Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo

p. 88



{Journal of American Folk-Lore, vol. 43, 1930, pp. 88-104.}

 The first (lowest) world was red, bare, barren ground, this was the earliest world. Etséhostin and Etséasun, his wife, existed there and they had nothing to eat till the fourth day, and on this day they began to think of eating. Hostjaishjiné stood up and rubbed his belly and some skin (bitcin) was loosened which formed in a roll under his hands and he laid this roll of cuticle on the ground. The woman stood up and followed his example. Then they each trampled on the rolls. Etséhostin reached over his shoulder, down his back, and formed another roll and laid it on the ground. The two rolls that he had formed turned into a man with a mask. This new-formed man stood up, and this is the origin of the first man (Navajo ?). Etséasun again followed the hostin’s example and from the rolls which she formed a woman arose: this was the virgin called Djosdelhazhy (biting vagina). The hostin (old man) then reached under his left arm and formed another roll of skin which he laid on the ground and it became (a water monster called) Téholtsody. The hostin then reached under his right arm and formed another roll of skin which, being laid upon the ground, became Usheenasun, Salt spirit, a woman who now lives at Nitcō (Salt Lake south of Zuñi).

 Hostin then took the end of his tongue between his fingers and spat out a little piece of it (his tongue ? spittle ?) upon the ground before him and it became a wing which he placed upon his ear. The wind would shake this wing and tell everything in his ear. Etséasun then took a roll of skin from her scalp and laid it on the ground and placed a little feather beside it and this became the Thunder (with wings). On the left side the feathers were black on top and white underneath, on the right side the feathers were white above and black below. Etséhostin then rubbed the sole of his right foot and the roll of skin became a large frog, Tcalc. He rubbed the sole of his left foot, and a crane, Teklaliale was formed. This makes altogether twelve personages up to this time.

 Etséhostin began thinking, “How can we get something to eat?” Etséasun said, “My husband, I know not.” Hostin looked back and saw Hostjaishjiné and said to him, “You understand these things, tell us how we are to get food.” Hostjaishjiné, who always looks stern and grim and angry, said, “I do not know,” but he reached down on his neck and rolled a little skin in his hand and Wunushtcindy (locust ?) was p. 89 produced. Then Etséasun looked far back and saw Nastjeasun and asked her how they could get something to eat. Nastjeasun rolled a little skin upon her breast and it became Ant, Nâzozi, which was then buried in the ground for four days and at the end of that time many little red (yellow) ants came forth. Hostjaishjiné then rolled some skin from his forehead and laid it on the ground when it turned into a horned toad, Nâshōngbitcijy. Etséhostin built a house and lived there and the red (yellow) ants built all round this big house, and annoyed him and the others, so that they could find no rest day or night. Teholtsody thought he would go off and find some place to rest so he travelled to the east. The world was very small at this time, and Teholtsody soon came to its utmost limit and as he could go no farther, he built his house there. In like manner, the frog being troubled with the ants, he travelled to the south to the utmost limit of the world, and built there. Then Salt Woman went similarly to the west and built a house, and Tulthklahallé went to the north. Each of these houses was fashioned from east to west like a rainbow (shabiklo), and from south to north of Sun-rays (jōnâaibikloth), when we build a house today we have four poles reaching from east west and from south to north, and these meet at the apex.

 After these four had left him Etséhostin stayed in his own house. He said, “I wish we could get some clouds, I want rain,” and he looked out of his house towards the East, where Teholtsody was and saw many clouds, for Teholtsody’s house is of clouds. Etséasun then said, “I wish we had some kind of rain,” and she looked to the south and saw a heavy fog, for this was the frog’s house. Etséhostin wished that there was a mountain to stand on and look for rain, and he began to pray for rain; he looked west and saw a mirage, Hûtaonige, like a person. Etséasun now prayed on the north side, “Send rain so that everything may be wet.” She saw a green scum on the water and made a house, ‘Tutklitb’hogan, of this. This makes four houses.

 Etséhostin sent Thunder naked to the cloud house of Teholtsody in the east, telling Thunder to stand right in the doorway of Teholtsody’s house. Thunder went there and stood in the doorway naked and Teholtsody gave him a mantle of feathers which is the sheet (quick) lightning. On his head is the heat lightning, He had a tail feather which is Hajillkish, sheet lightning. Etséasun told the monster Tehlin (horn horse) to go to the south to Frog’s house of fog. He went and stood in the doorway. Salt Woman had gone west and Etséhostin told Thonainilly to stand just outside the doorway of her house and watch her. He was to be her guardian. An old woman sat on the north side of the world and she sent a fish (turtle) to watch outside the doorway of Tulthklahale’s house and guard it. After Teholtsody went east he made a water vessel (tositsa) of white clay. Frog in the south made one of blue clay; the Usheenasun in the west made one of yellow clay. Tultklehale on the north made one of spotted clay. It had variegated surface of black, blue, yellow and white.

