|A ga-n Becomes Raven Old Man's Son-In-Law:
The ga-n Disappear From Tse-gots'uk
A White Mountain Apache Legend.
Long ago people, all kinds of birds and animals were people then, were living up to the north of here somewhere. Hawk people were humans then.
They did not know that ga-n people were living down in the earth below. The, Raven Old Man was there with the Raven people. He had children and
one of these was a beautiful daughter. The ga-n people below knew about her. The old man and his family were in their wickiup. Soon they heard
something drop outside. Raven Old Man heard it. What is that, cibi'lsis (a buck-skin pouch hung over one shoulder and resting on the hip on the
opposite side) maybe?" the old man said. The girl went out and found two pack rats. She brought them in and they ate them.
Four days after this, the old man heard something drop outside. "Go and see if cibi'lsis is there," he said, though all the time he knew his own was in
the wickiup. So the daughter went outside and found two rabbits. She brought them in and they ate them up.
Four days after that they heard something drop again. "Go out and see if cibi'lsis is there," the old man told his daughter. She went out and found two
jack rabbits, "Here are two jack rabbits," she said. "Well, bring them in and we will eat them," the old man told her.
Then four days later something dropped outside. The old man sent his daughter out to see if it was his pouch. When she got outside she found a
black-tailed deer fawn. "Here is a black-tailed deer fawn," she said. "Well, bring it in," the old man told her. So they did and ate it up.
Four days after that something dropped once more outside. The old man sent his daughter out to see if it was his pouch. She went out and this time it
was a black-tailed deer with two points on his horns. They butchered and ate him.
Then four days later something dropped outside again. "What's that, cibi'lsis?" the old man said. He sent out his daughter and she found a big
black-tailed deer. They butchered and ate him. Raven Old Man was very thankful for that.
Four days after that the old man heard something drop outside. He sent his daughter out. "See if this is cibi'lsis that has dropped there," he told her.
So the girl went out and found an enormous black-tailed deer, the kind that is all fat and in good shape, like you get in the fall. They butchered it and
ate it. Raven Old Man was thankful for this.
Then Raven Old Man said to his daughter. "Well, daughter, this is what I have raised you for. We have eaten a lot of meat from someone. Build a
new wickiup over to one side here and we will find out who it is who is doing this," he told the girl. The new wickiup was built and standing not far
off. No one was in it. The old man stayed with his family in their dwelling. Soon they saw someone in the new wickiup. The girl went over there. She
stayed there with that man. He was her man now.
After they had stayed together for quite a while, the man and woman went out for a walk together. Then the man told his wife, "I belong to the ga-n
people." Soon they came to a sulfur wheat bush. He started to kick it from the east side, then from the south side, then from the west and last from the
north. The plant came up by its roots. The man told his wife, "Step on this. Don't be afraid." But the woman shut her eyes and stepped on it. Then
they found themselves way down below, where the ga-n people lived.
After they reached the bottom, they started to walk to the place the man's people were living. The woman had never seen people like this before. There
were many of those people there. There were houses also, good ones. All kinds of farm crops were growing. There were corn drying racks. The
crops were in all stages of growth; some were up just a little, some were half way up, some high and some harvested already. The woman's husband
had many sisters and so she had a lot of sisters-in-law. The man's mother was there. She tested her daughter-in-law. She gave her a metate and
some corn to grind. "Let's see you grind some corn," she told her. But this woman could not grind corn well. She ground it but could not break the
kernels up. For this reason the man's family did not like her. She was not strong enough and could not grind corn.
One day after they had arrived there, a ga-n came to them. He caught hold of the woman's hair and held her head back. "I want to see my
relative-in-law's face. If she is pleasing, I will go hunting for her," he said. Several of the ga-n did the same way. The last one was Gray ga-n (the
clown) and he said, "Well, she is all right. I will go hunting for her like the others." The men who went hunting just brought in sinew. There was no
meat, only a big pile of sinew there. Then one of the man's sisters was sent with the woman to bring in a horse, so they could ride back to Raven Old
In a short distance they came to some bears. The woman saw them and was frightened. She started to run away, but her sister-in-law called to her,
"Come back here. They won't harm you. They are good 'horses'. They are gentle." But the woman would not listen and ran back to the camp. Her
sister-in-law got the 'horse' and led it back. They saddled it up for the man and his wife. The woman's mother-in-law told her, "Don't look back on
your way out. Don't look back till you get on top. Don't think why this is. I don't want you to look back. Don't do it!"
The woman got on the bear, but her husband did not go along with her. She rode to the top almost. Then she thought to herself, "I wonder why she
didn't want me to look back. I will try it." So she looked back; just a glance. As soon as she did that the bear started to roll down the hill. Clear to the
bottom they tumbled. The old woman saw it and ran to her. "I told you not to do that. Now why did you do it?" she said. When she was going up she
had had just a load of sinew, but mow after the fall, it had all turned to meat and meat was scattered along the trail where they had fallen. The old
woman carried the meat up to the top for her daughter-in-law.
They packed the bear up again so that she could take it to her father. She went on alone from there, without her husband. When the woman came
close to her home, her mother, an old woman, saw her riding the bear. Raven Old Man and all his children became frightened and ran off from camp.
"Don't ride down this way," they said. She unpacked the bear all alone, put the meat up and turned the bear back. But her husband got mad because
he heard that his horse had been struck by someone up there. [Though mounts were sometimes beaten, this was infrequent and people spoke harshly
of those who did it.] On this account he did not return for two days and nights.
Then in two days someone was seen walking to the wickiup where this man lived with his wife. Raven Old Man sent his daughter. "You better go
over and build a fire," he told her. She went over to her wickiup. The man, she found lying on the bed. He was very thin and bony, not like her
husband. His legs and arms had white stripes about them, like those on a bob-cat's tail.
The woman went back to her father and told him, "That man is not my husband. He is too thin for that and besides he has white stripes about his legs
and arms." But her parents told her, "Maybe it is the same man and he has grown thin." "Why should he have white stripes about his arms and legs?
I know it's not he," the woman said. Raven Old Man said, "Well, I believe he must have gone stalking antelope and has painted his legs and arms to
look like an antelope." "No, I know my husband better than you two. It is not he," the woman said. She did not like this man, but her father sent her
over to him and so she went, staying there all that night.
The next morning this man went hunting. When he came back he brought some dried meat. It had been roasted already. The following morning he
went hunting again. Raven Old Man told his son, "Follow this man and see where he gets this dried meat. Don't let him see you." So the son did this.
After the man had gone a way, his follower saw him stop and set fire to an old pitch-pine stump. On the side that the smoke blew, the man went. The
snot started to run out of his nose and it was this he was taking and making into dried meat. The son came home and told his father about it.
After that Raven Old Man would not eat any more of this dried meat. "That is why it was salty," the old man said. This man was from the Mosquito
people. That is why he was so thin. All things were people in those days. The man went to sleep with the woman that night. Her real husband, from
the ga-n, knew who it was that had his wife. On account of this, he shot them with an arrow of red stone that night. The arrow went right through
both of them.
The woman used to get up early, but she had not yet appeared at her father's camp. When the sun had risen high up, Raven Old Man sent one of his
small daughters over to see what was the matter. She just looked inside the wickiup and thought that they were still asleep inside so she went back
again. She told her father, "Well, they are still in bed."
About noon, the little girl went over there again. She came back and told her father, "They are still in bed." "Well go over there and uncover them," he
said. So the little girl went inside and took the covers off. When she did she saw that both of them had bled at the nose. When she came back and said
that they were dead, Raven Old Man and his wife started to quarrel. "You know I told you he was not her husband. You sent her over to him all the
same. Now she is gone," they accused each other.
Then the Raven people were no longer there where they had been living. But ga-n people were still living down below in the earth. Many ga-n died
down there. Though it is just as if they travel together with lightning, yet they died there. On account of this, ga-n people began to search for a place
where they would not die; where there was life without end.
