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When all was new, and the gods dwelt in the ancient places, long, long before the time of our ancients, many were the gods-some destined for good and some for evil or for the doing of things beneath understanding. And those of evil intent, so painfully bad were they to become that not in the company and council of the precious beloved of the Kâkâ (the Order of the Sacred Drama) could they be retained.

Thus it happened, in the times of our ancients, long, long ago, that there dwelt all alone in the Cañon of the Pines, southeast of Zuñi, Mítsina the Hermit. Of evil understanding he; therefore it had been said to him (by the gods): "Alone shalt thou dwell, being unwise and evil in thy ways, until thou hast, through much happening, even become worthy to dwell amongst us." Thus it was that Mítsina lived alone in his house in the Cañon of the Pines.

Sometimes when a young man, dressed in very fine apparel (wearing his collars of shell, and turquoise earrings, and other precious things which were plentiful in the days of our ancients), would be out hunting, and chanced to go through the Cañon of the Pines and near to the house of Mítsina, he would hear the sounds of gaming from within; for, being alone, the hermit whiled away his time in playing at the game of sacred arrows (or cane-cards).

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Forever from the ceiling of his house there hung suspended his basket-drum, made of a large wicker bowl, over the mouth of which was stretched tightly a soft buckskin, even like the basket-drums which we use in the playing of cane-cards today, and which you know are suspended with the skin-side downward from the ceilings of the gaming rooms in the topmost houses of our town. Though the one he had was no better than those we have today, save that it was larger and handsomer perhaps, yet he delighted to call it his cloud canopy, bethinking himself of the drum-basket of his former associates, the gods, which is even the rounded sky itself, with the clouds stretched across it. Forever upon the floor of his house there lay spread a great buffalo robe, the skin upward dressed soft and smooth, as white as corn-flour, and painted with the many-colored symbols and counting marks of the game, even as our own. But he delighted to call it his sacred terraced plain,[1] bethinking himself of the robe-spread of the gods, which is even the outspread earth itself, bordered by terraced horizons, and diversified by mountains, valleys, and bright places, which are

[1. The words "terrace," "sacred terrace," "terraced plain" (awithluiane, awithluian-pewine), and the like, wherever they occur, refer to the figurative expression for the earth in the Zuñi rituals addressed to the gods, where they are used as more nearly conforming to the usage of the gods. The symbol of the earth on the sacred altars is a terraced or zigzag figure or decoration, and the same figure appears in their carvings and other ornamental work. The disgraced god Mítsina applied the term to the robe spread out as the bed for his game. It may be stated in further explanation that the country in which the Zuñis have wandered and lived for unnumbered generations, and where they still dwell, is made {footnote p. 387} up largely of mesas, or flat-top mountains or elevations, rising one above another and showing as terraces on the horizon. Beheld at great distances, or in the evening, these mountain terraces are mere silhouettes and serve to exaggerate the zigzag spaces of light between them. As the conventional sacred emblem for the earth is a terrace, outspread or upreaching, as the case may be, so the conventional sacred emblem for the sky is an inverted terrace.

To the gods the whole earth is represented as having seemed so small that they invariably spoke of it as the terraced plain, and in their playing of this game they are supposed to have used it as the bed for the game, as the Zuñi people used the outspread buffalo robe for the purpose.]

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the symbols and game marks whereby the gods themselves count up the score of their game.

Hearing these sounds of the game in passing, the young man would naturally draw near and listen. Though all alone, every time he made a good throw Mítsina would exclaim "Her-r-r-r!" and as the canes struck the skin of the drum-basket above, tcha-le-le, tcha-le-le, it would sound; and ke-le-le they would rattle as they fell on the robe below. "Ha! ha!" old Mítsina would exclaim, as if triumphantly to some opponent in the game, "Kohakwa iyathlokyai!" as much as to say: "Good for you, old fellow! The white-corn symbol fell uppermost!"

