warnings that if they did not behave themselves, Spider Woman would let down her web- ladder and carry them up to her home and devour them!

The children also heard that the top of Spider Rock was white from the sun-bleached bones of Dine (Navajo) children who did not behave themselves!

One day, a peaceful cave-dwelling Dine (Navajo) youth was hunting in Dead Man's Canyon, a branch of Canyon de Chelly. Suddenly, he saw an enemy tribesman who chased him deeper into the canyon. As the peaceful Dine (Navajo) ran, he looked quickly from side to side, searching for a place to hide or to escape.

Directly in front of him stood the giant obelisk-like Spider Rock. What could he do? He knew it was too difficult for him to climb. He was near exhaustion. Suddenly, before his eyes he saw a silken cord hanging down from the top of the rock tower.

The Dine (Navajo) youth grasped the magic cord. which seemed strong enough, and quickly tied it around his waist. With its help he climbed the tall tower, escaping from his enemy who then gave up the chase.

When the peaceful Dine (Navajo) reached the top, he stretched out to rest. There he discovered a most pleasant place with eagle's eggs to eat and the night's dew to drink.

Imagine his surprise when he learned that his rescuer was Spider Woman! She told him how she had seen him and his predicament. She showed him how she made her strong web-cord and anchored one end of it to a point of rock. She showed him how she let down the rest of her web-cord to help him to climb the rugged Spider Rock.

Later, when the peaceful Dine (Navajo) youth felt assured his enemy was gone, he thanked Spider Woman warmly and he safely descended to the canyon floor by using her magic cord. He ran home as fast as he could run, reporting to his tribe how his life was saved by Spider Woman!

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The Fifth World

First Man was not satisfied with the Fourth World. It was a small barren land; and the great water had soaked the earth and made the sowing of seeds impossible. He planted the big Female Reed and it grew up to the vaulted roof of this Fourth World. First Man sent the newcomer, the badger, up inside the reed, but before he reached the upper world water began to drip, so he returned and said that he was frightened.

At this time there came another strange being. First Man asked him where he had been formed, and he told him that he had come from the Earth itself. This was the locust. He said that it was now his turn to do something, and he offered to climb up the reed.

The locust made a headband of a little reed, and on his forehead he crossed two arrows. These arrows were dressed with yellow tail feathers. With this sacred headdress and the help of all the Holy Beings the locust climbed up to the Fifth World. He dug his way through the reed as he digs in the earth now. He then pushed through mud until he came to water. When he emerged he saw a black water bird swimming toward him. He had arrows crossed on the back of his head and big eyes.

The bird said: "What are you doing here? This is not your country." And continuing, he told the locust that unless he could make magic be would not allow him to remain.

The black water bird drew an arrow from back of his head, and shoving it into his mouth drew it out his nether extremity. He inserted it underneath his body and drew it out of his mouth.

"That is nothing," said the locust. He took the arrows from his headband and pulled them both ways through his body, between his shell and his heart. The bird believed that the locust possessed great medicine, and he swam away to the East, taking the water with him.

Then came the blue water bird from the South, and the yellow water bird from the West, and the white water bird from the North, and everything happened as before. The locust performed the magic with his arrows; and when the last water bird had gone he found himself sitting on land.

The locust returned to the lower world and told the people that the beings above had strong medicine, and that he had had great difficulty getting the best of them.

Now two dark clouds and two white clouds rose, and this meant that two nights and two days had passed, for there was still no sun. First Man again sent the badger to the upper world, and he returned covered with mud, terrible mud. First Man gathered chips of turquoise which he offered to the five Chiefs of the Winds who lived in the uppermost world of all. They were pleased with the gift, and they sent down the winds and dried the Fifth World.

First Man and his people saw four dark clouds and four white clouds pass, and then they sent the badger up the reed. This time when the badger returned he said that he had come out on solid earth. So First Man and First Woman led the people to the Fifth World, which some call the Many Colored Earth and some the Changeable Earth. They emerged through a lake surrounded by four mountains. The water bubbles in this lake when anyone goes near.

Now after all the people had emerged from the lower worlds First Man and First Woman dressed the Mountain Lion with yellow, black, white, and grayish corn and placed him on one side. They dressed the Wolf with white tail feathers and placed him on the other side. They divided the people into two groups.

