|A Bet Between The Cooyoko And The Fox
A Hopi Legend
Aliksai! In Shupaulavi, north of the village, is a bluff where there is a place called Cooyoko House (Cooyok-ki). Here the Cooyoko lived. One time a
Fox, who was very handsome, came along, and the Cooyoko Uncle (Tahaam) was sitting on the edge of the bluff when the Fox came along. The sun
had not yet risen, and the Cooyoko was sitting and waiting to watch the sunrise. "Come here," he said to the Fox, "come to me here." "All right," the
Fox said, and came. "Sit down, sit down with me," the Cooyoko said, which the Fox did. "Now," the Cooyoko continued, "let us have a contest and see
upon whose song the sun will rise. The one that loses shall be killed with this knife here," which the Cooyoko had. "Yes," the Cooyoko said, "let us
have a contest." "All right," the Fox said, "be it so. You sing first." So the Cooyoko sang the following little song:
To -- ishkakolitai to -- ishkakolitai
and then said to the Fox: "Now, you sing, too," whereupon the Fox sang the following little song:
Hereupon the Cooyoko repeated his song. The sun by this time was just about to loom up. "Now you sing again," he said to the Fox, whereupon the
latter repeated his song, and when he was singing, the sun loomed upon the horizon. So he had won the contest. "Alas!" the Cooyoko said, "well now,
I have wanted it this way and you have beaten me. Be it so then." The knife was lying by their side, so the Fox took it, approached the Cooyoko, and
cut the latter's throat. And so the latter died over a bet.
Music: Canyon Dreams by AH-NEE-MAH
|A Hopi Raid On A Navajo Dance
A Hopi Legend
Aliksai! At a certain place the Navajo were living. They were going to have a dance at some place towards the north, so they gathered together their
ponies and early in the morning they dressed up. The women did not have calico dresses, but wore blue dresses with red borders and silver belts. So
when they were all dressed up they mounted their ponies and went to the dance. There were a great many of them. A very heavy dust rose from all
their ponies as they traveled on. They went to a place in the large canyon, somewhat north if where Fort Defiance now stands.
Towards evening they arrived at the place where the dance was to be. It was in a very deep canyon. They had to go down a steep, dangerous, zigzag
trail. The Navajo lived well there; they had good homes and near by some peach orchards. During the night they had their dance. They had prepared
a great deal of food of different kinds of meat, and thus they were eating, and during the night they had their Katcina dance. There were a great many
Katcinas that had masks on. The people were camped in a circle and had camp-fires, and in the center of the circle was the dance. When they were
performing the fifth dance a light was seen in the distance and a big star was rising that came down and fell near the line of dancers, right in front of
the head dancer.
The Navajo are very much afraid of something happening, so when this star fell down they all jumped on their ponies and began to scatter.
Hereupon a great noise was heard west of the camp. The Oraibi had arrived to make a raid on the Navajo, but not the Oraibi from the present village.
They then lived a little farther west, where there are some ruins now (the name of which the narrator cannot give). A great battle then ensued, but the
Navajo were driven back out of the canyon, because they tried to protect their wives and children.
The Navajo, it seems, had used poisoned arrows. The Hopi say that the way the Navajo prepared these arrows was as follows: They would suspend
a rattlesnake and place a vessel under it, into which the putrid matter from the decaying rattlesnake dropped. They would mix with this matter
poison that they had extracted from the fangs of the rattlesnakes, and with this stuff they would poison their arrows. But the Hopi say that in the
battle it often happened that the Hopi would procure the bows and arrows of slain Navajo, and thus shoot their enemies with those poisoned arrows,
so that the Navajo were paid back in their own coin, and the Hopi repeat in this connection that a great many Navajo died from these poisoned
arrows because their bodies were entirely unprotected, while the bodies of the Hopi were well wrapped with buckskins, which furnished a good
protection against the arrows.
The Hopi followed them, shooting principally with reed arrows, and killing a great many of them. Only a few finally escaped to their homes, and that
is the reason why the Navajo, when they have a dance now, always put out some watchers to look out for intruders.
|A Journey to the Skeleton House
A Hopi Legend
In Oraibi the people were living, and over there at Honletsnoma's house there lived a youth. He was always sitting at the edge of the mesa early in the
morning. He was always thinking about that graveyard there. "Is it true that some one is really living there?" he thought. "Is it true that if some one
dies he goes somewhere?" thus he was thinking. "If only some one would tell me whether these that are buried here are living somewhere."
Now at last he got some corn meal, then he went to the edge again, and then he prayed with it to the Sun and said: "Now then, have you perhaps seen
anywhere these that are buried here?" Thus he prayed. "Now, if you have seen them somewhere, inform me." Having thus prayed he returned. And
then after that he thus continued to pray. After having thus prayed for four days he sat down there and some one came ascending the mesa. The one
that ascended asked him: "Now, why do you want me?" "Yes," said the one that was sitting there, "I am always thinking about those who are buried
there, whether it is true that they are living in some other life." "Now," he, the Sun, said, "yes, they are living. Are you really anxious to see them?"
Now the young man answered. "Yes," he said. "Very well," answered the Sun, "I shall then give you this here." He handed him something. "When
you will sleep in the evening, eat a little of this, but you tell your mother and them all about it." "Very well," the youth said. "I shall leave," said the Sun.
The young man now went home to his house. He arrived there. His mother was preparing food. When they had eaten he said to his father. "My
father," he said, "is it really true that is some one dies he remains somewhere? I want to find out about it." Now, hereupon the mother said to him:
"You must not do that way; yet it is for you (to say)." "Yes," said the young man, "yes, as soon as I shall sleep tonight I shall not wake up quickly;
hence, as soon as the sun is risen and is high up, you must work on me and then maybe I shall return and wake up." Now the father said, "Very well."
It now was evening. He now ate a little of the medicine. Upon that he slept. He was entirely dead and he went to the Skeleton House. He came to
Apohnivi. There was a plain trail. On the north side he descended and there somebody was sitting, but that one had died long ago and (behold!) it
was that one. He recognized him.
That one said, "Have you come?" "Yes," the young man said. "Now you carry me," said the one who was sitting there, "at least four steps. There you
set me down." "No, I am in a hurry," the young man said to him, and thereupon proceeded. Now the one that was sitting there cried. When he (the
youth) had gone a little was again some one sitting there. He spoke to him in the same manner. He again did not want to. Now he ascended Bow
Height (Aoatovi), but there somebody went backward and forward and carried something. It was a woman. She had in a carrying basket some very
hard stone (kalavi), but a bow string was her burden band. It had cut into her head skin. Now that woman said, "Take this from me." "No," the
young man said, "I am in a hurry," and proceeded.
Again somebody came, and now he had reached him, but this one was carrying a healing stone. His burden band was a hair string. Cactus was tied
to the right foot of that one and pona (also a species of cactus) to his left foot, so how could he get along fast? If he hurried a little that pricked him
very much. Now that one said, "Take this away from me." "No," he replied, "I am in a hurry," and again he proceeded. After that he ran fast. Now
then he came to the salt, and there somebody was shaking a bell very loudly. Now he arrived at him, and it was Kwanitaka.
The Kwanitaka said to him: "Have you come?"
"Yes," the young man said.
The Kwanitaka now said, "Have you seen them? Thus you want it. Now I shall inform you. There where you first came upon one, that one is very
wicked. He does not want rain in summer. That one when he does something offensive to these here clouds they all run away. Then again, you
know, you arrived at another one. That one killed some one. That one when he put something bad into somebody he died from it, hence when will
those arrive here? You see when they have taken four steps, there they remain again. Then these at Aoatovi are carrying something. They also take
four steps and then remain there, but they always remain eight 'times' before they proceed, hence when shall they arrive here? Now go on, but you go
this way here (pointing to one of two diverging roads). Now you go on happily and then somewhere some one will ring again."
