Long ago there were two sisters. The elder sister was married, and the younger sister used to go to grind with a friend who lived close by. They would grind at night and sing love songs. The younger sister noticed that there was something the matter with her brother-in-law. One day her sister was sick and she felt sorry to go and grind that night and leave her sister. She took her basket of blue corn and went up the ladder and down to the street. She said, "This time I will watch my brother-in-law, see where he goes and all that he does." She stood in a corner by a wood pile and rested her basket on the top. She saw her brother come up the ladder and go out. She followed at a distance.
At last he came to a high bank. She saw a light coming from a hole inside. Her brother went in. She stood outside and peeped in through a little window, listening. The room inside was full of witch people. She heard one of the women say to her brother, "Why do you come in so late?" "Because my sister-in-law stayed so long. I couldn't come till she left." "How is your wife?" "She is a little sick." "You must not care for your wife, care for me instead. Take this root and put it under her pillow before her sister comes home. This will make her worse." When she heard this, the sister took her corn to the house where she was accustomed to grind. She ground all night.
The husband took the root and went home. He put it under his wife's pillow. Early in the morning the sister got up and went up the ladder to her sister's. She set to work to get breakfast and sweep the house. When she was sweeping she moved her sister's pallet to one side and took up her pillow. She saw the root. She knew what it was there for. She seized it and threw it into the fire. Her brother-in-law sat with his head bowed. His wife began to feel better.
Night came, and the sister went out with a basket of blue corn and stood in the same place. Her brother-in-law came out and went
to the high bank. She followed him. She stood outside and listened again. The woman said to her brother-in-law, "How is your wife?" "She is better to-night." "What became of the root?" "My sister-in-law found it and threw it into the fire. This made my wife better." "All right, I will give you the strongest medicine. Hide it from your sister-in-law." But the sister-in-law was listening. As soon as she heard this she hurried home and went to grind with her friend, and they were singing grinding songs and laughing. Her friend knew nothing about her visit to the high bank. When she was through she took the basket of meal, and went up the ladder and down into her sister's house. "Good morning, sister," she said, "how do you feel?" "A little better." She started breakfast and swept. She raised her sister, and moved the pillow. She found a big root there, and she threw it into the fire. The sister got up and began to work. Her husband sat with bowed head to see his wife get up! They ate their morning meal.
That night, as soon as the husband left, the sister-in-law went to grind her corn. She stopped by the wood pile and followed her brother-in-law to the high bank. She stopped and listened. The witch woman said, "Here comes the boy, you are always late! What were you doing? I think you care more for your wife than you do for me. How is she?" "She is much better; she is up." "Is that so? What became of the root?" "My sister-in-law found it and threw it into the fire." "Next time I will be a great bear. I will come after her and kill her. To-morrow there will be a dance at the next pueblo. Tell her to dress herself and go with you there. Do not take her sister. On the way, where the road goes along the river, I will come out of the bushes and rush upon you and kill her." The sister heard. She went home before the meeting was over and climbed the ladder to her sister's house. She took sacred meal and went farther west and offered it to the six directions and prayed to the katcinas. She prayed hard. She asked the katcina for a stronger medicine than the witch woman had. When she had prayed the katcina came. They brought her the magic crystal and gave it to her, saying, "No matter if your brother does not want you to go, go. When the bear woman comes after you, throw this crystal at her; she will run on your sister's husband and hug him and they will roll and roll together until he is dead." She set off to her sister's. "Don't worry any more," she told her. "Your husband will. be the first to die, not you and I."
In the morning the husband said to his wife, "Dress in your best costume. I shall take you to the other pueblo where they will dance to-day." She said to her sister, "Dress, and we will go together." The husband said, "No; she is to stay." But his wife insisted that
her sister go with her. The sister dressed herself, and went with her sister and brother-in-law. They came to the river. The bear came out and chased them. The sister had the magic crystal which the katcina had given her. When the bear came, she threw it at him. He ran at her brother-in-law and hugged him. They rolled and rolled until he was dead. The bear was dead, too. So the husband and the witch woman were killed, and the sisters returned safely to their pueblo and lived there.
97:9 Informant 1. Notes, p. 233.