The first group was told to choose whichever chief they wished. They made their choice, and, although they thought they had chosen the Mountain Lion, they found that they had taken the Wolf for their chief. The Mountain Lion was the chief for the other side. And these people who had the Mountain Lion for their chief turned out to be the people of the Earth. They were to plant seeds and harvest corn.

The followers of the Wolf chief became the animals and birds; they turned into all the creatures that fly and crawl and run and swim.

And after all the beings were divided, and each had his own form, they went their ways.

This is the. story of the Four Dark Worlds and the Fifth, the World we live in. Some medicine men tell us that there are two worlds above us, the first is the World of the Spirits of Living Things, the second is the Place of Melting into One.

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The First World

The First World, Ni'hodilqil, was black as black wool. It had four corners, and over these appeared four clouds. These four clouds contained within themselves the elements of the First World. They were in color, black, white, blue, and yellow.

The Black Cloud represented the Female Being or Substance. For as a child sleeps when being nursed, so life slept in the darkness of the Female Being. The White Cloud represented the Male Being or Substance. He was the Dawn, the Light-Which-Awakens, of the First World.

In the East, at the place where the Black Cloud and the White Cloud met, First Man, Atse'hastqin was formed; and with him was formed the white corn, perfect in shape, with kernels covering the whole ear. Dolionot i'ni is the name of this first seed corn, and it is also the name of the place where the Black Cloud and the White Cloud met.

The First World was small in size, a floating island in mist or water. On it there grew one tree, a pine tree, which was later brought to the present world for firewood.

Man was not, however, in his present form. The conception was of a male and a female being who were to become man and woman. The creatures of the First World are thought of as the Mist People; they had no definite form, but were to change to men, beasts, birds, and reptiles of this world.

Now on the western side of the First World, in a place that later was to become the Land of Sunset, there appeared the Blue Cloud, and opposite it there appeared the Yellow Cloud. Where they came together First Woman was formed, and with her the yellow corn. This ear of corn was also perfect. With First Woman there came the white shell and the turquoise and the yucca.

First Man stood on the eastern side of the First World. He represented the Dawn and was the Life Giver. First Woman stood opposite in the West. She represented Darkness and Death.

First Man burned a crystal for a fire. The crystal belonged to the male and was the symbol of the mind and of clear seeing. When First Man burned it, it was the minds awakening.

First Woman burned her turquoise for a fire. They saw each other's lights in the distance. When the Black Cloud and the White Cloud rose higher in the sky, First Man set out to find the turquoise light. He went twice without success, and again a third time; then he broke a forked branch from his tree, and, looking through the fork, he marked the place where the light burned. And the fourth time he walked to it and found smoke coming from a home.

"Here is the home I could not find," First Man said.

First Woman answered: "Oh, it is you. I saw you walking around and I wondered why you did not come."

Again the same thing happened when the Blue Cloud and the Yellow Cloud rose higher in the sky. First Woman saw a light and she went out to find it. Three times she was unsuccessful, but the fourth time she saw the smoke and she found the home of First Man.

"I wondered what this thing could be," she said.

"I saw you walking and I wondered why you did not come to me," First Man answered.

First Woman saw that First Man had a crystal for a fire, and she saw that it was stronger than her turquoise fire. And as she was thinking, First Man spoke to her. "Why do you not come with your fire and we will live together." The woman agreed to this. So instead of the man going to the woman, as is the custom now, the woman went to the man.

About this time there came another person, the Great-Coyote-Who-Was-Formed-in-the-Water, and he was in the form of a male being. He told the two that he had been hatched from an egg. He knew all that was under the water and all that was in the skies.

First Man placed this person ahead of himself in all things. The three began to plan what was to come to pass; and while they were thus occupied another being came to them. He also had the form of a man, but he wore a hairy coat, lined with white fur, that fell to his knees and was belted in at the waist. His name was Atse'hashke', First Angry or Coyote.

He said to the three: "You believe that you were the first persons. You are mistaken. I was living when you were formed."

Again the same thing happened when the Blue Cloud and the Yellow Cloud rose higher in the sky. First Woman saw a light and she went out to find it. Three times she was unsuccessful, but the fourth time she saw the smoke and she found the home of First Man.

"I wondered what this thing could be," she said.

"I saw you walking and I wondered why you did not come to me," First Man answered.

