Sacred Texts  Native American  Plains  Index  Previous  Next 


Long ago they all gathered to play the moccasin game. 3 When they arranged the wagers, daylight was staked against darkness as a perpetual future condition. Day was about to break. Roadrunner with his red spot did not miss the moccasin once. Crane also guessed right every time. Roadrunner and Crane both rubbed their cheeks with fire.

Owl took the ball from the moccasin. "It will not be day," he sang, "who, wo." Roadrunner took the ball again. "Daylight is good," he sang, "the east is whitening." While they were intent on the game, day broke and they started to run to the mountains. All those who were struck by the sun's rays became red. Roadrunner had rubbed his cheeks with fire and that is why they are so red. Crane also burned his cheeks by rubbing them with fire and they are red in consequence. Those were beaten who sang, "There will be no daylight." That is why they go around at night. Those that go around in the daytime won.


207:2 According to Mooney's account this event took place in the lower world before the emergence, (a), p. 198. This myth is known to the Navajo (Franciscan Fathers, p. 485) and to the other Apache.

207:3 A game in which the players form two parties one of which hides a ball in one of the moccasins standing in a row and the other guesses which moccasin contains it.

Next: 15. Coyote Secures Fire