The European tales in this collection include a number that are seldom reported from the American Indians. Among those tales, on the other hand, that are widely distributed, John the Bear, the comradeship of the lame man and the blind, the noodle tales and the amusingly confused tale of the Swan Maidens stand out conspicuously.
In contrast, for instance, with Zuñi European tales, the whole collection has been subjected to comparatively little change in the Cochiti versions. The life that is mirrored is not pueblo life, but a bastard version of European conditions centuries ago; robbers steal doors and let them fall from trees on people below (in a country that aboriginally did not have doors at all, and where rocks and not trees are places of refuge), the halfwit ties himself to a cow's tail (where cows are never kept), they take to court suit about a spoon, the heroes hire out to kings, and the bride and groom go to visit his parents in a buggy. For this reason, I have not used these tales in the discussion of domestic life as it is mirrored in Cochiti mythology. The abstracts of these European tales are included, rather, as an indication of the hold of European culture in the Rio Grande.
Other obviously European tales in this collection are: The Contest of Good-tasting Fat, p. 7; The Origin of the Cat, p. 154; The Woodrat and Mouse Challenge One Another, p. 155; and many of the stock incidents of the witch and coyote tales.
(4 versions; a Boas, p. 166; b Benedict, Informant 1, p. 163; c Benedict, informant 3, p. 165; d Benedict, informant 3, p. 167)
The favorite Southwest story of the lame man and the blind is recorded in four versions, of which one is the introduction to a noodle series.
A lame and a blind man (brothers, a) lived together in the West. They lived upon wood rats, which they killed together (upon birds which they lured by bird calls produced on a taut hair, d). The weak lame man directed the strong blind man, who carried him about to the traps. (They made practical jokes about each other's infirmity, and always speculated on how nice it would be if each were cured, b). One day they trapped unusually large wood rats (got good
supply of birds, d) which burst unexpectedly when they roasted them over the fire. Startled, the blind man opened his eyes and the lame man ran. They had been cured, but they continued to live together.
(2 versions: a Benedict, informant 1, p. 163; b Benedict, Informant 3, p. 167)
Version b is the continuation of the story of the lame and blind man (version d above); version a follows the usual outline and is the tale of a halfwit boy and his grandmother. The two versions are the same except for order and for the final incident. I give an abstract of version a.
Ginini (halfwit) lived with his old grandmother. One day she sent him for wood, telling him to bring in "the gray" (i. e., well dried) sticks, and to lie down whenever it got too dark to travel. He found the (gray) bones of a horse and brought back a load. When the sun set he was at the foot of his own ladder, so he slept there, where his grandmother found him in the morning.
Next day she sent him to the give-away dance at Sia. He stopped at an ant hill (si'a, ant), and spread out the skin and took what the ants brought him, receiving many bites. His grandmother scolded him when he arrived home. The next day she sent him to gather locusts on the piñon trees. He saw a Jemez Indian gathering pitch, and he killed him for a "locust." His grandmother made him take the body back when he brought it to her. Next he was told to finish the hoeing in the fields. His grandmother carefully explained how he was to do the "throwing up." He found a snake and threw this up all day long. When his grandmother went to see the results of his work, she found the bruised snake. She felt pity for the snake because he had killed it.
A more unusual Southwest noodle tale is the following:
Two brothers and a friend went hunting. They separated to find deer. A big grasshopper jumped on the chest of one of the brothers, and was shot by the friend, who thought it was a deer. When he saw that he had killed his friend he felt remorseful and declared that he should not die alone. He tied himself to a cow's tall, struck the cow a blow and was dragged to death. The younger brother saw the dust, and, thinking it was caused by a deer, followed. He found various members of the body, and still considered them parts of the deer. When he came to the cow, he inquired why she had killed him, but the cow enlightened him as to his error, and declared that the man had taken his own life In this fashion. His brother collected all the scattered parts of the body (p. 176).
(2 versions: a Boas, p. 167; b Benedict, Informant 1, p. 169.)
The first part of the tale is told only in version b.
A man and his wife had no child. They prayed and finally the man went to the mountains to make offerings there. A bear met him in answer to his prayer, and exchanged beds with him for the night. The man's wife bore a
son whom they called Sanosa. He was half bear and half human. The boy grew up always asking for his father. Finally his mother directed him to the bear. He lived with him. His bear father got human food mysteriously. Sanosa went out to get work and was employed by a king, b.
With five others he worked in the mountains. Each of them took turns cooking for the rest. An old woman used to appear when everything was ready and eat it all up, while the man who had cooked slept. The third day she was overcome by the half bear, who slept only on his human side. She begged for her life, promising him six girls whom she had shut up and would give him. She went back into her hole. When the others returned they tried letting themselves down the hole on a rope. The first two were afraid to go all the way down and shook the rope as a signal to be hauled back. (Half Bear went down, and tied a bell to the rope as a signal, b.) The half bear then went down (taking a stone with which he was able to overcome, a; he killed the old woman and found her heart of cactus, b). He reached the girls. They were all hoisted up the rope, but the boy they did not bring up. After three days he succeeded in getting out but he never found the others.