First Woman saw that First Man had a crystal for a fire, and she saw that it was stronger than her turquoise fire. And as she was thinking, First Man spoke to her. "Why do you not come with your fire and we will live together." The woman agreed to this. So instead of the man going to the woman, as is the custom now, the woman went to the man.

About this time there came another person, the Great-Coyote-Who-Was-Formed-in-the-Water, and he was in the form of a male being. He told the two that he had been hatched from an egg. He knew all that was under the water and all that was in the skies.

First Man placed this person ahead of himself in all things. The three began to plan what was to come to pass; and while they were thus occupied another being came to them. He also had the form of a man, but he wore a hairy coat, lined with white fur, that fell to his knees and was belted in at the waist. His name was Atse'hashke', First Angry or Coyote.

He said to the three: "You believe that you were the first persons. You are mistaken. I was living when you were formed."

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The Fourth World

When the people reached the Fourth World they saw that it was not a very large place. Some say that it was called the White World; but not all medicine men agree that this is so.

The last person to crawl through the reed was the turkey from Gray Mountain. His feather coat was flecked with foam, for after him came the water. And with the water came the female Water Buffalo who pushed her head through the opening in the reed. She had a great quantity of curly hair which floated on the water, and she had two horns, half black and half yellow. From the tips of the horns the lightning flashed.

First Man asked the Water Buffalo why she had come and why she had sent the flood. She said nothing. Then the Coyote drew the two babies from his coat and said that it was, perhaps, because of them.

The Turquoise Boy took a basket and filled it with turquoise. On top of the turquoise he placed the blue pollen, tha'di'thee do tlij, from the blue flowers, and the yellow pollen from the corn; and on top of these he placed the pollen from the water flags, tquel aqa'di din; and, again on top of these he placed the crystal, which is river pollen.

This basket he gave to the Coyote who put it between the horns of the Water Buffalo. The Coyote said that with this sacred offering he would give back the male child. He said that the male child would be known as the Black Cloud or Male Rain, and that he would bring the thunder and lightning.

The female child he would keep. She would be known as the Blue, Yellow, and White Clouds or Female Rain. She would be the gentle rain that would moisten the earth and. help them to live. So he kept the female child, and he placed the male child on the sacred basket between the horns of the Water Buffalo. And the Water Buffalo disappeared, and the waters with her.

After the water sank there appeared another person. They did not know him, and they asked him where he had come from. He told them that he was the badger, nahashch'id, and that he had been formed where the Yellow Cloud had touched the Earth. Afterward this Yellow Cloud turned out to be a sunbeam.

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The Sun, Moon And Stars



I
n this present, or Fifth World, the First People had four lights which had been brought from the lower world. White light appeared over the eastern mountains, blue light spread across the sky from the southern mountains, yellow light came from the western peaks and darkness from the north. These lights were far away and carried no heat, so the air was always of one temperature and no seasonal changes occurred although there was darkness and daylight.

"We do not have enough daylight," the people complained. "We surely need more light."

So First Woman sent Glowworm to the east and told Fox Fire to go to the south, Lightning Beetle to the west, and Firefly to the north. Then, when anyone needed extra light, these four were ready to serve him.

For a time this plan worked very well, but it was not long before the First People were saying, "These lights are too small. They flicker on and off so they are of little use to us. We cannot work in such dim light!" Then others asked, "How can we see to do anything? We do not have night eyes like Hosteen Owl or little Bat!"

It seemed that First Woman could never please them. Finally she thought of Fire Man and his glowing mountain, so she sent a messenger to ask the Fire Man if he could help her.

"Yes," agreed Fire Man, "I can make the land bright all around Fire Mountain, but the light will not reach the edges of the land, and there will be smoke."

After that flames leaped high above the mountain top, and there was no more darkness for some distance. But soon the people were again complaining. "We do not like the heat and the smoke that is coming from Fire Mountain," they declared. "The heat scorches the earth and we are choked by the smoke!"

As everyone was complaining and no one was satisfied, First Woman decided that she must find a different way by which to light the earth.

After consulting with a council of wise men, she told her helpers to bring her a large, flat slab of the hardest and most durable rock they could find. After visiting every mountain and rocky pinnacle, they returned with a large, flat slab of quartz; it was twice as long as it was wide, and, when the helpers had placed it on the ground in front of her, First Woman decided it was large enough to make two round wheels of equal size.