p. 90

 Etséhostin began to travel and he went to Teholtsody’s house, and in the middle of it he found the pot Teholtsody had made and it was covered. He lifted the cover and found it full of water. He went home and told his wife that Teholtsody was growing wiser than they were. Etséasun then went south to Frog’s house and saw his pot full of water, and she returned to her house and told her husband. Jōsdelhazhy said she also would travel and she went west and found that Salt Woman also had a pot full of water. She returned and told what she had seen. Hashjaishjine then went north and found a pot of water in the house of Tulthkalhale and he returned very angry. He said, “They are all getting wiser than us. They are growing rich and we are still poor. We have nothing and cannot make anything.” Etséhostin said, “Why should you be angry? We will grow wise like them and have many things some day.” Then Etséhostin went to Teholtsody’s house to get a little water, which he brought back to his own house. Etséasun went and brought some from the south. Next Hostin borrowed some from the west and Asun borrowed from the north. Having brought water from each of these four places Hostin planted it all together in the ground. In a few days he saw a damp, green spot there. He returned to look at the place in a few more days and saw that bushes had grown there. He made a third visit and found jointed grass. He made a fourth visit and found the reed grass, looka (arrow grass, tluka) but it had no pollen on the top, and there was a large spring also. Hostin again said, “I wish we had something more,” and he went to the spring and found lookaitso growing right in the centre of it. Five different kinds of plants grew out of the spring and he pulled up some of each kind and took them home. One of these reeds had twelve joints and the wind came out of the other end and made music (a flageolet). The wind emerging from this reed whirled about on the ground all over the world and it went to the houses at the four quarters and caused them much trouble. The dweller at each house sent his guard out to trouble the wind. They took black clouds, fogs, and blue mould, also to each of them was given Thunder and Lightning and the guardians kept shooting at the little winds but these latter kept dodging about so that they could not be hit. But this only raised more wind and it rained heavily, then the guards stopped troubling the wind for they could not conquer it.

 When the rain stopped Hostin said to his wife, “Everything looks beautiful, I wish we had something good to eat.” He looked in all directions and saw Hajillkish (Glow-light Heat-Lightning) at the four points where people lived. Then he prayed for some kind of grass, or fruit, or seeds to live upon. He went to the spring and saw something green that had come up out of the ground and it was corn. He then went east to Teholtsody and found the pumpkin and squash and returned. Asun went south and found that Frog had raised watermelon and tobacco. She returned. Then Hostin went west to Salt Woman’s house and found beans p. 91 and cotton growing, then she returned home. Hostin went north to Tulthkle’s house and found muskmelon and gourds growing in great quantities. He then returned and said to Asun, “We have wished for these things (i.e. we have everything we prayed for). Now we have many things. Let us pray for something more.” So he prayed and sang for more.