"Oh!" the young man would exclaim as he listened. "Oh!"--and, wishing to learn more about the matter, he would stealthily climb up the ladder and peer down through the skyhole. Old Mítsina would catch sight of him, be sure of that, and greet him most cordially, calling to him: "Come in, come in, my fine young fellow, come in; let's have a game!"

Now, he had practised so long that he had

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acquired more skill than anyone else throughout the world-at least among mortals; so that when any of the young men chanced to play with him, he invariably lost, poor fellow! Hanging on the pole along the north side of Mítsina's house were the necklaces, embroidered mantles, and turquoises, and all sorts of treasures which he had won in this way; and as many on the western side, on the southern side as many, and on the eastern side also.

When the young man came in, Mítsina would continue: "My good friend, sit right down over there. Have you your canes today?" If the young man said "Yes," he would say "Ha! very well." Or, if he said "No," "Never mind," Mítsina would say; "here are some," producing a very fine set of polished canes. The young man, being thus pressed, would stake perhaps his necklace or his earrings, and the game would begin. Losing them, he would stake his clothing, his bows and arrows-in fact, everything he had about him. You know how it is with gamesters when they have lost a great deal and wish to get it back again? Well, so it was then. When the young man had lost everything, he would bow his head on his hand, and sit thinking. Then old Mítsina, with a jolly, devil-may-care manner, would say: "Bet your left thigh. I'll put all you have lost and more, too, on that." The young man would say to himself, with a sigh of relief: "What an old fool you are!" and reply: "All right! I will take your bet." Alas! the one thigh he bet is lost; then the

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other goes the same way; then one of his sides and arms; losing which, he bet the other, and so on, until he had bet away his whole body, including his head. Then in utter despair he would exclaim: "Do with me as thou wilt. I am thy slave." And old Mítsina with the same devil-may-care manner would catch him up, take him out to the back of his house and wring his neck that he might not go back and report his losses to his people.

Again, some other well-equipped young man would be passing that way, and hearing the sound made by the solitary player, and being attracted thereby, would be drawn in the same way into the game, would lose everything, and old Mítsina would wring his neck and keep his treasures.

Thus it was in the days of the ancients. Great were the losses of the young men, and many of them perished.

Well, one day little Áhaiyúta and Mátsailéma--the War-gods of peace times--who dwelt, as you know, where their shrine now stands on Face Mountain, with their old grandmother,--went out hunting rabbits and prairie-dogs. It chanced that in following the rabbits along the cliffs of a side cañon they came into the Cañon of the Pines, near where the house of Mítsina stood. Presently they heard the sounds of his game. "Hu, hu!" the old fellow would exclaim as he cast his canes into the air. Ke-le-le-le they would rattle as they fell on the skin.

"Uh!" exclaimed Áhaiyúta, the elder. "Brother younger, listen."

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The younger listened. "By my eyes exclaimed he, "it is someone playing at cane-cards. Let's go and have a peep at him." So they climbed the ladder and peered in through the skyhole.

Presently, old Mítsina espied them, and called out: "Ha! my little fellows; glad to see you today! How are you? Come in, come in! I am dying for a game; I was playing here all by myself."

The two little War-gods clambered down the ladder, and old Mítsina placed blankets for them, invited them most cordially to sit down, and asked if they would like to play a game. Nothing loth they, seeing all the fine things hanging, round his room; so out from their girdles they drew their cane-cards, for those, as you know, they always carried with them.

Perhaps I have not told you that even the basket-drum old Mítsina played with was fringed with the handsome long turquoise earrings which he had won, and even under the robe on which he played there were piled one over another, in a great flat heap, the finest of the necklaces gathered from those whom he had defeated in playing and then slain.

"What would you like to put up?" asked the old fellow, pointing around his room--particularly to the basket-drum fringed with turquoises--and lifting the robe and showing just enough of the necklaces underneath it to whet the appetites of the little War-gods.

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"We've nothing fine enough to bet for these things," said they ruefully.

"O ho!" cried Mítsina. "No matter, no matter at all, my boys. Bet your bows and arrows and clothing; if you like, bet everything you have on, and I'll put up that poleful there on the north side of my room."

