11. Stories Told Today

Fewkes, Stephen, Mindeleff, Voth, and others have collected the more important tales of migrations and the major myths underlying both religion and social organization among the Hopi. One gets substantially the same versions today from the oldest story-tellers. These are the stories that never grow old; in the kiva and at the fireside they live on, for these are the vital things on which Hopi life is built.

However, there is a lighter side, of which we have heard less, to this unwritten literature of the Hopi people. These are the stories for entertainment, so dear to the hearts of young and old alike. Even these stories are old, some of them handed down for generations. And they range from the historical tale, the love story, and the tale of adventure to the bugaboo story and the fable. Space permits only a few stories here.

No writing of these can equal the art of the Hopi story-teller, for the story is told with animation and with the zest that may inspire the narrator who looks into the faces of eager listeners.

The Hopi story-teller more or less dramatizes his story, often breaking into song or a few dance steps or mimicking his characters in voice and facial expression. Sometimes the writer has been so intrigued with the performance she could scarcely wait for her interpreter (See Figure 13) to let her into the secret. Often the neighbors gathered round to hear the story, young and old alike, and they are good listeners. All of these stories save one, that of Don, of Oraibi, were told in the Hopi language, but having a Hopi friend as an interpreter has preserved, we think, the native flavor of the stories.

The first story, as told by Sackongsie, of Bacabi, is a legend concerning the adventure of the son of the chief of Huckovi, a prehistoric Hopi village whose ruins are pointed out on Third Mesa. The writer has since heard other variants of this story.

An Ancient Feud, as told by Sackongsie

"This is a story of the people that used to live on Wind Mountain. There is only a ruin there now, but there used to be a big village called Huckovi; that means wind on top of the mountain. These people finally left this country and went far away west. We have heard that they went to California, and the Mission Indians themselves claim they are from this place.

Figure 13.—The Author's Interpreter at Walpi and Daughter, 'Topsy.'
Figure 13.—The Author's Interpreter at Walpi and Daughter, "Topsy."

"These people used to have ladder dances; that is an old kind of a dance that nobody has now. But we are told that a long time ago these people brought trees from far away and set them up in round holes made on purpose in the rock along the very edge of the mesa.

"Then the Mud heads (masked Kachinas) furnish the music and young men dressed as leopards and mountain lion Kachinas climb into the tree tops and swing out over the canyon rim to time of the music. You can see the round holes in the rock there now.

"Well—it has always been this way among Hopi—when there is a dance, everybody goes to see.

"Now there was a dance at Mishongnovi and the boys from Huckovi went over to see it.

"Now the war chief at Huckovi was a great man that everybody looked up to, and he had only one son. This young man was so religious that he never went to this kind of just funny dances, but this time he went along with some friends. Long time ago the chief never goes to these dances, nor his son who will follow his steps.

"When they got to Mishongnovi the dance was going on and everybody laughing and having a good time, for the clown kachinas were going round pestering the dancing kachinas. These rough clown kachinas took turns appearing and disappearing, and some coming, others going away, then coming back.

"About the middle of the afternoon, came two Kachina racers to run with the clowns, and soon they began to call out some of the young men from the audience, known to be the best runners. After a while the son of Huckovi chief was chosen to run, but he was very bashful and refused to perform. But the Kachina who had chosen him as a competitor insisted and finally brought a gift of baked sweet corn and the young man was embarrassed and thought he had to run or be made fun of, so he came over and ran with this Kachina and beat him. They ran a long race, and the Kachina never could catch up with him, but when the boy stopped, the Kachina ran up and took hold of him and cut off his hair. The name of this Kachina was Hair Eater, and he was supposed to cut off the hair if he beat the boy, but he never did beat him.

"The Hopi, in those days, took great pride in their hair and would not cut it off for anything in the world.

"The people who saw what had happened were so sorry that the honorable son of the chief had been disgraced, that, to show their disapproval, they all left while the dance was still going on.

"When the boy got home his father was grieved to see his son coming home scalped, as he said. The father didn't know what to do.

"Now the chief had a daughter twelve years old. He told her to practice running till she can beat her brother. Both the boy and the girl practiced a long time and at last the girl can run faster and farther than her brother.