 He went to the spring and saw a “fruit” in the middle of the water. He went back for Spider Woman and told her to get this fruit out of the water. She got it and gave it to Hostin who looked at it and saw it was Yolakaihatate, a big shell, big as a pan. He took this home and returned next day to the spring and found more fruit. Spider Woman again brought it out and it was Turquoise, Tedokiji. Hostin then went east to Teholtsody’s house and went in and found a big black bow and arrow, also eagle feathers. These Hostin used as Thunder (the arrow for lightning, and the feathers to guide the arrows). Asun sent south to Frog’s house, and Frog had stone knives (paishhathl). Spider Woman went to Salt Woman who had planted cotton and had been weaving it into cloth. Spider Woman got this and brought it home. Hashjaishjine went north to Tulthkle’s house and found black cloth and fetched it home. On the first trip Hashjaishjine returned angry but this time he was in good humor. He said to Hostin, “The people at the four corners are growing rich.” Hostin then prayed for more and went to the spring. The corn was growing ripe and each stalk carried twelve ears. Asun went over and gathered it and brought it home. They now had plenty of corn and much else besides. But those living at the four corners of the world had no corn so they came to Hostin’s house and begged him for some. He told them to provide for themselves, but finally he gave them some of the pollen (taditin), but none of the ear corn. He told them to plant the pollen. They did so and it grew up small, like onions, but no ears grew upon it. Then they begged Hostin for some seed corn but he would not give them any. Teholtsody said, “When Hostin came borrowing water we all gave him some, and enabled him to raise water of his own.” Hostin said, “Surely you let me have water and when you begged for corn I gave it to you and taught you how to plant it as best I could.” Teholtsody was very angry and thought how he could destroy Hostin. Teholtsody gave Thunder a bow and arrow and told him to go and kill Hostin, “for,” said he, “we must have some of this corn.” Thunder went “to try and burst Hostin open with lightning,” but Horned Toad was in the doorway of Hostin’s house and the wind warned Hostin of his danger. Hostin told Horned Toad to stand in front of him always, for as he was so rough-coated lightning could not hurt him. Frog was also angry and assaulted Hostin. He sent his guardian Tehlinl (a water monster) to draw all the water away (to dry it up) from Hostin’s spring. But Spider Woman wove an impenetrable web around it so that Frog and his guardian were foiled. (Hostjaishkine was the most powerful). Salt Woman gave Tiinainilly a lump p. 92 (double handful) of salt, and he also had some kind of lightning in his hands, and he came against Hostin. Hostjaishjine saw him coming and knew his harmful intent. Hostjaishjine had a long stone knife with a wooden handle. He ran into the house and made a fire by twirling a spindle of wood, etc. He made a small fire and scattered it all over Hostin’s house. Tiinainilly (a young man) came close in order to throw his lightning on to the house and his salt upon the fire, which exploded, but no harm ensued, so he went back to the west and the Salt Woman was powerless. Tulthklahale, in the north, sent Mud Turtle (Black-mud Fish) to harm Hostin. Turtle had some kind of lightning of arrow, but could do no harm. Hastjaishjine made a big shirt of rawhide and gave it to Wunustcinde (locust) and this protected him against the lightning or arrows of the Turtle; no impression could be made on this shirt, and this is the origin of the shield. Hastjaishjini saw that all these people were jealous of the Hostin and were trying to destroy him. (They were envious of his possessing corn, etc.). Hostin then asked Hastjaishjini to do what he could against these people. Hashjaishjini’s anger was roused against these people and he sallied forth to their houses. He went first to east, then south, then west, then north. He broke open their houses and successively broke the pot and spilled the water that was in them. The water that was in the pot in the east flowed to the south and the water that was in the pot in the north flowed toward the west, and all the waters met in the west and there was a great flood. Hostin had corn, white shells, turquoise and everything he wanted. He had large hollow reeds which would float on the water so he did not care when the flood should reach him. But all these eight persons who were envious and at enmity with Hostin were troubled and afraid of the flood. Hostin and his people were not afraid as they had the means of floating on the water.

 Hostin and his family cut the great reeds and put all their corn and other possessions inside of these, and the whole world was gradually overflowed. Then Teholtsody and the others at the cardinal points began to wish that they could save themselves with Hostin and his family. Teholtsody made a bow and arrow and gave them to Thunder and told him to go to Hostin and give them to him and beg that there might be peace between them. Thunder went to Hostin’s house and said, “Teholtsody sends you this bow and arrow and begs you to be his friend.” Hostin would not look at them and said, “I have nothing to do with it. Go to Hostjaishjine. He is the one that broke the water vessels and brought on this flood.” So Thunder took them to Hostjaishjine and made the same offer. Hostjaishjine would not listen to Thunder but said, “Go to Wunustcinde” (locust). Thunder went to him and he accepted the bow and arrow saying, “This is just what I want.” There were two arrows and Wunustcinde thrust them into his breast, one at either side, and drew them completely through. You may see that this insect has the holes in its thorax to this day. Then he put them in his mouth and p. 93 thrust them down his throat into his stomach and withdrew them again, and there was blood adhering to them.

 Next Frog sent Teklin to Hostin to say, “My house is overflowed and have lost everything except this tobacco bag which I wish you to accept that we may become friends.” The bag was made from the green scum of the water and was embroidered with beads, etc. Hostin would not have it and referred him to Hostjaishjine who breathed upon it four times and there was some tobacco in it and he filled a clay pipe with it and smoked.

 Next Salt Woman said, “We shall be killed by the water, we cannot live here, let us go to Hostin.” She had a cotton blanket (naskan) and offered this through Tunelini (Salt Woman’s guard) to Hostin. He would not have it, and said, “Go to Spider Woman and give her the blanket.” She looked at it, put it around her waist, breathed from it four times and was satisfied. Next came Hakleale (Fish Guardian) who sent fish Hostin with a flint shirt and cap. He offered them, but Hostin sent him to second man (Nacûiditcije, Horned Toad). He took the shirt and cap, put the shirt on and wore the cap, and therefore all four groups (eight people) were now on peaceable terms with Hostin.