And sure enough when he drew near, somebody was ringing, and again he arrived at some one who spoke to him in the same manner. "Have you
come?" he said. "Yes," the young man answered. "All right, go on," said the Kwanitaka, and taking hold of the young man he led him. Now they
came somewhere, and there was a fire. Now they arrived there and it was very deep there, like a corn steaming oven (koici), but it was burning very
much. "don't you know, those that you first came upon, they come here. Them I burn up here. Those wicked ones there in Oraibi, them I burn up here,
but they at least will come out. Do you see, as soon as burned, as soon as it smokes, it comes out. Now you see sometimes it (the air) is filled with
smoke. Now that (smoke) is these. They eat nothing. They are never happy. But it was themselves when they planned it. Now then, let us be this
Now they arrived at a place where it was very deep and where it was very dark deep in. "Here I throw some of them in, but they always remain in
here. They never come out. Now come on, let us be back. Thus you wanted to understand this." Now he left him. Now he returned to the other
Kwanitaka, and he arrived there. And again he said, "Have you come?" "Yes," said the young man, and again he led him to a road, directing him to
the other of the two roads. "That way you go," he said, and now he came somewhere to a village, but it was a large village. They lived there in white
houses only. There at the extreme edge of the village a Kwanitaka was going up and down. He said, "Have you come? Come this way," and then took
hold of him and took him to the village. He arrived there. There another chief, a Kwanitaka, stood close at the village. "Have you come?" he said to
them. "Yes," they answered together, whereupon he said, "Now please enter." Upon that this other also took hold of the young man and they entered,
and sure enough, there also some were living and he knew them. He had been a chief in Oraibi a long time ago. Now the Kwanitaka said to the young
man. "This way, this you wanted to know." But in a large blossom he was living. That deceased chief and three other chiefs were living in blossoms
that were standing one after the other. "Thanks," said the Kwanitaka, "these were never bad in Oraibi; they were always good, therefore they are here
this way now. Now, then, let us go and look there, too." So they again entered. There all kinds of grasses and plants and blossoms of every
description were. "Thus these are living here," said the Kwanitaka. "This you wanted to know, hence now you look well. When you return you tell
them. You see if any one is not wicked there in Oraibi he shall certainly come here. Here you have seen it. You see, there a road has been prepared for
them. Now as soon as you arrive you tell them everything about this our life here, and if some one thinks to himself (has his welfare at his heart) he
must live accordingly. Thus you wanted it. Because you have entered our dwelling, here everywhere you have found out everything, but as soon as
you think of coming here sometime, you must eat a little of your medicine again, but you must tell this to your mother and your father and to them,
but they must never do that way, and if they do not believe my talk they shall never live with us here. Now then, proceed. Run fast, as your father and
mother are waiting for you."
Now then, from there he ran very fast. He arrived at the Kwanmongwi, where the road divided. He said to him, "Have you come?" "Yes," the young
man said. "Very well," he replied, "run fast now, your father and mother are waiting for you." He now came running very fast. At Aoatovi he again
came upon them who were being punished there, those who because they had stolen. They were going to the Skeleton House, but were still punished
there, but they were concerned that their thieving should come to an end, and then sometime they might arrive in the Skeleton House. Now when he
came upon them the one that was sitting there said to him: "So you have come back again!" "Yes," the young man replied, and at once proceeded,
running very fast. Now he came upon the woman. She said, "So you have come back again!" "Yes," he answered, and upon that proceeded, running
He now came upon the one that had killed some one, north of Apohnivi. "So you have come back again," said that one that was punished there. "Yes,"
he answered. Having said this, he proceeded, running. Now he arrived a little north of Apohnivi. Now there the one that did not want it to rain was
sitting. He also said the same thing. "Yes," the young man said, and proceeded, running. Now he arrived at his house in Oraibi and entered his body.
Now when the sun was rising he awoke and sat up. He was thinking. The sun was somewhat high already. Now his mother, because she was
through making the food, came to look after him and he had awoke. "Are you awake?" the mother said. "Yes," he replied. "Come then, let us eat; come
this way," the mother said. "Very well," answered the young man. So they were eating. When they had eaten the father asked the young man: "Now
what have you found out?" "Yes," he said, "yes, truly they are living. I have seen everything there in the Skeleton House and there the chief told me
thus, thus I tell you. There that Kwanmongwi burns these wicked ones there, and these others he throws into the dark and then again, these that have
been chiefs here they live well there and they are chiefs there again. I have seen their way of living there. So when some time you will not see me here,
you must not worry over that; truly they are living there." Thus he told them. And after that they were living together. By and by the young man
anted to go back again, and he said to his father, "My father, my mother," they said. "I shall go back again," he answered. "Very well," said the father,
and that night he took some of that medicine and then slept, but now he was really dead. And (in the morning) the mother, in order that he should eat,
in order that he should refresh himself, looked after her boy, but he had died. Now they wrapped him up and put him away, there below Kuivo. There
they buried him.
After that they lived (alone), but they, the father and the mother, were homesick after their boy. Now the father went to his field, and when he came
there he hoed his field. Then at the edge of the field something was running. It was a bird, a Bachro. Now the Bachro spoke. "Alas!" he said, "alas, my
father is homesick after me." "Yes," the father said, "I am homesick after you." The Bachro said, "Now you must not be that way; why I told you (all
about it). In four days I shall come back again, hence you must both come." Having said this he flew away. Now, after four days the father said to
the mother: "Let us go together." "Very well," she said. Now his wife prepared some lunch and then they left. When they arrived there they were
making the field. Now the husband said to his wife, "Now somebody will come." "Who?" she asked. When they were still thus talking it arrived.
Close by them something was whistling, and now he came running towards them and arrived at them. As soon as he had arrived at them he said,
"Alas, you are homesick after me." Now the father said, "Yes." "Now you must not be that way," he said. "I live well." Now the mother said: "Yes, I
am homesick after you." Now again he said, "You must not be that way. I shall come and see you." Having said this he again flew away. In the
evening they went home and surely after that when the father was walking in the field that came there. After that they continued to live there.
Haliksai! In Shongopavi the people were living first, and there a young man was often sitting at the edge of the village looking at the graveyards and
wondering what became of the dead, whether it is true that they continue to live somewhere. He spoke to his father about it. His father could not tell
him very much. "We do not know much about it," he said; "so that is what you are thinking about." His father was the village chief. He said to his
son that he would speak to the other chiefs and to his assistants about it, which he did. He talked about it especially to the village crier, and told them
that those were the things that his son was thinking about, and whether they knew anything about it. "Yes," they said. "The Badger Old Man
(Honana Wuhtaka) has the medicine for it and knows about it. We shall inform him." So they called the Badger Old Man. When he arrived he asked
them what they wanted with him. "Yes," they said, "this young man is thinking about these dead, whether they live anywhere, and you know about it,
you have medicine for that, and that is the reason why we called you."
"Very well," he said, "so that is why you wanted me. I shall go and get my medicine."
So he went over to his house and looked over his medicines and finally found the right one. "This is the medicine," he said, and took it, returning to the
village. "Very well," he said; "now when does he want to find out about it?" "Tomorrow," they replied. "Very well, have you a white kilt?" "Yes," the
village chief replied. "You put this on your son the next morning," he said, "and then you blacken his chin with toho (a black shale), and tie a small
eagle feather (piph) to his forehead." The next morning they dressed up the young man as they were instructed, preparing him as they prepare the
dead. Hereupon the Badger Old Man spread a white owa on the floor and told the young man to lie down on it. He then placed some medicine into
his mouth, which the young man ate. He also place some medicine into his ears and some on his heart. Then he wrapped him up in a robe,
whereupon the young man, after moving a little, 'died.' "This is the medicine," the Badger Old Man said, "if he eats this he will go far away and then
come back again. He wanted to see something and find out something, and with this medicine he will find out."
After the young man had fallen asleep he saw a path leading westward. It was the road to the Skeleton House. This road he followed and after a
while he met some one who was sitting there. "What have you come for?" he asked the young man. "Yes," he replied, "I have come to find out about
your life here." "Yes," the other one replied, "I did not follow the straight road; I did not listen, and I now have to wait here. After a certain number of
days I can go on a little, then I can go on again, but it will be a long time before I shall get to Skeleton House." This one was simply living in an
enclosure of sticks. That was all the house and protection he had.
From here the young proceeded westward. The path led through large cactus and through many agave p;ants so that sometimes it could hardly be
distinguished. He finally arrived at the rim of a steep bluff. Here somebody was sitting. He asked the young man why he had come, and the latter
told him. "Very well," the chief said. "Away over there is the house that you are going to," but as there was a great deal of smoke in the distance the
young man could not see the house. But hereupon the chief placed the young man's kilt on the ground, placed the young man on it, then lifted it up,
and holding it over the precipice he threw it forward, whereupon the young man was slowly descending on the kilt as if he were flying with wings.
When he had arrived on the ground below the bluff he put on his kilt again and proceeded. In the distance he saw a column of smoke rising from the
ground. After he had proceeded a distance he came upon Skeleton Woman (Mas Wuhti). He asked her what that was. "Yes," she said, "some of those
who had been wicked while living in the village were thrown in there. There is a chief there who tells them to go over this road, and throws them in
there. Those who are thrown in there are destroyed, they no longer exist. You must not go there," she added, "but you keep on this road and go
straight ahead towards Skeleton House." When he arrived there he could not see any one at first except a few children who were playing there. "Oh!"
they said, "here a Skeleton has come." There was a very large village there, so he went in and now the people or Skeletons living there heard about
him. So they assembled there on all sides and looked at him. "Who are you?" they asked the young man. "I am the village chief's son. I came from
So they pointed him to the Bear clan, saying, "Those are the people that you want to see. They are your people." Because there were a great many
different clans there. They are sleeping there in the daytime. So the Skeleton took him over to the house where his clan lived. "Here your ancestors
are," they told him, and showed him the ladder that led up to the house, but the rungs of the ladder were made of sunflower stems. He tried to go up
but the first rung broke as soon as he stepped on it, but when the Skeletons went up and down the ladder the rungs did not break. So he was
wondering how he should get up. "I shall stay down here," he said; "I shall not go up. You bring me food here and feed me down here," he said to
them. So the Skeletons brought him some melon, watermelon, and chuk?viki.
