The Traditions of the Hopi, by H.R. Voth, , at sacred-texts.com
Halíksai! In Kawaíhkaa, a Pueblo village in New Mexico, the people were living. North of the plaza, at the house where there was a long ladder, lived two maidens. They were sisters, and persistently refused to marry any of the young men in the village. Finally the Night (Tókila) concluded to try to marry the two maidens, and came to the house. He came there in the evening and asked them to marry him. They said they would lay the matter before their parents, and if they were willing they would marry him. The parents were willing, and so the two sisters waited for their suitor. The next evening he came to fetch his two brides.
Leaving the village they went through a narrow passage. Outside of the village they found a large tray (póta), which the Night had left there. "This we shall enter," he said. So they all took a place on the tray, whereupon they were lifted up and carried through the air to Kawaíhka Nuwátok'aovi, where they entered a deep canyon or gulch. Here the Night lived. When they came into the house they saw in an inner room a great many human bones. They were the remains of many women whom the Night had stolen in the village, and with whom he had lived a while and then, as soon as they became pregnant, had thrown them into the room to perish. A number of
women and maidens were still living, and they pitied these two new arrivals, and said: "Alas! that you two have come with him." So the two were very unhappy.
Close by was a lake from which the two sisters used to get water. They stayed with the Night a while, but soon became very unhappy when they saw that they were pregnant. One time the younger sister went to get some water and then somebody spoke to her. It was the Frog. "You poor one," he said, "you must go home this night. Here is a large trail. In the evening you must take your water jars on your head and come after water. You leave them here, and then you follow this road, which leads to your home. This you must tell your sister also." Hereupon the younger sister returned and said to her older sister: "There at the water some one has told me something." "What did he say to you?" she asked. "He told me that we should go home this night.''
So in the evening, after they had eaten, they took their water jars and went after water. When they arrived at the lake the Frog said: "Have you come"' "Yes," they replied. "Very well, you just follow this track, and you trot, and you will arrive at your home." After they had traveled a distance they came upon Spider Woman, who was sitting close to the trail in a stooping position as an old hag. "Have you come?" she said. "Yes," they replied. "Very well, I have heard that you are going home, and so I waited for you here." She then told them that she would go along, and that they should not fear. So they traveled on that night and did not sleep any. The next day, when they had traveled until about noon, Spider Woman looked back and saw some clouds approaching. "They are coming," she said: "and will certainly overtake us."
The three did not tarry, but when they had come nearly to the village the sky was full of clouds; they had overtaken them. When they had arrived close to the village they were struck by lightning and killed. But as they were killed, each one was delivered of a child, the elder sister of a little boy, the younger one of a little girl. The children remained alive and at once began to nurse. During the night their mothers would become alive, but during the day they were always dead. In that way the children were brought up. Finally they began to walk around. Spider Woman had left the two fugitives as soon as they were struck by lightning.
When the children had grown up somewhat, they asked their mothers who their father was. "We certainly have a father, and you tell us who he is, and we will go to him; then he will take care of us and provide for us." The mothers then told them, "Yes, you have
a father, but from him we have fled, and he will not care for you. East of here is a village, Kawaíhkaa, and there is where we used to live. There our father and our mother live. You go there and north of the plaza where the big ladder is you inquire and see what they will say to you. There is where we used to live. But they too are bad. They will undoubtedly ask you to contend with them, and if any one is beaten they usually kill him. On top of the ladder something is hanging, and if any one does not guess that, he is killed; but if they contend with you and beat you, you must guess that. There is a little turtle tied up in it."
Hereupon they slept until morning, then the two children started. Their mothers said to them: "If they contend with you and your grandfather pities you and gives you something, you bring us something too, so that we can dress up, because our clothes are worn out. If they do not say anything to you, we shall go there too." When they arrived at the village they crossed the plaza, saw the ladder, and went up. Their grandparents lived in a kiva there. They entered and sat down. The grandparents had always been sad and sorry and at first did not say anything. Finally the grandfather saw them and asked, "Who are you?" "Why, it is we," they said. "But who are you? Where do you come from?" "From west of here," they replied. "From Akókovi (a village west of Kawaíhkaa)?" the grandfather asked. "No," they said, "not from there, but we stayed right west of here." "But who are you?" they asked again.
"A long time ago you had two daughters and somebody fetched them, and we are their children. We have grown up now and have come here." Hereupon they set food before them and fed them. The grandmother was crying. When they had eaten, sure enough, they were asked to playa game with them. "If they are our grandchildren," they said, "they will know something." So the grandfather laid out a flat stone on which was drawn a tû'kwnanawöhpi. 1 The grandfather sat on one side, the boy at the other end, and then they began to play. The boy won the game. "Very well," the grandfather said, "there at the top of the ladder something is wrapped up. You guess what that is. If you guess that you kill me, and if you do not guess it I shall kill you." Hereupon they all went out and looked at the bundle that was hanging at the top of the ladder. "Now, what is in there?" the grandfather said. "Who knows?" the child said. "You guess once," the brother said to his sister. "How do I know what can be in there?" she said; "you guess." "Now, do not hesitate," the grandfather said, "but speak out and say what you
think." "Why, what can be in there?" the little brother finally said; "it is perhaps a little turtle." "Now, you are surely our grand. children," the grandfather exclaimed.
"Well now, you kill me," the grandfather said. "No, we do not want to kill you," the children replied, "but you pay us something." ''Very well," the grandfather said, "what do you want?" "I want a shirt, a how, and quiver with arrows, and some wrist protectors, and a pair of moccasins," the boy said. The little girl asked for a dress, a blanket, moccasins, and a belt. And thus the grandparents paid them these things. They then also asked for some clothes; for their mothers, whereupon the grandfather gave them four sheep-wool dresses, two pairs of moccasins, and two belts. The children then said, that their mothers had said, if they were willing and would not say anything, then the mothers would also come. "Certainly you must come," the grandparents said; "you shall not remain there," So the children took these things with them and returned to their mothers.
When they arrived there the latter were very happy. The little boy was already shooting his arrow. They all dressed up now and ate their evening meal. Hereupon they proceeded to the village, but all abreast. In this same manner they ascended the ladder, and when they had arrived at the opening the elder woman called down, "Our father, our mother," but received no answer. The younger sister then called down the same words, but received no answer. "They do not care for us," they said. The children had told their grandparents that their mothers would come if the grandparents would not say anything to them. They then descended the ladder and stopped at the elevated portion in the kiva. Again the two called, "Our father, our mother," and again no answer. "They do not care for us," the two women said. They then descended into the deeper portion of the kiva and again one after the other called, "Our father, our mother," whereupon the grandmother responded. "How!" she said, and immediately her two children and two grandchildren fell dead. Had they heeded the injunction a little better, and had been quiet just once more, the fourth time they would all have lived together happily, but this way now they had no children.
143:1 Told by Lománömtiwa (Oraíbi).
145:1 A game resembling our checkers.