"Good! good! tell him all right," whispered the younger brother to the elder.

So the elder agreed, chuckling to himself, for it was rarely that a man was found who could beat the little War-gods in a game. And they began their playing. How the turquoises rattled as they threw their canes! How the canes jingled and thumped as they fell on the robe!

The game was merry and long, and well played on both sides; but the poor little War-gods lost. Their countenances fell; but old Mítsina, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, exclaimed: "Oh pshaw! never mind, never mind!"

"Yes," said the two War-gods, but how in the world are we ever going back to our grandmother in this plight?"--glancing down over their bare bodies, for they had bet even the clothing off their backs. "What else can we bet? How can we win back what we have lost?"

"Bet your left thighs," said the old hermit.

They thought a moment, and concluded they would do so. So the game was staked again and begun and the canes rattled merrily; but they lost again. Then old Mítsina suggested that they bet their other thighs. They did so and again lost.

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Then he suggested they should bet their left sides, hoping forthwith to get hold of their hearts, but the young War-gods were crafty. The elder one exclaimed: "All right!" but the younger one said: "Goodness! as for you, you can bet your left side if you want to, but I'll bet my right, for my heart is on my left side, and who ever heard of a man betting away his heart!"

"Just as you like," said Mítsina, "but if you'll bet your bodies up to your necks I will stake all you have lost and all I have besides," said he, looking around on his fine possessions.

Done cried the War-gods. And again they played and again lost. Then they had nothing left but their heads and ears and eyes to bet. Finally they concluded to bet these also, for said they to one another: "What good will our heads do us, even though they be the crown-pieces of our being, without the rest?"

They played again, but the poor fellows lost their heads also. "Alas! alas! do as thou wilt with us," exclaimed the little War-gods, with rueful countenances.

Old Mítsina, locking them up in a small recess of his house, went out and gathered before his front door a great quantity of dry wood. Then he tied the little fellows hand and foot, and laid them near by,--not near enough to burn them up, but near enough so that they would scorch,--and lighted the fire, to have the pleasure of roasting them. When they began to brown and sizzle a little they writhed and howled with pain, but they

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were tough and quite bad, as you know, and this did not kill them.

Who can hide a thing from the eyes of the gods? The elder brothers of these two foolish little War-gods, Áhaiyúta and Mátsailéma, those who dwelt on Thunder Mountain, became aware of what was going on. "Come, brother younger," said the elder, strapping on his quiver and taking his bow in hand, "come, let us off to old Mítsina's house and teach him a lesson!" So, in a twinkling they were climbing down the mountain, speeding across the wide valley, and threading their way through the Cañon of the Pines.

Mítsina had grown tired of watching the poor little War-gods and had gone in to have another little game, and there he was pitching his cane-cards and talking to himself, as usual. The two gods hauled their unfortunate brothers away from the fire, and, climbing the ladder, peered in. Mítsina espied them, and as usual invited them in to a game. With as jolly an air as his own they accepted his challenge and sat down. Mítsina offered to bet all his fine things hanging on the north side of the house. "What will you put up, my little fellows?" asked he.

"If you will include those ugly little devils that we saw sizzling before the fire when we came in, we will bet you everything we have with us," said they.

"Good! good! haul them in!" shouted Mítsina.

The War-gods scrambled out of the house, and, by no means gently, dragged their wretched

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little brothers in by the heels and dumped them down on the floor to show their indifference, sat down, and began to play. They bet their weapons, holding up the knife of war which they carried, the point of lightning itself fatal in power,--splitter of mountains and overcomer of demons and men alike.

Old Mítsina, when told of the power of the weapons, became doubtful as to his company, but presently fell to and played with a will. He lost. Then he put up all the rest of his goods hanging on the other side of the room. Again he lost, and again, even the turquoises hanging from the basket-drum, the necklaces under his robe, and the things he played with, and getting wild with excitement, sure that his luck would return, followed out the plan he had so often suggested to others, and bet away his thighs, then his sides and arms, then his head and ears, excepting his eyes, and last of all his very eyes themselves. Each time the young War-gods won. The old gambler let his hands fall by his sides, and dropped his head on his breast, sick with humiliation and chagrin.