When they saw him eat they laughed at him, because they never eat the food, but only the odor or the soul of the food. That is the reason why they are
not heavy. And that is the reason why the clouds into which the dead are transformed are not heavy and can float in the air. The food itself the
Skeletons threw out behind the houses. So this young man, when he was wandering around there, would sometimes eat of it. When he had eaten they
asked him what he had come for. "Yes," he said, "I was always thinking whether Skeletons live somewhere. I spoke to my father about it and told him
that I wanted to go and find out whether they were staying somewhere, and my father was willing and he dressed me up in this way and the Badger
Old Man gave me some medicine that knows about this so that I could go and find out." "So that is what you have come for; so that is why you have
come here. Now, you look at us. Yes, we are thus." thus they spoke to him, and then added: "This is the way we are living here. It is not light here; it
is not as light as where you live. We are living poorly here. You must go back again, you cannot stay with us here yet; your flesh is still strong and
'salty,' you eat food yet; we only eat the odor of the food. Now you must work there for us. Make nakwakwosis for us at the Soyal ceremony. These
we tie around our foreheads and they represent dropping rain. We then shall work for you here, too. We shall send you rain and crops. You must
wrap up the women when they die, in the owa, and tie the big knotted belt around them, because these owas are not tightly woven and when the
Skeletons move along on them through the sky as clouds, the thin rain drops through these owas and the big raindrops fall from the fringes of the big
belt. Sometimes you cannot see the clouds very distinctly because they are hidden behind them."
Looking around, the young man saw some of the Skeletons walking around with big burdens on their backs, consisting of healing stones, which they
carried over their forehead by a thin string that had cut deeply into the skin. Others carried bundles of cactus on their backs, and, as they had no
clothes on, the thorns of the cactus would hurt them. They were submitted to these punishments for a certain length of length of time, when they were
relieved of them and then lived with the other people there. At another place in the Skeleton House he saw the chiefs who had been good here in this
world and had made a good road for other people. They had taken their tiponis with them and set them up there, and when the people here in the
villages have their ceremonies and smoke during the ceremonies, this smoke goes down into the other world to the tiponis or mothers and from there
rises up in the form of clouds.
After the young man had seen everything at this place he returned. When he arrived at the steep bluff he again mounted his kilt and a slight breeze at
once lifted him up. The chief that was living here at the top of the bluff who had assisted the young man in getting down was a Kwaniita. He had a big
horn for a head-dress. This chief told him that he should return now. "You have now seen how they live here; it is not good. It is not light here; no
one should desire to come here. Your father and mother are mourning for you now, so you return home." On his way back nothing happened to him
and he did not meet anybody. When he had just about arrived at his house his body, that was still lying under the covering in the room where he had
fallen asleep, began to move, and as he entered his body he came to life again. They removed the covering, the Badger Old Man wiped his body,
washed off the paint from his face, dis-charmed him, and then he sat up. They fed him and then asked him what he had found out.
"Yes," he said, "because I wanted to find out this, you dressed me up and laid me down here. Then you fed me something and put some medicine on
my heart. After I had died I traveled westward, and when I was traveling I came upon a woman. She lived in an enclosure of brush and she was
slowly moving westward and had not yet reached her destination by an Ion distance. She asked me where I was going and I told her that I was going
to the Skeleton House and asked her where that was. She said that I was not very far away any more. Then I proceeded and passed through a great
deal of cactus that was growing very closely so that I could hardly get through and had to step carefully. Then there was a place where it was clear.
After that I came through a great many 'c (another species of cactus) plants, where I again had to work my way through carefully. When I came out
of this I traveled on and came to a very steep bluff.
"When I arrived there somebody was sitting there. He had a large horn head-dress with one horn. He had the chief's decoration in the face, a white
line under the right eye running around the outside of the eye. It was a Kwaniita. 'You help me down here,' I told him. 'What with?' he asked. Then I
laid down my kilt. The chief placed me on this kilt, then he lifted it up and raised me above the precipice, when I slowly descended as if I were flying.
From here I went on and came to a place where there was a great deal of smoke coming out of the ground. Here I met a Skeleton woman. She told me
not to go there, but that I should go straight ahead on the path, as that place is where the wicked people were thrown in and burned. Then I traveled
on and finally came to the Skeleton House. Here some children saw me and said, 'Aha, a Skeleton has come.' I looked around and could not see any
one; then I remembered that they meant myself. I then entered the Skeleton House where many rows of houses like in the village are.
"The children had already told them that a Skeleton had come so the people came down from their houses and gathered outside. They asked me who I
was, and when I told them, they said I was from the Bear clan, and showed me the place where the Bear people lived. When I tried to go up the ladder
the rungs broke because they were made of sunflower stalks. So I told the people and they came down and fed me. I was the only one that was
actually eating, and I saw that they threw away the food to the rear of the houses. I asked them why they did so, and they told me that they were
eating the soul or the odor of the food only. They then asked me why I had come and I told them. They said: 'Your flesh is still 'salty.' You will not
stay with us here. Thus we are living here. We are not living like you Hopi live. It is light there, but here it is not light. We are living poorly here.
Some of us have only very few nakwakwosis left on our foreheads. They are worn out so we cannot see very well through them any more. You must
make many nakwakwosis and bahos for us in the village and we shall also work for you here. You make prayer-offerings for us and we shall
provide rain and crops and food for you. Thus we shall assist each other. So you go back now and you tell them in the village that we are living here
and that we are living here in the dark, and tell them that no one should wish to come here. For some it is not yet at all time to come, but if their hearts
are not good and they are angry they will come here sooner, so tell them that no one should desire to travel this way. Now you return right straight,
and do not tarry anywhere.' And so I came straight back.
"It is really true that the Skeletons are living somewhere, and I also saw that those who are bad here and wicked are punished there. They have to
carry heavy burdens. Some carry healing stones, and others cactus, the thorns of which prick them. Especially are those punished there in the other
world that are bad to the maidens and women here. I have seen it all myself now, and I shall after this remember that and think that we are living in
the light here. They are not living in the light there. So I shall not want to be thinking about that place, and no one should desire to go there, because
here we are living better: we are living in the light here. I have seen it myself, and we should not think about that world so much." "Very well," they
all said that were sitting around; "very well; so that is the way." Honan Wuhtaka said to the young man: "Now you must not think about that nay
more. You must go home now and live there strong. Do not think about these things any more."
The tiponi is the palladium of the priest, and usually consists of an ear of corn to which are wrapped feathers of different bird, pieces of turquoise and
shells, etc., and into which are sometimes placed different objects held sacred by the priest.
In Shongopavi where the people were first living, a curious young man would often sit at the edge of the village looking at the graveyards He
wondered what became of the dead, if they really continued to live somewhere else. He asked his father, who could tell him very little. His father was
the village chief, and he said that he would speak to the other chiefs and to his assistants about it. He asked the village criers whether they knew
anything that would help his son.
"Yes," they said. "Badger Old Man has the medicine that will answer his questions."
So they called Badger Old Man, and when he arrived, they said, "This young man is thinking about the dead --whether they live anywhere. You know
about it, and you have medicine that can show him."
"Very well," he said, "I'll go and get my medicine."
So he went to his house, looked over his medicines, and finally found the right one. "This is it," he said, and took it to the village chief.
"Very well," he said. "Tomorrow put a white kilt on your son and then blacken his chin with toho, with black shale, and tie a small eagle feather to his
forehead. These are the very preparations used for the dead."
The next morning they dressed the young man in this way, and Badger Old Man spread a white owa on the floor and told the young man to lie on it.
He gave the young man some medicine to eat and also placed medicine in his ears and on his heart. Then he wrapped him in a robe, whereupon the
young man, after moving a little, "died."
"This is the medicine," Badger Old Man said. "If he hears this, he will go far away but he will also come back again. He wanted to see something and
find out something, and with this medicine he will do just that."
After he had fallen asleep, he saw a path leading westward. It was the road to the skeleton house. This path he followed, and after a while he met a
woman sitting by the roadside.
"What have you come for?" she asked the young man.
"I have come," he replied, "to find out about your life here."
"Yes," the other one said, "I didn't follow the straight road; I didn't listen, and now I have to wait here, after a certain number of days I can go on a
little, then I can go on again, but it will be a long time before I shall get to the skeleton house." She pointed to an enclosure of sticks, which was all the
house and protection she had.
From here the path led westward through large cactus and gave plants so full that they sometimes hid the way. He finally arrived at the rim of a steep
bluff, where a chief was sitting. He was a Kwaniita, and had a white line around his right eye and a big horn for a headdress. He also asked the
young man why he had come, and the latter told him.
"Very well," the chief said. "Away over there is the house that you are looking for."
But a great deal of smoke in the distance hid the house from the young man's view. The chief spread the young man's kilt on the ground, placed the
young man on it, then lifted it up. Holding it over the precipice, the chief threw it forward, whereupon the kilt carried th young man slowly down like
a giant bird.
When he had arrived on the ground below the bluff, he put on his kilt again and proceeded. In the distance he saw a column of smoke rising. After he
had proceeded a distance, he came upon Skeleton Woman and asked her what the smoke was.