From here on for a bit the story is dangerous to recount, but I have to tell it to you just the same. [It contains power and so is dangerous. Through the
misuse of such power misfortune might befall those involved in the story telling.]
They moved to a place halfway between the earth and the sky. There Mirage made an earth for them and they lived on this. But still they died there.
They went through the sky to its other side but still they died there. From there they came down on earth to ntca'na-sk'id (a place somewhere about 35
miles east of Macnary, Arizona). Wherever they had lived above, they had always had their agricultural crops with them. These were their food -
corn, beans, and squash.
Then there were a poor people living near that place (ntca'na-sk'id) the Hawk people. They were of the 'iya"aiye clan. They were called Hawk people
because the relatives of this clan are hawks. There were people of the na-dots'um, bisza-ha, ndi'nde-zn and destcrdn clans there also. They were all a
very poor people.
At dusk one day, they saw a light far off. They asked each other, "Who is up there? Who has made that fire?" because everyone was at one and they
could not think of who might be out there. They tried to mark the fire, so that they might go there in the morning and see what it was.
This is dangerous, this story that I am telling you, but I tell it to you just as I heard it. It is very holy this part of the story, and if you or anyone should
laugh at it, there is danger of you or that person's mouth and eyes going crooked. There is danger of this happening to me on account of telling this
One time there were two men, one blind, the other lame. The blind one carried the lame on his back. They came this way to a group of people. When
the people saw them coming, they laughed at them. The blind man clapped his hands together and part of the people became blind. The lame man
drew up his leg to his body and then part of them became lame. That is the way with this story. We must not laugh at it. It is the same with the songs
og the ga-n curing ceremony which have to do with this part of the story.
The next morning, these people sent one man over to where they thought they had seen the fire, but he could find nothing. Again that evening, after
sunset, they could see the same fire. But the man who had been sent to investigate insisted that there was nothing over there. This time they cut a
crotched stick and set it up in the ground. They laid an arrow in the crotch, pointing directly at the fire, so they would know just where it was in the
morning. When morning came they looked to see where the arrow pointed.
A man went over there to try and fins something, but he could not find even a blade of grass that had been stepped on and bent, or a broken twig. It
was two times that they had made trips to find this fire without results, but that evening they could see the fire again in the same place. They had left
the arrow there from the night before, and it still pointed right to the fire. So in the morning they sent a man over to try and find something. He went
and looked about for a long time, but found no ashes nor any blades of broken grass. Halfway to ntca'na-sk'id he went. "I have found nothing," he
told the people when he got home.
The next morning they sent someone over to search for the fourth time. He went to the same place the others had been. Then after a short distance he
stopped and sat down, for he saw many people there, and many crops of all kinds and in all stages of growth; some just up, some ready to harvest
and so on.
The ga-n people saw this man, where he had dropped down in the grass. They talked among themselves. "Someone has been sitting over there for a
long time. Let one go over there and see him." So one went over towards him. He came as close as from here to the wickiup over there (20 yards).
He did not say anything; just stood and looked at him.
The man from the poor people had two eagle tail feathers sticking up in his hair. His privates were covered with the shredded inner bark of juniper.
The ga-n went back and told his people, "That man has some inner bark from juniper to cover his privates." "You better take back two buckskins with
you, one for him to cover his shoulders with and one to wear about his waist," they told him.
So he took two buckskins over to the man and told him to wear them, one about his waist and one about his shoulders. The inner bark he had
covering his privates he threw away. "Let's go back to my people," the ga-n said. They went. They gave this man some food: corn and squash. He
had eaten of ga-n food now.
After he had eaten, they talked to him. "Where did you come from?" they asked. The man pointed to where he lived. It was a long way back there.
"Well, you are poor people. It's not right that you stay there. You better come here and live with us. We have lots of crops just going to waste," they
told him. They gave him some corn and he started home with it. When he arrived, he had the corn with him and the people there ate it. This man told
his people what he had seen. "I saw lots of people there. They were good. I have my belly full now. I ate all I wanted there and the chief of these
people told me; 'You better come and live with us, because your people are poor.' He told me to tell this to you." The man could not sleep that night for
thinking of all the ripe crops he had seen and the food he had eaten. The people were very hungry where he lived. They got up in the morning and
moved away from tse-gots'uk (a place) where they had been living. When they arrived at the new place, the crops were all given to them. "Let them
eat all they want," the ga-n said. They did eat all they wanted and now they had big bellies.
Thus these two peoples had lived for a long time together. Their children had become acquainted. The men went hunting together. The children
played. They let them eat all they could from the farms, for the crops on them grew the year round, in all four stages, from just sprouting to ripeness.
These people were the ga-n and Hawk peoples. I know the place they lived. I passed through there when I was a soldier in the U. S. Army, on the way
to Ft. Wingate. The children played together and some ga-n children became sick from the hawk illness. their eyes became swollen and closed, they
scratched like hawks and their faces were white like that of hawks.
Then the Hawk children became sick from the ga-n. They became unable to walk, as if paralyzed. [These are the symptoms of hawk and ga-n
sickness.] The two kinds of children were able to cure each other by one touching the other where it hurt. When they did this they became well
immediately. but the ga-n chief heard about it and did not like it. The ga-n had found the place where there was life without end.
That is why they had spread these sicknesses among the people, because they had found a good place. Then Talking ga-n was chief. He went up on
top of ntca'na-sk'id every morning and talked to the people from there. "We have done nothing here for a long time. It is better that we go to
tse-nodo-z surrounded by fire and tse-na-sbas surrounded by fire (places). Here it is as if we were herded together in a pasture. We would like to
have some meat. We want to move to a place where people never die." That night they all collected together to talk it over. They gathered this way
every night from there on.
All the ga-n people were divided into different kinds, just as we are divided into various clans. There were Black ga-n, ga-no-wan (meaning
unknown), He Carries Pitch, Yellow ga-n, Weak ga-n, Hairy On One Side Of His Face, Big ga-n, Red ga-n, Hump Backed ga-n, and Gray ga-n. All
these had daughters. They wanted to know who would leave his daughter behind. They asked each one if he would let his daughter stay behind with
the Hawk People, but all liked their daughters too well for this. So it came to Black ga-n, who was like the chief of these people, "Well, I guess I will
leave my daughter." But he never told his daughter or anyone else that he was going to leave her. He made a doll of turquoise and one of white shell.
He hid these before they were going to move.
The ga-n people spoke to the Hawk people. "We are going to leave you now. Look after our crops for us. We will be gone for sixty days. Then we will
be back." Now they left. When they had gone about half a mile, the mother of the daughter of Black ga-n said to the girl: "Did you put your doll in the
burden basket? Is it there?" "No, no doll here," said the daughter. "Well, you better go back for it. We will go slow for you," the mother said. So the
little girl started to run to the camp. She found the doll right away and ran back to join her mother. There was a large lake ahead. She followed the
trail of her people. In a little while the tracks came to the edge of the lake and all went into the water. A lot of grass had been trodden down by the
people passing over it. The little girl went around to the other side, but could not find where they had come out of the lake. So she went back to the old
camp. The Hawk people saw her and said, "What is that little girl doing over there?" They went with her to the lake, but they could not find where
tracks came out of the water. They took her home with them. Every day she went to try and find her mother.
The Hawk people raised this little girl among them. After quite a while all the crops were gone and the people lived as before. They fed the little girl on
wild seeds. The ga-n had made the crops grow and ripen by their wish alone. The little girl stayed at a ndi'nde-zn camp (clan). They raised her. She
was big now, old enough to marry. So the man who brought her up said, "I didn't raise her for anyone else. It will be well for her to marry my son."