She had hoped to make four in order to have one for each of the four directions, but the rock was too small for that many, so only two could be made. After First Woman had marked two large circles on the slab, they all set to work with sharp flints and stone hammers, cutting out the two equal sized wheels. This was not an easy task, as the quartz was just as hard as the implements with which they were working, but after a time two round, flat discs lay shaped and ready for their purpose

Then First Man and First Woman started decorating the stones in a manner that would signify the powers that each was to be given. The first was given a mask of blue turquoise to produce light and heat, then red coral was tied to the ear lobes and around the rim. A horn was attached to each side to hold male lightning and male rain. Feathers of the cardinal, flicker, lark, and the eagle were tied to its rim to carry it through the sky, and also to spread the rays of heat and light in the four directions. Four zigzag lines of male wind and male rain stood at the top and four more hung at the bottom, and four sunspot were placed for guardians who sometimes stood on its face, but more often took their places in the four directions.

"Now it is finished," said First Man, "and I will give it a blessing of mixed pollen, and also a song which will be sung by a lark who hereafter will be known as the `sun's voice'."

"But this cannot remain here!" stated First Woman. "It must be placed in the sky!"

No one seemed to know how this was to be done until Fire Man suggested that it should be carried to the top of the highest mountain and placed on the tallest peak at the edge of the earth where it could shine on all of the land at the same time.

So it was taken to the eastern mountains and fastened to the sky with darts of lightning. Then First Woman and her helpers went back to decorate the second, round stone disc, which was the same size as the first.

But First Woman said, "We do not need another bearer of heat and light, so this one will carry coolness and moisture."

Then they decorated its face with white shell, placed a band of yellow pollen on its chin, and made a rim of red coral. Magpie, nighthawk, turkey and crane feathers were fastened on four sides to bear its weight and its horns held female lightning and soft winds. Four straight lines placed at the top, and another four at the bottom, gave it control over the summer rains. When it was finished this, too, was taken to the top of an eastern peak and fastened to the sky with sheet lightning.

"Now everyone should be satisfied," remarked First Woman as she looked at the discs. "Now we have light, heat and moisture, all coming from the sky."

But again many of the First People were complaining. "This is not right," they said. "If the sun stays in the east all the time it will always be summer on that side of the land, and it will always be winter on the other side."

"The sun must move across the sky," First Man agreed, "but how can it move when it is only a stone and has no spirit?"

Everyone looked at the two discs and knew that they were just decorated stones with no life of their own, and they wondered what could be done about it. Then two very old and very wise men stepped forth and said, "We will give our spirits to the sun and the moon so they will have life and power to move across the sky."

One entered the turquoise disc and he was called Jóhonaa'áí, or Sun Bearer; the other entered the white disc and he was called Tl'éhonaa'áí, or Moon Bearer. Immediately the two stones began to quiver and show signs of moving.

"But how shall I know where to go or which paths to follow?" asked the sun; and the moon asked the same question.

"The eagle is guided by his tail feathers," said First Man. "We will give you each twelve feathers from the eagle's tail to point the correct paths you are to follow, and the changes in the paths will mark the changes in the seasons."

So twelve tall, white feathers were fastened to the top of each headdress to indicate a different path for each month of the year. Sun was the first to start on his journey across the sky, while Moon waited all day, until Sun had reached the peaks of the western mountains but was still looking back across the land.

At this point Moon queried, "Now?"

And Sun answered, "Now!"

So Moon was about to climb into the sky, when Wind Boy, who had been standing just behind him, thought he would help by pushing with a stiff breeze. This breeze hit the Moon Bearer in the back and blew the twelve feathers forward across his face, so he could not see where he was going. All he could do was follow where the tips of the feathers pointed, and, as these were now slanted in different directions, Moon has always followed strange paths across the sky.

First Man and First Woman could do nothing about this, so everyone went back to where they had been working on the slab of quartz. On the blanket which had held the two large discs were now many small pieces of stone of every size and shape, along with the dust that the chipping and shaping had created. "Look at all this good quartz that is left!" First Man exclaimed.

And First Woman said, "It must not be wasted! We will use it to make more lights in the night sky."

So again they took their flint knives and their chisels and stone hammers, to shape the stars that would shine only at night. There were a few very large pieces of quartz but there were myriads of small chunks, and much stardust by the time they had finished their work.