"Some of those who were wicked while they lived in the village were thrown in there," she said. "The bad chiefs send their people over this road, and
then they are destroyed; they no longer exist. You must not go there," she added.
"Keep on this road and go straight ahead toward the skeleton house."
When at last he arrived at skeleton house, he did not see anyone except a few children playing there.
"Oh!" they said, "Here a skeleton has come." and by the time he went into the village, all the people --or skeletons, rather -- living there had heard about
him and gathered to stare.
"Who are you?" they asked the young man.
"I am the village chief's son. I come from Shongopavi."
So they pointed toward the Bear clan, saying, "Those are the people that you want to see. They are your ancestors." A skeleton took him over to the
house where his clan lived and showed him the ladder that led up to the house. The rungs of the ladder were made of sunflower stems, and the first
rung broke as soon as he stepped on it, though the skeletons went up an down the ladder with no trouble. "I shall have to stay down here," he said;
"bring me food and feed me here."
So the skeletons brought him some melon, watermelon, and chukuviki.
When they saw him eat, they laughed at him; they are lighter than air because they never eat the food, but only its odor or soul. And that is the reason
why the clouds into which the dead are transformed are not heavy and can float in the air. The food itself the skeletons threw out behind the houses,
which is where they got his meal. When he had finished, they asked him what he had come for. He said, "I was wondering whether skeletons lived
somewhere. I told my father I wanted to go and find out, and he dressed me up in this way and Badger Old Man gave me some medicine to make it
"So that's what you have come for; well, look at us." Then they added: "It's not light here; it's not as light as where you live. We actually live poorly
here. You cannot stay with us here yet; your flesh is still strong and 'salty.' You still eat food; we eat only the odor of the food. But when you go back,
you must work for us there. Make nakwakwosis for us at the Soyal ceremony. These we tie around our foreheads, and they represent dropping rain.
We shall work for you here, too. We shall send you rain and crops. You must wrap up in the owa women when they die, and tie the big knotted belt
around them, because these owas are not tightly woven. When the skeletons move along on them through the sky as cloud, the thin rain drops
through these owas, and the big raindrops fall from the fringes of the big belt. Sometimes you cannot see the clouds distinctly, because they are hidden
behind these nakwakwosis, just as our faces are hidden behind them."
Looking around, the young man saw some of the skeletons walking around with huge burdens on their backs. These were healing stones, which they
carried by a thin string over the forehead that had cut deeply into the skin. Others carried bundles of cactus on their backs, and as they had no clothes
on, the thorns of the cactus hurt them. He was told that some had to submit to such punishment for a certain length of time, then were relieved of them
and could live with the others.
At another place in the skeleton house he saw the chiefs who had been good here in this world and had made a good road for other people. They had
taken their tiponis, their protective medicine, and set them up there, and when the people in the villages have their ceremonies and smoke during the
ceremonies, this smoke goes down into the other world to the tiponis or mothers and from there rises up in the form of clouds.
After the young man had seen everything and satisfied his curiosity, he set off to his own village. When he arrived at the steep bluff, he again mounted
his kilt and a slight breeze lifted him up. He met the Kwaniita chief, who told him, "Your father and mother are mourning for you now, so you'd better
return home." This was the last person he met on his way back.
When he had just about arrived at his house, his body, which was still lying under the covering in the room where he had fallen asleep, began to move,
and they joined once more, it came to life again. They removed the covering, and Badger Old Man wiped his body, washed the paint off his face, and
dis-charmed him. Then he sat up.
They fed him and asked what he had found out. He recounted all of his experiences in detail --the woman with the house of brush, the Kwaniita chief
and his flight on a kilt, and all about the skeleton house --the skeletons with heavy burdens of cactus and stone, and even the skeletons' food.
"I have seen it all myself now, and I shall remember it. We are living in the light here. They are living in the dark there. No one should desire to go
Then he told them about the nakwakwosis and bahos. "If we make prayer offerings for them, they will provide rain and crops and food for us. Thus
we shall assist each other."
"Very well," they all said. "Very well; so that is the way." And so they returned to their homes wiser than before. And from that time, the living and
the dead began to work together for the benefit of both.
|A Katcina Race Contest
The Walpi and The Oraibi
A Hopi Legend
Haliksai! In Walpi the people were living, but at the place where the old village stood before the people had moved on the mesa. And in Oraibi the
people were also living. The Walpi always had races west of the village in the valley for practice. When they had become strong, they said: "Let us go
to Oraibi and race there, because they are not strong and nimble." One time they had a Katcina race in Walpi again, as they used to have frequently.
One of the Oraibi youths who had a friend in Walpi went to visit his friend on that day, though he had not heard about there being a race there. As the
Katcinas were coming towards evening his friend said to the Oraibi youth, that he should stay all night and see the Katcinas, and then go home in the
morning. So the Oraibi youth remained for the Katcina race.
They did not come until towards evening. When they had arrived on the plaza the Koyemsis challenged the young men of the village to come and race
with the Katcinas. The Oraibi youth enjoyed seeing the race, but he was somewhat timid and afraid to participate in the race. When the race was over
the young men of the village had long races yet down in the valley, but they said to one another, that no one should tell the Oraibi youth that they
intended to go there and race with the Oraibi. In the evening, however, the friend of this young man told him that the Walpi had been practicing and
that they intended to come to Oraibi and race with the Oraibi youths. He added that they should also practice in Oraibi for this coming contest, and
said that these Walpi were braggarts and not so strong as they said they were. When he had told this they retired for the night.
Early the next morning, before he had eaten a morning meal, the Oraibi youth returned to his village, running very fast. When he arrived there he told
the crier to make an announcement. The latter announced that the youths of the village should assemble on the plaza, as a certain youth had
something to communicate to them. Hereupon the young men assembled on the plaza and asked the young man what he had to tell them. He said that
he had been in Walpi, that they had Katcina races there and practiced running, and that they were going to come over here to race with them, so they
should now go and practice running and thus become strong. "Let us race here north of the village," he added. "They were going to come here without
informing us, but my friend there told me about it."
So they assembled at Hohoyahki, north of the village, and there had two races. "Let us stop now," they said to each other, "if we race too long one gets
tired and does not recover from his fatigue." Thus they practiced for four days. On the fifth day the Walpi came. They did not know, however, that the
Oraibi had heard about their coming. When the Walpi arrived at the spring K'eqo'chmovi, east of Oraibi, where there were then no houses, they
dressed up at that spring so that the Oraibi should not find out so soon, but the Oraibi had noticed them. When they had dressed up they ran towards
the village, following a trail straight up towards the Katcinkihu Kuwawaima. Here they gathered and stopped for a little while and then ran towards
The people of the village, though they had known of their coming, acted as if they had not seen them. Two of the Katcinas were Koyemsis who carried
gifts in the form of comiviki, roasted sweet corn ears, etc. When they had arrived at the plaza one of the older Oraibi went to them and asked: "Have
you come? Have you arrived?" "Yes," the Koyemsis said. "On what account did you come?" they were asked. "Yes," the Koyemsis said, "we have
come to contend with your young men in a race." Hereupon the old man asked the Oraibi youths to descend from the houses and race these Katcinas.
Immediately a large number of the young men came down, laid off their clothes, and raced with the Katcinas. As so many entered the race the
Katcinas were soon tired. They did not capture one Oraibi racer, did not even get near enough to strike him with their yucca leaf whips.
When they were through racing they had not caught a single Oraibi youth, and the Oraibi had won from them all the presents. The Katcinas were very
tired. The man who had received them on the plaza gave them at least some prayer-meal, whereupon they returned to the Katcina house south of the
village, where they laid off their costumes. They then again met the Oraibi men to race with them west of the village. "You have beaten us," they said to
the Oraibi, "if we do not win in this race them we shall indeed be very much dejected." They then descended from the village on the west side, ran
towards Mumu'shvavi, from there south-westward, then south around the mesa point, and ascended the mesa from the east side, thus describing a
very large circle.
The Walpi again could not overtake the Oraibi and when they got to K'eqo'chmovi, the Walpi were very tired and gave up the race. The two Koyemsis
who were a little older than the others and were not quite so tired went up to the Katcina house and got the costumes of the Walpi, whereupon the
Walpi all returned, very much in despair. They went very slowly and were very quiet. "The Oraibi," they said among themselves, "are very strong." It
was early in the morning when one after the other arrived at Walpi, some of them being so tired that they had fallen far behind. They agreed that they
should not go and race with the Oraibi again.
|A Raid On the Hopi Villages
A Hopi Legend
Haliksai! At the old ruin on top of the hill (about seven miles north-east of Oraibi) used to live some people. Across the valley on another mesa was
also a village. The inhabitants of these two villages used to live farther north-east. They were harassed and warred upon by the Utes (Utsia), for
which reason they moved to the two places already mentioned. For about five years they were left in peace in those villages after they had settled there.
But in the sixth year their enemies found them again, and one evening they were seen approaching the village and were camping at the mesa somewhat
eastward. The chiefs said to their young men: "It seems that somebody is camping there. You run there in the evening and find out who they are."