That is the way it happened. After they had been married about a year, she bore a baby boy. The day he was born ga-n people came down from
above and filled the wickiup. It was overcrowded, but ga-n said, "He never stops eating (even though full)," and this way more kept coming in and
shoving over to make room for others. The baby was the grandson of Black ga-n, who was lying outside, on his back. The ga-n picked the baby up
and passed him from one to the other. Last of all they took him out to his grandfather. There he danced the baby up and down on his chest and sang;
"cawa cawa ca."
Then he said to his daughter, "Well, daughter, here is deer medicine. Put it inside the hood of the cradle, by the baby." But the baby's mother said, "No,
I don't want it. You threw this baby away long ago" (meaning herself). So she gave the deer medicine to her husband's mother. Black ga-n had
brought the deer medicine so that when the baby grew up he could kill many deer. But instead of this the deer medicine was given to the ndi'nde-zn
(the clan of the woman's mother-in-law). On account of this ndi'nde-zn clan always used to kill big deer, very big ones, whenever they went hunting.
This still was true up till about 1880, but there are hardly any of this clan left now. [Deer is also the 'relative' of this clan.] Black ga-n gave his
grandson a name; naba-dzisnda-he (captive taken in wae), because the ga-n had left his mother behind among these other people who had raised her.
They lived on there. Then in a year more another baby was born to the woman. The ga-n people came there again, just as they had before. Black
ga-n came there to see his grandson. He gave this second boy a name also, but I have forgotten it. Then the boys started to grow up. They were so
high and about ten years old, big enough to hunt birds. In the morning they went hunting. At sundown they returned home. After spending the night
there, they went hunting again. Sometimes they would be gone for two days, sometimes for three or four. Then one man among the Hawk people
became sick. They came to the mother of the boys about it. "My female relative-in-law, I wonder if you have anything to say that will cure this sick
man. You might have something," they said. "I don't know anything. You people have known me since I was a little girl, left here and raised by you.
If I knew something I could go ahead and say it over that sick man now, but I don't," she told them. Finally she said, "well, ask those two boys. They
are gone for a day or sometimes three or four days at a time. I believe they go to the ga-n, because they are relatives to them. You people better go
after a deer. Run the deer down, don't shoot him. Bring the hide home and make buckskin of it. Then get some downy eagle feathers and turquoise.
Tie these to the forehead of the buckskin and put it on the boy's foot. See what they will say."
So they went hunting and got a big deer by running it down. When the deer was all in, they caught it without shooting it, as there must be no arrow
holes in the buckskin. They killed it, cut it down the belly and by the next day they had made it into a bucksin. Then they put turquoise and a downy
eagle feather on its forehead and placed on the foot of the eldest of the two brothers. But he threw it to his younger brother, "Here is the one," he said.
The younger brother threw it back to the other, saying, "You can do it." They did this several times and finally one said, "All right." When they had
agreed to what the people asked of them, the boys told them, "Fix up a place; level it up so that there are no uneven places on the ground. We want a
spruce tree put on each of the four sides and a pile of wood on each side also. Don't be afraid of anything you see, or run away." They knew that the
people might fear the ga-n. "For the sick man, spread a buckskin and let him sit on it. Tie him all over with strips of yucca leaves and let sit there."
Then it was sundown and now it was dark. All the people came to the dance ground. Lots of fires were all about it. then the boy who had consented,
stated to sing.
"Holy power, here sounding (making a noise)."
As he sang they saw lightning appear over ntca'na-sk'id on the east side, then on the south side, then west and then on the north side. Then from the
four directions the bull roarer sounded. It shook the earth and the earth rumbled back in response. The people saw flashes of lightning and thought
they were far off, but soon the ga-n came down, upside down they were, feet up and head down. They picked up the sick man who sat there, and
tossed him from one to the other. [The idea of the sick man being ignominiously tossed about greatly amused the listeners.] Before, no man was sick
but this man became sick and from then on there was sicknesses. That night the sick man was cured. The ga-n left at dawn. One of the two brothers
went with them. I don't know which of them it was.
Only one of the boys remained among the people.
When the ga-n arrived back home, they came together and talked about the youths and maidens. "We have many girls and boys here. Those people
whom we left have many boys and girls also. It is not right for us to marry among ourselves. We better go there and get some of their boys and
girls," they said. The Black ga-n's grandson (the brother remaining among the people) was going to make another dance at ntca'na-sk'id. This time
it was only to be a social dance. The ga-n people came to this dance. It was just for pleasure and was not dangerous as it had been before. Then as
the dawn came, the dancers were raised up off the ground. Many youths and maidens from among the ga-n and Hawk peoples were dancing. The
old people ran under them and said to their sons and daughters, "Come down, come back," but they kept moving upwards. Soon they were so high
they could not hear the singing any longer, only the sound of the drum. Then they could not hear the drum any more. The people below lay on their
backs in order to look upwards. They could see the dancers there like specks in the sky. They saw them a little while, then saw them no more.
This is how the good people were taken up above, to the place where life has no end. Both the brothers were gone now. The woman who was their
mother went off for something and never returned. This is the end of the story. This is the way that the ga-n curing ceremony started.
Told by Francis Drake
Music: Machu Picchu by Gale Revilla
|An Apache Medicine Dance
An Apache/Jicarilla Legend
This published story was found by his daughter, Kay R. Nordquist, in the effects of the late Dr. E. R. Fouts, M. D. It was a reminiscence of his 1898
internship among the Jicarilla-Apache tribes. While stationed as an intern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he met the white anthropoogist/writer Frank
Russell who published this legend in December 1898. At that time white men were not allowed to witness tribal ceremonies, but an Apache friend,
Gunsi, arranged to smuggle the two white men into the celebration. Gunsi, a powerful leader, provided a hiding place and explained that as long as
they "played a pretend game of not being seen," they would be overlooked. Besides, Gunsi had great confidence in the doctor of white man's medicine.
At present there are no men or women among the Jicarillas who have the power to heal the sick and perform other miracles that entitle them to rank
as medicine men or medicine women-at least none who are in active practice and are popular. This being the case, medicine feasts have not been held
for several years on the reservation. But in August and September 1898, two such feasts were conducted by the old Apache woman, Sotii, who now
lives in Pueblo of San Ildefonso. Sotii made the journey of nearly a hundred miles to the Jicarillas on a burro. She was delayed for some time on the
way by the high waters of Chama Creek, so rumors of her arrival were repeatedly spread for some weeks, before she actually appeared.
For festive dances, the U. S. Indian Agent or his representative, the clerk at Duke, issue extra rations of beef and flour, and the Indians themselves buy
all the supplies from the traders that their scanty funds will permit. Edible supplies do not keep well in Indian camps, and successive postponements
threatened to terminate a feast without adequate provisions. But fortunately Sotii arrived in time.
The preliminary arrangements were made by Sati, the husband of the invalid Kes-nos'-un-da, in whose behalf the ceremonies were to be performed.
Sati presented Sotii with a pipe of ancient pattern, a short cylinder of clay; a few eagle feathers and a new basket as well. As the Jicarilla Apaches live
in scattered tipi's and cabins about the reservation, there is no specified place, such as the plaza of a pueblo tribe, where religious ceremonies are
performed. Sotii chose a spot in La Jara Canyon where Sati and his friends built a medicine lodge with an enclosure surrounded by a pine brush
fence. The lodge was begun on the morning of August 22 and the fence was completed by noon. The builders were served food by the women of Sati's
At noon of the 22nd, the first day, about a dozen of the older men gathered in the medicine lodge. According to Gunsi, these men were selected by Sotii
because of their ability in outlining the dry paintings, which they made in the lodge under her direction. No one but apaches are admitted to the
medicine lodge, so that I have depended upon the account of it given by Gunsi in the following description:
"The ground was cleared at the back of the lodge between the fire and the western wall, over a space about six feet in diameter, and covered with a
layer of clean gray sand. The sand painting the first day contained the figures of snakes only, having their heads directed toward the west, with the
exception of the sun symbol, which was drawn each day during the ceremony around a shallow hole six or eight inches in diameter at the center of the
"The sun was represented by a ring of white sand around the margin of the hole; next came a circle of black, and then a ring of red with white rays.