When all the stars were ready to be placed in the sky First Woman said, "I will use these to write the laws that are to govern mankind for all time. These laws cannot be written on the water as that is always changing its form, nor can they be written in the sand as the wind would soon erase them, but if they are written in the stars they can be read and remembered forever."

After that she drew a sky pattern on the ground and placed one of the large stars in the north. "This will never move!" she said, "and it will be known as the Campfire of the North. It will also be known as the traveler's guide and as the lodestar."

Then she placed large stars in the other three directions and one in the very center of her sky pattern. "These must be placed in the sky in their correct positions," she told Fire Man, who had shot two crooked fire arrows into the sky so their trails formed a ladder, and who now undertook the task of placing the stars in their proper locations on the blanket of night.

Before Fire Man picked up the first one, First Woman had traced in the sand a path for each to follow across the skyway, and First Man had tied a prayer feather on its upper point, giving each star a prayer to chant as it marched along its designated path. Fire Man began with the north star and continued climbing the ladder until all the large stars were in the sky, while First Woman placed other stars into groups to form the constellations.

It was slow work, as there were many stars and the ladder was very tall. While all this work was taking place Coyote had been standing close by, watching every move Fire Man made. Now he saw one fairly large star still lying on the ground, so he asked First Woman if he might have it for his own. "You may have that star," First Woman agreed, "if you will place it in the sky directly over your mountain. Part of the time it will be quite dim, but when it shines brightly its brilliance will indicate your mating season."

So Coyote carefully climbed the zigzag ladder, clinging to the rungs with one paw while grasping the the star with the other, and placed Canopus, which the Navajo call M'ii Bizo', in the southern sky directly over Coyote Mountain.

The first two constellations designated by First Woman were Ursa Major, which was named Náhookos, meaning Cold Man of the North, and Cassiopeia his wife, who was called Nahookás Ba'áád. These two were placed on opposite sides of S'tsoh, or the North Star, which was their home fire; they move around its center and never leave it. No other constellation approaches them to interfere with their set routine.

This arrangement of constellations established a law that has persisted to this day. This law stipulates that only one couple may live by one hogan fire.

After these, First Woman designed a slender constellation in the shape of two rabbit tracks, one following the other. This is the constellation that governs all hunting, and, during the spring and early summer when the open end points upward, no one may hunt game animals. In the late fall, when the open end tips toward the earth, the hunting season begins.

In the days when the Navajo people depended mostly on game for their food, the laws governing hunting were very strict. No hunting was allowed during mating season nor when the young were still with their mothers; and no deer or antelope under the age of two years were ever killed.

Even today the Navajo do not care for meat from lambs or young kids, and, now that deer and antelope have almost disappeared from Navajo territory and have been replaced by sheep and goats, they use only the older ones for their food, as they believe the meat provides greater strength.

The next pattern to be made by First Woman was one recognized as a man with wide shoulders standing in a stooped position with his hands on his knees in order to support a heavy load of harvest. This constellation, or "the harvester," commands the Dine'é to work hard during the harvest season so they may garner sufficient food for the long, cold winter.

Thunderbird, who carries all the clouds in his tail and all the rains under his wings, was the next constellation, along with Hydra, "the horned rattler," who was given charge of the underground water channels.

The task of placing all of these stars in their proper places was going slower and slower, for Fire Man could take only a few stars at a time as he climbed the ladder. Coyote became impatient as he watched this slow process of placing the constellations. He said to First Woman, "This is taking too long! Why do you not permit me to help? Then we would have this work finished twice as fast!"

First Woman answered, "You always make mistakes and then there is trouble."

But Coyote insisted, saying "I will do exactly as you say and follow the pattern just as you have placed it on the ground."

First Woman was putting two identical stars into her pattern and had named them "the twins." The two lines which marked their paths ran side by side across the sky. She pointed to them and said to Coyote, "Take these two stars and place them somewhat to the west where they will walk hand in hand across the center of the sky."

Then Coyote picked up the two identical stars (Gemini), one in each hand, and walked to the ladder. He had seen Fire Man climb the ladder with his hands full of stars and thought he could do the same, but when he was half way up he chanced to look down, and the distance was so great that he became dizzy and almost fell.

