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Title: Aw-Aw-Tam Indian Nights: Being the Myths and Legends of the Pimas of Arizona

Author: J. Wm. Lloyd


Translator: Edward Hubert Wood

Release date: November 20, 2011 [eBook #38064]
Most recently updated: January 8, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
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Original Front Cover.

Original Title Page.
Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights
The Myths and Legends of the Pimas of Arizona
Price $1.50 Postpaid
The Lloyd Group, Westfield, N. J.

This is to certify that the myths and legends of the Pimas derived by J. William Lloyd from my granduncle, Thin Buckskin, thru my interpretation, are correct and genuine to the best of my ability to interpret them.

Edward H. Wood,
(Pima Indian)

Sacaton, Arizona.


Comalk-Hawkih (thin Buckskin)

Comalk-Hawkih (thin Buckskin)

The old Seeneeyawkum



The Story of these Stories

When I was at the Pan-American Fair, at Buffalo, in July, 1901, I one day strolled into the Bazaar and drifted naturally to the section where Indian curios were displayed for sale by J. W. Benham. Behind the counter, as salesman, stood a young Indian, whose frank, intelligent, good-natured face at once attracted me. Finding me interested in Indian art, he courteously invited me behind the counter and spent an hour or more in explaining the mysteries of baskets and blankets.

How small seeds are! From that interview came everything that is in this book.

Several times I repeated my visits to my Indian friend, and when I had left Buffalo I had learned that his name was Edward Hubert Wood, and that he was a full-blooded Pima, educated at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Afterward we came into a pleasant correspondence, and so I came to know that one of my Indian friend’s dreams was that he should be the means of the preservation of the ancient tales of his people. He had a grand-uncle, Comalk-Hawk-Kih, or Thin Buckskin, who was a see-nee-yaw-kum, or professional traditionalist, who knew all the ancient stories, but who had no successor, and with whose death the [2]stories would disappear. He did not feel himself equal to putting these traditions into good English, and so did not quite know what to do.

We discussed this matter in letters; and finally it was decided that I should visit the Gila River Reservation, in Arizona, where the Pimas were, and get the myths from the old seeneeyawkum in person, and that Mr. Wood should return home from Pyramid Lake, Nevada, where he was teaching carpentry to the Pai-utes, and be my host and interpreter.

So, on the morning of July 31st, 1903, I stepped from a train at Casa Grande, Arizona, and found myself in the desert land of which I had so long dreamed. I had expected Mr. Wood to meet me there, but he was not at the station and therefore I took passage with the Irish mail-carrier whose stage was in daily transit between Casa Grande and Sacaton, the Agency village of the Pima Reservation.

We had driven perhaps half the distance, and my Irish friend was beguiling the tedium by an interminable series of highly spiced yarns, calculated to flabbergast the tenderfoot, when my anxious eyes discerned in the distance the oncoming of a neat little open buggy, drawn by two pretty ponies, one of which was a pinto, and in which sat Mr. Wood. Just imagine: It was the last day of July, a blazing morning in the open desert, with the temperature soaring somewhere between 100 and 120 degrees, yet here was my [3]Indian friend, doubtless to do me honor, arrayed in a “pepper-and-salt” suit, complete with underclothes; vest buttoned up; collar and necktie, goggles and buckskin driving gloves. And this in an open buggy, while the Irishman and I, under our tilt, were stripped to our shirts, with sleeves rolled above elbows, and swigging water, ever and anon, from an enormous canteen swathed in wet flannel to keep it cool. Truly Mr. Wood had not intended that I should take him for an uncivilized Indian, if clothes could give the lie; but the face was the same kindly one of my “Brother Ed,” and it did not take me long to greet him and transfer myself to his care.