 They were all friends. They stayed there a while but everything was flooded except on the east side. Little white mountains showed above the water. On the south side were little blue mountains; on the west side, little yellow mountains; on the north, little black mountains. All just barely showed their heads above water. Hostin went east to White mountains and picked up a little earth and returned. Spider Woman wove a web on the surface of the water near each of the four mountains. Hostin had a house of rainbow and sun rays in the form of a little mountain and he covered it with earth for a roof. The water had not yet covered the houses. Spider Woman wove a web so that the spring could not overflow yet. Old Man (Hostin) and Woman (Asun) went over to the spring and planted every growing thing, corn, melons, pumpkins, beans, all things, and they got all kinds of seeds and put them away. Those living in the various directions owned their water and had it with them. After the restoration of peace, Old Woman made new vessels for all these people in which they carried their water supply. When they made peace and were all united, the flood continued, so they put all their corn and property in the reeds and got inside themselves. All these people were inside the reeds and the water kept rising. Old Man and Woman went down to the spring. Old Man got on one side, Old Woman, on the other. He began to pray: “We are going to leave the spring, we will never come back again, but wherever I go I will always live as I have done here, do everything as I have done here.”

 When he finished praying, a young man came out of the spring and a little afterwards another. They did not look at the boys closely, but Old Woman took them in her arms and folded her blanket around them p. 94 and went to the reeds. They made a hole in the reed in the side of the shaft and the people got inside and Old Man went in last, but Wunustcinde (locust) got up to the top of the reed and sat upon a leaf. As the reed began to move upward Wunustcinde began to make a noise through the holes in his thorax and as he did so the reed began to shake like wind. Black Wind shook it at the roots and made it move. The reed grew up higher and higher. The water now covered an the earth, everything except this reed which kept growing and Wunustcinde was always on the leaf at the top. As the reed grew, the water continued to rise; as Wunustcinde made his noise, the reed kept growing and Black Wind kept blowing at the roots and the people became aware that they were close to the roof of the world and did not know what to do as there was no space left for them between the surface of the water and the under side of this earth. Wunustcinde stopped his noise and Black Wind stopped blowing, and the reed stopped growing. They did not know what to do. Old Man then said to him of the north, “You begged me to bring you along, now come with me to look around and see if there is any way to get out of this world.” But they could not find a hole anywhere nor any way to get out. They were frightened and thought they would all die there. But the Spider Woman wove a web on the surface of the water. It floated like a raft and an the people got out and sat upon it. They were puzzled what to do. Hostjaishjine picked up his peshhath (stone knife) and began to bore a hole in the roof over them. It was of clay which dropped and crumbled and when he could go no farther he called Wunustcinde to try, who soon bored a small hole through and came out upon the new world, but the water coming up through the hole which he had made was like to flood the new world also, so he stopped the hole up with mud.

 No one saw him there as yet. Then he saw the water rising up from east, south, west, and north. He made the noise with his thorax. He saw a swan on the south side making much noise and the water was all in motion. Wunustcinde made such noise that the swan from the east, also one from the north and one from the west came to him. All four came to him but did not know what to think of him. They asked him where he came from. He told them from the world below. They would not believe him so he told them how he had come. The swans told him that neither he nor his people should come to this new place for it belonged to the swans only, and they would not let anyone else live here. Wunustcinde had a hard time with the swans, and they fought him. Finally they said, “If you want to stay here you must pay us.” So Wunustcinde returned to his people and told them all this. Wunustcinde had the red substance that causes the sun to set red when it is going to storm and he offered this to the swans for their land. They put it on their wings and were so much pleased with it they said, “Well now, you can come and live here.” Wunustcinde said to them that some of his people could not live in the water, although some of them could. Then the swans said p. 95 that after four days there would be some dry land. The swans had pots of clay and they placed one on the east side, one on the north side, one on the west side and in this way they carried off some of the water, and made some dry land. When the others came up to the new world they built little round houses again of the same red substance that had been given to the swans.

 First Man made a man called Hosjelti and placed him on San Francisco Mountain; another called Hosjogwan (?) who lives on Ute Mountains; another called Navesrhuni (Nagenezgruni) who lives on Navajo Mountain; another called Hoshjaishjine who lives on San Mateo Mounitain, These four own all the game and other animals on these mountains. Old Man’s people however lived close together. They took the earth gathered from the four mountains in the lower world and again they formed mountains as in lower world, at east, white; at south, blue; at west, yellow; at north, black. No one was allowed to see the boys who were found at the spring; they were left at the Ute Mountains when the people first came up. Old Man had brought seeds of all kinds with him and planted everything that grows, vegetables, plants, timber, sagebrush, flowers, everything. He found lots of people here who joined him. That was when bears, deer, antelope, rabbit, birds, all kinds of animals were people.

 They (Old Man ?) made a white blanket for sunrise over Ute Mts., east; a blue blanket for the south sky, over San Mateo Mt., south; a yellow blanket for sunset over San Francisco Mt., west; a black blanket for Navajo Mt., north. There had been neither day nor night in the lower world, only sufficient light for existence. Old Man now said, “Let us arrange to have day and night, a time for work and a time for sleep,” and so we see it is today. Just before sunrise comes a white streak in the east. Then the yellow of sunset and the white of the east meet in the middle so as to give light enough to work. And when the blue and the black meet in the middle this way it makes night, the time for sleep.

