Music: Swallows, Nighthawks, Hummingbirds by R. Carlos Nakai
|Coyote and the Fawns
A Sia Legend
One day when he was traveling around, Coyote met a deer with two fawns. The fawns were beautifully spotted, and he said to the deer, "How did you
paint your children? They are so beautiful!"
Deer replied, "I painted them with fire from the cedar."
"And how did you do the work?" asked Coyote.
"I put my children into a cave and built a fire of cedar in front of it.
"Every time a spark flew from the fire it struck my children, making a beautiful spot."
"Oh," said Coyote, "I will do the same thing. Then I will make my children beautiful."
He hurried to his house and put his children in a cave. Then he built a fire of cedar in front of it and stood off to watch the fire. But the children cried
because the fire was very hot. Coyote kept calling to them not to cry because they would be beautiful like the deer.
After a time the crying ceased and Coyote was pleased. But when the fire died down, he found they were burned to death. Coyote expected to find
them beautiful, but instead they were dead.
Then he was enraged with the deer and ran away to hunt her, but he could not find her anywhere. He was much distressed to think the deer had fooled
him so easily.
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|Coyote and the Hare
A Sia Legend
One day Coyote was passing about when he saw Hare sitting before his house. Coyote thought, "In a minute I will catch you," and he sprang and
Hare cried, "Man Coyote, do not eat me. Wait just a minute; I have something to tell you -something you will be glad to hear -something you must
"Well," said Coyote, "I will wait."
"Let me sit at the entrance of my house," said Hare. "Then I can talk to you."
Coyote allowed Hare to take his seat at the entrance.
Hare said, "What are you thinking of, Coyote?"
"Nothing," said Coyote.
"Listen, then," said Hare. "I am a hare and I am very much afraid of people. When they come carrying arrows, I am afraid of them. When they see
me they aim their arrows at me and I am afraid, and oh! how I tremble!"
Hare began trembling violently until he saw Coyote a little off his guard, then he began to run. It took Coyote a minute to think and then he ran after
Hare, but always a little behind. Hare raced away and soon entered a house, just in time to escape Coyote. Coyote tried to enter the house but found it
was hard stone. He became very angry.
Coyote cried, "I was very stupid! Why did I allow this Hare to fool me? I must have him. But this house is so strong, how can I open it?"
Coyote began to work, but after a while he said to himself, "The stone is so strong I cannot open it."
Presently Hare called, "Man Coyote, how are you going to kill me?"
"I know how," said Coyote. "I will kill you with fire."
"Where is the wood?" asked Hare, for he knew there was no wood at his house.
"I will bring grass," said Coyote, "and set fire to it. The fire will enter your house and kill you."
"Oh," said Hare, "but the grass is mine. It is my food; it will not kill me. It is my friend. The grass will not kill me."
"Then," said Coyote, "I will bring all the trees of the wood and set fire to them."
"All the tress know me," said Hare. "They are my friends. They will not kill me. They are my food." Coyote thought a minute. Then he said, "I will
bring the gum of the pinon and set fire to that."
Hare said, "Now I am afraid. I do not eat that. It is not my friend."
Coyote rejoiced that he had thought of a plan for getting the hare. He hurried and brought all the gum he could carry and placed it at the door of
Hare's house and set fire to it. In a short time the gum boiled like hot grease, and Hare cried,
"Now I know I shall die! What shall I do?" Yet all the time he knew what he would do.
But Coyote was glad Hare was afraid. After a while Hare called, "The fire is entering my house," and Coyote answered, "Blow it out!"
But Coyote drew nearer and blew with all his might to blow the flame into Hare's house.
Hare cried, "You are so close you are blowing the fire on me and I will soon be burned."
Coyote was so happy that he drew closer and blew harder, and drew still closer so that his face was very close to Hare's face. Then Hare suddenly
threw the boiling gum into Coyote's face and escaped from his house.