So some of the young men ran there, and sneaking close to the camp found out that, sure enough, they were their old enemies. When the inhabitants of
the villages heard that, they were busy all night making bows and arrows and preparing for a fight. Very early in the morning the inhabitants of the
village on the west side of the valley all moved over to a small village on the east side of the valley, that was situated on the extreme edge of the mesa.
Here they thought they could defend themselves better, as it would be very difficult for their enemies to get up to their village.
When the sun rose the enemies approached the village on the west side of the valley, rushed up the hill and went through the village, but did not find
anyone, all having fled. But they soon discovered their tracks, and followed them. They were on horseback, but when they arrived at the place where
these people had assembled they could not get up to the village, and many of them were shot and killed by the people in the village. But finally, towards
evening, some of them going around the mesa succeeded in getting into the village from the south side, where they captured some of the of the women
and maidens, rushed off with them, mounted their ponies, and escaped.
The warriors of the village, though they followed them, could not overtake them, as they were afoot. The people who had thus been attacked said that
they would not stay at their villages, as they would certainly be attacked again by their enemies. So they dressed up and, packed up all their things, and
forming into line, went to Oraibi, the chief going at the head of the line. They were admitted to the village and are still living there. In that battle not
many of them had been killed, as they were well defended from their assailants, and the latter, after having taken some women and children, escaped.
|Balolookongwuu and the Coyote
A Hopi Legend
Balolookongwuu (the abbreviated term Balolookong being usually used) is a mythical serpent, supposed to control the water and to live in the ocean,
springs, etc. Lolo'okongwuu (abr. Lolo'okong) is really the Bull Snake, but this term is often used for Balolookong, as is seen in this story.
Aliksai! In Mishongnovi, where there are now the ruins of old Mishongnovi, they were living. East of there the Lolo'okong also lived, and south from
there, at Jack-Rabbit House (Coviihkivee), lived the Coyote. He was a friend of the Lolo'okong. "I am going to visit my friend," the Lolo'okong said one
day, so in the evening he went over to his friend's kiva. The Lolo'okong was very long. When he arrived at the Coyote's house the latter said, "Come
in." "All right," he replied. "Come in," his friend repeated, so he went in and kept coiling up until he filled the entire kiva. So they were sitting and
conversing there. "Now let us eat something," the Coyote said. "Very well," his visitor replied. So the Coyote brought forth some juniper berries, which
they ate. "Thanks, that I have eaten," the Lolo'okong said.
By this time it had become quite late. "I am going home now," the Lolo'okong said. "All right," his host replied, "it is getting late." And after having
invited the Coyote to visit him also, the Lolo'okong left. After his visitor had left the Coyote was thinking: "What shall I do to my friend, as I want to
repay him?" the next day he went into the timber and got a big armful of dry cedar bark. This he tied into a long rope, as it were, with yucca leaves, and
rolled it up in his kiva. He then fastened it to his tail and went out. After having run around for some time, he went to his friend's house. "Have you
come?" the latter said. "Yes, I have come." "All right, come in, come in," the Lolo'okong said. So he went in and kept circling around and around, filling
the whole kiva with his long tail. On the walls of the kiva of the Lolo'okong were hanging many snake costumes, and the Coyote kept looking and
looking at them. "Now let us eat," the host finally said, and getting from a shelf a very small bowl with some corn-pollen, set it before his visitor. "This
I am eating; eat of it too," he said to the Coyote. So they talked together until evening. "It is evening," finally the Coyote said. "I am going home now."
"Very well," the Lolo'okong replied, "we are through talking, and it is evening."
The Coyote hereupon left the kiva, dragging his long tail after him. When the latter was nearly unwound, the Lolo'okong put a little piece of ember on
the tail, which set it on fire, a lid when this was dragged out of the kiva, it set the grass on fire. The Coyote looked around and was wondering who was
setting everything on fire after him. When the tail was nearly consumed he had arrived at his kiva, and then he began to think that maybe his friend
had done that to him. "Well now," he said, "he is my friend, and that friend has treated me this way." And then he became very angry at the
Lolo'okong. He then entered his kiva and continued to live there.
|Big Head and Goat Horn
A Hopi Legend
Haliksai! In Oraibi they were living. East of the Kwan kiva a youth lived, by the name of big Head (Wuyakqoto).
Away south are the Hopi Buttes, and on the westernmost butte lived Goat Horn (Chiwakala). These two were friends, but as they lived so far apart they
did not visit each other often; but one time Goat Horn visited his friend in Oraibi. After they had eaten and talked together, towards evening Goat Horn
wanted to return home. "My friend," he said to Big Head. "What is it?" the latter replied. "You must come and visit me sometime, too," Goat Horn said;
whereupon he went home.
After a while Big Head visited his friend, and stayed all night there. In the morning Goat Head killed a goat for his friend, cut it in two, and gave him
one-half, which Big Head took with him to the village; and that is the reason why Hopi, when they kill a goat, cut it up.
|Blue Corn Maiden and the Coming of Winter
A Hopi Legend
Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that she gave
them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but she also had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of
One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something she would not normally do. While she was out of her adobe
house, she saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the earth. He wore his blue and white mask and blew cold wind
with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved her at once.
He invited her to come to his house, and she had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made
Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved her very much, she was sad living with him.
She wanted to go back to her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.
Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the each and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone,
Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods she loved to find in summer.
Under all the ice and snow, all she found was four blades of yucca.
She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina's house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow her to start a fire when he was in the house.
When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in
the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.
Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he
held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-ax. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer
As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised
his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle.
Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked.
They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer
Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.
Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People.
Sometimes, when spring had come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just
to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.
|Boy and the Sun
A Hopi Legend
A boy once lived with his mother's mother for he didn't know who his father was. His grandmother said to ask the Sun about his father, surely the Sun
One morning the made a flour of crushed tortoise shell, cornmeal, coral, and seashells. He threw the four upwards and it made a path into the sky (Milky
He climbed the path and when he found the Sun he asked, "Who is my father?" and the Sun replied, "You have much to learn." The boy fell to Earth.
He then made a wooden box from a Cottonwood tree and sealed himself in it as it floated west down a river to find the Sun again. The box washed
ashore where two rivers join.
He was freed from the box by a young female rattlesnake. Together they traveled west to find the Sun. They saw a meteor fall into the sea on its way to
the Sun's house. They asked it for a ride. In this way they made it to the Sun's house.
There they met the Sun's mother (the Moon) who was working on a piece of turquoise. That evening when the Sun came home from his days work, the
boy asked again, "Who is my father?" And then the Sun replied, "I think I am."
|Chorzhvuk'iqolo and the Eagles
A Hopi Legend
A long time ago there lived a family right north of where now the Nashabe kiva is situated. The family consisted of a father, mother, two daughters, and a
son. The latter would always go and hunt eagles as soon as warm weather set ill in spring, and later on take care of them, so that he would never find
any time to assist his father in his field work. The two maidens would get angry at their brother because he would not assist their father to make a living,
and they would tell him that he should go and work in the field. He would say, however, that he had to take care of his eagles, of which he usually caught
and kept a great many.
One spring he only captured two young eagles. He was very much depressed, saying: "Why has this happened to me; I usually capture a good many
eagles, and now I only found two." Yet he took them home and cared for them. One morning after he had gone out to hunt food for his eagles, the mother
and two maidens concluded to go to the field also. The girls got angry at the eagles and beat them. Thereupon they locked up the house, hiding the
wooden key of the wooden lock somewhere near the fireplace. The mother had gone to the field early in the morning with her husband. When the girls
arrived in the field the father said to them: "So you have come." "Yes," they said, "we have come." "Very well," the father said, whereupon the maidens
assisted their parents in weeding and hoeing their field.
When the young man came home some time during the day, he was very thirsty and tried to get into the house. "Well, now," he said, "some one locked
this door." "Yes," the Eagles said, "your sisters locked it, and the key is buried near the fireplace under some ashes;" whereupon the young man found the
key and opened the door. The Eagles told him that his sisters had beaten them, and told him that he should dress up and that they wanted to go to where
the family was. So the young man painted his legs yellow, with sik'ahpiki, tied some bells or rattles round his legs, and some eagle's feathers in his hair,
put on a kilt, sash, and belt, and decorated his body in different colors. Over his cheeks and nose he made a black line. He placed a number of strands of
beads around his neck and ear pendants around his ears. One of the Eagles said, "I am going to carry you on my back." So he mounted the Eagle,
holding himself with both hands to the wings of the Eagle, and the other Eagle taking the lead, they began to ascend. The people in the village observed
them and recognized the young man, and said, "Oh! Why is that Eagle carrying Chorzhvuk'iqolo!"
As they started, the Eagle that carried him said to him, he should sing the following song:
Haoo Inguu! Haoo Inaa! Itah uuyiyuu kamuktiqoo. Shilkwuyata Hao, my mother! Hao, my father! Our corn grown high. Corn husks.
Tutubena tutubena. Ayay Tutubena. Tutubena, tutubena. Yaaa. (Are) figured, (are) figured. Aha (are) figured. Are figured, (are) figured. Yaaa.