"Then the father said, 'I think it is good enough.'

"Soon the chief, he was the war chief, went to visit his friend, the war chief at Mishongnovi, and asked him to arrange a dance without letting the village chief know, because he said he wanted to give some kind of exhibition there.

"So his friend arranged the dance and four nights of practice followed. This dance was to be given by the Snow Kachinas. So that night the dance is going to be, the father and mother of the children baked up much sweet corn for them to take to this dance at Mishongnovi.

"Now the chief had discovered that it was the son of the Mishongnovi village chief (not the war chief there) that had scalped his son.

"Being fast runners, the children went a round-about way and were still in time for the three o'clock dance. So they approached the village from another direction so no one would know where they had come from, and they put on their costumes and the girl dressed exactly like the son of the Mishongnovi village chief in his Hair Eater Kachina costume so no one can tell who she is.

"Now when the father started his children off, he gave them two prayer-sticks for protection, and he said when they were pursued they must conceal these and never let anyone touch them and they will be protected.

"Well, when they got there the clowns were dancing with the Kachinas. So the daughter of the Huckovi chief goes to a house top where she can see the pretty daughter of the Mishongnovi chief sitting with a bunch of girls, all in their bright shawls and with their hair in whorls.

"When these girls see a Hair Eater Kachina coming up on the house top they run from her, remembering the old trouble when that kind of a kachina had done such an awful thing. The girls all ran into a room and on down into a lower room, and the Huckovi girl followed them and caught the chief's daughter and cut off a whorl of her hair and also cut her throat. Then she went out on the house top and shook out the whorl for all the people to see.

"Of course the dance stopped and everybody started to come after her, but she and her brother ran from house top to lower house top and jumped to the ground and ran on west by Toreva and toward home, with all the men of Mishongnovi chasing them and shooting with bows and arrows. At last some were coming after them on horses. Then her brother asked her if she was too tired to run farther, fearing they would be caught. She replied, 'No more tired than at first!'

"By now they had come to the Oraibi Wash, and looking back they could see some men coming on horses.

"They remembered their two prayer-sticks, so they took them out of where they had hidden them in their clothes and they planted them at the two sides of the wash.

"And immediately a great whirl wind started up from that place and grew into a great sand storm that blotted out their tracks and made such a thick cloud that their enemies could no longer see them. Then they turned straight home.

"So the children came home with the whorl and scalp attached, and the father was satisfied.

"But the Mishongnovi chief was terribly angry and told his people to make much bows and arrows.

"Then a friend of the Huckovi chief went over from Mishongnovi and told all this to the war chief of Huckovi, who told his people to do likewise, for now there will be war.

"So after preparations had gone on for a long time, the Mishongnovi chief went to the Huckovi chief and said, 'We have to divide the land between us, and Oraibi Wash shall be the line.' (Meaning the mark past which an enemy was not to be pursued, and each would be safe on his own side of the line.)

"Oraibi Wash was already the line for the same purpose between Mishongnovi and Oraibi Village because of an older trouble.

"Well, when the enemies came from Mishongnovi to fight them, the Huckovi people had gathered many rocks and rolled them down from the mesa top, and killed so many that the Mishongnovi men started for home. But the Huckovi men came down then and followed them, and fought them every foot of the way back to Oraibi Wash, where they had to let them go free, and they went on running all the way home, and the Huckovi people then returned to their homes satisfied."


The next two stories are by Dawavantsie, whose name means "sand dune." She is a member of the Water Clan, and is the oldest woman now living in Walpi. She is much loved by the whole village, who claim that she is over a hundred years old. How old she really is, it would be impossible to know, for such things were not kept track of so long ago. She speaks no English. When asked about her age she merely shrugs her small shrunken shoulders, draws her shawl around them, and with a pleasant toothless smile, says: "O, I never know that, but I remember a long, long time."

She loves to tell stories, and enjoys quite a reputation as a story-teller among her relatives and neighbors, who like to gather round and listen as she sits on the floor of her second story home, her back against the wall, bare feet curled up and quiet hands folded in her lap. Her face, while deeply wrinkled, is fine and expressive of much character as well as sweetness of disposition. Figure 14 shows her posing for her picture just outside her door, on the roof of the next lower room. Her skin and hair and dress are all clean and neat; her little back is astonishingly straight, and her bare brown feet, so long used to the ladders of Hopiland, are surer than mine, if slower.