It took Coyote a long time to remove the gum from his face, and he felt very sorrowful. He said, "I am very, very stupid."
|Coyote and the Rattlesnake
A Sia Legend
Coyote's house was not far from Rattlesnake's home. One morning when they were out walking together, Coyote said to Rattlesnake, "Tomorrow
come to my house."
In the morning Rattlesnake went to Coyote's house. He moved slowly along the floor, shaking his rattle. Coyote sat at one side, very much
frightened. The movements of the snake and the rattle frightened him. Coyote had a pot of rabbit meat on the fire, which he placed in front of the
snake, saying, "Companion, eat."
"I will not eat your meat. I do not understand your food," said Rattlesnake.
"What food do you eat?"
"I eat the yellow flowers of the corn."
Coyote at once began to search for the yellow corn flowers. When he found some, Rattlesnake said, "Put some on top of my head so that I may eat it."
Coyote stood as far off as he could and placed the pollen on the snake's head.
The snake said, "Come nearer and put enough on my head so that I may find it."
Coyote was very much afraid, but after a while he came nearer and did as he was told.
Then the snake went away, saying, "Companion, tomorrow you come to my house."
"All right," said Coyote. "Tomorrow I will come."
Coyote sat down and thought about tomorrow. He thought a good deal about what the snake might do. So he made a small rattle by placing tiny
pebbles in a gourd and fastened it to the end of his tail. He shook it a while and was much pleased with it.
The next morning he started for the snake's house. He shook the rattle on the end of his tail and smiled, and said to himself, "This is good. When I go
into Rattlesnake's house, he will be very much afraid of me."
Coyote did not walk into Snake's house, but moved like a snake. But Coyote could not shake his rattle as the snake shook his. He had to hold it in his
hand. But when he shook his rattle, the snake seemed much afraid, and said, "Companion, I am afraid of you."
Now Rattlesnake had a stew of rats on the fire, and he placed some before Coyote. But Coyote said, "I do not understand your food. I cannot eat it
because I do not understand it."
Rattlesnake insisted upon his eating, but Coyote refused. He said, "If you put some of the flower of the corn on my head, I will eat. I understand that
The snake took some corn pollen, but he pretended to be afraid of Coyote and stood off some distance. Coyote said, "Come nearer and place it on top
of my head."
Snake replied, "I am afraid of you."
Coyote said, "Come nearer. I am not bad."
Then the snake came closer and put the pollen on top of Coyote's head.
But Coyote did not have the long tongue of the snake and he could not get the pollen off the top of his head. He put out his tongue first on one side of
his nose and then on the other, but he could only reach to the side of his nose.
His efforts made the snake laugh, but the snake put his hand over his mouth so Coyote could not see him laugh. Really, the snake hid his head in his
At last Coyote went home. As he left the snake's house, he held his tail in his hand and shook the rattle.
Snake cried, "Oh, companion! I am so afraid of you!" but really the snake shook with laughter.
When Coyote reached his home he said to himself, "I was such a fool. Rattlesnake had much food to eat and I would not take it. Now I am very
Then he went out in search of food
|Coyote as a Hunter
A Sia Legend
Coyote traveled a long distance and in the middle of the day it was very hot. He sat down and rested, and thought, as he looked up to Tinia, "How I
wish the Cloud People would freshen my path and make it cool."
In just a little while the Cloud People gathered over the trail Coyote was following and he was glad that his path was to be cool and shady.
After he traveled some distance further, he sat down again and looking upward said, "I wish the Cloud People would send rain. My road would be
cooler and fresher." In a little while a shower came and Coyote was contented.
But in a short time he again sat down and wished that the road could be very moist, that it would be fresh to his feet, and almost immediately the trail
was as wet as though a river had passed over it. Again Coyote was contented.
But after a while he took his seat again. He said to himself, "I guess I will talk again to the Cloud People." Then he looked up and said to them, "I wish
for water over my road -water to my elbows, that I may travel on my hands and feet in the cool waters; then I shall be refreshed and happy."
