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p. 53

Five Friends of Takochai

THERE lived in the land of the Yaqui an Indian called Teta Hiapsi and he was very industrious. He enjoyed building good things. For this reason, he talked one day with a large group of Yaquis to see if they would work for him if he paid them a fair salary. In those days, there were no dollars, or half-dollars. Instead, the Yaquis used for money some silver discs, lacking any stamp, discs about four inches in diameter and an inch thick. They called them te'okita, which means pure silver. They also used similar discs of gold which they called sawai tomi, which is the same as saying yellow money.

All of the Indians wanted to work with Teta Hiapsi, so he put them to work cutting sticks and branches to make a serco, or fence. This serco was twenty-four kilometers in circumference and in its center, a little creek ran all the time. In this corral there were lions, bears, tigers, and snakes of many sizes. In fact, Teta Hiapsi's serco surrounded an immense forest containing in it a number of water-holes.

Thus Teta Hiapsi considered himself very rich indeed. Also he had a cave, quite wide and deep, full of te'okita and sawai tomi. From it he paid his workers every Saturday.

One Saturday arrived and he paid all of his workers except one Yaqui whose name was Takochai. To Takochai he said, "You didn't get any money. So you may do anything you want to me to get even." Teta Hiapsi was a very curious man. He enjoyed jokes and pranks, and he knew that Takochai was a clever trickster. He knew that something would happen.

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Well, Takochai went away to think of something to do to Teta Hiapsi to get even.

To a little stream which lies west of Cumuripa among some low hills, to a little valley fertile and picturesque, Takochai took his bow and arrows. In this place he met a big Indian. This Indian was so strong that to amuse himself he walked along tearing up mesquite trees by the roots as if they were onions. He would give one jerk and the tree with all its root would come up and he would toss it off into the distance. He did the same with sahuaros. This Yaqui was very strong.

Takochai came up to him and said, "What are you doing?"

"Oh, I'm just pulling up these little sticks," answered the Indian, Hoso Hoseli.

"May I go along with you?" asked Takochai.

"Why yes, it would give me pleasure," said Hoso Hoseli, and the two walked on a little distance together. It was late and they stopped to sleep under a tree.

The next day they took to the road again. They had only traveled a little distance when they met a Yaqui who was pointing an arrow at a mountain range which was so far away that it could hardly be seen.

"What are you doing?" asked Takochai.

"I wanted to kill a deer that was over there in those mountains, but you disturbed me and the deer has gone."

"Oh, but how distant are those mountains!" exclaimed Takochai. "They are barely visible."

"More distant deer have I killed," responded the hunter whose name was Mekkata'obia, which

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means Light that Illumines the Distance. Takochai invited Mekkata'obia to come along with him and Hoso Hoseli, and the three adventurers went off.

They soon met a tall, thin Indian. He was standing on one foot holding a rope made of hide and tying the other leg which was doubled up. They saluted him and asked, "What are you doing, tying up your leg like that?"

He answered, "I am tying up this leg so I won't walk so fast. With two legs I run as fast as the wind, and with one tied I can walk about as fast as a light breeze." This Yaqui was called Yuku Beo'oti, or Lightning. Takochai and Hoso Hoseli and Mekkata'obia invited Yuku Beo'oti to accompany them, and the four went on together. They went on until it was late and they stopped to sleep.

The next day they again took to the road. After walking only a short distance they met a very short little Yaqui who wore a skin cap. One side of this cap was decorated with red feathers and the other side with green ones. When he put it on with the red feathers to the right the weather became hot, and when he put it on with the green feathers to the right it became cold. He kept making this change every minute, never stopping. This little fellow was called Tasa'a Bali, which means Cool Summer. He is called this because he made heat and cold by moving his headdress of two colors.

The four companions invited Tasa'a Bali to come along with them, and now there were five.