(2 versions: a Boas, p. 170; b Benedict, informant 1, omitted.)
Three brothers set out to seek work in other pueblos. They came to a forked road and each went a different way. The eldest met a coyote on the road, who asked for food. This he refused and sent her to his brother who was traveling on the middle road. He, in turn, sent her on to the youngest brother who gave her his last piece of bread. For his generosity the coyote advised him to go farther south to a certain stream and follow his directions. He did so, and threw crumbs on the water for the fishes to feed from. Presently three maidens in the form of doves came to bathe. He seized the clothes of the youngest and prettiest. When she was unable to find her clothes the eldest daughter (the youngest, b) asked him to find her ring lost in the spring, which he secured by the aid of the fishes. (All of the sisters gave him tokens of marriage, a.) He was received by their father, the king, as the husband of the youngest after showing the tokens, and sorting peas, beans, and wheat by the help of ants, a. After a time the boy remembered his parents, and planned to return to them with his wife. (Her parents gave her a hollow cane to supply her needs, b.) They drove in a buggy and when they came near his home they sent a message ahead by a cottontail rabbit which was caught by the family and the message read. The poverty stricken house was replaced that night by a fine one, well stocked by means of the wife's magic cane, a, b.
(One of the brothers became jealous, killed his younger brother, and told his wife that he had been shot while hunting. She was suspicious, found him and restored him to life with the cane, and they lived happily together again, b.)
Two sisters, Oheania and Okuronita, lived in Tiputse. The younger sister, who married first, had a child, and when she was lying in, her husband and sister took turns watching her so that she would not be alone. Just before dinner her sister, who was on duty, went to get water intending to be gone only a moment. At the river a fish called to her to come and see the stomach she had lost when she was washing it. She ran after it, but it was only
fooling her. In the meantime a devil woman came to her sister, and under the Pretense of lousing her stuck a needle into her neck, and she was immediately transformed into a dove, while the devil woman took her place. In order to protect herself from discovery she said that the light hurt her eyes and that she must have it shut out. The next day when the sister was out doors a dove called and asked if Okuronita's baby were well. The following day the husband caught the dove and the sister pulled the needle from its head. The dove was immediately changed into her proper shape. The husband went in and choked the devil woman, and they were all very angry because they had been wasting on her good things to eat (p. 177).
The youngest son of a poor family ate too much and was not wanted by his family, so his three elder brothers were told to lose him in the mountains. The boy knew their plans so gathered food together. When night came, the little boy climbed a tree to see if there were any lights around, and saw a very faint one in the distance. They left their oxen and traveled toward it. They came to the house of a giant who fed them and placed them to sleep in a room with his daughters, planning all the while to eat them. In the night the youngest brother exchanged the fox skin bands which the boys wore over their heads for those of rabbit skin which the girls wore. As a result of this exchange the giant killed his own daughters, and the boys escaped. They came to the house of a woman who gave the little boy a piece of glass to throw behind them when they were pursued, so that it would splinter and the passage would be difficult. They met Grandmother Spider who gave them a root to chew and spit behind when the giant got near them. Another old woman gave them a needle, and a fourth a piece of glass which would form a sheet of ice. So the boys escaped through their assistance, and the giant fell on the ice and could not get up (p. 178).
An old man and woman who were afraid of robbers decided to go where it was safe. While on their journey, when they were eating under a tree, they heard a noise made by approaching soldiers. They took refuge in the tree, but were discovered by the urine of the woman. The old man had carried the door of his house, and they let it fall to frighten the soldiers and so escaped. They met a little boy who was about to take them to his home, when an old witch invited them to hers. The old man was suspicious and thought that the witch was going to steal from them. He told her that they were seeking for their long lost boy, and stole away in the night. At last they came to a safe place (p. 180).
The younger of the three brothers who worked in the silver mines was lazy and envious of the others, for they brought home much silver. He followed them one day, after they refused to tell him how they secured their loads. He hid in a pine tree, and found that they commanded the door of the mine to open, and when they had finished, to close. After his brothers had left he commanded the door to open, but while he was in the mine, robbers came, found him there, killed him and took all the money, hanging his body in the tree. He was found
by his brothers and carried home. On the way they met an old woman who was inquisitive to find out whose body they were carrying. Her husband observed her, was jealous, and struck her dead. This was reported to the governor who sent his men to arrest the man. (Unfinished, p. 181.)
Half Rooster came down with the people from the pueblo on the mesa. An old woman gave him food, and shortly he returned saying that she had taken his spoon. She denied this and he took it to court before the king. On his way he met Lion, Bear, Wolf, Grinding Stone, Fire, Water. They wanted to go with him and he took them all into his arse and carried them along. He got to the court of the king. The king had him shut in a den of wild horses, and he ordered Lion out to kill them; of wild bulls, and Bear killed them; of two dangerous mules, and Wolf killed them. They shut him in the church to freeze, and he ordered Grinding Stone to break all the pictures and santus. They tried to bury him in ice, but Fire melted it. They made a great pyre for him, and when it was lit Water put it out. The king took him into his house to live with him (p. 182).