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The Five Mended Brothers

IN THE SIERRA of Toma'arisi there lived a Yaqui named Wiloa Bakot. This sierra, both high and low and all about it, was populated by people. Of them, many thousands were Yaquis. Quite a number of Yaquis lived also in the nearby hills. Their chief was called Baka Wecheme. He was a good man. He loved his people and desired that they should love good and useful things.

Well, it happened that Wiloa Bakot fell in with a little Yaqui woman who was quite pretty and who was named Gi'iku'ure Sewa. When these two were married there was a great reunion and

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the fiestas of the marriage lasted for eight days. Afterwards they lived very tranquilly. They had five children, all boys.

When the boys were of an age to study, the parents put them in the hands of a wise priest who was a Yaqui. The boys were always poorly dressed, for Wiloa Bakot was a poor man. He had no luck at hunting animals. The mother of the five would search for pieces of hide from different animals, even though they might be but small bits, even of different colors. With these she would make their clothes. They looked quite comical in so many different colored patches. They were called The Five Mended Brothers.

One day the tribe chief, Baka Wecheme, had Wiloa Bakot called to him and he said, "It is well that you send your five sons to some other place so that they may learn better things than they have learned until today."

Since Wiloa was obedient, he did this. He told his sons to leave their village. The mother fixed them a lunch.

With this little food, the five mended ones took to the road in the direction of the setting sun. They traveled all day, from early morning until late. At dusk they descended into a deep canyon, steep sided with high hills bordering it. This canyon was very dark and dangerous because of the presence of brave animals like tigers and wolves. Also there were serpents which were large and venomous. In this arroyo they traveled in the dark.

Now they came upon a place where there was water, and a large tree with many branches above. There they ate. And when they had lain

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down, the oldest brother said to them all, "Brothers, here under this tree we will meet again in order to return, all together, to our home, within a year. He who gets here first must wait for the others."

"Very well," they all said, and they slept until morning. The following day, after eating some roots for nourishment, they traveled on out of the canyon with care because of the great danger from wild beasts and serpents.

On coming out of the canyon they entered upon a great mesa without vegetation of any sort. It was completely arid and contained no plants, nor animals to hunt. On this mesa there was nothing to eat, nothing to drink.

After much travel over that shadeless plain with nowhere to stop and rest, they came upon a place where five trails parted. One was in the center, going straight toward the sunset. Two went off to the right and two to the left.

There the five brothers stopped, the five thirsty, mended, torn Yaqui boys and the oldest of them said, "Here are five roads and we are five. I will take the center road and you each choose yours. In a year we shall unite again beneath that tree. He who gets there first will wait for the others."

They all bid one another good-bye and each took his own road.

The older brother arrived at a pueblo, a very beautiful town, very fertile. In this pueblo he studied to become a magician.

The second boy came to a hill where people worked with wood. Here they made bows and arrows better than in another place.

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Successively, each boy arrived at the place for which he was destined. They put themselves in the hands of intelligent men and studied with great effort throughout the year. At the end of the year, one after the other, they returned to the big tree they had designated as their place of reunion.

When they were all there under the tree, the elder brother questioned them about what they had learned.

"I am a good carpenter," said the first.

"I am good at shooting," said the second.

"I am good at reviving the dead," said the third brother.

"I am a good thief," said the fourth.

"I know how to prophecy wisely," said the elder. "Right now, above us in this tree is a crow sleeping in her nest and she has three eggs. I want you, good thief, to climb up and rob her of an egg without awakening her."

"Very well," said the thief. And he commenced to ascend the tree. He came to the nest, put his hand under the bird, and robbed an egg which he took down to his brother.

And the elder brother said to the carpenter, "Let me see you make an egg exactly like this real one."

"Very well," said the carpenter. Taking a little piece of wood, he made an egg and handed it to his elder brother, who broke the real egg.

The elder brother handed the wooden egg to the crafty thief and said, "Climb up and put this egg into the nest. Then frighten the bird."

The thief climbed up and put the egg in the nest and frightened the bird, who flew out.

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"Let's see you, good shot, knock down that bird," said the elder brother.

Good shot took his bow and shot. The bird fell down dead.

"Let me see you, he who revives the dead, bring that bird back to life."

The young magician immediately cured the bird and it flew away.

Thus all were satisfied in seeing the manifestations of their various arts and they slept until the following morning. Again they took to the road in the direction of their home where they were received by their parents.

Their father, Wiloa Bakot, went to visit Baka Wecheme, the chief, and said, "My sons have now returned, all of them very intelligent. The eldest is a diviner."

"Send him to me immediately," said Baka Wecheme. Wiloa Bakot ordered his wise son to go to the chief, and when he arrived the chief said to him,' "Yesterday I lost my wife's gold watch. Tell me where it is."

"Here it is, Sir. You, yourself, put it here in order to see if I were a diviner or not." And he found it in the chief's house.

The chief was very contented and gave some pieces of gold and silver to the boy. "The brother after you, what does he know how to do?" asked the chief.

"He is very good at shooting the bow. There is no one who can better him."

"Good. Send him to me," said Baka Wecheme. When the marksman presented himself, the chief set up a bird's feather on a tree twenty-five paces away.

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Good shot took his bow, and with an arrow knocked over the feather. The chief was very contented. He gave the boy a suit made of tiger skin. "And now your next brother, what does he know how to do?"

"That one knows how to revive the dead."

"Well, send him to me."

Then Baka Wecheme killed a little son of his. The magician brother arrived and gave the boy life again, and the chief was contented. "Now send me the next brother and we will see what he knows how to do."

"He is a good carpenter."

This one presented himself and quickly made many bows, a violin, and a mouth bow. And he received as a reward a beautiful headdress of colored feathers.

"Now send me your little brother. Let us see what he can do."

"Oh, that one can't come. His work is evil."

"Well, it is all work," said Baka Wecheme.

The father did not want his youngest son to go to the chief. So he himself went to Baka Wecheme and said, "Respected sir, I do not desire that my youngest son come here because he is a thief and I am afraid that you might feel the need to kill him."

"Have no fear. Tell your boy that tonight I am going to place five beautiful suits of hide in a place far away from here, also a good deal of gold and silver. Twenty-five soldiers will guard this. If the boy is crafty at robbing, he will go there and steal it, and it will be for him."

"Very well," said Wiloa Bakot. And he went to advise his son.

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The thief mixed a little narcotic in some wine and put it in an olla, which he took with him. Then he went off to where the Yaqui soldiers were guarding the treasure. As he approached them, he began to shout.

"I am lost!" he repeated many times.

At last the captain of the twenty-five said, "Go you, and find who is lost and bring him here." They went and found him.

"Where do you come from?" they asked the young man.

"From Chunakotia and I am on my way to Tetamolaim."

"Sleep here tonight, and tomorrow you may go on your way."

"Very well," said the thief. He took a swallow of wine and said to the soldiers, "Have some wine to make your vigil more enjoyable."

All of them had some wine. They fell asleep, and the thief took the clothes and the gold and silver and went away.

On the following day the father, Wiloa Bakot, presented himself to the respected Baka Wecheme and said, "My youngest son has done what you asked him to do."

"My soldiers told me," said the chief. "It is well. Here is the reward." And he sent the thief a gift. "Now tell your son that he should leave this place. I don't want him here in Toma'arisi. He should go to some other place."

"Very well," said Wiloa Bakot. And he told his son he should leave for some other part.

The thief went away. Wiloa Bakot and his other sons remained there with much respect until they died of old age.

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