She has lived all her life, as did her mother and grandmother before her, in this second story room, on whose clean clay floor we sat for the visiting and story-telling. From its open door she looks out over the roofs of Walpi and far across the valley in all directions, for hers is the highest house, and near the end of the mesa. The ancestral home with its additions is now housing four generations. She has always been a woman of prominence because of her intelligence and has the marks of good breeding—one of nature's gentlewomen.

Figure 14.—Dawavantsie of Walpi.
Figure 14.—Dawavantsie of Walpi.

The writer's friends, Dr. and Mrs. Fewkes, had told of her several years ago, for it was in her house that they had lived for some time in the early nineties while carrying on research work for the Bureau of American Ethnology. The writer did not realize that this was the house and the woman of whom she had heard till half-way through the first story, when some mention of Dr. Fewkes, by her son-in-law (a man past middle age) brought out the fact. When informed of the death of both Dr. and Mrs. Fewkes, her controlled grief was touching. In speaking of our mutual friend, the writer used the Hopi name given him by the Snake fraternity of the old woman's village so many years ago—Nahquavi (medicine bowl), a name always mentioned with both pride and amusement by Dr. Fewkes. And I found that in this family, none of whom speak English, exactly these same emotions expressed themselves in the faces of all the older members of the family, who remembered with a good deal of affection, it seemed, these friends of nearly forty years ago.

Over and over, they repeated the name; it stirred memories; they laughed eagerly, and nodded their heads, and began to talk to me in Hopi, completely forgetting the interpreter. Then their faces sobered and sighs and inarticulate sounds were all that broke the silence for fully ten minutes. Then quietly the little grandmother turned to the interpreter and asked her to say to me, "He called me his sister." Silence again, and after a few minutes she went on with her stories.

Memories of a Hopi Centenarian, as told by Dawavantsie

"One of the first important things I can remember was when some Spanish soldiers came here. I don't know how old I was, but I had been married for several years, I think, for my first child had died. I was then living in this same old house. These Spaniards came from the direction of Keam's Canyon, and they passed on toward Oraibi. They did not come up onto this mesa at all, but just took corn and melons and whatever they wanted from the fields down below.

"It was early one morning and I had gone with two other girls, cousins of mine, down to the spring at the foot of the mesa for water. These men came toward us, and we ran, but they caught us and started to take us away. I fought the man who was holding me and got loose and ran up the mesa trail faster than he could run.

"I rolled rocks on them when they tried to come up and so they gave it up. I ran on up to the top of the mesa and gave the alarm and our men went to rescue the other two girls, but the Spaniards had horses and they got away with the girls, who have never been heard of to this day.

"The Hopi had no horses in those days, but there were just a few burros. So the men followed on foot, but they could never catch them. There was a skirmish at Oraibi, too, over the stealing of girls.

"One Walpi man in the fields was unable to keep them from taking his two girls, so he just had to give them up and he never saw them again. The poor father had few relations and had to go from house to house asking for food, for he was so grieved that he could never get along after that, but just was always worrying about his girls, and he died in less than a year.

"After a long time other Spaniards came, and a young man who was down below the mesa, practicing for a race before sunrise, saw them and ran back and got enough men to go down and capture them. They kept their prisoners fastened in a room for a while and then the older men decided that they would not let them be killed although some wanted to; so they took them to some houses below the mesa—the place is still called Spanish Seat—and kept them there.

"After a few weeks they let them go away. Some Hopi men were bribed to get some girls to go down off the mesa that day so these Spaniards could take them away with them.

"They asked me to go and a girl friend of mine, but we would not go. One girl did go, for a famine was beginning and this poor girl thought she was being taken to visit with the Zunis and would be better off there. Nobody ever got track of her again.

"Once food was so scarce that I had to go with my mother and sister to Second Mesa, and we stayed there with our clan relations till food was scarce, and then we went to Oraibi and stayed with our clan relations there until summer. We could go back to Walpi then because corn and melons were growing again; but we left my sister because she had married there.

