ANOTHER fragmentary story of the Quères seems to refer to this same remarkable woman. You will see the connection when you remember that the Moon disappears every month; and I should judge that the following myth means that the Storm-King steals her.
Once upon a time a chief of Acoma had a lovely daughter. One day a handsome stranger stole her and took her away to his home, which was in the heart of the Snow Mountain (Mt. San Mateo). He was none other than Mast-Truan, one of the Storm-Gods. Bringing his captive home, the powerful stranger gave her the finest clothing and treated her very nicely. But most of the time he had to be away from home, attending to the storms, and she became very lonesome, for there was no one to keep her company but Mast-Truan's wrinkled old mother.
One day when she could stand the loneliness no longer, she decided to take a walk through the enormous house and look at the rooms which she had not seen. Opening a door she came into a very large room toward the east; and there were
a lot of women crying and shivering with cold, for they had nothing to wear. Going through this room she came to another, which was full of gaunt, starving women, and here and there one lay dead upon the floor; and in the next room were scores of bleached and ghastly skeletons. And this was what Mast-Truan did with his wives when he was tired of them. The girl saw her fate, and, returning to her room, sat down and wept--but there was no escape, for Mast-Truan's old hag of a mother forever guarded the outer door.
When Mast-Truan came home again, his wife said: "It is now long that I have not seen. my fathers. Let me go home for a little while."
"Well," said he, "here is some corn which must be shelled. When you have shelled it and ground it, I will let you out"; and he showed her four great rooms piled from floor to ceiling with ears of corn. It was more than one could shell in a year; and when her husband went out, she sat down again to cry and bemoan her fate.
Just then a queer little old woman appeared before her, with a kindly smile. It was a cumúshquio (fairy-woman).
"What is the matter, my daughter?" asked the old fairy, gently, "and why do you weep?
The captive told her all, and the fairy said: "Do not fear, daughter, for I will help you, and we will have all the corn shelled and ground in four days."
So they fell to work. For two days the girl kept shelling; and though she could not see the old fairy at all, she could always hear at her side the click of the ears together. Then for two days
she kept grinding on her metate, apparently alone, but hearing the constant grind of another metate close beside her. At the end of the fourth day the last kernel had been scrubbed into blue meal, and she was very happy. Then the old fairy-woman appeared again, bringing a large basket and a rope. She opened the doors to all the rooms where the poor women were prisoners, and bade them all get into the basket one by one. Mast-Truan had taken away the ladder from the house when he left, that no one might be able to get out; but with her basket and rope the good old fairy-woman let them all down to the ground, and told them to hurry home--which they did as fast as ever their poor, starved legs could carry them. Then the fairy-woman and the girl escaped, and made their way to Acoma. So there was a Moon again--and that it was the Moon, we may be very sure; since this same girl became the mother of the Hero Twins, who were assuredly Children of the Moon.