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

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


Halíksai! In Oraíbi the people were living, and north of the village at Achámali lived the Pö'okongs with their grandmother, Spider Woman. One time the Pö'okongs heard that the Lálakontu were going to have a dance at Shongópavi. "Our grandmother," they said, "Ha!" she answered. "They are going to have a dance at Shongópavi," the Pö'okongs said, "and we want to go and look on, too." "Very well," she said, "you go there, but you are unsightly, and no one will invite you in to eat, so you take this food along." Hereupon she handed them a little hurúshuki. They took this and their feathered arrows and their corn-husk wheels and left.

As they went along they changed about in throwing their wheels and shooting their feathered arrows at them. They thus arrived at the village, passed through the village, and down the mesa south of it, away into the fields in the valley south-east of Oraíbi. It was noon by the time they got there. Here they came to a sand hill, where a great deal of kutúk-wuhci (a kind of grass) was growing. As the wind was blowing hard the grass was waving and producing a hissing noise. When the Pö'okongs saw it, they said: "This grass is dancing here, let us attend this dance," whereupon they stooped down and looked at the grass as it was swaying from side to side, being moved by the wind.

In the evening they returned to the village, not, however, playing this time as they went along. When they arrived at their grandmother's house she asked: "Have you come?" "Yes," they replied, "and we are very tired." "To be sure," she said, "because it is far to Shongópavi. Did you see the dance well? How did they dance?" "Yes," they said, "we looked at it well and we enjoyed it.

p. 91

We went to the fields south-east of Oraíbi and there on a sand hill we found something in tassels there, and the wind was waving it, and it always said, psh-sh-sh-sh-sh-, and there we remained and looked .at that dance." "You are fools," Spider Woman said; "that was not Shongópavi. Shongópavi is farther on and is away high up, and when the Lálakontu dance they hold pótas in their hands and wave them up and down, and then they throw them into the air and the men shout and catch these pótas. Now, I was thinking that you would also bring one that we could put our hurúshuki in, and that is the reason why I sent you. Why, what you saw there was simply kutúk-wuhci that was waving in the wind. Fools you are!"

They were then living there and soon a Lálakontu dance occurred at Mishóngnovi. "Now, I am going to send you there," Spider Woman said to the Pö'okongs; "the Oraíbis are certainly going there too, to look on. But you must go, straight ahead there and not be playing as you go along. When you go down you will see the Oraíbis going and you follow them, and when you get there you look on well. You will see them throw trays. You will hear the men shout and get the trays. You look at everything well and do not be slow about it; now go on. "When they had eaten their meal Spider Woman said: "Now, do not take your wheels and arrows along." So they started and passed along through the village and followed the trail. They saw the Oraíbis going to Mishóngnovi. They followed them this time without playing on the road, and finally they also arrived at Mishóngnovi. But they were filthy, and the phlegm that was running out of their noses they would wipe over their hands, and the people saw it. As the dance was going on, and the trays and sieves were thrown up, the Pö'okongs saw the men getting them, but they did not get any. Then the people of Mishóngnovi invited their friends to come to their houses and eat with them, but no one invited the Pö'okongs. So they became very hungry, and towards evening they said to each other: "Let us go home now, because we are getting hungry. But we are going to take some trays along." While the women were dancing the two went into the circle and each one snatched a tray from one of the dancers and then they ran home.

When the grandmother saw the pretty trays that they had brought she was very happy. "Thanks," she said, "thanks. Now you have been there, now you have seen it, and you have brought some pretty trays in which we shall keep our hurúshuki." "Yes," they said, we were there and saw the dance. So that is the way they are doing. We enjoyed it. But no one invited us to eat, and we are Very hungry." Hereupon Spider Woman placed some hurúshuki

p. 92

before them and fed them. The Pö'okongs were angry that they had not been fed in Mishóngnovi.

At that time the Hopi found salt at a place north-west, not quite so far away as they have to get it now. The salt belonged to the Pö'okongs, so they said: "We are going to remove that salt farther away. If they had fed us, although we are unsightly, they could continue to get it from the place close by; but as they have not fed us we are going to remove it far away, so that they will be put to a greater trouble in getting their salt." Spider Woman at first objected, but they would not listen and started. Arriving at the nearest place where there was some salt they picked that up and carried it away a long distance, descended a very steep bluff with it, and laid it down there. So ever since the Hopi can find only a very little salt at the first place and have to get most of their salt from that farther place, which is so very deep down and so difficult of access.


90:1 Told by Tangákhoyoma (Oraíbi).

Next: 24. How Pö'okong Won A Bride