While he was singing this they kept soaring upwards above the village, and after flying around in a circle four times they proceeded southward towards
the field in which his people were. When they had come near the field the young man sang the same song again. The sisters heard him, and said, "Listen,
our brother is coming from somewhere, because we hear him sing." They looked along the path but could see nothing. When the Eagles were close by the
sisters discovered them and recognized their brother. "Oh!" they said, "why are you carrying our brother?" but they received no answer. Hereupon the
eagles descended somewhat, and the parents, whom the maidens had told about it, asked them to come down and leave their son with them, but instead of
doing that, the Eagles began to rise, again circling around four times, the young man singing the song four times. By this time they had soared up very
high, and finally were out of sight. The parents and sisters cried very much, especially the latter. The family immediately went home, mourning as they
The Eagles kept flying higher and higher to their home. Arriving at an opening away up in the sky, they passed through into the world where the Eagles
dwell, and from where they come down in response to the prayers of the Hopi and hatch their young for the Hopi here in this world. The two Eagles
proceeded somewhat eastward from the opening, onto a very high bluff around which, in the valley, were many houses that were all perfectly white and
in which the Eagles lived. The two Eagles deposited the young man on the top of that bluff, and told him, "Here you will have to stay, because your sisters
were bad to us and beat us," whereupon they left him. He was very despondent over the matter and thought that he would jump down from the bluff. He
said, If I remain here I will die with hunger anyway, so I may just as well jump down and die quickly." But soon a little Wren appeared on the bluff,
jumping up and down the edge. He spoke to the little Wren, asking whether there was no possibility of him getting down, but he received no answer.
Soon the little bird flew away, but came back again, acting in the same manner.
All at once a black Spider, that had been informed about the matter by the Wren came up the bluff. The Spider came close to the man, saying to him:
"Well, now, you poor one, here you are all alone." After thus having pitied him, the Spider continued: "Well, just stay here," and left him. But soon she
returned, bringing with her two small, fine, downy turkey feathers, and handed them to the young man, saying: "You sleep on one of them and cover
yourself wit the other, so that you do not get cold during the night." She then began pitying him, saying that it was too bad that his animals (meaning the
Eagles) had treated him so badly after he had taken such good care of them. Hereupon she again left him and he spent the night on the bluff.
Early in the morning the Wren came again. "So you have come again," the young man said, but the Wren did not answer. It went, however, along the
edge of the bluff again to the place where the Spider had come up and when the young man looked there, too, he saw a narrow crack in the bluff, reaching
away down to the ground. The Wren at once began to pull out one feather after another from its wings, putting them at short intervals into the wall of
the crack, while it was holding itself also on the sides of the crack. When the feathers from the wings were all gone it pulled out the feathers from its tail,
thrusting them also into the side of the crack. When the tail feathers were all gone it had not yet reached the bottom by far. So it began to pull out the
small feathers from all over the body and continued to build its little ladder with these feathers, but the bottom was still not reached, so that finally it had
to pull out even the small down all over its body, with which it finished the ladder. It now ascended the bluff again on its improvised ladder, and when it
came to the top the young man hardly recognized it.
It was entirely naked, having kept only its bill. It now invited the young man to follow it, and climbed down the ladder, assuring him that he would get
down safely, and there was no reason for him to be afraid. So they descended and when they had safely reached the ground the Wren told him to wait
there for it, whereupon it commenced to ascend again, holding itself to the sides of the crack. As it slowly mounted it pulled off with its bill the feathers
from the wall of the crack and replaced them where they had been taken out from its body. When it had reached the top it had all its feathers again and
then flew down. Here it told the young man to go towards the place from where it had come, showing him the direction, and then left him.
The man proceeded as directed, and when he finally stopped at a place he heard a voice saying: "Step back a little, you almost are on my house." It was
Spider Woman. She invited him into her house, but he said: "the opening is so small, how shall I get in?" She removed the small sticks and pieces of grass
that were built up around the opening, thus enlarging the opening so that he could enter. "Now," she said to him, "you must be very hungry. It is too bad
that those Eagles which you treated so well should have been so bad to you. You had better stay here and live with me now."
Hereupon she gave him a tiny piece of meat, a very small quantity of hurushuki ( a kind of doughy mush), and half a nut, and invited him to eat. "Oh!" he
thought, "how shall I get satisfied with this small quantity. I shall surely remain hungry," but when he took the hurushuki, and placed it in his mouth, she
said to him: "Oh, you must not take it all, you must just take a small quantity, and you must only suck the meat." He did so and when he began to eat it, it
increased in his mouth, filling his mouth entirely. The same was true of the nut, and the meat, the latter being white meat of some kind of a fowl, as the old
woman explained to him upon his request. After he had eaten, Spider Woman made a ball for him of pitch and hair, the same as the Hopi use today in
their races in early spring. In the morning he took that ball, left the house and ran southward, kicking the ball before him as the Hopi do at the present
Arriving at a small lake he saw at its banks some little birds, and having learned that Spider Woman relished that kind of meat very much, he killed one of
the birds and took it along. On his way back he again kicked the ball before him, and at the last kick it dropped down into the Spider Woman's house, by
which she knew that he had returned. "thanks, that you have come back." She expressed her satisfaction at him having brought some more meat, and
said: "Now, you must put this away and we must not eat very much of it at a time, so that it may last us several months." The young man laughed at her,
saying, "Yes, I will be nibbling at it for a long time." She told him that the meat which she had had before, she had found, the bird evidently having been
killed by some other bird, and she had lived upon that bird for a long time.
The next day he went out again, bringing home this time two birds that he had killed. She thanked him very much again, saying, that now they could eat
all they wanted. She then warned him that he should never go towards the west, as there were some bad people living there that would hurt him. The
third day he again went to the lake, taking with him this time a throwing stick. When he arrived there he killed a large number of birds and brought them
back with him. On this trip he again kept kicking the ball before him. When he brought all these birds into Spider Woman's house and placed them on the
floor, she was very happy, and thanked him for it many times. "Now," she said, "we can eat meat and need longer simply suck it," as they did before. "I
am going to live well now, on account of you, (by your help)," she added.
On the fourth day he again made the trip in the same manner, to the aforesaid lake, but this time he thought he would turn around to the right, westward,
and see at least who it was that was living there and that was reported to be bad. He thought if any danger threatened him he could easily run away. So
he traveled westward, kicking before him his ball. All at once the ball disappeared and he found that it had dropped into a kiva. He approached the kiva
and waited outside. All at once some one called from within, saying, that he had been seen and that he should come in, as nobody would hurt him. So he
went in and found that his ball was lying north of the fireplace. He was again, with the utmost kindness, invited to sit down, with which he complied. He
thought that those who lived here could by no means be called dangerous or bad.
The man living in the kiva had long eyelids that were hanging down on his breast and that had to be laid back over his head when he wanted to see. His
name was Hasohkata, and soon he said: "Now, let us play totolospi." The young man consented, but Hasohkata beat him twice. "What will you pay me
now?" he asked the young man. "I do not know," the latter said, "I have nothing. You may take my ball, however." "I do not want that," Hasohkata said,
"but you may lie down outside at the entrance of my kiva and it will not be so cold then," for it had by this time become fall and the weather was getting
cold. The young man consented, but Hasohkata said to him: "I am afraid you will run away then, so I am going to tie your hands and feet," which he did.
In a little while the young man began to feel very cold while he was lying outside of the kiva. Spider Woman, in the meanwhile, became uneasy about her
young friend, saying, "It is now about half noon and he is not yet here, he undoubtedly did not follow my advice and went westward and fell into the
hands of the bad people.
She at once went to look him up and found him lying at the kiva's opening, his hands tied on his back and his feet also tied together. "Aha!" she said, "here
you are just lying as I thought. You must be hungry; now, that is the reason why I came. Now, you stay here until I return and get something for you."
So she returned to her house and got two fuzzy, short turkey feathers. With these she returned and placed one beneath him and with the other one she
covered him up. Hereupon she returned to her house and commenced to meditate on the matter. "Why did he take away my friend," she thought, "and
how shall I get him back again. That man there in the kiva is a bad man and he will not want to give back to me my grandchild. I am going out to call
somebody in here." So she went out and called out to her people saying: "All assemble here, but do not tarry, be quick about it."
Those that responded at once were specially animals of prey, such as the bear, wildcat, panther, mole, etc. Her house was completely filled. "Why do you
want us in such a hurry?" they asked. "Yes," she said, "that there Hasohkata has hung my grandchild up to smoke (referring to the fact that objects that
are smoked are sometimes suspended in the hatch-way over the fireplace). So now, I want you to go and take my grandchild away from Hasohkata."
"All right," they said, "but how shall we do ti?" "You must also gamble with him," she said. They then agreed upon certain games that they were going to
play, and sticks that they should make, etc., and then left, being led by the old woman.