 Then Old Man and Old Woman said, “We have nobody to talk to about ourselves (to worship us).” Old Man went off to the east to find people, or same as soon as they reached the upper world went toward the east. Old Man followed after these, and from east they brought back eagle feathers; from west, hawk feathers; from south, blue feathers; from north, speckled feathers (of whip-poor-will, night bird). When they got these altogether they laid them before them. Beside east feather they laid white corn and white shell; beside west feather, yellow corn and abalone shell; beside south feather, blue corn, and turquoise; beside north feather, all kinds of corn and shells and turquoise. All four were laid out together. Old man arranged all these for singing and praying to these things as he did at the spring, singing and praying. He and Old Woman and all his people moved about walking over these things several times in ceremonial manner.

p. 96

 East feather was for the wolf. The feather and corn and shell were prayed over and a wolf was raised. They prayed over the west objects, and Mountain Lion was raised; they prayed over the south objects and Tabastin, Otter, was raised; they prayed over the north objects, Bud (sic!) Beaver was raised. Old man said, “We need rulers,” and he made these four rulers over these several regions. He planted all vegetable things and sprinkled them with the earth of the four mountains to give them power. These mountains had much wild tobacco growing on them. The four animals were the rulers of all the land. They smoked and felt good and began to teach the people to be farmers, to plant corn, wheat, melons, pumpkins, beans, chile, etc. and how to irrigate and take care of their crops. All four (animals) taught the people to use all kinds of grasses, timber, etc.

 Old Man and Old Woman again talked about how they should get some more people, and they worked hard and made people. Joshdelhashi assisted them. She rubbed down the skin on her arms, and put the roll of cuticle on the ground, and it became a man (Repeat for various parts of the body, as in the first world, p. 88, until twelve people are made).

 They made six men and six women, and the offspring of these twelve people are all pueblo Indians, Moki, Oraibi, Zuñi, etc. men who cut their hair across the front of the face. When the white streak of daylight, the white of the east, met the yellow of sunset in mid heavens, and after they had each returned to their place (as they do daily) the white of the east had offspring which was Coyote, and the yellow of the west a yellow fox. The blue and black met in mid heaven and returning had issue — the blue, a blue fox, and the black, a badger. On the east side is Coyote; on the west, Yellow Fox; on the south, Blue Fox; on the north, Badger.

 The Coyote of the east came where the people were and asked Old Man where he came from. Old Man told him from three worlds down below and also told Coyote how he came up, also saying “If you (Coyote) are a clever man, I will teach you all we know about our religion, etc.” So he taught him everything. Coyote got to know a great deal, and he went off to the Ute Mountains and got on the summit and commenced howling and making all sorts of noises. Old man had Guardian Wind and Wind went to Coyote and asked him what he was yelling about, and Coyote said, “It is none of your business.” Coyote said he belonged to Old Man and had learned how to do everything, and that no roaring of the wind could frighten him. Wind said, “Keep on then, see if Old Man will not make a living without (after) you.” Coyote said, “He will have to do more than he has been doing then.” Coyote went back to Old Man and told him lies about the wind.

 Blue and Yellow Foxes went together to the pueblos and belong to them. Coyote and Badger belong to the Navajos, but Great Wolf was the chief (ruler) of the whole. He gets up at daybreak, stands in the midst of the people’s dwellings and calls to the people to go to work in the fields p. 97 He advises them to get early to work planting corn, gardening and irrigating.1