We came to Sacaton (which Ed said was a Mexican name meaning “much tall grass”—reminding me that Emory, of the “Army of the West,” who found the Pimas in 1846, reported finding fine meadows there—but which the Pimas call Tawt-sit-ka, “the Place of Fear and Flight,” because of some Apache-caused panic) but we did not stop there, but passed around it, to the Northwest, and on and over the Gila, Akee-mull, The River, as the Pimas affectionately call it, for to them it is as the Nile to Egypt. The famous Gila is not a very imposing stream at any time, and now was no stream at all, but a shallow dry channel, choked with desert dust, or paved with curling flakes of baked mud which cracked like bits of broken pottery under our ponies’ feet. But I afterwards many times saw it a turbid [4]torrent of yellow mud, rushing and foaming from the mountain rains; perilous with quicksand and snag, the roaring of its voice heard over the chaparral for miles to windward.

The Pimas live in villages, each with its sub-chief, and we were bound for the village of Lower San-tan. But in these villages the houses are now seldom aggregated, as in old days of Apache and Yuma war, but scatter out for miles in farm homesteads.

Brother Ed had lately sold his neat farmstead, near Sacaton, and when I came to his home I found he was temporarily living under a vachtoe (pronounce first syllable as if German), or arbor-shed, made of mezquite forks, supporting a flat roof of weeds and brush for shade. Near by he was laying the foundations of a neat little adobe cottage, which was finally completed during my stay.

Ed introduced me to his mother, a matronly Indian woman of perhaps fifty-five, who must have been quite a belle in her day, and whose features were still regular and strong, and his step-father, “Mr. Wells,” who deserves more than a passing word from me, for his kindness was unremitting (bless his good-natured, smiling face!) and his solicitude for my comfort constant. These were all the family, for Ed himself was a widower. Fifty yards or so to the northwest were the huts of two old and wretchedly poor Pimas (the man was blind) who had been allowed [5]to settle there temporarily by Mr. Wood, owing to some difficulty about their own location on their adjoining land. One or two hundred yards in the other direction were two old caw-seens, or storehouses, square structures of a sort of wattlework of poles, weeds and brush, plastered over with adobe and roofed with earth. In one of these I placed my trunk, and on its flat roof I slept, rolled in my blankets, most of the nights of the two months of my stay. I came to know it as “my Arizona Bedstead,” and I shall never forget it and its quaint, crooked ladder.

My Indian brother was not slow in shedding his dress-parade garments, and in getting down to the comfort of outing shirt and overalls, neck handkerchief and sombrero. Then I had my first meal with Indians in Arizona. Mrs. Wells, or as I prefer to call her, Sparkling-Soft-Feather (her Indian name) was a good cook of her kind, and gave us a meal of tortillas, frijole beans, peppers (kaw-awl-kull), coffee, and choo-oo-kook or jerked beef. Ed and I were given the dignity of chairs and a table, but the older Indians squatted on the ground in the good old Pima way, with their dishes on a mat. There were knives and spoons, but no forks, and the usefulness of fingers was not obsolete. A waggish, pale-eyed pup, flabbily deprecative and good-natured, and a big-footed Mexican choo-chool, or chicken, were obtrusively familiar. Neither of the older Indians could speak a word of English, [6]but chatted and laughed away together in Pima. The hot, soft wind of the desert kissed our faces as we ate, and off in the back ground rose the stately volcanic pile of Cheoff-skaw-mack, the nearest mountain, and all around the horizon other bare volcanic peaks burned into the blue. Sometimes a whirlwind of dust travelled rapidly over the plain, making one ponder what would happen should it gyrate into the vachtoe.

The old woman from the near-by kee slunk by as we ate, going to the well. She wore gah-kai-gey-aht-kum-soosk (literally string-shoes), or sandals, of rawhide, on her feet, and was quite the most wretched-looking hag I ever saw among the Pimas. Her withered body was hung with indescribable rags and her gray hair was a tangled mat. Yet I came to know that that wretched creature had a heart and a good one. She was kind and cheerful, industrious and uncomplaining, and devotion itself to her old blind husband; who did nothing all day long but move out of the travelling sun into the shade, rolling nearly naked in the dust.

