Sacred Texts  Native American  Hopi  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Traditions of the Hopi, by H.R. Voth, [1905], at

p. 86


Halíksai! In Oraíbi the people were living, but there were a great many people at that time living there, and it frequently happened that when the men or women would get wood, some of them did not return, and the people were thinking about it and wondering what became of these people, whether they had gone away or whether they had been killed. They were worried about it. So one time a man again went after wood. He took his straps, tied them around his body and went to Hótvâla (a spring about five miles northwest of Oraíbi). North of this spring he gathered some wood, made the usual frame-work of wooded sticks into which he piled the wood, put the wood on his back, and went to the path leading to Oraíbi, when he heard a voice. Somebody was singing the following song:

Iya yahina kilicina hanaa,
Iya yahina kilicina hanaa,
Honayish pichiya cakicta,
Koovna ahinahina,
Toyâshkakolita Cooyokooo.

[These words are archaic and are not understood by the Hopi.}

It was the Cóoyoko. When he saw that somebody came with wood, he said: "Now then, I shall feast upon that one." The man carrying the wood, however, quickly threw down his large burden of wood and crawled under it. When the Cóoyoko arrived at the place he could not find the man, and thought he had escaped. ''Let me go on farther, I may find some one else," he said, and so proceeded to another place in the woods singing the same song again. Here he found a woman getting a burden of wood ready. "Now then, I shall feast upon that one," he said again.

When the woman saw him she was very much afraid and ran and climbed a juniper-tree, micturating as she did so. When the Cóoyoko arrived at the tree he noticed some moisture on the ground and said: "There must be clouds somewhere, it has been raining." So he left the place and went westward saying: "I shall hunt somebody else," and as he went along he sang the same song again. The man whom he had met first, had in the meanwhile escaped, and the woman also climbed down, when the Cóoyoko had left her, and ran away to the village. These two informed the people in the village that it was Cóoyoko who killed the Oraíbi people. When the village chief heard this he was very sorry and was thinking. He was thinking in the night who could help him.

p. 87

So the next morning he went over to the shrine of Achámali (about one-eighth of a mile north of Oraíbi), where the Pö'okongs (Pöokónghoya and Balö'ongawhoya) lived with their grandmother, Spider Woman. Spider Woman told him to come in and sit down. The two brothers were playing with their ball and did not hear the chief enter. The woman told them to stop, as some one had come in, but they would not listen, so she struck one over the back. "What Is It?" he said, but continued to play. She finally grasped him by both arms and told him to stop as somebody had come in. So they stopped their playing. Hereupon she said to the chief: "Now, what is it? You certainly have come for some reason." "Yes," he said; "these, my children here in Oraíbi when they get wood they are killed, and it is Cóoyoko who kills them, and I want you to take revenge on him. That is the reason why I have come here.'' "Yes," they said, "he does it. He is our uncle and he is bad, but we shall help you. We shall go there." Hereupon the chief asked them what they would want for it. They said that he should make some of those balls, when they had killed him, because those were what they wanted.

The chief hereupon returned to the village. The next morning the two brothers took their bow, their arrows, which consisted of lightning, and their ball. As they went along they kept striking their ball before them. One of them struck it forward, and the other one backward, and in this way they slowly proceeded. They finally arrived at the Cóoyoko's house. This was located at Muñaovi on top of the mesa, a short distance east of Oraíbi (about four miles). When they came here they looked into the house, but Cóoyoko was gone. His wife, Cóoyok Wuhti, had also gone away. They followed the tracks of the latter westward, and found her at a place sitting and killing white lice in her dress. "There is somebody sitting," they said to each other, and laughed at her. "Now let us do something to her," the elder brother said, "because she does not notice us." Hereupon they both shot a lightning arrow at her, which shattered 'her to pieces. "Now, let, us go to the house," they said, which they did.

When they arrived there Cóoyoko had not yet returned, so they went in and looked around. They found in one of the rooms still fresh human flesh that had just been fried, and they found hanging on the wall a great many beads, clothing, and scalps that had been taken from the Hopi whom the Cóoyoko had killed. Here they now waited for the return of Cóoyoko. Soon they heard him come. He was singing the same song that he had been singing before. "He

p. 88

is coming now," the youths said to each other, and when he carne upon the roof of the house or kiva they heard him throw down some, thing. "He has killed somebody again, because he is throwing down something," they said to each other. When Cóoyoko came into the kiva he found no one there, and said to himself: ''She has not yet returned," referring to his wife, "because there is no fire at the fireplace." He laid down his bow and arrows and his stone axe, and hunted for something to eat.

The Pöokónghoyas had hidden themselves behind the mealingbin. When they saw him walking around there they said to each other: "Now let us kill him." So each one shot lightning arrows at him and he was killed. The Pöokónghoyas hereupon took his knife, scalped him, and then took many beads and a great many other things that they found in the house, and returned to their home. So they were now very wealthy. Going home they did not strike their ball before them because they had so many things to carry. When they had arrived in their home they had a dance, swinging the scalp of the Cóoyoko while they were dancing and singing the following song:

Hataina, hataina,
Pöokonghoyo, Cooyoyoko
(The) Pöokongs, (the) Cooyoko.
Taalcha, hataina hataina
Aynikohina hina.

The words are archaic and no longer understood except the two proper names and the word taalcha. The last word is said to be the Navaho word for kill.

When the village chief heard that they had returned he cut two round pieces out of a large buckskin and made two nice balls of these two pieces. He also made a ball stick for each one. These he took and went to the house of the Pö'okongs. What have you found out?" he asked them. "We have killed them." they replied. "Thanks," he said, "that you have killed them." Hereupon he handed them the balls and sticks. After that the Hopi always returned when they went after wood.


86:1 Told by Kwáyeshva (Oraíbi).

Next: 22. How Pö'okong Killed the Bear