"This was a two-year famine and almost everybody left Walpi and wandered from village to village, living wherever they could get food. There had been more rain and better crops in some of the other places.

"Ever since then some Walpi people have scattered among other villages, where they married, and some went as far as the Rio Grande villages, and some perished on the way.

"Again after many years, Spaniards came, stealing corn, and this time they went through the houses and stole whatever they wanted. They took away ceremonial and sacred things, that was the worst. And when they left, they went northeast, past where Tom's store is now.

"No, there were never any Spanish missionaries living in Walpi; those who tell of priests living here are mistaken—too young to know. I have heard of those at Oraibi long ago, and at Awatobi; some were killed at those places.

"Some of the rafters of this house, not of this room but another part, were brought from ruins of Awatobi. An uncle of my daughter's husband here brought some sacred things from Awatobi and revived some of the old ceremonials that had been dropped on account of our not having the right things to use for them. Spaniards had already been here and taken some of those things out of the houses, so some ceremonies could never be held any more without those things. You see, the Awatobi people had some such things, too, and so our people wanted to save them. I think some of our trouble with Awatobi was to get these things.

"I remember that after the famine, when crops were good again, we had trouble with Navajos. It was in the summer and a Hopi hoeing his field was killed by a bunch of thieving Navajos, and that started the trouble. This man who was killed had a crippled nephew working with him at the time, and that boy got away and ran back to Walpi with the word, and everybody was surprised that he could run fast enough to get away.

"After that they made him a watchman to look out for Navajos.

"A good while after that two Hopi boys were fired upon by prowling Navajos who were hiding in the village of Sichomovi. For a number of years then the Navajos plundered the fields, drove off the stock, and killed children. Then they stopped coming here for a good while, but later they began doing all those things again, worse than ever. So then the Hopi decided to shoot every Navajo they saw in their fields, and this stopped the trouble.

"Now the Navajos are good friends, come here often, and bring meat."

The Coyote and the Water Plume Snake, by Dawavantsie

"Once upon a time a Coyote and a Water Plume Snake got acquainted. One day the Coyote invited his friend, the big snake, to come and visit him at his house. The Snake was pleased to be invited, so he went that very night.

"The Coyote was at home waiting, and when his guest arrived, he told him to come right in. So the Snake started in, first his head, then his long body, and more and more of him kept coming in, so that the Coyote had to keep crowding over against the wall to make room. By the time the Snake was in, tail and all, the Coyote had to go up and stay outside, for his visitor took up all the room in his house.

"Now the Coyote could still put his head close to his door and visit with the Snake, so that they had a very good visit. But that night was pretty cold, and after while the Coyote was so cold he got cross and wished the Snake would go home.

"Well, by and by, the Snake said he must go home now, so he said goodnight and invited the Coyote to come over to his house the next night.

"The Coyote said he would be sure to come over, then he went into his house and sat by the fire and got warm and made plans how he would get even with that big Water Plume Snake.

"Well, next day he went and gathered a lot of cedar bark and some corn husks and some pine gum, and he made himself a great long tail and put lots of wool and some of his hair on the outside, so that it was a very big tail and long, too.

"So when evening came, he waited for it to get dark, then he started for the kiva of the big Snake.

"When he got there his friend was waiting and had a nice fire and received him with good welcome and told him to come right in and get warm.

"Now the Water Plume Snake was sure surprised when the Coyote got in and kept going round and round, pulling his long tail after him, and being wise he saw just what was going on, and now he knows the Coyote is making fun of him. So he just says nothing and makes room enough for the Coyote by going outdoors himself.

"So the Snake just put his head in and was very nice and polite and they have a good visit. But the Snake got very cold and still the Coyote will not go home and the Snake is nearly freezing.

"At last the Coyote says he have to go and the Snake is pretty cold and pretty mad, too. So he says good night to the Coyote and crawls right down into his house quick as the Coyote's body is out, and when he sees all that big tail rolling out he just holds the end of it over the fireplace and gets it burning.

"But the Coyote is very pleased with himself and he don't look back but just goes right along. After a while he notices a fire behind him and turns around and sees the grass is burning way back there. So he says to himself, 'Well I better not go into my house for the Hopi have set fire to the grass to drive me away, and I'll just go on, so they won't find me at home.'

