Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo Index Previous Next
Yellow was thinking about something. White was with him. He killed people there. There was a hard time. At hojoñ he shot arrows in four directions. When he shot the first time there was white corn, the second time, blue corn, the third, yellow, and the fourth, brown spotted corn of all kinds. They came to a place for a garden. They planted. They planted the blue corn that had been shot. It grew. Yellow had not put the yellow corn there, so there was no yellow corn. Yellow was sad about it. They planted the brown corn there. Silently Yellow walked around, thinking sadly, “They say very bad things of me. They even say I am dead. I am grieving to death. Who will possess my property after I am gone?”
He thought, “I will say, ‘I will divide all my property among you. Let all the people who live here come together. Maybe I will give you my things. What do you say?’ ” “Yes, yes,” they said. He led them off and lined them up. He selected some of the people. He walked a little way and took a curved oak stick. He pried deep under a rock. He took out a yucca rope and tied it on the rock. He laid hoops of oak on the rock and drew a line with the yucca about five inches long in the center. “Now go over there,” he ordered. The stones lay in a circle. Then he threw the rope which had been fastened to the ledge rock down to a very great depth. When it reached the ground he said a prayer. He turned back. He stepped in the circles and arrived at the bottom of the curved rock where the stones lay in a circle. Then the people heard him pray. He put on a large mask of Talking God. He took an ear of perfectly kerneled white corn and one of yellow. “You think I am going to give you these goods,” he said to them. He told them he would do something wonderful.
He had put on the mask so as to do something terrible. His companion, who was called “White” lined up the people so that Yellow stood in the middle. He held ears of corn up toward him. The people stood there. “Once more look. There will be eight. I guess it is twelve,” he said as he ran down from above wearing the mask.1 Every time he said eight he meant eight years and when he said twelve he meant twelve years. The people planted, but just before the corn was ripe, it froze. A second time the crop was burned. A third time it did not sprout. They planted four times in vain. There was no rain, no vegetation, no food. Eight years from that time they stole children from each other and ate them. But in twelve years it became a little better. Then it rained again and vegetation and corn grew. Thus the man named Yellow had revenged himself.
1 The man died because he spoke whilehe was wearing the mask, but whatever he said would come true.