 He had a very smart woman for a wife and they had two children. After a time this woman made herself three small sticks for gambling and would go off all day long and leave the children helpless. Late in the afternoon Wolf chief, the man, came home and saw the state of the hogan, untidy, and one of the children lying in the ashes of the fireplace. He did not try to clean up for he was very tired and lay down. At sunset his wife came back with her sticks but she had gambled away everything she had. Then the husband expostulated with her on her conduct. She replied tartly that he could stay and take care of the hogan and children as he had nothing to do. He said he provided food, etc. but she was quarrelsome and continued scolding (like the Navaho women today!). She told her husband she could take care of herself and so continued scolding, etc. until time for the Corn dance. She carried off the corn to grind and make mush for the dance although her own children were crying with hunger. Finally she told her husband to go off and she could easily find another. She said she could do without assistance. The husband avoided replying to her and said nothing. He lay still all night feeling bad about her. In the morning he did not know what to do. He took his bow and arrow and walked off. Shortly he found some meat in the woods on a tree and he took some and ate it raw. That is why Wolf eats raw meat. He stole this meat (for it belonged to the second chief) but it was by reason of the trouble with his wife and he was muddled. At sunset he returned, said not a word to his wife, nor to his people who came to see him. In the night all his people came to see him for they thought he was sick. On the second night he said nothing, and next morning he would say nothing. The third chief came to see him, “Come out and do some work,” said he. No answer. On the third night it was the same. On the fourth day the fourth chief called on him, still no result. On the fifth night, the three chiefs met together and said, “Let us go to First Chief’s house and speak to him.” So they went and said to him, “We called the people to work but they idle and gambIe in the fields. Come into the house (lodge) and examine each separately, and find out who has spoken a bad word of you, our Chief,” but they could find no one who had done so. Then they called in all the women to the lodge to find if any of them had given offense to the chief, still they found no one; by this time it was nearly daylight. Still the chief would say nothing. The women said there was none of them guilty. This was at daylight. “Who is the man? No man nor woman caused his trouble but the woman he was living with.” On the sixth night the chief said, “I will speak a few words to you, and tomorrow I will go out to the fields.” He went out and saw the crops neglected and weeds growing. On the following night he called the men into his house p. 98 and they all assembled. He said “I am sorry. My wife alone is to blame, but every woman you have is liable to do the same as mine has done. Let them go and try to make a living for themselves and see how they like that. There is a wide, deep river, without a ford. Let us (men) find means to cross it, and leave all the women behind. Every man must leave his wife.” Most of them felt sorry, and some said, “What will we do in the case of a nursing boy baby, shall we take him away from his mother? How about Nutlys, berdaches? They also like to gamble with the women. Let us see what the berdaches say?” The berdaches were the last to come in. They scratched the ground with a stick a long time trying to make up their minds. They did not care to go with the women, and what could they do? Finally they said, “We will go with the men.” “Very well,” the men said, “That is good, but you must take your own food with you.” The men asked them also, “Have you your own grinding stones, pots, dippers, mush sticks, brushes, are all these your own?” “Yes, by my own hands.” “All right,” the men said, “We will take one berdache with us to cook for us.”

 The chief told the men to get ready to cross the river that day. They got ready to go. They had plenty of corn and all kinds of food, but he said, “We must go without anything, only a few kernels for seed.” The berdache took along everything. Rafts were made and preparatians completed. Best hunters crossed first so that if they should find any antelope with milk they might bring it back for the children. The berdache remained behind (at the camp after crossing the river) and ground some corn and made a little mush for the children, and the hunters were to come back in the middle of the day with meat and milk. The hunters brought back deer and antelope but many did not feel like eating as they had just parted from their wives. All the men sat up during the night to talk about their trouble. Finally they said, “Let us go to work,” and they began cutting trees for houses. The women camped on the opposite river bank and held out their privates (djocs) where the men could see them, calling out to them, “How would you like to have some?” etc. trying to tantalize them and entice them back. The hunters went out again and some cleared the ground for planting. At that time they had only stone implements for axes and broad sticks for hoes. The second night they camped out again and some brought in deer and antelope and they were better off than before. The fourth night they were all contented, they had plenty of game and food. The little children began to be contented as they grew accustomed to their separation from their mothers. The women camped on the river bank, and ground corn constantly in sight of the men on the opposite bank. The houses were strung along as the mealing stones were arranged. They had some square houses too, but these belonged to the Pueblo Indians. The men became quite indifferent to the women, but the women were becoming restless with increasing amatory desires. Four years this separation continued, and as the p. 99 men had left plenty of corn and food of all kinds with the women they did not suffer much until the end of this time. By that time however, the fields had become overgrown with sagebrush and cottonwood as the women had planted nothing. Then they had to gather up bones and boil them for all their possessions were exhausted and they suffered greatly. Badger (of the north) wanted to copulate with the women but he had a bad penis, crooked like a hook. The first one he tried was Joshdelhashi, then all the others. It made them crazy and they went wild with desire to copulate continually. Some of them took a corn cob wrapped with any soft substance and continually performed the sexual act artificially. Some tried to swim the river to get to the men but were drowned. Some died crazy with wild desire. This and lack of food caused the death of most of the women. Coyote, Blue Fox, Yellow Fox and Badger copulated with the women continually, and licked the women between the legs. That is why dogs and these animals lick each other that way.

 On the other side of the river, the children had grown up so that all could work. They had plenty of food as there were no idlers to consume it. When they killed an antelope they cut out the liver and made a hole in it and artificially performed the sexual act. Some who could overtake a doe would copulate with it, but these lightning struck and burst open. Some in like manner with an antelope doe, and the rattlesnake bit and killed them. Another man would do likewise with mountain sheep and a bear killed him.

 Kideztizi was out hunting till late and as he could not reach home he camped. He lay down before the fire with a piece of liver in his hand, warming his penis to cause an erection. Nastja (owl) lit on branch above him and hooting called “Kitdeztizi, don’t f... that liver,” and then flew away. Another owl came from the same direction and lit crying “You go on and do so if you wish.” He acted on the last suggestion and then went to sleep.