After dinner we got our guns and started out to go to the farm of old Thin Buckskin (“William Higgins,” if you please!) the seeneeyawkum I had come so far to see. Incidentally we were to shoot some kah-kai-cheu, or plumed quails, and taw-up-pee, or rabbits, for supper.

We found the old man plowing for corn in his field. The strong, friendly grasp he gave my [7]hand was all that could be desired. Tall, lean, dignified, with a harsh, yet musical voice; keen, intelligent black eyes, and an impressive manner, he was plainly a gentleman and a scholar, even if he could neither read nor write, nor speak a sentence of English.

The next afternoon he came, and under Ed’s vachtoe gave me the first installment of the coveted tales. It was slow work. First he would tell Ed a paragraph of tradition, and Ed would translate it to me. Then I would write it down, and then read it aloud to Ed again, getting his corrections. When all was straight, to his satisfaction, we would go on to another paragraph, and so on, till the old man said enough. As these Indians are all Christianized now, and mostly zealous in the faith, I could get no traditions on Sunday. And indeed, when part way thru, this zeal came near balking me altogether. A movement started to stop the recovery of these old heathen tales; the sub-chief had a word with Comalk, who became suddenly too busy to go on with his narrations, and it took increased shekels and the interposition of the Agent, Mr. J. B. Alexander, who was very kind to me, before I could get the wheels started again.

Sometimes the old man came at night, instead of afternoon, and I find this entry in my journal: “Sept. 6.—We sat up till midnight in the old cawseen getting the traditions. It was a wild, strange scene—the old cawseen interior, the mezquite [8]forks that supported the roof, the poles overhead, and weeds above that, the mud-plastered walls with loop-hole windows; bags, boxes, trunks, ollas, and vahs-hrom granary baskets about. Ed sitting on the ground, against the wall, nodding when I wrote and waking up to interpret; the old man bent forward, both hands out, palms upward, or waving in strange eloquent gestures; his lean, wrinkled features drawn and black eyes gleaming; telling the strange tales in a strange tongue. On an old olla another Indian, Miguel, who came in to listen, and in his hand a gorgeously decorated quee-a-kote, or flute, with which, while I wrote, he would sometimes give us a few wild, plaintive, thrilling bars, weird as an incantation. And finally myself, sitting on a mattress on my trunk, writing, fast as pencil could travel, by the dim light of a lantern hung against a great post at my right. Outside a cold, strong wind, for the first time since I came to Arizona, bright moonlight, and some drifting white clouds telling the last of the storm.”

Again, on Sept. 12th: “Traditions, afternoon and until midnight. I shall never forget how the half-moon looked, rising over Vahf-kee-woldt-kih, or the Notched Cliffs, toward midnight, while the coyotes laughed a chorus somewhere off toward the Gila, and we sat around, outdoors, in the wind, and heard the old seeneeyawkum tell his weird, incoherent tales of the long ago.”

My interpreter was eager and willing, and well-posted [9]in the meaning of English, and was a man of unusual intelligence and poetry of feeling, but was not well up in grammar, and in the main I had to edit and recast his sentences; yet just as far as possible I have kept his words and the Indian idiom and simplicity of style. Sometimes he would give me a sentence so forceful and poetic, and otherwise faultless, that I have joyfully written it down exactly as received. I admit that in a very few places, where the Indian simplicity and innocence of thought caused an almost Biblical plainness of speech on family matters, I have expurgated and smoothed a little for prudish Caucasian ears, but these changes are few, and mostly unimportant, leaving the meaning unimpaired. And never once was there anything in the spirit of what was told me that revealed foulness of thought. All was grave and serious, as befitted the scriptures of an ancient people.

Occasionally I have added a word or sentence to make the meaning stand out clearer, but otherwise I have taken no liberties with the original.

As a rule the seeneeyawkum told these tales in his own words, but the parts called speeches were learned by heart and repeated literally. These parts gave us much trouble. They were highly poetic, and manifestly mystic, and therefore very difficult to translate with truthfulness to the involved meanings and startling and obscure metaphors. Besides they contained many [10]archaic words, the meaning of which neither seeneeyawkum nor interpreter now knew, and which they could only translate by guess, or leave out altogether. But we did the best we could.