To make matters worse, Wind boy came whistling by to see what Coyote was doing, and shook the ladder from east to west. Quickly shifting the star in his right hand into his left which then carried both stars, he continued to climb, using his right hand to cling to the ladder. When he reached the sky he soon found the two places where the stars belonged, but when he looked at the stars in his hand he could not tell them apart and did not know which one went to the right or which to the left .

So he closed his eyes and put one star in place with his left hand and the other with his right. Immediately a harsh, grating noise was heard, and he knew they were in the wrong spots and were trying to change places. He could do nothing about it now, as they were well beyond his reach, so he hurried down the ladder while the two stars crossed, one in front of the other to gain their proper paths.

First Woman met him at the foot of the ladder and berated him with angry words and fierce gestures. "Now look what you have done!" she cried. "Those two were supposed to establish peace and friendship among all peoples of the earth. Now they will cause enmity, strife, and dissension that will plague mankind forever. You shall carry no more stars to the sky!"

Coyote grumbled as he walked away, "It was not my fault! Wind Boy shook the ladder and I almost fell off!"

First Woman told him to go away as she was too busy to be bothered, and went on laying out patterns for constellations which Fire Man carried to the sky. There was K'aalógii, or Butterfly; Tsídiitltsoii, the lark who sang his song to the sun every morning; there was Na'ashii, the lizard; M'iitsoh, the wolf; Atsá, the eagle; Dahsání, the porcupine, who was given charge of the growth of all trees on the mountains; and the caterpillar.

First Woman made many, many more until nearly every animal, bird, and insect had star counterparts in the sky. As Fire Man bore these up the ladder he carried his fire torch which held burning coals strapped to his left arm, and as each star was put into the sky he gave it a spark of fire to light its path so it could find its way even through the darkest night. All was going very well, but, as Fire Man was carrying a medium sized star to the east, the straps that held his torch came loose and the torch fell to the ground so he had no spark to give this star.

He placed it in the sky, ran down the ladder to recover his torch, and then hurried back to give it a light, but he could not find it, as it had started to move and had lost its path in the darkness. This is called the "black star;" it wanders here and there and brings bad luck wherever it goes.

It sends out little black arrows to cause pain and sickness and, if a person who is traveling at night feels a sharp prick in his shoulder or his back, he will know that the black star is not far away.

When Fire Man returned to earth, First Woman did not know whether to give him another constellation to carry to the sky, or not. Not many stones left on the blanket were large enough to make stars, but many chips and piles of dust remained.

She filled Fire Man's hands with stone fragments, and he started climbing; he was halfway up the ladder when he glanced at the stones in his hands and decided that they were too small and too many to place individually, so he gave each one a spark of fire and then, handful by handful, he threw them against the night sky.

Here they may still be seen as close groups of small stars which represent the small, fire carrying creatures of the earth such as the lightning beetle or firefly, and the glow worm. As Fire Man was descending the ladder, Coyote stepped up to the blanket and, grasping it by two corners, swung it into the air so the stone fragments and the star dust swept across the sky in a great arc that reached from horizon to horizon.

This formed the Milky Way which the Navajo call Yikáísdáhí. They believe it provides a pathway for the spirits traveling between heaven and earth, each little star being one footprint.

The Coyote dropped the blanket and everyone looked at the sky which was now filled with stars.

First Woman said, "Now all the laws our people will need are printed in the sky where everyone can see them. One man of each generation must learn these laws so he may interpret them to the others and, when he is growing old, he must pass this knowledge to a younger man who will then be the teacher. The commands written in the stars must be obeyed forever!"

Nowadays, it is only the Navajo medicine men who know the constellations and can explain the laws they represent.

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The Third World

The bluebird was the first to reach the Third or Yellow World. After him came the First Four and all the others.

A great river crossed this land from north to south. It was the Female River. There was another river crossing it from east to West, it was the Male River. This Male River flowed through the Female River and on; and the name of this place is tqo alna'osdli, the Crossing of the waters.


There were six mountains in the Third World.

In the East was Sis na' jin, the Standing Black Sash. Its ceremonial name is Yol gai'dzil, the Dawn or White Shell Mountain.

In the South stood Tso'dzil, the Great Mountain, also called Mountain Tongue. Its ceremonial name is Yodolt i'zhi dzil, the Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain.

In the West stood Dook'oslid, and the meaning of this name is forgotten. Its ceremonial name is Dichi'li dzil, the Abalone Shell Mountain.