"But soon the fire got going fast in that cedar bark and before he can get that tail untied he is burned so bad that he just keeps running till he gets to Bayupa (Little Colorado River). There was a great flood going down the river and he was so weak from running that he could not swim, so he drowned. And that is what he got for trying to get even with somebody."

Quentin Quahongva, who tells the next story, lives at Shungopovi, Second Mesa. He is a good-natured, easy-going man of middle age, and usually surrounded by a troop of children, his own and all the neighbors'.

Figure 15.—Quahongva, Story-teller of Shungopovi, and Listeners.
Figure 15.—Quahongva, Story-teller of Shungopovi, and Listeners.

We had no more than started our first story when the youngsters began to appear. They squatted about on the floor and covered the door step, and were good listeners. Their squeals of glee brought other children scampering, as the story-teller imitated the song and dance steps of the Eagle, in one of his stories. But the one we have chosen to record here is a Bear story. Figure 15 shows Quahongva surrounded by those of the children who had not been called home to supper when the stories ended. One small girl in the foreground is carrying her doll on her back by means of her little shawl, exactly as her mother carries her baby brother.

Quahongva was a good story-teller. Some of his tales were long enough to occupy an evening. His best story took two and a half days for the telling and recording, so can not be included here.

A Bear Story, as told by Quahongva

"Long ago at Shipaulovi there lived a woman with her husband and two little children, two and four years old. The husband died. For a long time the woman stayed alone and had to do all the work herself, bring wood and make the fire and everything.

"One day she went to a little mesa a good ways off for wood, for there was dry wood in that place. One of the children wanted to go with her and cried, but the mother could not take her, she was too little. So she told her to stay at home and play and watch for her return.

"The two little ones were playing 'slide down' on a smooth, slanting rock, and from quite a distance the mother looked back and saw them still playing there. Then she went around a little hill to find her wood.

"She gathered a big bunch and tied it up, making a kind of rack that she could carry on her back. Now she leaned her load up on a big rock so she could lift it to her back, and as she turned around just ready to take up the load, she saw a bear coming. She was terribly frightened and just stood still, and the bear came closer and made big noise. (Note: A good imitation was given, and the children listeners first laughed and then became comically sober. H.G.L.)

"She said, 'Poor me, where shall I hide! What am I going to do!'

"She was so frightened she could not think where to go; but now she saw a crevice under the rock where she was leaning, so she crawled in and put the rack of wood in front of her.

"From behind the wood she could still see the bear coming and hear his great voice. Soon he reached the rock and tore the wood away with his great paws. Then he reached in and pulled the woman out and ripped her open with his terrible claws and tore her heart out and ate it up.

"By this time the sun was nearly down; it was soon dark and the poor children were still waiting for their mother just where she had left them, but she never returned. Some one came to them and asked, 'What are you doing here?'

"'We are watching for our mother, who went for wood, and we are waiting for her,' they said.

"'But why does she not come when it is so late?' they said. Then they said, 'Let's all go home; something must have happened.' So they took the children home with them and sent some others to look for the mother.

"They followed her tracks and found the place, the mother dead, and her heart gone. So they came back home in the dark night.

"Next day, they returned to the place and followed the bear tracks to the woods where his home was, but never found the bear. So they went home.

"The poor little children were very lonely and not treated very well by the neighbors, and both children died, first the younger, and then the older; and this is a true story." (Note: One could well imagine from the faces of the young listeners that something like a resolution to stay pretty close around home was passing unanimously. H.G.L.)


Don Talayesva of Upper Oraibi was the only one of my story-tellers who spoke without the aid of an interpreter. He is a tall, good-looking man of less than forty, with an expressive face and a pair of merry dark eyes that hold a prophesy of the rich sense of humor one soon discovers in both his conversation and his stories.

This particular tale rather gives away some state secrets as to how Hopi children are persuaded to be good, and Don chuckled and paused to lower his voice and see that his own small son was out of hearing, when explaining certain parts of the story.