In a short time his road was covered with water, and he moved on. But again he wished for something more, and said to the Cloud People, "I wish
much for water to my shoulders. Then I will be happy and contented."
In a moment the waters arose as he wished, yet after a while he looked up and said, "If you will only give me water so high that my eyes, nose, mouth
and ears are above it, I will be happy. Then indeed my road will be cool."
But even this did not satisfy him, and after traveling a while longer he implored the Cloud People to give him a river that he might float over the trail,
and immediately a river appeared and Coyote floated down stream. Now he had been high in the mountains and wished to go to Hare Land.
After floating a long distance, he at last came to Hare Land and saw many Hares a little distance off, on both sides of the river. Coyote lay down in
the mud as though he were dead and listened. Soon a woman ka-wate (mephitis) came along with a vase and a gourd for water.
She said, "Here is a dead coyote. Where did he come from? I guess from the mountains above. I guess he fell into the water and died."
Coyote looked up and said, "Come here, woman."
She said, "What do you want?"
Coyote said, "I know the Hares and other small animals well. In a little while they will come here and think I am dead and be happy. What do you
think about it?"
Ka-wate said, "I have no thoughts at all."
So Coyote explained his plan. . . .
So Coyote lay as dead, and all the Hares and small animals saw him lying in the river, and rejoiced that he was dead. The Hares decided to go in a
body and see the dead Coyote. Rejoicing over his death, they struck him with their hands and kicked him. There were crowds of Hares and they
decided to have a great dance. Now and then a dancing Hare would stamp upon Coyote who lay as if dead. During the dance the Hares clapped their
hands over their mouth and gave a whoop like a war-whoop.
Then Coyote rose quickly and took two clubs which the ka-wate had given him, and together they killed all of the Hares. There was a great number
and they were piled up like stones.
Coyote said, "Where shall I find fire to cook the hares? Ah," he said, pointing across to a high rock, "that rock gives good shade and it is cool. I will
find fire and cook my meat in the shade of that rock."
So they carried all the hares to that point and Coyote made a large fire and threw them into it. When he had done this he was very warm and tired. He
lay down close to the rock in the shade.
After a while he said to Ka-wate, "We will run a race. The one who wins will have all the hares."
She said, "How could I beat you? Your feet are so much larger than mine."
Coyote said, "I will allow you the start of me." He made a torch of the inner shreds of cedar bark and wrapped it with yucca thread and lighted it.
Then he tied this torch to the end of his tail. He did this to see that the ka-wate did not escape him.
Ka-wate started first, but when out of sight of Coyote, she slipped into the house of Badger. Then Coyote started with the fire attached to his tail.
Wherever he touched the grass, he set fire to it. But Ka-wate hurried back to the rock, carried all the hares on top except four tiny ones, and then
climbed on the rock.
Coyote was surprised not to overtake her. He said, "She must be very quick. How could she run so fast?" Then he returned to the rock, but did not see
He was tired and sat down in the shade of the rock. "Why doesn't she come?" he said. "Perhaps she will not come before night, her feet are so small."
Ka-wate sat on the rock above and heard all he said. She watched him take a stick and look into the mound for the hares. He pulled out a small one
which he threw away. But the second was smaller than the first. Then a third and a fourth, each tiny, and all he threw away. "I do not care for the
smaller ones," he said. "There are so many here, I will not eat the little ones." But he hunted and hunted in the mound of ashes for the hares. All were
He said, "That woman has robbed me." Then he picked up the four little ones and ate them. He looked about for Ka-wate but did not see her because
he did not look up. Then as he was tired and lay down to rest, he looked up and saw her, with the cooked hares piled beside her.