Hasohkata in the meanwhile kept laughing at the young man lying outside of his kiva entrance. "Now, you are cold by this time, are you?" he kept saying
to him, and while he was still talking in that manner the rescuers arrived at the kiva. Before they started, however, from Spider Woman's house, she had
prepared, a set of backshivu (a cup game). This she had brought with her. While they had proceeded to Hasohkata's house the Mole had proceeded to the
same place underground and was waiting under the house of Hasohkata.
When the others arrived at the kiva they were invited to come in by Hasohkata. He spoke very kindly to them. North of the fireplace was still the drawing
of the totolospi game that he had played with the young man. In reply to his urgent request to come in, Spider Woman said: "We have come to gamble
with you. You are smoking my grandchild here and we have come to beat you at playing, and are going to take him away." "All right," he said, "come
right in," whereupon they entered, entirely filling the kiva. "All right,: they said, "who will commence?" "You play first," Hasohkata said, "because you
proposed it." Spider Woman was happy over it, and put up her four gaming cups on the north side of the fireplace.
The Mole, still being under the floor, saw it and placed the little ball under one of the cups, pushing it up very hard, however, that it could not drop out in
case that cup was chosen and thrown down by the player. Now, they said to Hasohkata, "Guess under which it is, and we will see whether you will win."
He pondered a long time, then threw down one of the cups, but the ball was not under it. Hereupon he threw down another one, but the ball was not
under that one. "Now, that is enough," Spider Woman said, "you have not found it." So she put up her four cups again, the Mole again fastened the ball in
one of the cups quickly, closing up the opening in the floor, and then Hasohkata was again challenged to guess.
He again threw down two cups without winning one game. "My!" he said, "Who are you? Why are you trying to keep away your things from me? You
have beaten me, so take the young man along." Spider Woman then herself threw down one of her cups and said, "Here under this one is the ball." This
made the old man somewhat angry and he refused to let his captive go, but he challenged them to another trial.
Outside of his kiva grew very strong kwingwi, which is a brush, the sticks of which are very hard. He told them that if they would break down or pull out
a certain amount of that stuff he would consider himself beaten. The Mole hearing this, quickly made its way underground to the brush and soon gnawed
off all the biggest roots of a great deal of brush. The others did not know anything about this and so when they came out of the kiva the old woman said
to the others: "Now, let us try to pull this our and see whether we can do it." They commenced, and in a short time had pulled out so much, even with
parts of the roots, that Hasohkata considered himself beaten even before they had pulled out all that the Mole had loosened. "All right," he said, "you take
with you all that I have and you will be rich, you have beaten me." They returned to the kiva, untied the young man and all again entered the kiva of
Hasohkata. "Now," Hasohkata said to them, "take with you all of my things here, because you have beaten me twice." There were a great many objects
throughout his kiva, such as clothing, bows, quivers, arrows, and other things that he had taken away from visitors with whom he had gambled and
whom he had killed, throwing their corpses into a big hole that was full of bones.
After they had taken everything, they said to him: "But what shall we do to you?" He replied: "You have taken all my things, let me alone." To this they
did not agree. "We are going to kill you," they said. So the Bear grabbed him, tore open his breast, and tore out the heart of Hasohkata, which he took
with him. The Wolves, Coyotes, Wildcats, etc., hereupon fell upon the corpse, tearing it to pieces and devoured it. These animals still do the same today,
killing people whenever they have an opportunity to do so, whether these people are good or bad, and that is the reason why the Hopi hunt and kill those
animals if they can do so.
After they had left the kiva, Spider Woman told them all that they could now go to their respective homes. She took her grandchild with her and also
returned to her home with him. Here she told him that he should fear nothing after this because nobody would now hurt him, that having been the only
one that was bad and dangerous. The Wren had is the meanwhile been down to this earth and had seen the parents of the young man and found out that
they were longing for their lost son, and when it returned it told Spider Woman about it.
So about four or five days after they had returned from Hasohkata's kiva, she told him that he might go home now, as his father and mother were
homesick after him. She did not, however, tell him how she had found it out, and she promised him that the next day she would go with him. So the next
day they went to the opening through which the Eagles had brought the young man. They looked down and could see nothing. Everything looked as if
we are now looking upward. So Spider Woman placed around the opening sticks and brush of all kinds just the same as around a spider hole. Over this
she then spun a great deal of web and before cutting the thread she told the young man to mount her back. Hereupon they began to descend, the thread of
spider web unraveling at the opening as they descended farther and farther downward.
She advised the young man to keep his eyes closed, which he did. They struck the earth somewhere close to the field of the young man's parents. Here he
left Spider Woman and started to his parents' home himself. When he arrived at his home one of the neighbors said to his parents: "Some one has come;
your child has come," but they would not believe it. "He will never come, he is gone," the mother said. When he entered the house he said: "I have come."
"Who are you?" the father said. "I am Chorzhvuk'iqolo." "No, you are not the one." "Yes, I am," he said; but at last the father recognized him and said,
"Yes, you have come." The mother then, too, recognized him and she was very happy. The sisters who had been waiting and longing for their brother,
were also very happy that he had returned. So they were all united again and maybe they are still living there.
|Clay Old Woman and Clay Old Man
A Hopi Legend
In the beginning the Pueblo peoples did not know how to make pottery. They had no bowls to cook their rabbit stew. They had no jars to carry cool water
The people had no pots to store their seeds for next year's planting. The Wise One in the Land Below saw how hard their life was. Taking some clay, she
made one man and one woman. The Wise One named them Clay Old Woman and Clay Old Man. She sent them onto the earth with a big ball of clay and
her blessing for the Pueblo peoples. Clay Old Woman and Clay Old Man found themselves in a pueblo. They sat down in the middle of the plaza and the
wife set to work with the clay. Curious children crowded close. Women with their babies peered from the rooftops of the houses around the plaza.
Clay Old Woman rolled the clay into long coils between her two rough hands. Around and around she wound the coils to build a pot. The men standing
on the log ladders propped against the houses leaned closer for a better look. Clay Old Woman made pot after pot. Her husband began to sing and dance.
The longer his wife worked, the louder Clay Old Man sang. The more pots she made, the harder he danced. Puff of dust danced in his footsteps. Clay Old
Man became so caught up in his dance that he tripped. He fell hard against the largest, most beautiful pot. The pot shattered. The people held their breath,
wondering what would happen next.
Clay Old Man collected all the potsherd. He handed them to Clay Old Woman and apologized. Clay Old Woman soaked the pieces of the broken pot in
water and rolled them back into a ball of clay. Clay Old Man gave a piece of it to every woman in the pueblo. "You have watched my wife work," he said.
"You know what to do." The women began to knead their clay. Clay Old Woman nodded to herself as she watched the women work. She was very
"The Wise One has given you a gift to treasure for all time," said Clay Old Woman. "Do not lose her gift. Never forget how to make pottery."
And the Pueblo peoples have never forgotten.
|Coming of the Hopi from the Underworld
A Hopi Legend
A long time ago the people were living below. There were a great many of them, but they were often quarreling with one another. Some of them were very
They abused the women and the maidens, and that led to very many contentions. So the chiefs, who were worried and angry over this, had a council and
concluded that they would try to find another place to live. So they first sent our a bird named Motsni, to find a place of exit from this world. He flew up
high but was too weak and returned without having been successful. They then sent the Mocking-bird (Yahpa). He was strong and flew up very high and
found a place of exit. Returning, he reported this to the chiefs.
In the meanwhile the chiefs had caused a great flood. Many Balololkongwuus came out of the ground with the water, and a great portion of the people
were destroyed. When the Mocking-bird had made his report to the chiefs the latter said: "All right, that is good. We are going away from here."
They then announced through the crier that in four days they would leave, and that the women should prepare some food, and after they had eaten on the
fourth day they would all assemble at the place right under the opening which the Mocking-bird had found. This was done.
The chiefs then planted a pine-tree (calavi), sang around it, and by their singing made it to grow very fast. It grew up to the opening which the Yahpa had
found, and when the chiefs tried and shook it, they found that it was fairly strong, but not strong enough for many people to climb up on, especially its
branches, which were very thin. So they planted another kind of pine (lo'oqo), sang around it, and made it also to grow up fast.
This tree and its branches was much stronger than the other, but while the first one had grown through the opening, this one did not reach it entirely, its
uppermost branches and twigs spreading out sideways before they reached the opening.
Hereupon they planted in the same manner a reed (bakavi), which proved to be very strong, and also grew through the opening like the calavi. Finally
they planted a sunflower (ahkawau), and as it was moist where they planted it, it also grew up very fast and to a great size, its leaves also being very
large; but the sunflower did not reach the opening. Its very large disk protruded downward before it reached the opening. The sunflower was covered
with little thorns all over.
Now they were done with this.
Hereupon Spider Woman, Pookonghoya, his brother Balo'ongawhoya, and the Mocking-bird that had found the opening, climbed up on the calavi in the
order mentioned. After they had emerged through the opening, Pookonghoya embraced the calavi, his brother the reed, both holding them firmly that they
should not shake when the people were climbing up.