The stories were also embellished with songs, some of which I had translated. They were chants of from one to four lines each, seldom more than two, many times repeated in varying cadence; weird, somber, thrillingly passionate in places, and by no means unmusical, but, of course, monotonous. I obtained phonograph records of a number, and the translations given are as literal as possible.

As to the meaning of the tales I got small satisfaction. The Indians seemed to have no explanations to offer. They seemed to regard them as fairy tales, but admitted they had once been believed as scriptures.

My own theory came to be that they had been invented, from time to time, by various and successive mah-kais to answer the questions concerning history, phenomena, and the origin of things, which they, as the reputed wisest of the tribe, were continually asked. My chief reason for supposing this is because in almost every tale the hero is a mahkai of some sort. The word mah-kai (now translated doctor, or medicine-man) seems to have been applied in old time to every being capable of exerting magical or supernatural and mysterious power, from the Creator down; [11]and it is easy to see how such use of the word would apparently establish the divine relationship and bolster the authority of the medicine men, while the charm of the tale would focus attention upon them. The temptation was great and, I think, yielded to.

I doubt if much real history is worked in, or that it is at all reliable.

All over the desert, where irrigation was at all practicable, in the Gila and Salt River valleys, and up to the edge of the mountains, among the beautiful giant cactus and flatbean trees, you will ride your bronco over evidences of a prehistoric race;—old irrigating ditches, lines of stone wall; or low mounds of adobe rising above the greasewood and cacti, and littered over profusely with bits of broken and painted pottery, broken corn-mills and grinders, perhaps showing here and there a stone ax, arrowhead, or other old stone implement. These mounds (vah-ahk-kee is the Pima word for such a ruin) are the heaps caused by the fallen walls of what were once pueblos of stone and clay. In some places there must have been populous cities, and at the famous site of Casa Grande one finds one of the buildings still standing—a really imposing citadel, with walls four or five feet thick, several stories high, and habitable since the historic period.

Now according to these traditions it was the tribes now known as Pimas, Papagoes, Yumas and Maricopas, that invaded the land, from some [12]mythic underworld, and overthrew the vahahkkees & killed all their inhabitants, and this is the most interesting part of the tales from a historic point of view. Fewkes, and other ethnologists, think the ancestors of the Pimas built the Casa Grande & other vahahkkees, but I doubt this. Is it reasonable to suppose that if a people as intelligent & settled as the Pimas had once evoluted far enough in architecture & fortification to erect such noble citadels and extensive cities as those of Casa Grande & Casa Blanca, that they, while still surrounded by the harassing Apaches, would have descended to contentment with such miserable & indefensible hovels as their present kees and cawseens? To me it is not. They are as industrious as any of the pueblo-building Indians, not otherwise degenerate, and had they once ever builded pueblos I do not think would have abandoned the art. But it is easy to understand that a horde of desert campers, overthrowing a more civilized nation, might never rebuild or copy after its edifices. So far, then, I am inclined to agree with the traditions and disagree with the ethnologists.

But these traditions are evidently very ancient. They appear to me to have originated from the aborigines of this country; people who knew no other land. Every story is saturated with local color. From the top of Cheoffskawmack, I believe I could have seen almost every place mentioned in the traditions, except the Rio Colorado [13]& the ocean, and the ocean was to them, I believe, little more than a name. They never speak of it with their usual sketchy & graphic detail, and the fact that in the ceremony of purification it is spoken of as a source of drinking water shows they really knew nothing of it. The Indian is too exact in his natural science to speak of salt water as potable. And these stories certainly say that the dwellers in the vahahkkees were the children of Ee-ee-toy, created right here. And that the army that carried out Ee-ee-toy’s revenge upon his rebellious people were the children of Juhwerta Mahkai, who had been somewhere else since the flood, but who were also originally created here.

