Sacred Texts  Native American  Southwest  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 171

The Snake of the Hill of Nohme

IN A LARGE waterhole under the hill of Nohme there lives a big snake with a cross on its forehead. This monster lives on water animals but sometimes it eats cattle, goats, and even people. It makes a great wind with its indrawn breath and sucks them right into its mouth. This snake's name is Acencio. He was once a maestro in the church.

But this maestro did evil things. When he died and they buried him, at once the grave began to sink. The sky became cloudy and dark and from the hole where the grave had been was heard a noise such as a lion makes.

Then a priest came who knew how to talk Yaqui, and said, "Go, Acencio, go to a place where there are no Christians."

At once the animal began to break the earth and travel below the surface of the ground. Many people walked behind the moving mound, praying, so that the monster might not remain in the pueblo. The priest also followed along, praying, until at last the snake reached the foot of the hill of Nohme. Breaking the rock, he went deep under the hill into the water which is inside of that hill. There, it is said, Acencio still lives.

A similar monster is described in the myths of the Papago, the Pueblos (Parsons 1939, Vol. 2: 1003; Benedict 1935: 326), and the Cora (Beals 1933: 79 ).

Next: Tukawiru