The Mocking-bird sat close by and sang a great many songs, the songs that are still chanted at the Wuwuchim ceremony. Spider Woman was also sitting
close by watching the proceedings. Now the people began to climb up, some on the calavi, others on the lo'oqo, still others on the ahkavu and on the
bakavi. As soon as they emerged, the Mocking-bird assigned them their places and gave them their languages.
To one he would say: "You shall be a Hopi, and that language you shall speak." To another, "You shall be a Navajo, and you shall speak that language."
And to a third: "You shall be an Apache, a Mohave, a Mexican," ,etc., including the White Man. The language spoken in the underworld had been that of
the following Pueblo Indians: Kawahykaka, Akikavi, Katihcha, Kotiyti; these four branched of the Pueblo Indians speaking essentially the same language.
In the under-world the people had been very bad, there being many sorcerers and dangerous people, just like there are in the villages today who are
putting diseases into the people. Of these Popwaktu, one also found his way out with the others. The people kept coming out, and before they were all out
the songs of the Mocking-bird were exhausted.
"Hapi! Pai shulahti! Now! (my songs) are gone," and at once the people who were still on the ladders commenced returning to the under-world, but a very
great many had already come out, an equally large number having remained in the under-world, but the Kik-mongwi from below was with the others
that came out of the kiva. The people who had emerged remained around the sipapu, as the opening was, and has ever since been called.
At this time no sun existed and it was dark everywhere. The half-grown son of the Kik-mongwi took sick and died, so they buried him. His father was
very angry. "Why has some Powaka come out with us?" he said. "We thought we were living alone and wanted to get away from those dangerous men.
"That is the reason why we have come out, and now one has come with us." Hereupon he called all the people together and said: "On whose account have
I lost my child? I am going to make a ball of this fine corn-meal and throw it upward, and on whose head that balls alights, him I shall throw down again
through the sipapu." Hereupon he threw the ball upward to a great height, the people all standing and watching. When it came down it fell upon the head
of some one and was shattered. "Ishohi! So you are the one," the chief said to him. But as it happened this was the chief's nephew (his younger sister's son).
"My nephew, so you are nukpana (dangerous); why have you come out with us? We did not want any bad ones here, and now you have come with us. I
am going to throw you back again." So he grabbed him in order to throw him back. "Wait," he said, "wait, I am going to tell you something." "I am going
to throw you back," the chief replied. "Wait," his nephew said again, "until I tell you something. You go there to the sipahpuni and you look down. There
he is walking." "No, he is not," the chief replied, "I am not going to look down there, he is dead."
But he went and looked down and there he saw his boy running around with other children, still showing the signs of the head washing which the Hopi
practice upon the dead immediately after death. "Yes, it is true, it is true," the chief said, "truly there he is going about." "So do not throw me down there,"
his nephew said, "that is the way it will be. If any one dies he will go down there. Let me remain with you, I am going to tell you some more." Then the
chief consented and let his nephew remain.
It was still dark, and as there was no sunshine it was also cold, and the people began to look for fire and for wood, but as it was so dark they could find
very little wood. Thus they lived there a while without fire, but all at once they saw a light in the distance and the chief said: "Some one go there and see
about it." When they had still been in the lower world they had occasionally heard footsteps of some one up above. So some one went in search of the
light, but before he had reached it he became tired and returned.
Another was sent and he got there. He found a field in which corn, watermelons, beans, etc., were planted. All around this field a fire was burning, which
was kept up by wood, and by which the ground was kept warm so that the plants could grow. The messenger found a very handsome man there. He had
four strands of turquoise around his neck and very large turquoise ear pendants.
In his face he had two black lines running from the upper part of his nose to his cheeks, and made with specular iron. By his side was standing his friend
(a mask) which looked very ugly, with large open eye-holes and a large mouth. So it was Skeleton (Masauwuu) whom they had heard walking about
from the other world. "Who are you?" Skeleton asked the messenger. "Where do you come from?" "Yes," he replied, "we have come from below, and it is
cold here. We are freezing and we have no fire."
"You go and tell your people and then you all come here to me." So he returned and the people asked him: "Now, what have you found out? Have you
found anybody?" "Yes," he said, "I have found somebody and he has a good crop there." Skeleton had fed the messenger with some of his good things
which he had there. The people had not brought much food with them from below and so they had not very much left. The people were very glad for this
invitation and went to the place where the Skeleton lived.
But when they saw the small field they thought: "Well, that will be gone in a very short time," but Skeleton always planted and the food was never gone.
When they came there they gathered some wood and built a fire and they they warmed themselves and were happy. Skeleton gave them roasting ears, and
watermelons, melons, squashes, etc., and they ate and refreshed themselves. Some of the plants were very small yet, others still larger, so that they always
So the people remained there, made fields, and they always kept up a fire near the fields, which warmed the ground so that they could raise a crop. When
the crop had matured they gathered it all in, and when they now had provisions they planned to start off again, but there was still no sun, and it was cold.
So they talked about this, saying: "Now, it ought not remain this way."
So the chiefs all met in council with Skeleton, and talked this matter over in order to see whether they could not make a sun as they had had it in the
underworld, but they did not just know how to do it. So they finally took a piece of dressed buffalo hide (hakwavu), which they cut in a round shape,
stretched it over a wooden ring, and then painted it with white du'ma (kaoline). They then pulverized some black paint (toho)  with which they drew a
picture of the moon around the edge of this disk, sprinkling the center of the disk with the same black color. They then attached a stick to this disk.
Hereupon they stretched a large piece of white native cloth (mochapu) on the floor and placed this disk on it. All these objects they had brought with them
from the underworld.
They then selected some one (the story does not say whom) and directed him to stand on this moon symbol. Hereupon the chiefs took the cloth by it,
corners, swung it back and forth, and then threw it upward, where it continued swiftly flying eastward into the sky. So the people sat and watched. All at
once they noticed that it became light in the east. Something was burning there as they thought. The light became brighter and brighter, and something
came up in the east. It rose higher and higher, and where the people were it became lighter and lighter.
So now they could go about and they were happy. That turned out to be the moon, and though it was light, the light was only dim and the people, when
working in the fields, would still occasionally cut off their plants because they could not see very distinctly, and it was still cold and the people were
freezing, and they still had to keep the ground warm with fires.
So, the people were thinking about it. The chiefs again met in council, and said: "Ishohi! It is better already, it is light, but it is not quite good yet, it is still
cold. Can we not make something better?" They concluded that perhaps the buffalo skin was not good, and that it was too cold, so they decided that this
time they would take a piece of mochapu. They again cut out a round piece, stretched it over a ring, but this time painted it with oxide of copper (cakwa).
They painted eyes and a mouth on the disk, and decorated the forehead of what this was to resemble in yellow, red, and other colors. They put a ring of
corn-husks around it, which were worked in a zigzag fashion. Around this they tied a tawahona, that is, a string of red horse-hair, finally thrusting a
number of eagle-tail feathers into a corn-husk ring, fastened to the back of the disk. In fact, they prepared a sun symbol as it is still worn on the back of
the flute players in the Flute ceremony.
To the forehead of the face painted on the disk they tied an abalone shell. Finally the chief made nakwakwosis of the feathers of a small yellowish bird,
called irahoya, which resembles a fly-catcher, but has some red hair on top of the head.
Of these nakwakwosis the chief tied one to the point of each eagle-tail feather on the sun symbol. They then placed this symbol on the white cloth again,
again asked some one to stand on it, and, as in the case of the moon, they swung the cloth with its contents into the air, where it kept twirling upward and
upward towards the east. Soon they again saw a light rise in the east. It became brighter and brighter and warmer.
That proved to be the sun, and it had not come up very high when the Hopi already felt its warmth. After the sun had been created and was rising day after
day, the people were very happy, because it was now warm and very light, so that they could attend to their work very well. The children were running
around and playing. They were now thinking of moving on.
They had a great many provisions by this time, and so the chiefs again met in a council to talk the matter over. "Let us move away from here," the chiefs
said; "let us go eastward and see where the sun rises, but let us not go all together. Let some take one route, others another, and others still further south,
and then we shall see who arrives at the place where the sun rises first. So the people started.
The White People took a southern route, the Hopi a more northern, and between them traveled what are now the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. Often
certain parties would remain at certain places, sometimes for several years. They would build houses and plant.
Soon they became estranged from each other, and would begin to attack and kill one another. The Castilians were especially bad, and made wars on other
people. When starting, the chiefs had agreed that as soon as one of the parties should reach the place where the sun rises, many stars would fall from the
sky, and when that would happen all the traveling parties should remain and settle down where they would be at that time.
The White People having taken a southern route, were more gifted than the other people. When they had become very tired carrying their children and
their burdens, one of the women bathed herself and took the scales that she had rubbed off from her body and made horses of these scales.
These horse they used after that for traveling, so that they could proceed very much faster. In consequence of this they arrived at the place where the sun
rises before any of the other parties arrived there. And immediately many stars fell from the sky. "Aha!" the people said who were still traveling; "Some
one has already arrived." Hereupon they settled down where they were. It had also been agreed upon before the different parties started, that whenever
those who did not reach the place where the sun rises should be molested by enemies, they should notify those who had arrived at the sunrise, and the
latter, would then come and help them.