Now, for what it is worth, I will give a theory to reconcile these differences. I assume that their flood was a real event, but a local one, and the greater part of the people destroyed by it. A minority escaped by flight into the desert, and neither they nor their descendants, for many generations, returned to the place where the catastrophe occurred. Another remnant escaped by floating on various objects & climbing mountains. The first were those of whom it is fabled that Juhwerta Mahkai let them escape thru a hole in the earth. These became nomadic, desert dwellers. The second remained in the Gila country, became agricultural & settled in habit, irrigating their land & building pueblos, growing rich, effeminate & inapt at war. At length the [14]desert fugitives, also grown numerous, and war-like & fierce with the wild, wolf-like existence they had led, and moved by we know not what motives of revenge or greed, returned & swept over the land, in a sudden invasion, like a swarm of locusts; ruthlessly destroying the vahahkkees and all who dwelt therein; breaking even the ma-ta-tes & every utensil in their vandal fury; dividing the region thus taken among themselves. According to these traditions the Apaches were already dwellers in the outlying deserts & mountains, and were not affected especially by this invasion.

Is it now unreasonable to suppose that some of the invaders kept up, to a great extent, their old habits of desert wandering (Papagoes for instance), and that others adopted to some extent the agricultural habits of those they had conquered, and yet retained, with slight change, the little brush & mud houses & arbors they had grown accustomed to in their wanderings? These last would be our present Pimas.

If it is considered strange that these adopted the habits, to any extent, of those they supplanted it may be urged that they almost certainly, in conquering the vahahkkee people, spared and married many of the women, and adopted many of the children; this being in accordance with their custom in historic times. And this infusion of the gentler blood may have been very large. And these women would naturally go on, [15]and would be required by their new husbands to go on, with the agricultural methods to which they were accustomed & would teach them to their new masters. And their children, being wholly or partly of the old stock, would have a natural tendency to the same work, to some extent.

This theory not only explains & agrees with the main parts of the old traditions, but seems confirmed by other things. Thus the Pimas, Papagoes, Quojatas, and the “Rabbit-Eaters” of Mexico, speak about the same language, which would seem to prove them originally the same people. But some have kept the old ways, some have become agricultural, and some are in manners between, and thus have become classed as different tribes. And, judging from the remains, the life of the old vahahkkee dwellers was in many ways like that of the modern Pima, only less primitive.

But the real value of these stories is as folklore, and in their literary merit. They throw a wonderful side-light on the old customs, beliefs and feelings. I consider them ancient, in the main, but do not doubt that in coming down thru many seeneeyawkums they have been much modified by the addition of embellishment, the subtraction of forgetfulness. As proof I adduce the accounting for the origin of the white people, who use pens & ink, in the story of Van-daih. The ancient Pimas knew neither white men, nor [16]pens, nor ink, therefore this passage is clearly an interpolation by some later narrator, if the story is really ancient, as I suppose it is. In the story of Noo-ee’s meeting the sun, the word used by old Comalk, for the sun’s weapon, was vai-no-ma-gaht (literally iron-bow) which is the modern Pima’s name for the white man’s gun, and it was translated as gun by my interpreter. But iron and guns were both unknown to ancient Pimas, therefore this term must have been first used by some seeneeyawkum after the white man came, who thought a gun more appropriate than a bow for the sun’s shooting.

How much has been lost by forgetfulness we can never know; but at least I found that the meaning of many ancient words had disappeared, that the mystic meaning of the highly symbolic speeches seemed all gone, and I felt certain that the last part of the Story of the Gambler’s War had been lost by forgetting; for it stops short with the preliminary speeches, instead of going on with a detailed account of the battles as does the Story of Paht-ahn-kum’s war.

Another proof that these tales were changed by different narrators is afforded by the variants of some of them published by Emory, Grossman, Cook, and other writers about the Pimas.