 Very few women were left alive, but the men remained strong and well. The men came together one night and began to talk about the women and asked the chief what he thought ought to be done. Most of the men said, “We are here without women and when we begin to die we shall disappear very fast as we have no increase.” They talked four nights and then the chief said, “One of you might go across the river and see how many of the women are left. Look for the woman who caused trouble and if she is dead, all will be well.” She was found alive but could hardly lift her head. Scarcely any flesh remained on her bones and she defecated where she lay. All the four chiefs went over to see her. As the head chief went into his old house where she had abused him, she seized him, but he jerked away from her, and then she began to talk to him. She wept with sorrow and repentance, and acknowledged that she was unable to live alone as she had once thought. All the women came and begged piteously. But the men would not touch them for they all p. 100 smelled bad, like coyotes. The chiefs all returned across the river to discuss the matter. Most of them thought that they might as well keep the few women remaining, or else the race would disappear. The men had one berdache among them and they decided to leave the question to his decision. He said he was content to have the women come across because he was tired of cooking for them all. He said, “The best you can do is to bring these women over.” He made a lot of small boats (rafts) and brought the women across in two days. After the women were brought over the men would give them nothing to eat for they smelled bad, and they put them in the sweathouses and gave them herbs to make them vomit. Some of the women ate too much and it killed them. On the fourth night the sweating ceremonies were over, and the women were fed. They grew fat and healthy again. Those whose wives had died became jealous of those whose wives rejoined them. This jealousy spread, and it has always continued. At the end of four years the young girls had grown fit for wives and those who had none took these. At the end of these four years they came from the east and crossed the ..... Mountains (omitted from mss.)

 A long time before this when Teholtsody left, he built a house under the water upon the bottom of the river, and no one had seen him since. At night the cries of a baby were heard from the water house and Coyote tried to get the baby but failed. He went to Old Man and told him, and Old Man said, “Go to the Spider Woman.” Spider Woman spun a web which spread over the river to the place where the house was beneath the water, and she got the baby and hid it away so that Teholtsody could not find the child. He is sad to this day because of the loss of the child. He is everybody’s friend. Spider Woman took the baby and wrapped it in the web and placed it under her left arm and no one can find it to this day. Teholtsody being unable to find the baby grew crazy and said he would keep on killing everyone he met until he found this child. Being very angry he opened the earth at four corners and let the waters loose, and the rise of the water brought the people together and they saw the waters come up and out of the earth like the clouds and they could not understand it. Then they prayed for the winds, and they came up. White Wind being quick went to the east, Blue to the south, Yellow to west, and Black to the north, and they returned and said, “You are going to be drowned, for great bodies of water are coming together.” Then one went to East Mountain to get some earth, one to San Francisco Mt., west; one to Navajo Mt., north; and one to San Mateo Mt., east. They brought earth from all these. When Old Man left the lower world Old Woman brought the springs up with her under her arms.

 The two youths1 came back from the mountain called Tcolii. Everybody saw them. One had a piece of hollow reed with four holes in its side, p. 101 the other a sunflower stem with four holes in its stem (i.e. flutes). And all the people came together. They had plenty of everything, but the water came so quickly upon them they had only time to take enough for seed and they began to climb the mountains but the waters still rose. So the people climbed up to the tops of the pine trees. The two youths who had the reed and sunflower planted the reed and the people got into it and the reed began to grow. Klishjo was at the bottom, then Thunder, then the Turkey whose tail dragged in the water, that is why his feathers are white. These flutes had four holes. The first hole was for Black Wind, second for Yellow, third for Blue, and fourth White, and these winds guarded the holes in the flute. The winds began to blow and the Great Fly also began to shake the flute, and it began to grow, and the rain kept falling. They had no rest for four nights and Badger began to dig upward but came back again. Wunusticinde then began to dig and shortly he penetrated through to another world, but he found nothing but water. Wunustcinde being small he was hard to see, but soon a man in the east who had an axe spied him and came and struck twelve times at him but could not hit him. Then came a man from the south and tried, then from the west, then from the north, but all failed to hurt him. So these four men went back in the directions they came from. The man who came with the axe first went back, but another man came from the east, Tcithkahilka with two arrows, one trimmed with gray eagle feathers and one with black. He came to Wunustcinde and threw the arrows at him. “What are you doing here?” he said. “You have no right here, this is my land.” Wunustcinde said, “We shall see about that. We would like to live here at any rate.” The man took his arrows and put one up his anus, the other down his throat and pushed them through, then drew them out and threw them to Wunustcinde saying, that if he could do that the land would be his. Wunustcinde said he could do better than that, so he pushed them through his breast, one from each side and taking them by the points drew them through. There was a little blood adhering to them but the act did not hurt him at all. Wunustcinde said, “If you do as I have done, you can have your ground back. It belongs to me now as I have won it from you.” The man picked up his arrows and went home in sorrow. (Repeat for the men who came from the other three points). So Wunustcinde won that country.