After the painting had been completed, the invalid woman, in an ordinary gown not especially prepared for the occasion, entered the enclosure, laid
aside her blanket, and passed into the lodge, on the floor of which four "bear tracks" had been made, leading to the dry painting. (Presumably because
she had the snake and bear disease.)
The patient stepped upon the footprints in going to the sand painting, on which she spread pollen [kut-u-tin] from the cattail flag, and sacred meal.
She then sat down upon the painting, facing the east. Songs were sung and prayers were offered to the sun, after which the women brought food from
the camps into the enclosure. Those within the lodge seated themselves around the wall and were served by the doorkeeper, who began at the left and
carried food to each in turn. After all were served, the doorkeeper gathered a morsel of food from each and threw it outside the enclosure, as a
sacrifice to the sun, followed by prayers to the sun. Then the doorkeeper joined the others in the lodge and ate his food, as did the invalid. All others
dines within the enclosure. The remaining food was gathered for the next meal. The men carried the food vessels from the lodge into the enclosure,
later removed by the women.
"When darkness fell in the evening, the men again painted snakes in the medicine lodge, where a fire had been built. A young pine tree was placed at
the right and another at the left of the sand painting. The children were then expelled from the enclosure.
"The patient entered as in the morning, offering pollen and meal, then seated herself upon the painting. A terrifying figure rushed into the of the
semi-darkness lodge, lunged toward the invalid, but seemed unable to reach her, gave forth two or three cries similar to those uttered by the bear, and
then made his exit.
"Gunsi admitted 'I was frightened, although I knew it was only one of the men in disguise, who had been painted black with charcoal and covered with
pine branches. He wore no mask. Since the invalid suffered from snake and bear disease, the painting with prayer meal and pollen offerings
represented snakes and the bear was called upon to drive the disease away.'
"While the bear was in the lodge the singing men yelled at the tops of their voices to scare the bear. The invalid fell shaking to the ground. An eagle
feather was waved rapidly to and fro above her head as she continued to rise, fall, shake, and cry our. I thought she was dying.
"Sotii then placed a live coal in a dish of blue corn meal and allowed the invalid to inhale the smoke. This quieted her somewhat as she sat upright but
staring just like a drunk. Sotii then handed her the medicine pipe filled with 'Mexican' tobacco. After smoking this, the patient seemed to recover her
senses. Two or three songs concluded the day's serious part of the ceremony. The ex-patient then moved to the north side of the lodge and remained
there for the rest of the evening. An old buffalo hide was spread over the sand painting, and the sacred basket given to Sotii was inverted with the hide
over the hole in the center of the painted area. The hide was then doubled over the basket, and the margin of the hide was held down by the feet of the
men sitting around. The white basket was ornamented with conventional red butterflies.
"the ex-patient removed her moccasins from a tight bundle and used them as drumsticks, striking four times upon the basket drum as a signal for the
whole encampment to gather inside for the dance.
"Two notched sticks were placed upon the basket drum, a black one on the east, a white one on the west side. The sticks were laid with one end resting
upon the drum and the other end upon the ground. A tarsal bone of a deer was rubbed across the notches, at the sound of which the young women
began to dance.
"The women occupied the southern portion of the enclosure and the men arranged themselves along the wall opposite them. The lodge was brilliantly
lighted by a circle of fires around the inside wall. The women's dance was ended by repetition of the same signal by which it had begun-four strokes
upon the basket drum.
"When again the drum sounded, those afflicted with ailments of any kind placed their hands upon the affected part of their bodies and made a hand
gesture of casting off the disease. When the sticks were scraped again, the women chose partners from the men and boys and all danced together.
This became the lighter aspect of the ceremonies: serious thoughts, the desire to propitiate the gods, and the awe inspired by the priestess and the deity
symbolized by the bear, all gave way to lighthearted, merrymaking spirit, which by no means exhausted itself before the sound of the drum ceased,
about midnight, and the voice of one of the old men within the lodge was heard, directing the assembly to disperse.
"Second day ceremonies resembled those of the first, except the figures outlined upon the sand were of bears, foxes, and other animals, with here and
there a snake. The same patient was not induced into a trance, nor was the general ceremony of casting off diseases performed.
"The third day differed only in the character of the sand painting. Animals differed from those of the previous days. Sotii forbade representation of
the horse or elk at any time.
"On the fourth day, the figures of two deities were drawn in the dry painting, along with all kinds of animals. A black circle outside the painting
symbolized the ocean. The program of the evening consisted of two groups of men, painted and dressed in the manner prescribed by the rites in the
tradition of Jicarillas.
"One party of six men were the clowns with bodies and limbs painted with white and black horizontal rings. Ragged remnants of old blankets served
as loincloths. On necks and shoulders appeared necklaces and festoons of bread, which had been baked in small fantastic shapes. Four wore old
buffalo-skin caps, with the skin sewed to look like buffalo horns, projecting laterally and downward; to one horn was attached an eagle feather, to the
other a turkey feather. Two men dressed their hair in the shape of horns.
"The other group of twelve men, painted white with oblique black stripes extending downward from the inner corners of their eyes, wore necklaces
and an eagle feather in their hair. Bands of pine brush were wrapped around their waists, arms, and ankles.
"As on the other evenings, the women began the dance; then the general dance followed in which the women selected their partners from among the
men. Then the two deities entered the enclosure and marched directly to the medicine lodge, around which four circuits were made in a sun-wise
direction. The twelve then took positions on the south side of the pathway from the gate to the lodge. Clowns ran about among the crowd. Two men
led the singing and also took the lead during the exit back through the medicine lodge. Clowns created much amusement for everyone. The dance
continued until sunrise."
As the disc of the sun rose above the mountaintops, every man, woman, and child present joined in the dance. The ceremony again took on a serious
nature, as the sun's rays clear and bright in that rare and arid atmosphere lit up the valley and the whole band of Jicarilla-Apaches marched in line
out of the enclosure toward the sun.
Sotii led the way, carrying the two young pines from the ends of the dry sand painting, along with the sacred basket containing the meal. Each person
marched past the old medicine woman, took a pinch of the meal from the basket, and cast it upon the pine trees. The line was reformed, facing the
lodge, then one of the older men stepped forward and shook his blanket four times. At this signal, all shook their blankets to frighten away diseases
and then ran into the enclosure.
The ceremonies ended. Every tipi in that vicinity must be moved at once. The invalid was cured, but Sotii warned her not to sleep on a rope or string
or the disease would return. No one should sing the medicine songs for some time or a bear would kill the offender. Severe illness would overtake the
twelve should they forget and sleep with their heads toward any clay vessel.
Sotii accepted food only as remuneration for her services. Her terms were known in advance, so a considerable quantity of provisions were laid aside
for her. The only article of food that was taboo during the four-day celebration was bread baked in ashes.
I did not see the invalid after the feast, but when I left the reservation three weeks later, the Indians of whom I inquired all insisted that she was then in
|Apache Creation Legend
An Apache Legend
In the beginning nothing existed: no Earth, no Sky, no Sun, no Moon. Only darkness was everywhere.
Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small
bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above.
As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.
When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the East, he created yellow streaks
of dawn. To the West, tints of many colors appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colors.
Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.
"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-
"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.
"From the East where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.
"Where is the Earth?" she asked.
"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.
Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his
sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small-Boy.
Creator, Sun-God, Girl- Without- Parents, and Small-Boy sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.
"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."
Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightening-Maker, and some Western clouds in which to house Lightening-Rumbler, which he just
Creator sang, "Let us make Earth. I am thinking of the Earth, Earth, Earth; I am thinking of the Earth," he sang four times.
All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not
much larger than a bean.
Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl- Without- Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard
kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.
Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the East, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated
with a blue cord to the South, a yellow cord to the West, and a white cord to the North. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to
immeasurable size --it became the Earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.
Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.
"Fly, North, South, East, and West and tell us what you see," said Creator.
"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The Earth is most beautiful, with water on the West side."
But the Earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts-- black, blue, yellow, and white to support the Earth. Wind
carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the Earth. The Earth sat still.
Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.
Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty-eight people appeared
to help make a sky above the Earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the Earth and sky.
He sent Lightening-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They
had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.
Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweat house. Girl- Without- Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the East doorway she
placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.
Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweat house. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the
outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook
his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.
Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the Earth and its crops. The
other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth People.
Since the Earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked.
Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the Earth will rise
and cause a mighty flood."
Creator made a very tall pinion tree. Girl- Without- Parents covered the tree framework with pinion gum, creating a large, tight ball.
In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl- Without- Parents put the others into the
large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.
In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys,
and rivers. Girl- Without- Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new Earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they
met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on Earth.
Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl- Without- Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.
"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.
"You, Lightening-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.
"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.
"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.
"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.
"you, Girl- Without- Parents, I leave you in charge over all."
Creator then turned toward Girl- Without- Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward.
Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.
Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke,
leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the Earth.
Sun-God went East to live and travel with the Sun. Girl- Without- Parents departed Westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl
made cloud homes in the South. Big Dipper can still be seen in the Northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.
|Apache Tear Drop
An Apache/Jicarilla Legend
Apache Tear Drop is a form of black obsidian. It is a calming translucent stone, found in Arizona and other parts of the U. S. It is composed of
feldspar, hornblende, biotite and quartz. It was formed by rhythmic crystallization that produces a separation of light and dark materials into
spherical shapes, and is a form of volcanic glass.
There is a haunting legend about the Apache Tear Drop. After the Pinal Apaches had made several raids on a settlement in Arizona, the military
regulars and some volunteers trailed the tracks of the stolen cattle and waited for dawn to attack the Apaches.
The Apaches, confident in the safety of their location, were completely surprised and out-numbered in the attack. Nearly 50 of the band of 75 Apaches
were killed in the first volley of shots. The rest of the tribe retreated to the cliff's edge and chose death by leaping over the edge rather than die at the
hands of the white men.
The Apache Women and the lovers of those who had died gathered a short distance from the base of the cliff where the sand were white, and for a
moon they wept for their dead. They mourned greatly, for they realized that not only had their 75 brave Apache warriors died, but with them had died
the great fighting spirit of the Pinal Apaches.
Their sadness was so great, and their burden of sorrow so sincere that the Great Father embedded into black stones the tears of the Apache Women
who mourned their dead. These black obsidian stones, when held to the light, reveal the translucent tear of the Apache.
The stones are said to bring good luck to those possessing them. It is said that whoever owns an Apache Tear Drop will never have to cry again, for
the Apache Women have shed their tears in place of yours.
The Apache Tear Drops are also said to balance the emotional nature and protect one from being taken advantage of. It can be carried as an amulet
to stimulate success in business endeavors. It is also used to produce clear vision and to increase psychic powers.
Black obsidian is a powerful Meditation stone. The purpose of this gemstone is to bring to light that which is hidden from the conscious mind. It
dissolves suppressed negative patterns and purifies them. It can create a somewhat radical behavior change as new positive attitudes replace old,
negative, egocentric patterns.
|Badger carries Darkness:
Coyote and Bobcat scratch each other
A White Mountain Apache Legend
Coyote was traveling along. Badger always used to carry darkness on his back. Coyote met him. "My cross-cousin, what's in the bag you carry?, he
asked. He was hungry and he thought Badger had food in his sack.
Because he thought there was food in there, Coyote wanted to stay around where Badger was and maybe get something to eat. So the two traveled on
together for a way. Then Coyote was thinking he would offer to carry the load and let Badger rest.
After a while Coyote said, "My cross-cousin, you look tired. You have a heavy load there. Why don't you let me carry it and you rest?" "No, I'm not
tired. I always travel this way," Badger said.
After a while Coyote said again, "My cross-cousin, I think you are tired. Let me carry the load for you just a little way and you rest for a while." "All
right, you carry this, my bed, if you want. I know you are thinking it's something to eat, but it's not. I carry this always. I'll let you have it though."
"I'm just saying this because I want to carry it for you and because you are giving out. I will carry it a little way," Coyote answered.
So Badger took his pack off and gave it to Coyote and they started on again. After a while Coyote said to Badger, "I want to stop to urinate behind
this bush. You keep on ahead and don't bother to wait for me." So Badger went on ahead.
As soon as Coyote got behind the bush he started to untie the pack, as that was all he wanted to do in the first place. When he untied the pack, it started
to get dark. Darkness was all coming out. Coyote got scared ans hollered after Badger, "wa-'a, my cross-cousin, I'm having a bad time here. It must
be that you are packing bad things with you. I can hardly see at all." Badger came back and said, "I told you not to open my pack. Now you have
done it and started this. I already told you that there was no food in it. You have done something bad." Then Badger spread his arms and gathered in
all the darkness and shoved it into the sack again, tying the mouth tight. Coyote felt mad on account of being fooled and said, "You just carry badness."
Badger went on by himself. After a while he met Porcupine. The two sat down and told stories about old times. Badger said, "I was living when the
sky fell out onto the earth," and he sat his pack down. "That's quite a while ago but I was living before that," said Porcupine. "I was living when the
sky and the earth were rubbing together. So you know about the time when that happened? Which of us is older now?"
Later Coyote started on his way and met Bobcat. They stopped to talk to each other. Then they said, "Let's scratch each other's back in turn and see
who has the sharpest claws." Bobcat said, "I have no claws." He had claws all right, but they were sheathed so you could not see them. "Let me see!"
said Coyote. Bobcat let him look and it seemed as if he had no claws at all. Then Coyote let Bobcat look at his claws and there was far more of them
showing than of Bobcat's. "If I scratch your back nothing will happen. It will just pull a little hair and skin off you. But if you scratch my back, you
will rip me right down," Bobcat said. "I want you to scratch me first," Bobcat said. "No," Coyote said, "you come first." Finally after a long argument
Coyote thought it would be all right to do it first, because he thought this was going to be an easy game for him. He told Bobcat to sit up so he could
scratch him from neck to tail. When he was ready Coyote raked him down the back as hard as he could and pulled a lot of fur and hide off Bobcat's
back. "Eye'-ya-, you hurt me, my cross-cousin, on my back," Bobcat said. Coyote just laughed at him and thought it was funny. It really did not hurt
Bobcat at all, but he made believe it did. Now it was Bobcat's turn, and Coyote sat with his back to him. "My finger nails are not long, you will just
barely feel them," Bobcat said. But when he got ready, he unsheathed his claws and gave Coyote a terrible rake with them, all down his back, taking
off hide and flesh. Coyote jumped up and yelled, "You have killed me, my cross-cousin!"