The next day they encountered a man on top of a little hill. He stood with his feet upon a rock and one hand against a tree. With the

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other hand he stopped up one of his nostrils. Through the other nostril he blew mightily, a volcano of air. The travelers came up to him and asked him what he was doing.

The man on the hill said that over on the other side of the green monte were many Yaquis milling earth and rock to take out the gold. "I make the mills run by blowing with this nostril. There are four mills for the stone and three to draw up water. When I stop blowing, those windmills stop. Right now while I am chatting, they are quiet."

His name was Hekkateni'a.

Takochai and his companions invited this great blower to come along with them.

So the six companions all went on to the serco of Teta Hiapsi.

Takochai greeted Teta Hiapsi and said, "I have come to bet with you, Teta Hiapsi, to win from you all that you own."

And Teta Hiapsi agreed to run a race.

Now, Teta Hiapsi had a daughter who was something of a witch woman. It was known that she knew how to fly like a bird. But Takochai was now the chief of five clever men.

Many Indians, men and women and boys, gathered to see the race between the witch and the swiftest of the companions, Yuku Beo'oti. Since Takochai had no money, he put up his life against this witch whose name was Sochik, meaning Bat.

The race was to be from ili bakam to bemela ba'am, such a great distance that a man on a good horse traveling at a run does not arrive there in one long summer day.

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The people gathered and the racers were ready. Someone gave the shout to start. Sochik flew off through the air as fast as she could, and Yuku Beo'oti disappeared like the wind. He soon arrived at bemela ba'am, filled his canteen with water and started back. This was the agreement. He who should arrive there and fill his canteen and be the first back in ili bakam was to win the race.

When Yuku Beo'oti was about half way back, he lay down to sleep, putting his head on a stump.

Sochik had hardly started for bemela ba'am. When she came upon Yuku Beo'oti and saw him sleeping, she threw the water out of his canteen and went on her way toward the waterhole. Then Mekkata'obia, from the great distance saw that the water had been thrown out and he shot an arrow into the tree trunk that served Yuku Beo'oti as a pillow. Yuku Beo'oti awoke and noticed that his water had been thrown out. Taking his canteen, he ran past Sochik to the waterhole, filled it, and returned to ili bakam with the water. Thus Yuku Beo'oti won the race and Sochik lost, for she arrived very late.

"I have lost," said Teta Hiapsi pleasantly. And he gave Takochai half of a cave full of silver and gold. "Now, in order for you to win from me all that I own, you and your men must sleep inside of that oven all night."

The oven was big and square. It was used to cook large animals in. There were no windows in it. It was on top of four big flat stones.

Takochai looked at the oven and said, "Very well, we shall all sleep there. And tomorrow you must give me all of. your money and your well and your animals."

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Takochai and his five companions entered the oven, and Teta Hiapsi, with the help of other Indians, covered it. They put firewood below and above and lit the fire and it burned all night.

When the men inside began to feel the heat, Tasa'a Bali put his cap on with the green side to the right and they felt no more heat.

Dawn came and Teta Hiapsi thought that they must be well cooked. But when he opened the door they all stepped out, alive and shivering from cold.

Thus Teta Hiapsi had to give all of the gold and silver in his cave to Takochai. The companions made a huge purse of many skins. In it they put the money and Hoso Hoseli tossed it up on his shoulders as if it were nothing. He was very strong, Hoso Hoseli, that man who pulls up mesquite trees.

"Now, let us go," said Takochai to his companions. "We will come back for the rest later." And they marched away in triumph.

Teta Hiapsi then gathered together some six hundred Yaquis to follow and kill Takochai and his men. But Mekkata'obia, who could see far, discovered them. The friends stopped at the foot of a little hill above a large plain.

When the Yaquis of Teta Hiapsi came across the plain, Takochai ordered Hekkateni'a, he of the great wind, to blow at them. Hekkateni'a covered one nostril and blew so strongly that the Yaquis were blown high into the air, very high. Then he stopped blowing and the Yaquis fell to the earth like stones. Here ends this tale.

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