Coyote was hungry. He begged her to throw one down. She threw a very small one. Then Coyote became angry. And he was still more angry
because he could not climb the rock. She had gone where he could not go.
|Men and Women Try Living Apart
A Sia Legend
Before Ut'se't, Mother of the People, left this world, she selected six Sia women and sent one to the north, one to the west, one to the south, one to the
east, one to the zenith, and one to nadir, and told them to make their homes at these points for all time. That way they would be near the cloud rulers
of the cardinal points, and they could intercede for all the people of Ha'arts.
Ut'se't told her people to remember these women in times of need, and they would appeal to the cloud people for them.
The Sia alone followed the command of Ut'se't and took the straight road, while all other pueblos advanced by various routes to the center of the earth.
After Ut'se't's departure the Sia traveled some distance and built a village of beautiful white stone, where they lived for a long duration.
At one time all the parents suffered tragically at the hand of ti'a'moni, who, objecting to the increase of his people, caused all the children to be put to
death. The Sia had scarcely recovered from this calamity when another serious difficulty arose.
The Sia women worked hard all day, grinding meal and singing; and at sundown, when the men returned to the houses, the women would often
abuse them, saying: "You are no good; you do not care to work. All you want to do is be with women all the time. If you would allow four days to
pass between, the women would care more for you."
The men replied: "You women really want to be with us all day and all night. If you could have the men only every four days, you would be very
The women retorted: "It is you men who would be unhappy if you could be with women only every four days."
And the fight grew angrier and angrier. The men cried: "Were it ten days, twenty days, thirty days that we remained apart from you, we'd never be
The women replied: "We think not, but we women would be very contented to remain away from you men for sixty days."
And the men said: "We men would be happy to remain apart from you women for five moons."
The women, growing more excited, cried: "You do not speak the truth; we women would be contented to be separated from you ten moons."
The men retorted: "We men could remain away from you women twenty moons and be very happy."
"You do not speak the truth," said the women, "for you wish to be with us all the time, day and night."
Three days they quarreled and on the fourth day the women finally took themselves to one side of the pueblo, while the men and boys gathered on the
other side, each forming their own kiva, or ceremonial chamber. The women had a great talk and the men held a council. They were both furious with
The ti'a'moni, who presided over the council, said: "Perhaps you will each be contented if you and the women try living apart."
And on the following morning he had all the men and male children who were not being nourished by their mothers cross the great river which ran by
the village, the women remaining in the village.
The men departed at sunrise, and the women were delighted. They said: "We can do all the work; we understand the men's work and we can work
The men said to each other: "We can do the things the women did for us."
As they left the village the men called to the women: "We leave you to yourselves, perhaps for one year, perhaps for two, and perhaps longer. Who
knows how it will work out? After all, men are not so amorous as you."
It took a long time for the men to cross the river, as it was very wide. The ti'a'moni led the men and remained with them. The women were compelled
by the ti'a'moni to send their male infants over the river as soon as they ceased nourishing them.
For two moons the men and women were very happy. The men were busy hunting and had all the game they could eat, but the women had no animal
food. The men grew stout and the women very thin.
At the expiration of the first ten moons some of the women were sad away from the men.
As the second year passed, more of the women wanted the men, but the men seemed perfectly satisfied with the way things were.
After three years the women more and more wished for the men, but the men were only slightly desirous of the women.
When the fourth year was half gone, the women called to the ti'a'moni, saying: "We want the men to come to us."
The female children had grown up like reeds; they had no flesh on them. The morning after the women begged the ti'a'moni for the return of the men,
they re-crossed the river to live again with the women, and in four days after their return the women had recovered their flesh.
--Based on Matilda Cox Stevenson's report of 1889.
We, the ancient ones, ascended from the middle of the world below, through the door of the entrance to the lower world, we hold our songs to the
Cloud, Lightning, and Thunder Peoples as we hold our own hearts. Our medicine is precious.