The Giant and the Twin War Gods, as told by Don Talayesva

"Well, once upon a time more people lived here in Old Oraibi—many people, many, many children, and the children getting pretty bad. People tried every way to punish and correct them and at last the head governor got tired of this business, and so he thought of best way to fix them. They were all time throwing stones at the old people and pinning rags on the back of somebody and don't mind their parents very good.

"Now this head governor is very powerful and very wise. He went out to where there is many pinon and cedar trees and he gathered much pinon gum. Next day he called an old lady, a Spider Woman, to come and help him out.

"She asked what she can do. He explained about the naughty children and their disrespect for the old people and their parents.

"He asked her to make a Giant out of the gum. She greased her hands and molded a big figure about a foot thick and four feet high with head and arms and legs. Then she covered it up with a white wedding blanket, and then she take whisk-broom and she patted with the broom, in time to her singing, on this doll figure, and it began to live and grow larger.

"When she finished singing he was enormously wide and tall, and he got up and uncovered himself and he sat there and said, 'What can I do to help you?'

"Then the governor said, 'I hired the old lady to make you and make you come to life so you can do a job for me. Now you go and make your home over here near by.'

"The governor gave him as weapons a hatchet, bow and arrow, a rabbit stick, and a big basket to carry the children away in, and a big wooden spear.

"'Now you go over there,' the governor said, 'and make your home. On the fourth day you come down and catch the first child you see playing on trash piles.'

"So on the fourth day the Giant came over early before sunrise and got to Oraibi by sunrise and got up here on top of the mesa and saw two brothers playing on the trash pile. They were facing west and he slipped up behind and tied them together and put them in his basket and carry them to his home.

"At breakfast the families missed the children and traced them to where the Giant picked them up, but saw no tracks farther.

"Every morning he comes over looking for some more children and got away with many before parents know where they went.

"This kept going on till there were very few children left and the parents were very sad. Giant leaves no tracks, so nobody knows what to do. At last parents decide to do something.

"The second chief decided to go to the two little War Gods, who live with their grandmother, a Spider Woman, and see if they would help them.

"So then the second chief cut two round pieces out of strong buckskin, and made two big balls and stuffed them hard and painted them with a red face, a mask like Supais. He made a strong bow and many strong arrows and put them in a—something like an army bag. All this he made for the Twin War Gods, who are small but powerful and their medicine too.

"Then he took these presents and started off to the home of these two little War Gods.

"At early sunrise he arrived there and peeked down into their house, which was like a big kiva, and there were the two boys playing shinney.

"The grandmother received the man kindly and told the rough, unruly boys to stop their playing and be quiet. But they don't stop their playing, so she picked up a big stick and hit the boys a good lick across the legs. Now the boys see the man and his two fine balls and sticks. They say to each other, 'We like to have those things!'

"After a good breakfast she asked the man, 'What can we do for you?'

"'Yes,' he said, 'a Giant at Oraibi has been carrying away more than half the children from our village.'

"She said, 'Yes, we know all about this and just waiting for you to come to ask our help. I have dreamed that you would come today for our help.'

"Then the man gave his nice presents to the boys and said, 'Tomorrow you come over to Oraibi and meet the Giant when he comes at sunrise for children.'

"The boys said, 'Sure, we kill him!'

"But the grandmother said, 'Don't brag, just say you do your best!'

"Next morning both boys forget all about it, but grandmother wake them up and started them off.

"They got to Oraibi Mesa and waited for the Giant, but they got to playing with their balls and sticks and forgot to watch for him.

"Soon the Giant came slipping up, but the boys saw him and they said, 'Here's that Giant, let's hit the ball hard and hit him in the head and kill him.' So they did, and knocked him off the mesa.

"It didn't kill him though, but he got mad, and he said, 'You wait and see what I do to you!' And he came back and picked them up, one at a time, and put them in his basket and started off with them.

"As they were going along, the boys told the Giant they have to get out, for just a minute please. So the Giant let them get out of the basket, but he held on to the rope that he has tied around them.

"So the boys stepped behind a big rock and untied themselves and fastened the rope to the rock. Then the Giant got mad and pulled the rope hard and the big rock rolled over on him and hurt his legs.

"Then that Giant was sure mad, and he catch those boys again and he put them in his basket and take them right home and make oven very hot for cooking boys.