In the North stood Debe'ntsa, Many Sheep Mountain. Its ceremonial name is Bash'zhini dzil, Obsidian Mountain.

Then there was Dzil na'odili, the Upper Mountain. It was very sacred; and its name means also the Center Place, and the people moved around it. Its ceremonial name is Ntl'is dzil, Precious Stone or Banded Rock Mountain.

There was still another mountain called Chol'i'i or Dzil na'odili choli, and it was also a sacred mountain.

There was no sun in this land, only the two rivers and the six mountains. And these rivers and mountains were not in their present form, but rather the substance of mountains and rivers as were First Man, First Woman, and the others.

Now beyond Sis na' jin, in the east, there lived the Turquoise Hermaphrodite, Ashton nutli. He was also known as the Turquoise Boy. And near this person grew the male reed. Beyond, still farther in the east, there lived a people called the Hadahuneya'nigi, the Mirage or Agate People. Still farther in the east there lived twelve beings called the Naaskiddi.

And beyond the home of these beings there lived four others--the Holy Man, the Holy Woman, the Holy Boy, and the Holy Girl.

In the West there lived the White Shell Hermaphrodite or Girl, and with her was the big female reed which grew at the waiter's edge. It had no tassel. Beyond her in the West there lived another stone people called the Hadahunes'tqin, the Ground Heat People. Still farther on there lived another twelve beings, but these were all females. And again, in the Far West, there lived four Holy Ones.

Within this land there lived the Kisa'ni, the ancients of the Pueblo People. On the six mountains there lived the Cave Dwellers or Great Swallow People. On the mountains lived also the light and dark squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rats, the turkey people, the deer and cat people, the spider people, and the lizards and snakes. The beaver people lived along the rivers, and the frogs and turtles and all the underwater people in the water.

So far all the people were similar. They had no definite form, but they had been given different names because of different characteristics.

Now the plan was to plant.

First Man called the people together. He brought forth the white corn which had been formed with him. First Woman brought the yellow corn. They laid the perfect ears side by side; then they asked one person from among the many to come and help them. The Turkey stepped forward. They asked him where he had come from, and he said that he had come from the Gray Mountain.

He danced back and forth four times, then he shook his feather coat and there dropped from his clothing four kernels of corn, one gray, one blue, one black, and one red. Another person was asked to help in the plan of the planting. The Big Snake came forward. He likewise brought forth four seeds, the pumpkin, the watermelon, the cantaloupe, and the muskmelon. His plants all crawl on the ground.

They planted the seeds, and their harvest was great.

After the harvest the Turquoise Boy from the East came and visited First Woman. When First Man returned to his home he found his wife with this boy. First Woman told her husband that Ashon nutli' was of her flesh and not of his flesh. She said that she had used her own fire, the turquoise, and had ground her own yellow corn into meal. This corn she had planted and cared for herself.

Now at that time there were four chiefs: Big Snake, Mountain Lion, Otter, and Bear. And it was the custom when the black cloud rose in the morning for First Man to come out of his dwelling and speak to the people. After First Man had spoken the four chief s told them what they should do that day. They also spoke of the past and of the future.

But after First Man found his wife with another he would not come out to speak to the people. The black cloud rose higher, but First Man would not leave his dwelling; neither would he eat or drink. No one spoke to the people for 4 days. All during this time First Man remained silent, and would not touch food or water.

Four times the white cloud rose. Then the four chiefs went to First Man and demanded to know why he would not speak to the people. The chiefs asked this question three times, and a fourth, before First Man would answer them.

He told them to bring him an emetic.[28] This he took and purified himself. First Man then asked them to send the hermaphrodite to him. When he came First Man asked him if the metate and brush were his.

He said that they were.

First Man asked him if he could cook and prepare food like a woman, if he could weave, and brush the hair. And when he had assured First Man that he could do all manner of woman's work, First Man said: "Go and prepare food and bring it to me." After he had eaten, First Man told the four chiefs what he had seen, and what his wife had said.

At this time the Great-Coyote-Who-Was-Formed-in-the-Water came to First Man and told him to cross the river. They made a big raft and crossed at the place where the Male River followed through the Female River. And all the male beings left the female beings on the river bank; and as they rowed across the river they looked back and saw that First Woman and the female beings were laughing. They were also behaving very wickedly.