Further on Skunk and Bear were sitting together, telling stories. Bear said to Skunk, "You stink too much where your rear end is." Skunk said, "You
stink too much where your rear end is." They argued about it for a while and then said, "Let's see who is the worst one to stink. We will both try it and
see which is the best at this." Skunk said, "I think that I am the best one. Come here and smell me." But Bear said, "When I break wind it is the most
powerful. I think I am best." They kept on arguing, each saying he was the best one to make a bad smell. "It will knock you over, the smell I make,"
each said. "All right, you try it first!" said one. "No, you try it first!" Finally they agreed and Skunk said, "I will put my head close to your buttocks so I
will smell you well." Bear started now and blew out hard, all he had, ka+, ka+, ka+ it went and made a terrible smell. Skunk stuck his nose in the
ground and shook himself. He got out of the way as quick as he could. After a while he recovered and came back saying, "My cross-cousin, I think
you are the best. You smell the worse, but I will try all the same to make a worse one." So Bear put his nose by Skunk's buttocks. Now Skunk started
to squirt and blow out at the same time. It was terrible and when Bear smelt it he stuck his nose in the ground. It was as if he had had his senses
knocked out. It pretty near killed him.
|Big Owl Chops Off His Manhood
A White Mountain Apache Legend
Long ago they say. This is a story about Big Owl's manhood. Up near tl'uk'a-gai (Fort Apache district), there is a big rock called tse-sizm (rock
standing up, Saw Tooth Mountain). Big Owl was going along to the foot of this rock. He was carrying his manhood with him and following the trail
over by ya-gogaidje-lk'id (a place). He kept on toward tse-sizin, still carrying his manhood with him. In those days it was very long, so long that he
had to carry it wrapped around his body. Then he went on down to the river (White River). Across the river was a woman going down to
tse-Hsan'iska-d (a place) above the river on the ridges. Big Owl crossed the river, carrying his manhood with him. That woman saw him then. She
was very hungry and so she started down a ridge to Big Owl, because she thought that big load Big Owl was carrying might be something good to eat.
When she got to him she said, "Big Owl, give me some of what you are carrying there." "What I'm carrying is no good to eat," said Big Owl.
"Anyway give me some, I'm hungry," the woman said. "You can't eat this," Big Owl said. But the woman told him, "Give me just a little." "All right,
turn around, bend over and lift up your dress," Big Owl said. The woman did so, and Big Owl unwrapped his manhood from around his body. Then it
became stiff, went way out to the woman and knocked her down to the ground. The woman got up and Big Owl wrapped his manhood around
Then he started to think about this and sat down. "This is no good, the way I can do now, no good at all." Big Owl was thinking that his manhood
was too long and that he would like to cut it off. "I'll cut it off sure enough," he thought, and so he started up the side of the hill there to a big rock about
the size and shape of this wickiup. Then he got another rock and carried it up on top of the big rock. On top of the rock he unwrapped his manhood
and let it hang down over the edge. He looked to see where it would be just the right place to cut it off. He finally cut it off just between his legs. Now he
thought it would be all right to go around this way and he liked it because it was nice and short. What he had cut off, he threw down to the foot of the
rock so it was all coiled about the rock at its bottom.
Then he got down and on top of it, all around, he piled up little rocks and also some dirt so no one would see it. He was all right just as he was, good
and short, he thought, and so he went on his way. Before, he had to carry a heavy load, but now he had got rid of it and twisted it round the rock.
Pretty soon he met another man and told him what he had done. This man had a long manhood, just like Big Owl's. But Big Owl said, "I have a short
manhood, so from here on that's the way all men will be, because I am that way," and from that time on men had it the way Big Owl had made himself.
The rock where Big Owl cut his manhood off is still there and is called mbu'bila-sida- (owl his manhood it sits) because of this story. You can still see
the rock on top of the big one, with which Big Owl cut himself. Around the base of the big rock his manhood is still coiled and piled on top of it are the
small rocks and dirt he put there.
|Coyote Fights A Lump Of Pitch
An Apache Legend
Even long ago, when our tribe and animals and birds lived together near white people, Coyote was always in trouble. He would visit among the
camps, staying for a while and then moving on, and when he stayed at Bear's camp, he used to go over at night to a white man's fields and steal the
ears off the wheat. When the white man who owned the farm found out what Coyote was up to, he trailed him long enough to locate his path into the
field. Then he called all the white men to council, and they made a figure of pitch just like a man and placed it in Coyote's path.
That night when Coyote went back to steal wheat again, he saw the pitch man standing there. Thinking it was a real person, he said, "Gray eyes" - he
always talked like a Chiricahyua apache - "Get to one side and let me by. I just want to get a little wheat. Get over, I tell you." The pitch man stayed
where he was.
"If you don't move," Coyote said, "you'll get my fist in you face. Wherever I go on this earth, if I hit a man with my fist, it kills him." The pitch man
never stirred. "All right, then I'm going to hit you." Coyote struck out, but his fist stuck fast in the pitch, clear to his elbow.
"What's the matter?" Coyote cried. "Why have you caught my hand? Turn loose or you'll get my other fist. If I hit a man with that one, it knocks all his
wits out!" Then coyote punched with his other fist, and this arm got stuck in the pitch also.
Now he was standing on his two hind legs. "I'm going to kick you if you keep holding me, and it'll knock you over." Coyote delivered a powerful kick
and his leg went into the pitch and stuck. "This other leg is worse still, and you're going to get it!" he said. He kicked, and his leg stuck into the pitch.
Now Coyote's legs were fast in the pitch; only his tail was free.
"If I whip you with my tail, it will cut you in two. So turn me loose!" But the pitch man just stood there. Coyote lashed the pitch with his tail and got it
stuck also. Only his head was free, and he was still talking with it. "Why do you hold me this way? I'll bite you in the neck and kill you, so you'd better
turn me loose." When the pitch did nothing, Coyote bit it and got his mouth stuck, and there he was.
In the morning the farmer put a chain around Coyote's neck, took him out of the pitch, and led him to the house. "This is the one who has been stealing
from me," he said to his family. The white people held a council to discuss what they should do with Coyote. They decided to put him into a pot of
boiling water and scald him, so they set the water on to heat and tied Coyote up at the side of the house.
Pretty soon Coyote saw Gray Fox coming along, loafing around the farmer's yard, looking for something to steal from the white man. Coyote called
him over. "My cousin," he said, "there are lots of things cooking for me in that pot," though of course the pot was only heating water to scald him in.
"There are potatoes, coffee, bread and all kinds of food for me. It'll soon be done, and the white people are going to bring them to me. You and I can eat
them together, but you must help me first. Can you put this chain around your neck while I go and urinate behind that bush?" Fox agreed and, taking
the chain off Coyote, put it on his own neck. As soon as Coyote was out of sight behind the bush,he ran off.
After a while the water was good and hot, and the white men came out to Gray Fox. "He seems so little! What happened? He must have shrunk, I
guess," they said. They lifted him into the pot. Now the water boiled his hair right off, leaving Gray Fox bright red and hairless. They took off the chain
and threw him under a tree, where he lay motionless until evening. When it got dark and cold, he woke up and started off.
After a while Gray Fox came to Bear's camp and asked,"Where is Coyote?" Bear replied that Coyote always went for his water to some springs above
Bear's camp at midnight. So Gray Fox ran off to the springs and hid himself.
Now at midnight Coyote came as usual to the springs, but when he put his head to the water to drink, Gray Fox jumped him. "Now I'm going to kill you
and eat you," the fox said. The moon was shining from the sky down into the water, and Coyote, pointed to it's reflection, replied, "Don't talk like that,
when we can both eat this delicious 'ash bread' down there. All we have to do is drink all the water, and we can take the bread out and have a feast."
They both started to lap up the water, but soon Coyote was merely pretending to drink. Gray Fox drank lots, and when he was full, he got cold. Then
Coyote said, "My cousin, some white people left a camp over here, and I'm going to look for some old rags or quilts to wrap you up in. Wait for me."
So Coyote started off, and as soon as he was out of sight, he ran away.
|Coyote Gets Rich Off the White Man
A White Mountain Apache Legend
Once when Coyote was visiting various camps, he and Bobcat heard about a white man who was making some whiskey. They went together to the
man's house and managed to steal some, and after they had run a short distance with it, they stopped to drink.
Then Coyote said, "My cousin, I feel so good, I'd like to holler!"
"No, we're still close to those white men," Bobcat said. "I won't holler loud, cousin," Coyote said. They kept arguing and drinking. Finally Bobcat said,
"All right then, holler quietly."
Coyote intended to holler softly, but before he knew it he got carried away and was hollering as loud as he could. Now the white men heard the noise
and headed right toward him. Bobcat had enough whiskey in him to feel good, but Coyote was really drunk. When the white men surrounded them,
Bobcat got up and sailed over the nearest man with one jump. In a second jump he leaped over all the rest and got away. So they arrested Coyote and
took him in chains to the town jail.