"But the boys had some good medicine with them that their grandmother gave them, and each took some in his mouth and when the Giant threw the first boy in the oven, he spit a little of the medicine out into the oven and cooled it off, so that it was just warm enough for comfort. So the boys told stories and had fun all night.

"Next morning the Giant made pudding to go with his meat, and he opened the oven and there were the boys smiling.

"Giant was very hungry, so he said, 'You come out and I challenge you to fight it out and see who is more powerful.'

"So the Giant threw his rabbit stick at the bigger boy, but the boy jumped up and the stick caught fire as it passed under him. Then the Giant threw at smaller boy just high enough to hit his head, but he ducked down and the stick passed over his head like a streak of fire. Then he tried bow and arrows, but nothing hurt the boys.

"Then the Giant said, 'Well I have used all my weapons and failed, so now you can try to kill me.'

"So both boys threw their rabbit sticks at the same time. One broke the Giant's legs, the other cut off his head. Then the boys smelled the pine gum that he was made of, so they burned him up and he sure did make a big blaze.

"They just saved his head, and carried it to the Hopi at Oraibi. They arrived just when the people were having breakfast, at about ten in the morning. So they reported to the second chief and presented him with the Giant's head.

"The second chief was well pleased and said he was glad and very thankful, and then he said, 'I don't know what I can give you for a proper gift, but I have two daughters and, if you want them, you can take them along.'

"The boys smiled and whispered, 'They look pretty good, let's take them for squaws.' So they said they would take them.

"'All right,' said their father, 'come on the fourth day and get them.'

"So they went home and told their grandmother, and on the fourth day they came back and got their wives.

"The Hopi always kept the head of this Giant to use as a mask in some dances.

"Really the most important thing we do with this kind of a mask is for the men to wear when they go round the village and call out the children and scare them a little bit and tell them to be good so they don't have to come back with the basket and carry them off. Sometimes they act like they were going to take some naughty children with them right now, and ask the parents if they have any bad ones, and the parents are supposed to be very worried and hide the children and tell the Giants their children are good, and always the parents have to give these Giants that come around some mutton and other things to eat, in order to save their children; and then the children are very grateful to their parents.

"You see, the parents always tell the men who are coming around, beforehand, of a few of the things the children have been doing, so when they come looking for bad children they mention these special things to show the children that they know about it. And parents tell children a Giant may come back for them if they are pretty bad, and come right down the chimney maybe.

"My brother is a pretty tall man, and I am the tallest man in Oraibi, so we are sometimes chosen to act the part of Giants. Then we paint all black and put on this kind of a mask. It is an enormous black head with a big beak and big teeth. The time when the Giants go around and talk to the children is in February.

"There were a good many of these masks, very old and very funny ones. But a beam fell, killing many giant masks and leaving only two of the real old ones. So now we have to use some masks made of black felt; one of these is a squaw mask.

"I don't know if we can wait till February, or not, mine is getting pretty bad already." (Note: This last was said with a big laugh and a look around to see where his own boy was. And just then the tall little son, aged eight, let out a yell exactly like any other little boy who has cut his finger on Daddy's pocket knife. The buxom mother and two aunts went scrambling down the ladder to see what was the matter. The father got up, too, but laughed and remarked, "He be all right," and came back and sat down. H.G.L.)


One of the most pleasant memories the writer has kept of her Hopi story-tellers is that of wholesome Mother Sacknumptewa of Oraibi. She must be middle-aged, and is surprisingly young-looking to be the mother of her big family of grown-up sons and daughters. She wore a brand-new dress of pretty yellow and white print, made in the full Hopi manner, and her abundant black hair was so clean and well brushed that it was actually glossy. Her house was spic and span and shining with a new interior coat of white gypsum.

Her long Indian name, Guanyanum, means "all the colors of the butterflies."

It was late afternoon, and she sat on the clean clay floor of her house and husked a great pile of young green corn for supper, as she told me the two little fables that follow. There was a poise and graciousness about this woman, quite outstanding; yet she was a simple, smiling, motherly person who often laughed quietly, or broke into a rhythmic crooning song as she imitated her characters.