In the beginning the women did not mind being alone. They cleared and planted a small field. On the other side of the river First Man and the chiefs hunted and planted their seeds. They had a good harvest. Nadle ground the corn and cooked the food. Four seasons passed. The men continued to have plenty and were happy; but the women became lazy, and only weeds grew on their land. The women wanted fresh meat. Some of them tried to join the men and were drowned in the river.

First Woman made a plan. As the women had no way to satisfy their passions, some fashioned long narrow rocks, some used the feathers of the turkey, and some used strange plants (cactus). First Woman told them to use these things. One woman brought forth a big stone. This stone-child was later the Great Stone that rolled over the earth killing men. Another woman brought forth the Big Birds of Tsa bida'hi; and others gave birth to the giants and monsters who later destroyed many people.

On the opposite side of the river the same condition existed. The men, wishing to satisfy their passions, killed the females of mountain sheep, lion, and antelope. Lightning struck these men. When First Man learned of this he warned his men that they would all be killed. He told them that they were indulging in a dangerous practice. Then the second chief spoke: he said that life was hard and that it was a pity to see women drowned. He asked why they should not bring the women across the river and all live together again.

"Now we can see for ourselves what comes from our wrong doing," he said. "We will know how to act in the future." The three other chiefs of the animals agreed with him, so First Man told them to go and bring the women.

After the women had been brought over the river First Man spoke: "We must be purified," he said. "Everyone must bathe. The men must dry themselves with white corn meal, and the women, with yellow."

This they did, living apart for 4 days. After the fourth day First Woman came and threw her right arm around her husband. She spoke to the others and said that she could see her mistakes, but with her husband's help she would henceforth lead a good life. Then all the male and female beings came and lived with each other again.

The people moved to different parts of the land. Some time passed; then First Woman became troubled by the monotony of life. She made a plan. She went to Atse'hashke, the Coyote called First Angry, and giving him the rainbow she said: "I have suffered greatly in the past. I have suffered from want of meat and corn and clothing. Many of my maidens have died. I have suffered many things. Take the rainbow and go to the place where the rivers cross. Bring me the two pretty children of Tqo holt sodi, the Water Buffalo, a boy and a girl.

The Coyote agreed to do this. He walked over the rainbow. He entered the home of the Water Buffalo and stole the two children; and these he hid in his big skin coat with the white fur lining. And when he returned he refused to take off his coat, but pulled it around himself and looked very wise.

After this happened the people saw white light in the East and in the South and West and North. One of the deer people ran to the East, and returning, said that the white light was a great sheet of water. The sparrow hawk flew to the South, the great hawk to the West, and the kingfisher to the North. They returned and said that a flood was coming. The kingfisher said that the water was greater in the North, and that it was near.

The flood was coming and the Earth was sinking. And all this happened because the Coyote had stolen the two children of the Water Buffalo, and only First Woman and the Coyote knew the truth.

When First Man learned of the coming of the water he sent word to all the people, and he told them to come to the mountain called Sis na'jin. He told them to bring with them all of the seeds of the plants used for food. All living beings were to gather on the top of Sis na'jin. First Man traveled to the six sacred mountains, and, gathering earth from them, he put it in his medicine bag.

The water rose steadily.

When all the people were halfway up Sis na' jin, First Man discovered that he had forgotten his medicine bag. Now this bag contained not only the earth from the six sacred mountains, but his magic, the medicine he used to call the rain down upon the earth and to make things grow. He could not live without his medicine bag, and be wished to jump into the rising water; but the others begged him not to do this. They went to the kingfisher and asked him to dive into the water and recover the bag. This the bird did. When First Man had his medicine bag again in his possession he breathed on it four times and thanked his people.

When they had all arrived it was found that the Turquoise Boy had brought with him the big Male Reed; and the White Shell Girl had brought with her the big Female Reed.

Another person brought poison ivy; and another, cotton, which was later used for cloth. This person was the spider. First Man had with him his spruce tree which he planted on the top of Sis na'jin. He used his fox medicine to make it grow; but the spruce tree began to send out branches and to taper at the top, so First Man planted the big Male Reed. All the people blew on it, and it grew and grow until it reached the canopy of the sky.

They tried to blow inside the reed, but it was solid. They asked the woodpecker to drill out the hard heart. Soon they were able to peek through the opening, but they had to blow and blow before it was large enough to climb through. They climbed up inside the big male reed, and after them the water continued to rise

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