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 Posthumous works are always unfair, unfair to author and unfair to editor. When writing the author always makes mental reservations about the finished product which no editor can supply. The editor realizes his deficiencies and the best he can do is to choose between two interpretations. He fears that the one he selects may not have been the author’s final choice, but has no alternative. He can rarely fill in gaps left by queries. This is particularly true of the work presented in the following pages. The Navajo texts were collected in 1923 and 1924 by Doctor Pliny Earle Goddard who died July 12, 1928. Doctor Goddard had recorded the texts at the dictation of Sandoval, a Navajo, learned in his lore, but not a medicine man. Since the untimely death of Doctor Goddard, Sandoval has also died. There is therefore no immediate means of checking over the text as it is written. It had been typed, carefully translated, and worked over several times. But, as is always the case in matters of this kind, queries were noted with the hope that on a subsequent trip the author would be able to get more accurate translations or explanations.

 Doctor Goddard had devoted practically a lifetime to the study of the Athapascan languages. He therefore omitted much in his notes which cannot now be filled in, for he kept common words and phrases in his head. Fortunately in this paper the full text had been transcribed. It is here presented with a keen appreciation of the editor’s shortcomings. I realize thoroughly its deficiencies due to lack of detailed knowledge of the Navajo language and of Doctor Goddard’s specific intentions.

 It seems expedient to print these texts which are practically the first to be published in standardized orthography. We have some texts of Matthews which, however, do not give a true picture of the language, as his purpose was to describe the chants and not primarily to study the language. There is at the present time a movement afoot, led by Doctor Edward Sapir of Yale University, to collect a large body of text and grammatical material of the Navajo. This material will differ from Doctor Goddard’s when published, in that special care is being taken to record pitch accent and length.

 From the literary standpoint it is almost impossible to have too much Navajo material. The texts here presented illustrate weIl the beauty of Navajo narrative. “He made his mind forked,” that is, “He made him think two ways so he could not concentrate on what he was doing,” is only one example of the unusual type of Navajo thought. p. 6 The texts are also abundantly illustrative of the Navajo use of direction, color, natural beauty, abstract and all-inclusive beauty, four-fold repetition, etc. It is deeply to be regretted that we may not have Doctor Goddard’s own interpretation of Navajo literary style of which he was unusually appreciative and with which he had closely identified himself.

 Besides being the first accurately recorded texts, this body of myth has also the distinction of not belonging to a definite chant. Sandoval, who lived at Shiprock, New Mexico, laid no claim to being a chanter. His power (for good) was however recognized by all in his own neighborhood and elsewhere. “No, he knows no chants, but his story is the best for it accounts for the Navajo much farther down1 than any of the others.” These were remarks frequently made of the origin tale (pp. 9-57, 127-147). Sandoval learned the stories from his maternal grandfather ba’iłinkojε2.

 Besides, this version contains much that was heretofore not known of the Navajo as, for example, the orderly account of the months, the constellations which usher them in, the “soft feathers” belonging to them, and the activities which go on in those months. There are, of course, many incidents which are recorded by Matthews3 and the Franciscan Fathers,4 but the text not only gives an entirely different impression of the thought and style, but furnishes details, the omission of which by Matthews was very annoying, especially since his references indicate that he knew details of the girls’ puberty rite, for example, and other ceremonies which are of great importance to the Navajo student, even though tedious to record.

 All of these texts were recorded in summer, at a time when the rattlesnakes were out. It is not “good” to tell them at this time and the fact accounts for the omissions. In one case, Sandoval would not tell a portion of the story which was highly significant, but the next day he announced that he had “made medicine” to make himself immune from any evil effects which might ensue, and proceeded to fill in the gaps in the narrative. In other cases it was necessary to wait for the winter months when the ground was frozen. Certain songs (p. 168 e.g.) were too sacred and precious ever to be given up.

 There are a few pages (158-160) for which there were literal translations, but for which I can find no free translation. I was consequently forced to make it myself and I apologize for any misinterpretations and p. 7 inadequacies, assuming at the same time full responsibility for them. The two stories included in pages 76-85, 158-160 are stories of witchcraft and, as such, of extreme potency. The notebook records a remark of Sandoval’s, “If people knew I knew this story they would call me a wizard.”

 Nothing could be more unfortunate for an individual.1 He is suspected, avoided, feared, but respected. The respect accorded him is not the same as that enjoyed by the learned Navajo, but rather honor induced by coercion based on fear and suspicion, respect of form for one’s own defense rather than of admiration for intellect and personal success (hojoni). Sandoval was always honored in the “good” way. He never practised witchcraft, but he stated that even his knowledge of one who had practised it would lay him open to suspicion were it known.

 The apparently innocent pages which record the stories of witchcraft are an excellent example of things which to us are trivial, but which to the native, are most highly significant.

 “The Creation of the Horse” is a tiny bit illustrative of Navajo literary charm in a nutshell. It is comparable with a similar tale of the Mescalero Apache,2 but has a very different twist, particularly at the end.

 The last tale describes the origin and scattering of the people and sheds additional light on the possession of pets by the Navajo. Such possession has been interpreted as totemism by Matthews3 and Kroeber.4 The interpretation has been refuted by the Franciscan Fathers5 and by myself.6 This tale seems to me to corroborate our interpretation. The pets, bear, panther, and snake, were protectors and saviors but were attached to indefinite groups before the scattering of the clans and there is no evidence of a specific kinship as of descent or of vision experience for them. They are more distinctly Navajo protectors than clan totems.

 I hope some day to extract the enormous mass of ethnological material contained in these texts as well as in mythological material already published in English. Before that time I expect to have the opportunity of becoming acquainted with that ethnology as it is still being lived. Until that has been done (by myself or some one else) I must be content to point out the vast possibilities for additional knowledge contained in these texts of Doctor Goddard.

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 The alphabet employed in the text is that published in Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. 66, no. 6. It should be noted however that b, d, and g are intermediates in sonancy while g is fully sonant {sic}. The velar intermediate is represented by γ.




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1 That is, in lower worlds.

2 Reichard, Gladys A., Social Life of the Navajo Indians (Columbia University Contributions to Anthropology, vol. 7, New York, 1928), Gen. I D, 557 who was highly respected for his knowledge.

3 Navaho Legends (Memoirs, American Folk-Lore Society, vol. 5, New York, 1897).

4 An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language. St. Michaels, Arizona, 1910.

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1 Cp. Reichard. loc. cit., 148.

2 Notes of P. E. Goddard.

3 The Gentile System of the Navajo Indians (Journal of American Folk-Lore. vol. 3, pp. 89-110. 1890), 106.

4 This series, vol. 18, 148.

5 Ethnologic Dictionary, 424.

6 Social Life, 33.