Later on, Bobcat used to visit Coyote from time to time, and once they arrested Bobcat and had them both locked up for quite a while. One day the two
prisoners watched some white men breaking horses in front of the jail. There was one horse that no one could get close to, and Coyote boasted, "I could
saddle that horse right away." The prison guard told the men what Coyote had said, and they decided to let him out and see what he could do.
Now Coyote had horse power, and when he had used it with the horse, it wasn't wild any more. He got on and rode it around and then thought he
would have some fun. The horse balked, and though he kicked it gently with his heel, it wouldn't move. Coyote told the white people to put on a fancy
saddle. They brought out a brand new one with taps and saddle bags and everything on it, just as he wanted. He put it on the animal, remounted and
kicked it, but gently, so it wouldn't move.
"This horse is thinking about a nice white bridle and bits and lines, all covered with silver," said Coyote. Actually the horse was ready to go, but Coyote
kept holding him in. The men brought a fine bridle and put it on the horse. Then Coyote dismounted the horse and said, "I want you to fill the saddle
bags with crackers and cheese; that's what the horse wants. Also, I have to wear a good white shirt and vest, and a big show hat, and a pair of
white-handled pistols in a belt. That's what the horse likes. And good silver spurs: the horse wants these also." They brought all the finery for Coyote
and filled the saddle bags.
Now Coyote got on the horse. Ahead by the gate were some American soldiers. He kicked the horse hard and started for the soldiers at a gallop,
making it look as if the horse were running away with him. The soldiers moved back, and he and the horse tore through the gate and disappeared.
Later Coyote sat down by a spring under a walnut tree, thinking about the soldiers that he knew were after him. He swept the ground clean under the
tree and strung his money up on its branches. Pretty soon the soldiers came along, and Coyote said, "I'm going to tell you about this tree. Money
grows on it and I want to sell it. Want to buy?" The soldiers were interested, and Coyote told them, "It takes a day for the money to grow and ripen.
Today's crop is mine, but tomorrow it's all yours. I'll sell you this fine tree for all your pack mules."
Coyote was always thinking about eating, and he hoped the packs held food. The soldiers agreed to the terms, and Coyote got a big rock and threw it
against the trunk. Most of the money fell to the ground. "See, it only ripens at noon," he said. "You have to hit it just at noon." He whacked the tree
again, and the rest of the money dropped out. Now it was all on the ground, and the white men helped him pick it up and put it in sacks. They turned
all their pack mules over, and he started off.
Coyote traveled for the rest of the day and all night, until he was in another country. Meanwhile the soldiers camped under the walnut tree waiting for
noon. Then the officer told the soldiers to hit the tree, and they pounded it hard. When no money fell out, the officer ordered it chopped down, cut into
lengths, and split up, in case the money was inside. No matter what they did, they couldn't find even five cents. That night one of Coyote's mules got
hungry and started to bray. Irritated at the noise, he killed every mule that brayed, until at last he had killed them all. So when he came to a white
man's house, he bought a burro from him.
Now Coyote was always thinking about how he could swindle someone, and the burro gave him another idea. Returning to his old home in the
mountain, he put a lot of money up the burro's rear end, then kicked the animal in the belly so that it expelled all the money. He tried it again, and it
worked as before. "This burro is going to make me lots of money," he thought. Coyote put his money in the burro's rear end and started for town,
where he went to the big man in charge. "Look at this wonderful burro! His excrement is money, and it comes out of him every day." Coyote always
talked like a Chiricahua.
"Let's see him do it," the head man said. "All right, see for yourself. The first money that comes out is mine, but after that it's all yours." Coyote started
kicking the burro in the belly, and his money fell out. He gathered it up. "Now it's yours," he said. "Tomorrow at the same time, he'll do it again." They
paid him lots of money, and he went on his way. On the following day when the time came, the white men brought the burro out and kicked him. He
merely broke wind. They kicked him all day till evening, then said, "We might just as well kill this burro and look inside him." So they cut him open, but
there wasn't a sign of money inside.
|Coyote Proves Himself a Cannibal
An Apache Legend
Owl was the one who had arrows. He had a club also with which he killed men whom he ate. "Up at the low gap I am watching for men, wu hwu wo,"
he sang. Coyote came walking along in front of him. "Wu hwu wo," sang Owl, "I am looking for men in the low gap." The two came face to face there.
"Now," said Owl, "the one who vomits human flesh will kill men." "Very well," said Coyote, "shut your eyes." Owl shut his eyes. When he vomited,
Coyote put his hand under and took the meat. The grasshoppers which Coyote vomited he put in Owl's hand.
"Now open your eyes," said Coyote. Owl looked and saw the grasshoppers lying in his hand. Coyote showed him the meat. "What did I tell you," said
Coyote, "this is the meat I threw up." "Where did I drink in the grasshoppers?" said Owl.
Coyote ran all around Owl. "Because I run fast like this I eat people," said Coyote. "These legs of yours are too large, I will fix them for you. Shut your
eyes." Coyote cut Owl's legs, trimming away the meat. He broke his leg with a stone and took the arrows away leaving him only the club.
Coyote ran around Owl who threw his club at him. He would say, "Come back, my club," and it would come back to him. He threw it again. "Come
here, my club," he called. He hit him with it. Coyote said, "Wherever a stick falls when one throws it there it will lie." The club did not return to Owl.
"Now you will live right here in the canyon where many arrows will be in front of you. Somebody might kill you," Coyote told him. Owl hitched himself
along into the canyon. "Arrows painted black may kill you," said Coyote. Coyote went around in front of him and shot him with his own (Owl's)
After that everybody was afraid of Coyote, who went around killing off the people.
|Coyote Steals Sun's Tobacco
An Apache Legend
One day Slim Coyote started out to Sun's house. When he got there Sun was not home, but his wife was. "Where is my cousin Sun?" he asked.
Sun's wife said that he had gone out and was not home yet.
Coyote saw Sun's tobacco bag hanging up on the side of the house. "I came to smoke and talk with my cousin," said Slim Coyote, "so give me a smoke
while I'm waiting. He won't mind, he's my cousin." Coyote was talking to Sun's wife as if she were his mother-in-law.
She handed him the tobacco bag, and he used it to fill his own little buckskin bag. Then he quickly hid his bag and rolled a cigarette, so that he actually
got off with a lot of Sun's tobacco without her noticing. "Since my cousin hasn't come back yet, I guess I won't wait after all," Coyote told her, and
Pretty soon Sun arrived. "Whose been here and gone again?" he asked, looking at his depleted tobacco bag.
"Somebody who said he was your cousin," answered his wife. She told him what had happened, and Sun was very angry.
"I'll get that fellow," he said. He went out front where he had Black Wind Horse tied, and saddled him up and set off after Coyote. Black Wind Horse
could fly, and when he traveled he made a noise like lightening.
A light rain started to fall and covered up Coyote's tracks, but Sun could still follow the thief by the ashes from his cigarette.
It kept raining, and pretty soon the tobacco Coyote had with him started to grow. Soon it was putting out leaves then flowers. At last it ripened and
dried, and the wind scattered the seeds everywhere.
When the Sun saw this, he gave up chasing Coyote and went home. When Coyote got back to the Apache camp where he was living, he kept his tobacco
for himself and wouldn't give any away.
The Apache held a council on how to get Coyote's tobacco away from him, and they decided to pretend to give him a wife.
"We're going to give you a wife," they told him.
Coyote said, "You're trying to fool me."
"No we're not," they said, "we're really going to give you a wife."
They set up a new wickiup for Coyote, dressed a young boy as a girl, and told the boy not to let Coyote touch him until just before dawn. They made a
bed in the new wickiup, and Coyote felt so good that he gave them all his tobacco.