(Addressing the people of Tinia:)
We entreat you to send your thoughts to us so that we may sing your songs straight, so that they will pass over the straight road to the Cloud priests
that they may cover the Earth with water, so that she may bear all that is good for us.
Lightning People, send your arrows to the middle of the Earth. Hear the echo! Who is it? The People of the Spruce of the North. All your people and
your thoughts come to us. Who is it? People of the white floating clouds. Your thoughts come to us. All your people and your thoughts come to us.
Who is it? The Lightning People. Your thoughts come to us. Who is it? Cloud People at the horizon. All your people and your thoughts come to us.
White floating clouds. Clouds, like the plains, come and water the Earth. Sun, embrace the Earth that she may be fruitful. Moon, lion of the north,
bear of the west, badger of the south, wolf of the east, eagle of the heavens, shrew of the Earth, elder war hero, younger war hero, warriors of the six
mountains of the world, intercede with the Cloud People for us that they may water the Earth. Medicine bow, cloud bowl, and water vase give us your
hearts, that the Earth may be watered. I make the ancient road of meal that my song may pass straight over it - the ancient road. White shell bead
woman who lives where the sun goes down, mother whirlwind, father Sussistinnako, mother Yaya, creator of good thoughts, yellow woman of the
north, blue woman of the west, red woman of the south, white woman of the east, slightly yellow woman of the zenith, and dark woman of the nadir, I
ask your intercession with the Cloud People.
Let the white floating clouds - the clouds like the plains - the lightning, thunder, rain bow, and cloud peoples, water the Earth. Let the people of the
white floating clouds, -the people of the clouds like the plains -the lightning, thunder, rain bow, and cloud peoples -come and work for us, and water
A Sia Legend
In the beginning, long, long ago, there was but one being in the lower world. This was the spider, Sussistinnako. At that time there were no other
insects, no birds, animals, or any other living creature.
The spider drew a line of meal from north to south and then crossed it with another line running east and west. On each side of the first line, north of
the second, he placed two small parcels. They were precious but no one knows what was in them except spider. Then he sat down near the parcels and
began to sing. The music was low and sweet and the two parcels accompanied him, by shaking like rattles. Then two women appeared, one from each
In a short time people appeared and began walking around. Then animals, birds, and insects appeared, and the spider continued to sing until his
creation was complete.
But there was no light, and as there were many people, they did not pass about much for fear of treading upon each other. The two women first created
were the mothers of all. One was named Utset and she was the mother of all Indians. The other was Now-utset, and she was the mother of all other
nations. While it was still dark, the spider divided the people into clans, saying to some, "You are of the Corn clan, and you are the first of all." To
others he said, "You belong to the Coyote clan." So he divided them into their clans, the clans of the Bear, the Eagle, and other clans.
After Spider had nearly created the Earth, Ha-arts, he thought it would be well to have rain to water it, so he created the Cloud People, the Lightning
People, the Thunder People, and the Rainbow People, to work for the people of Ha-arts, the Earth. He divided this creation into six parts, and each had
its home in a spring in the heart of a great mountain upon whose summit was a giant tree. One was in the spruce tree on the Mountain of the North;
another in the pine tree on the Mountain of the West; another in the oak tree on the Mountain of the South; and another in the aspen tree on the
Mountain of the East; the fifth was on the cedar tree on the Mountain of the Zenith; and the last in an oak on the Mountain of the Nadir.
The spider divider the world into three parts: Ha-arts, the Earth; Tinia, the middle plain; and Hu-wa-ka, the upper plain. Then the spider gave to these
People of the Clouds and to the rainbow, Tinia, the middle plain.
Now it was still dark, but the people of Ha-arts made houses for themselves by digging in the rocks and the Earth. They could not build houses as they
do now, because they could not see.
In a short time Utset and Now-utset talked much to each other, saying, "We will make light, that our people may see. We cannot tell the people now,
but tomorrow will be a good day and the day after tomorrow will be a good day," meaning that their thoughts were good. So they spoke with one
tongue. They said, "Now all is covered with darkness, but after a while we will have light."