"Now, my brother," said the elder to the younger, "what shall we do with this beast?"

"I don't know," said the other. "We can't kill him; yet, if we leave him to go his own way, he will gamble and gamble without ceasing, and make no end of trouble. Suppose we make a good man of him."

"How?" asked the other.

"Pluck out his eyes."

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Capital!" exclaimed the first. So, while one of them held the old fellow down, the other gouged out his eyes, and with pain and horror he utterly forgot in unconsciousness (swooned away).

The two elder War-gods set their younger brothers on their feet, and all four of them joined in clearing out the treasures and magnificent possessions which Mítsina through all these years had won from his victims; and these they took away with them that by their sacred knowledge they might change them into blessings for the faithful of their children among men, and thus return, as it were, what had been lost. Then away they went, leaving old Mítsina still as witless as a dead man, to his fate.

By-and-by the old man came to his senses, and raising himself up, tried to look around, but, forsooth, he could not see.

"What in the world has happened? What a fearful pain I have in my temples said he. What is the matter? Is it night?"

Then gradually his situation came to him. He uttered a groan of pain and sorrow, and, putting out his hand, felt the wall and raised himself by it. Then he crept along, feeling his way to the window, not yet quite certain whether he had been dreaming all this and it was still night, or whether he had really lost everything and been bereft of his eyes by those midgets. When he put his hand into the window, however, he felt the warm sunlight streaming in, and knew that it was still day, and that it was all true.

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In feeling there he chanced to touch a little package of pitch which had been laid in the window. He felt it all over with both hands, but could not quite tell what it was. Then he put it against his cheek, but was still uncertain; then he rubbed it, and smelt of it. "Pitch! pitch! as I live!" said he. "I have often lighted this when it was dark, and been able to see. Now, maybe, if I light it this time, I shall be able to see again." He felt his way all round the room to the fireplace, and after burning his fingers two or three times in feeling for coals, he found a sliver and held it in the coals and ashes until he heard it begin to sputter and crackle. Then he lighted the pitch with it. Eyeless though he was, the fumes from this medicine of the woodlands restored to him a kind of vision. "Good!" cried the old fellow, "I see again!" But when he looked around, he saw nothing as it had been formerly; and his thoughts reverted to the great City of the Gods (Kothluellakwin); and, as it were, he could see the way thither. So he turned toward his door, and with a sigh gave up his old place of abode, relinquished all thought of his possessions, gave up his former bad inclinations, and turned westward toward the City of the Gods and Souls.

As he went along holding his light before him and following it, he sang a mournful song. The Birds, hearing this song, flocked around him, and as he went on singing, exclaimed to one another: "Ha! ha! the old wretch; he has lost his eyes! Served him right! Let's put out his light for him."

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Now, before that time, strange as it may seem, the Eagles and even the Crows were as white as the foam on warring waters. The Eagles were so strong that they thrust the other birds away, and began to pounce down at Mítsina's light, trying to blow it out with their wings. Thluh! thluh! they would flap into the light; but still it would not go out; and they only singed their feathers and blackened their wings and tails with smoke. In looking at one another they saw what sad plight they were in. "Good gracious, brothers!" exclaimed some of them to the others, "we have made a fine mess of our white plumage!" And they gave it up.

Then the Crows rushed in and flapped against the light, but they could not put it out; and although they grew blacker and blacker, they would not give it up. So they became as black as crows are now; and ever since then eagles have been speckled with brown and black, and crows have been black, even to the tips of their beaks. And whenever in the Sacred Drama Dance of our people old Mítsina appears, he sings the doleful song and carries the light of pitch pine. He goes naked, with the exception of a wretched old cloth at his loins; and he wears a mask with deep holes for eyes, blood streaming from them.

Thus shortens my story.

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Next: How The Twins Of War And Chance, Áhaiyúta And Mátsailéma, Fared With The Unborn-Made Men Of The Underworld