 He returned to his people and told of his new world, and four of his people went up. One of these with his flint knife cut the ground towards the east and made a little cañon. The next man went south, and dragged his black cane through the soft ground and made an arroyo. Mountain sheep, the third man, went west and formed an arroyo, ploughing up the ground. The fourth was Rhanskidde. He had a straight stick which he dragged along the ground and made an arroyo to the north side. All these four met again in the middle and then went down to their people. The four winds then came up on top and blew as hard as they could and by p. 102 the fourth night everything was dry and the land beautiful. That is why water runs in all directions. When Badger came up, the ground was muddy in places and he being short-legged got stuck in the mud. That is why he has a black muzzle and black legs. The winds followed after Badger. The leader of the Winds was left-handed. The next one was the Striped Wind. Next the Spotted Wind, and fourth was Shiny Wind. These all raised a tempest which dried up the ground very quickly. They sent out big grey Fly who flew up and found everything beautiful. He returned and reported to his people, and they stayed yet another twelve days before the new world was dry enough for occupancy.

 Spider Woman still carried Teholtsody’s child under her arm wrapped in spider web. Everything being in readiness, long ladders were made to reach through the hole from the lower to the new upper world and the people all came up through by this means. The water of the lower world kept rising until it touched the bottom of new world and Turkey was last to come up. The foam touched his tail; that is why it is white on the end. Some water squirted up through the hole after all had got out, and it formed a lake. When all the people were up Hoskjelti (Hosdjeyelti) sought for the best place to build houses and he laid the foundations of the houses of all the Pueblo Indians. While he was working for these people his own people could not wait any longer without houses so they cut down poles and built hogans. Then they arranged their farms, planting all kinds of seed. Teholtsody was still searching for his child and followed these people. He wanted to come out upon this upper world and everyone was afraid and did not know what to do. While people were talking, Spider Woman came in with the child and they made her give the child back to Teholtsody, who then went down to the lower world and closed over the water.

 To this latter world was brought from the former ones all the seeds of plants and of trees and of all things that grow.

 Navajos and Mokis came up at the same time, (all this legend concerns them both).1

Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo


p. 88

1 This version of the Navajo origin myth was taken down from a Navajo priest whose name Stephen writes as Guisheen Bige, at Keam’s Canyon, August 5, 1885. It has been transcribed by Olive Bushnell. The account begins: “I have no book, we have nothing of writing, but in my memory are many things strange to the Americans. I wish to tell you of things as they began.”

p. 97

1 Almost certainly an identification with Peace Chief — G. A. R.

p. 100

1 See p. 104.

p. 102

1 Stephen’s full transcription ends here, but in the manuscript there follow immediately some fragmentary notes on the creation of the universe under the image of the building of a native house. It evidently has reference to ritual poetry somewhat similar to that from the Pima so inadequately translated by Russell (RBAE 26: 350- 352):

Old Man established the heavens. The four persons of the cardinal points held a four days’ council. They appointed Hosjelti, Mountain Guardian, a good man, and said, “Let him go and build our house for us. There is no sun, there is no moon, but we must have these things.” They built a house of all the colors of the cardinal directions. Nasdjeasan sat at B (see diagram, p. 103.) Etsi-istsan sat at C. Hoshjelti and Hostjogrwan on either side of A. These two made the sun and moon, the sun out of turquoise, the moon out of white shell. All the supernaturals worked on the blue blanket hung to the south which represented p. 104 the earth. They made all the stars and put them on the earth (in the heavens ?).

The following is obviously hardly more then a listing of outstanding lines:

Place the house thus, this is where the sun comes up.
From the south send us the white corn.
Yellow corn pollen come.
The man in the west owns the houses;
When the sun goes down the yellow rays come up.
May my house be surrounded with such splendor as there yonder where the sun rises.
Place the house with its door toward it.
It is beautiful.

Another and different version of the creation of the sun and moon is given immediately following in the manuscript: Old Man planted water in the lower world and it grew to the surface. When Old Man returned to the spring, be found two boys emerging, so be told his wife to catch these two boys, which she did, and she put them under her arms and kept them there till the people emerged in this world. These boys had no names. They helped to make the sun and moon. Old Man watched them make tbe sun and moon. One of the boys carries the sun on his back and the other carries the moon. Hence they were named Jonaaibaestin, Boy-who-went-inside-the-Sun, and Kleonaaibigestin, Boy-who-went-inside-the moon. These were the two greatest youths who ever appeared on the lowest (fourth) world. When Hashjaishjine was thinking how to place the stars, came Coyote. (The manuscript ends bere abruptly. The story alluded to is given in Matthew’s notes, Navaho Legends, Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society V: 223, 224.)