Then these two mothers, being inspired by Sussistinnako, the spider, made the sun from white shell, turkis, red stone, and abalone shell. After making
the sun, they carried him to the east and camped there, since there were no houses. The next morning they climbed to the top of a high mountain and
dropped the sun down behind it. After a time he began to ascend. When the people saw the light they were happy.
When the sun was far off, his face was blue; as he came nearer, the face grew brighter. Yet they did not see the sun himself, but only a large mask
which covered his whole body.
The people saw that the world was large and the country beautiful. When the two mothers returned to the village, they said to the people, "We are the
mothers of all."
The sun lighted the world during the day, but there was no light at night. So the two mothers created the moon from a slightly black stone, many kinds
of yellow stone, turkis, and a red stone, that the world might be lighted at night. But the moon traveled slowly and did not always give light. Then the
two mothers created the Star People and made their eyes of sparkling white crystal that they might twinkle and brighten the world at night. When the
Star People lived in the lower world they were gather into beautiful groups; they were not scattered about as they are in the upper world.
|The Cloud People
A Sia Legend
Now all the Cloud People, the Lightning People, the Thunder People and Rainbow Peoples followed the Sia into the upper world. But all the people of
Tinia, the middle world, did not leave the lower world.
Only a portion were sent by the Spider to work for the people of the upper world. The Cloud People are so many that, although the demands of the
Earth people are so great, there are always many passing over Tinia for pleasure. These Cloud People ride on wheels, small wheels being used by the
little Cloud children and large wheels by the older ones.
The Cloud People keep always behind their masks. The shape of the mask depends upon the number of the people and the work being done.
The Henati are the floating white clouds behind which the Cloud People pass for pleasure.
The Heash are clouds like the plains and behind these the Cloud People are laboring to water the Earth.
Water is brought by the Cloud People, from the springs at the base of the mountains, in gourds and jugs and vases by the men, women, and children.
They rise from the springs and pass through the trunk of the tree to its top, which reaches Tinia. They pass on to the point to be sprinkled.
The priest of the Cloud People is above even the priests of the Thunder, Lightning, and Rainbow Peoples. The Cloud People have ceremonies, just like
those of the Sia. On the altars of the Sia may be seen figures arranged just as the Cloud People sit in their ceremonies.
When a priest of the Cloud People wishes assistance from the Thunder and Lightning Peoples, he notifies their priests, but keeps a supervision of all
Then the Lightning People shoot their arrows to make it rain the harder. The smaller flashes come from the bows of the children. The Thunder People
have human forms, with wings of knives, and by flipping these wings they make a great noise.l Thus they frighten the Cloud and Lightning People into
working the harder.
The Rainbow People were created to work in Tinia to make it more beautiful for the people of Ha-arts, the Earth, to look upon. The elders make the
beautiful rainbows, but the children assist. The Sia have no idea what or how these bows are made. They do know, however, that war heroes always
travel upon the rainbows.
|The Course of the Sun
A Sia Legend
Sussistinnako, the spider, said to the sun, "My son, you will ascend and pass over the world above. You will go from north to south. Return and tell me
what you think of it."
The sun said, on his return, "Mother, I did as you bade me, and I did not like the road."
Spider told him to ascend and pass over the world from west to the east. On his return, the sun said, "It may be good for some, mother, but I did not like
Spider said, "You will again ascend and pass over the straight road from the east to the west. Return and tell me what you think of it."
That night the sun said, "I am much contented. I like that road much."
Sussistinnako said, "Mu son, you will ascend each day and pass over the world from east to west."
Upon each day's journey the sun stops midway from the east to the center of the world to eat his breakfast. In the center he stops to eat his dinner.
Halfway from the center to the west he stops to eat his supper. He never fails to eat these three meals each day, and always stops at the same points.
