Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo Index Previous Next
They went to a place called Mountain of Mud. They made clay pots in which banatinłe hid beads. He hid also a white shell cane, a turquoise cane, an abalone and a jet cane. A large woman of ki’ya’ani clan had a hogan there on a rock. At that place they killed a deer. At first the woman said nothing. Then with her hand on her side she spoke. Then the ki’ya’ani from ki’ya’a moved back, taking the snake which was their pet. It was at the place where the streams unite at the south where the cañons come up near where the Ute live.
The Ute made war on the Navajo. “In some days we will come back to fight,” they said. At the place where the rock stands high on top they placed stones in a circle and killed them. One was called tsεkε. The Mexican captives became the clan now called Mexican (nakaidinε).
There were twelve men who were offended because their enemies had seduced their wives. The four offenders who were Mexican were killed by the Ute. Again they came to fight. Each time Mexicans were killed. Eleven were killed. Only one was left. He was called latc’obai. He had only one sister. She became ill. In vain he made medicine for her. She died. Her husband married again very soon. Then latc’obai came to gamble with his brother-in-law. He had his bow in his hand and as he walked toward the sun he made motions as if shooting as he pronounced magic words. He shot him between the shoulders. Then the people ran after him. As he ran with his bow he shot all his arrows. He had four arrows in his quiver which was hanging from his belt and he shot all of them. Just as they overtook him, he took down another quiver containing four arrows and shot them. This he did four times. When they were all gone he sang, “Now I shall die,” as he ran toward the big peaks.
After four years he was seen again. “Come back to us and be our chief. What is the use of running away?” they said to him. He went toward them, but not very close. He heard there was a sing. He came up to an old woman pot who was living alone. “Why did they kill all my people, grandmother?” he said. The woman said, “Something will happen, grandson; witchcraft this way, witchcraft that way. That man knows how to turn a bear track into a coyote who knows how to talk. They killed his brother’s wife.” “What is its medicine?” “I have medicine for it. Let a girl cut open the gall bladder of a live blue lizard and take out the gall. When the lizard dies the girl will die also. Let a man cut the belly of a long lizard and take out its gall. Let him too die quickly. Then take the gall of a hawk and that of a quadruped, break p. 159 with them the flower of the mistletoe and when it is frozen ask the two to let you help them plant corn. Let all bring cooking vessels. They will have a hard time.” “All right, grandmother, I will do as you say.”
He ground corn for her and fed her. She ate. He took off her beads and put earrings in her ears. “Now you will be dressed the way I am dressed when you go. Now I will hit you.” “All right, my grandson.”
Then he hit her behind the head and started away. The singers came home. He tried to kill them. They chased him. He ran, they knew not where. Then, for many years, he prepared what the old woman had taught him. He captured a Pueblo girl and a Pueblo boy. He caught a blue lizard and instructed the girl to cut its belly. He caught a long lizard for the boy and it died. He did all old Pot Woman had told him. He dressed himself. A man spoke. “Why do you do all those things. We are sorry for you. Come back to us. Be our chief.” “All right, I will. I ask something great of you. Carry all your little pot children along with you.”
Then they did that. The pots were placed in a line. He took up a six-foot stick. He put it into the vessels as he went about dancing. Then he made a speech to the people. “You said I should be your chief. Now you eat.”
They ate. Then soon they began to itch. One fell backward. Then they ran back to their homes. They were bad warlike people. He killed them all. Again they lost him. They tracked him to the junction of the Las Animas and San Juan rivers. Then they walked to where Mancos Creek flows into the San Juan and tracked him again. It had rained on the tracks some days before. Then they slept. While they were watching the sun rose. Just at midday he climbed down beyond where a rock stands up. He went down Mancos Creek. They ran so far and lay down and watched. He came up. On the hill he turned around. They did not recognize him. His hair was cut on top. They could not tell where his face was. He had painted his face red and the back of his head looked the same. He started back. They thought he had gone in and they lay down to watch again. He came back again. Then he went downstream, digging for beaver. The soles of his feet were brown. They seized him by his feet. Two others held him at the head. “xa xaa,” he said, “Today I must die. I will come up by myself.” “Then let him do it. Never mind him,” they said.
So they tied half of him with a rope. Four of them held him on side by the arms. Six held him. They cut him in two by splitting. They cut off his head. His head fell off. Tears ran down his face. Then he fell over. Then they started off having left pounded soapweed where he had climbed.