Several of her grown children gathered round and laughed with hearty approval at her impersonations, and at last her husband came in smiling and sat near, joining in the songs of the frog and the locust, to the great merriment of their children.

The Coyote and the Turtle, as told by Guanyanum Sacknumptewa

"A long time ago, there were many turtles living in the Little Colorado River near Homolovi, southeast of Winslow, where Hopi used to live. And there was a coyote living there too, and of course, he was always hungry.

"Now one day the turtles decided they would climb out of the river and go hunt some food, for there was a kind of cactus around there that they like very much. But one of the turtles had a baby and she didn't like to wake it up and take it with her because it was sleeping so nicely. So they just went along and left the baby asleep.

"After a while the little turtle woke up and he said, 'Where is my mother? She must have gone somewhere and left me. O, I must go and find her!'

"So the baby turtle saw that the others had crawled up the bank, and he followed their tracks for a little way. But he soon got tired and just stopped under a bush and began to cry. (Note: Her imitation of the crying was good. H.G.L.)

"Now the coyote was coming along and he heard the poor little turtle crying. So he came up and said, 'That's a pretty song; now go on and sing for me.'

"But the baby turtle said, I'm not singing, I'm crying.'

"'Go on and sing,' said the coyote, 'I want to hear you sing.'

"'I can't sing,' said the poor baby, 'I'm crying and I want my mother.'

"'You'd better sing for me, or I'll eat you up,' said the big hungry coyote.

"'O, I can't sing—I just can't stop crying,' said the baby, and he cried harder and harder.

"'Well,' the big coyote said, 'if you don't sing for me I'm going to eat you right up.' The coyote was mad, and he was very hungry. 'All right, then, I'll just eat you,' he said.

Now the little turtle thought of something. So he said, 'Well, I can't sing, so I guess you'll have to eat me. But that's all right, for it won't hurt me any; here inside of my shell I'll go right on living inside of you.'

"Now the coyote thought about this a little bit and didn't like the idea very well.

"Then the baby turtle said, 'You can do anything you want with me, just so you don't throw me into the river, for I don't want to drown.'

"Now the old coyote was pretty mad and he wanted to be as mean as possible. So he just picked that baby up in his mouth and carried him over to the river and threw him in.

"Then the baby turtle was very happy; he stuck his little head out of his shell and stretched out his feet and started swimming off toward the middle of the river. And he said, 'Goodbye, Mr. Coyote, and thank you very much for bringing me back to my house so that I didn't have to walk back.' And the little turtle laughed at the old coyote, who got madder and madder because he had let the little turtle go. But he couldn't get him now, so he just went home. And the baby turtle was still laughing when his mother got home, and she laughed too. And those turtles are still living in that water. (Note: Here is manifest all the subtlety of "The Tar Baby," though generations older. H.G.L.)

The Frog and the Locust, as told by Guanyanum Sacknumptewa

"Qowakina was a place where Paqua, the frog, lived. One day he was sitting on a little wet ground singing a prayer for rain, for it was getting very hot and dry and that was Paqua's way of bringing the rain, so he had a very good song like this. (Note: Here she sang a pretty little song, very rhythmic, and her body swayed gently in time to the music. It occurred to the writer that this would make a good bedtime story and the little song, a lullaby, for it went on and on with pleasing variation. H.G.L.)

"Not far away Mahu, the locust, was sitting in a bush, and he was singing too, for he was getting pretty dusty and the weather was very hot, and so he, too, was praying for rain. He has a very nice song for rain, and it goes this way. (Note: Here came a lovely little humming song whose words could not be interpreted, since they were but syllables and sounds having no meaning in English. However, these sounds had a definite order and rhythm. At this point the husband smilingly joined in the song, and the unison of both sounds and rhythm was perfect. H.G.L.)

"By and by the locust heard the frog, so he came over and asked him what he was doing. The frog said he was hot and wanted it to rain; that's why he was singing. Then the locust said, 'Now isn't that strange, that's exactly what I do to make it rain, too, and that's the best thing to do.' So they both sang.

"Pretty soon they noticed that the clouds had been coming up while they were singing, and before long it rained, and they both were happy.

"After this they were always great friends because they had found out they both had the same idea about something."
















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