The sun wears a shirt of dressed deerskin, with leggings of the same reaching to his thighs. The shirt and leggings are fringed. His moccasins are also
of deerskin and embroidered in yellow, red, and turkis beads. He wears a kilt of deerskin, having a snake painted upon it. He carries a bow and
arrows, the quiver being of cougar skin, hanging over his shoulder, and he holds his bow in his left hand and an arrow in his right. He always wears
the mask which protects him from the sight of the people of Ha-arts.
At the top of the mask is an eagle plume with parrot plumes; an eagle plume is at each side, and one at the bottom of the mask. The hair around the head
and face is red like fire, and when it moves and shakes people cannot look closely at the mask. It is not intended that they should observe closely, else
they would know that instead of seeing the sun they see only his mask.
The moon came to the upper world with the sun and he also wears a mask.
Each night the sun passes by the house of Sussistinnako, the spider, who asks him, "How are my children above? How many have died today? How
many have been born today?" The sun lingers only long enough to answer his questions. He then passes on to his house in the east.
|The Earth-Hardening After The Flood
A Sia Legend
After the flood, the Sia returned to Ha-arts, the Earth.
They came through an opening in the far north. After they had remained at their first village a year, they wished to pass on, but the Earth was very
moist and Utset was puzzled how to harden it.
Utset called Cougar. She said, "Have you any medicine to harden the road so that we may pass over it?" Cougar replied, "I will try, mother." But after
going a short distance over the road, he sank to his shoulders in the wet Earth. He returned much afraid and told Utset that he could go no farther.
Then she went to Bear. She said, "Have you any medicine to harden the road?" Bear started out, but he sank to his shoulders, and returned saying, "I
can do nothing."
Then Utset called Badger, and he tried. She called Shrew, and he failed. She called Wolf, and he failed.
Then Utset returned to the lower world and asked Sussistinnako what she could do to harden the Earth so that her people might travel over it. He
asked, "Have you no medicine to make the Earth firm? Have you asked Cougar and Wolf, Bear and Badger and Wolf to use their medicines to harden
Utset said, "I have tried all these."
Then Sussistinnako said, "Others will understand." He told her to have a woman of the Kapina (spider) clan try to harden the Earth.
When the woman arrived, Utset said, "My mother, Sussistinnako tells me the Kapina society understand how to harden the Earth."
The woman said, "I do not know how to make the Earth hard."
Three times Utset asked the woman about hardening the Earth, and three times the woman said, "I do not know." The fourth time the woman said,
"Well, I guess I know. I will try."
So she called together the members of the Spider society, the Kapina, and said, "Our mother, Sussistinnako, bids us work for her and harden the Earth
so that the people may pass over it." The spider woman first made a road of fine cotton which she produced from her own body, and suspended it a few
feet above the Earth. Then she told the people they could travel on that. But the people were afraid to trust themselves to such a frail road.
Then Utset said, "I wish a man and not a woman of the Spider society to work for me."
Then he came. He threw out a charm of wood, latticed so it could be expanded or contracted. When it was extended it reached to the middle of the Earth.
He threw it to the south, to the east, and to the west; then he threw it toward the people in the north.
So the Earth was made firm that the people might travel upon it.
Soon after Utset said, "I will soon leave you. I will, return to the home from which I came."
Then she selected a man of the Corn clan. She said to him, "You will be known as Ti-amoni (arch-ruler). You will be to my people as myself. You will
pass with them over the straight road. I give to you all my wisdom, my thoughts, my heart, and all. I fill your mind with my mind."
He replied: "It is well, mother. I will do as you say."
|The Great Flood
A Sia Legend
For a long time after the fight, the people were very happy, but the ninth year was very bad. The whole Earth was filled with water. The water did not
fall as rain, but came in as rivers between the mesas.