Just about dusk the boy dressed as a girl went over and sat down beside Coyote in his new wickiup. Slim Coyote was so excited he could not stand up
but just crawled around on the ground. "Why don't you come to bed?" he said to his bride. "Let's hurry and go to bed." But the boy just sat there.
After a while, when Coyote was more and more impatient, the boy lay down by him but not close to him. "I want you to lie close," Coyote said, and
tried to touch the boy.
But the boy said, "Don't!" and pushed Coyote's hand away. This kept up all night, until just before dawn Coyote made a grad and caught hold of the
boy's penis. He let go right away and jumped back.
"Get away from me, get back from me; you're a boy not a girl," he said. Then Coyote got up and called the people. "You lied to me," he said. "You didn't
give me a wife at all. Give me my tobacco back!"
But no matter how loudly he yelled, they wouldn't do it. This is the way the people first got tobacco.
|Death of the Great Elk
An Apache Legend
In the early days, animals and birds of monstrous size preyed upon the people; the giant Elk, the Eagle, and others devoured men, women, and children,
until the gods were petitioned for relief.
A deliverer was sent to them in the person of Djo-na-ai-yi-in, the son of the old woman who lives in the West and the second wife of the Sun. She divided
her time between the Sun and the Waterfall, and by the latter bore a second son, named Ko-ba-tcis-tci-ni, who remained with his mother while his
brother went forth to battle with the enemies of mankind. In four days Djo-na-ai-yi-in grew to manhood, then he asked his mother where the Elk lived.
She told him that the Elk was in a great desert far to the southward. She gave him arrows with which to kill the Elk.
In four steps he reached the distant desert where the Elk was lying. Djo-na-ai-yi-in cautiously observed the position of the Elk from behind a hill. The
Elk was lying on an open plain, where no trees or bushes were to be found that might serve to shelter Djo-na-ai-yi-in from view while he approached.
While he was looking at the Elk, with dried grass before his face, the Lizard, Mai-cu-i-ti-tce-tce, said to him, "What are you doing, my friend?"
Djo-na-ai-yi-in explained his mission whereupon the Lizard suggested that he clothe himself in the garments of the Lizard, in which he could approach
the Elk in safety.
Djo-na-ai-yi-in tried four times before he succeeded in getting into the coat of the Lizard.
Next the Gopher, Mi-i-ni-li, came to him with the question, "What are you doing here, my friend?" When Djo-na-ai-yi-in told the Gopher of his intention,
the latter promised to aid him.
The Gopher thought it advisable to reconnoiter by burrowing his way underground to the Elk.
Djo-na-ai-yi-in watched the progress of the Gopher as the animal threw out fresh heaps of earth on his way. At length the Gopher came to the surface
underneath the Elk, whose giant heart was beating like a mighty hammer.
He then proceeded to gnaw the hair from above the heart of the Elk. "What are you doing?" said the Elk. "I am cutting a few hairs for my little ones,
they are now lying on the bare ground," replied the Gopher, who continued until the magic coat of the Elk was all cut away from about the heart of the
Then he returned to Djo-na-ai-yi-in, and told the latter to go through the hole which he had made and shoot the Elk. Four times the Son of the Sun tried
to enter the hole before he succeeded. When he reached the Elk, he saw the great heart beating above him, and easily pierced it with his arrows; four
times his bow was drawn before he turned to escape through the tunnel which the Gopher had been preparing for him.
This hole extended far to the eastward, but the Elk soon discovered it, and, thrusting his antler into it, followed in pursuit. The Elk ploughed up the earth
with such violence that the present mountains were formed, which extended from east to west.
The black spider closed the hole with a strong web, but the Elk broke through it and ran southward, forming the mountain chains which trend north and
south. In the south the Elk was checked by the web of the blue spider, in the west by that of the yellow spider, while in the north the web of the
many-colored spider resisted his attacks until he fell dying from exhaustion and wounds.
Djo-na-ai-yi-in made a coat from the hide of the Elk, gave the front quarters to the Gopher, the hind quarters to the Lizard, and carried home the antlers.
He found that the results of his adventures were not unknown to his mother, who had spent the time during his absence in singing, and watching a roll
of cedar bark which sank into the earth or rose in the air as danger approached or receded from Djo-na-ai-yi-in, her son.
Djo-na-ai-yi-in next desired to kill the great Eagle, I-tsa. His mother directed him to seek the Eagle in the west.
In four strides he reached the home of the Eagle, an inaccessible rock, on which was the nest, containing two young eaglets. His ear told him to stand
facing the east when the next morning the Eagle swooped down upon him and tried to carry him off. The talons of the Eagle failed to penetrate the hard
elk-skin by which he was covered.
"Turn to the south," said the ear, and again the Eagle came, and was again unsuccessful. Djo-na-ai-yi-in faced each of the four points in this manner,
and again faced toward the east; whereupon the Eagle succeeded in fastening its talons in the lacing on the front of the coat of the supposed man, who
was carried to the nest above and thrown down before the young eagles, with the invitation to pick his eyes out.
As they were about to do this, Djo-na-ai-yi-in gave a warning hiss, at which the young ones cried, "He is living yet."
"Oh, no," replied the old Eagle; "that is only the rush of air from his body through the holes made by my talons." Without stopping to verify this, the
Eagle flew away. Djo-na-ai-yi-in threw some of the blood of the Elk which he had brought with him to the young ones, and asked them when their
mother would return.
"In the afternoon when it rains," they answered.
When the mother Eagle came with the shower of rain in the afternoon, he stood in readiness with one of the Elk antlers in his hand. As the bird alighted
with a man in her talons, Djo-na-ai-yi-in struck her upon the back with the antler, killing her instantly. Going back to the nest, he asked the young
eagles when their father returned.
"Our father comes home when the wind blows and brings rain just before sunset," they said. The male Eagle came at the appointed time, carrying a
woman with a crying infant upon her back. Mother and babe were dropped from a height upon the rock and killed. With the second antler of the Elk,
Djo-na-ai-yi-in avenged their death, and ended the career of the eagles by striking the Eagle upon the back and killing him.
The wing of this eagle was of enormous size; the bones were as large as a man's arm; fragments of this wing are still preserved at Taos. Djo-na-ai-yi-in
struck the young eagles upon the head, saying, "You shall never grow any larger." Thus deprived of their strength and power to injure mankind, the
eagles relinquished their sovereignty with the party curse of rheumatism, which they bestowed upon the human race.
Djo-na-ai-yi-in could discover no way by which he could descend from the rock, until at length he saw an old female Bat, Tca-na-mi-in, on the plain
At first she pretended not to hear his calls for help; then she flew up with the inquiry, "How did you get here?"
Djo-na-ai-yi-in told her how he had killed the eagles. "I will give you all the feathers you may desire if you will help me to escape," concluded he.
The old Bat carried her basket, ilt-tsai-i-zis, by a slender spider's thread. He was afraid to trust himself in such a small basket suspended by a thread, but
she reassured him, saying, "I have packed mountain sheep in this basket, and the strap has never broken. Do not look while we are descending; keep
your eyes shut as tight as you can."
He began to open his eyes once during the descent, but she warned him in time to avoid mishap. They went to the foot of the rock where the old Eagles
lay. Djo-na-ai-yi-in filled her basket with feathers, but told her not to go out on the plains, where there are many small birds.
Forgetting this admonition, she was soon among the small birds, who robbed the old Bat of all her feathers. This accounts for the plumage of the small
bird klo-kin, which somewhat resembles the color of the tail and wing feathers of the bald eagle.
The Bat returned four times for a supply of feathers, but the fifth time she asked to have her basket filled, Djo-na-ai-yi-in was vexed. "You cannot take
care of your feathers, so you shall never have any. This old skin on your basket is good enough for you."
"Very well," said the Bat, resignedly, "I deserve to lose them, for I never could take care of those feathers."