It continued to flow in from all sides until the people and the animals fled to the mesa tops. The water continued to rise until nearly level with the tops of
the mesas. Then Sussistinnako cried, "Where shall my people go? Where is the road to the north?" He looked to the north. "Where is the road to the
west? Where is the road to the east? Where is the road to the south?" He looked in each direction. He said, "I see the waters are everywhere."
All of the medicine men sang four days and four nights, but still the waters continued to rise.
Then Spider placed a huge reed upon the top of the mesa. He said, "My people will pass up through this to the world above."
Utset led the way, carrying a sack in which were many of the Star people. The medicine men followed, carrying sacred things in sacred blankets on
their backs. Then came the people, and the animals, and the snakes, and birds. The turkey was far behind and the foam of the water rose and reached
the tip ends of his feathers. You may know that is true because even to this day they bear the mark of the waters.
When they reached the top of the great reed, the Earth which formed the floor of the world above, barred their way. Utset called to Locust, "Man, come
here." Locust went to her. She said, "You know best how to pass through the Earth. Go and make a door for us."
"Very well, mother," said Locust. "I think I can make a way."
He began working with his feet and after a while he passed through the earthy floor, entering the upper world. As soon as he saw it, he said to Utset, "It
is good above."
Utset called Badger, and said, "Make a door for us. Sika, the Locust has made one, but it is very small."
"Very well, mother, I will," said Badger.
After much work he passed into the world above, and said, "Mother, I have opened the way." Badger also said, "Father-mother, the world above is
Utset then called Deer. She said, "you go through first. If you can get your head through, others may pass."
The deer returned saying, "Father, it is all right. I passed without trouble."
Utset called Elk. She said, "You pass through. If you can get your head and horns through the door, all may pass."
Elk returned saying, "Father, it is good. I passed without trouble."
Then Utset told the buffalo to try, and he returned saying, "Father-mother, the door is good. I passed without trouble."
Utset called the scarab beetle and gave him the sack of stars, telling him to pass out first with them. Scarab did not know what the sack contained, but
he was very small and grew tired carrying it. He wondered what could be in the sack. After entering the new world he was so tired he laid down the
sack and peeped into it. He cut only a tiny hole, but at once the Star People flew out and filled the heavens everywhere.
Then Utset and all the people came, and after Turkey passed, the door was closed with a great rock so that the waters from below could not follow the.
The Utset looked for the sack with the Star People. She found it nearly empty and could not tell where the stars had gone. The little beetle sat by, very
much frightened and very sad. But Utset was angry and said, "You are bad and disobedient. From this time forth, you shall be blind." That is the
reason the scarabaeus has no eyes, so the old ones say.
But the little fellow had saved a few of the stars by grasping the sack and holding it fast. Utset placed these in the heavens. In one group she placed
seven - the great bear. In another, three. In another group she placed the Pleiades, and threw the others far off into the sky.
|The Theft of Fire
A Sia Legend
A long, long time ago, the people became tired of feeding on grass, like deer and wild animals, and they talked together how fire might be found. The
Ti-amoni said, "Coyote is the best man to steal fire from the world below," so he sent for Coyote.
When Coyote came, the Ti-amoni said, "The people wish for fire. We are tired of feeding on grass. You must go to the world below and bring the fire."
Coyote said, "It is well, father. I will go."
So Coyote slipped stealthily to the house of Sussistinnako. It was the middle of the night. Snake, who guarded the first door, was asleep, and he slipped
quickly and quietly by. Cougar, who guarded the second door, was asleep, and Coyote slipped by. Bear, who guarded the third door, was also sleeping.
At the fourth door, Coyote found the guardian of the fire asleep. Slipping through into the room of Sussistinnako, he found him also sleeping.
Coyote quickly lighted the cedar brand which was attached to his tail and hurried out. Spider awoke, just enough to know some one was leaving the
room. "Who is there?" he cried. Then he called, "Some one has been here." But before he could awaken the sleeping Bear and Cougar and Snake, Coyote
had almost reached the upper world.