As to the mystic meaning I can only guess. The mystic number four, so constantly used, probably refers to the four cardinal points, but my Indians seemed not aware of this. In the [17]stories, West is black, East is white or light, South is blue, North is yellow, and Above is green. Of course the west is black because there night swallows up the sun, and the east is light because it gives the sun, but why south is blue and north is yellow I do not know. But south is the nearest way to the ocean, and as in one story the word ocean seems used in place of south, I infer the blue color was derived from that. And the desert lying north of the ocean may suggest the desert tint, yellow, as the color of the north. As to the sky being green, I find this in my journal: “August 29—Last evening, after sunset, there were the most wonderful sky effects—there was a line of light clouds across the sky, in the west, about half way up to the zenith, and suddenly the white part of these was washed over, as tho by a paint brush, with a strong but delicate pea-green, while under this spread a mist or haze of dainty pink, changing to a rich, delicate mauve. Lasted quarter of an hour or more. Never saw anything like it in nature before.” Again, on September 6, I saw nearly the same phenomenon. The green was very strong and vivid, and could not fail to attract an Indian’s eye, and something of the sort, I fancy, made him make the strange choice of green for the sky color.

Those who like to compare myths and folktales and ancient scriptures will find a rich field here. And the interesting thing is that these [18]tales come straight from a line of Indians who could neither read nor write nor speak English, therefore adulteration by white man’s literature seems improbable.

As to the literary merit of these tales, after all that is lost by a double interpretation, I consider it still very high. You must come to them as a little child, for they are intensely child-like, and to expect them to be like a white man’s narrative is absurd. But they are sketched in such clear, bold lines, with such a sure touch and delicate expressiveness of salient points; there are such close-fitting, shrewd bits of human nature; such real yet startling touches of poetry in metaphor; such fertile and altogether Indian imagination in plot and incident, that the interest never fails. No two stories are alike, and if surprise is a literary charm of high value, and I think it is, then these tales are certainly charming, for they constantly bring surprise.

And the poetry, in Eeeetoy’s speech for example, is so rich and strong; and in such parts as the story of the Nah-vah-choo the mysticism seems to challenge one like a riddle.

When these old tales were told with all proper ceremony and respect, they were told on four successive nights. This could not be in the giving of them to me, for many practical reasons, but I have endeavored to give them that form for my reader and hence the title of my book. But I did not discover how many or what ones were [19]told on any one night, so my division is arbitrary, and only aims at reasonable equality. The naming, too, of the different stories is my own, for the old man did not appear to have any set names for them. I fancy the old man was rusty and out of practice, and forgot some of the tales in their proper sequence, and brought them in afterward as they recurred to him. For instance, the story of Tcheu-nas-sat Seeven’s singing away another chief’s wives evidently belongs among the early stories of the vahahkkee people, and before the account of his death, when the vahahkkees were destroyed. But I have given the stories in the order in which they were told to me, leaving all responsibility on the old seeneeyawkum’s shoulders.

I lived a little more than two months with these Indians, collecting these stories, enjoying their kindly hospitality, living as they lived, eating their food, riding their ponies, sleeping on their roofs under the splendid Arizona stars.

I shall never forget that day, before I left, when Ed and I saddled our ponies in the early morning and rode twenty miles to the Casa Grande ruins. On the way we crossed the dry bed of the Gila; and passed thru the Agency village of Sacaton and the village of Blackwater; skirting the Maricopa Slaughter mountains, where once some unfortunate Maricopas were waylaid and massacred by a band of Apaches, almost in sight of Sacaton. The Casa Grande ruins are imposing [20]enough, but sadly belittled in effect by the well-meant roof which the government has erected over them to preserve them. This kills all the poetry and gives them the ludicrous aspect of a museum specimen. Had the old walls been skillfully capped with a waterproof cement and the walls coated with some weatherproof and transparent wash, all necessary security could have been effected with perhaps less expense than this absurd roof, and all the romance of impression preserved. Let us hope the genial and manly young custodian, Mr. Frank Pinckly, to whose warm-hearted hospitality and that of his parents I owe grateful thanks, will consider this suggestion favorably and earn the blessing of future travellers. A storm broke on us while we were at the ruins, and riding home that evening we found the Gila flooded. I shall always remember how its muddy torrent looked to me, plunging along at my feet, where that morning I had crossed dry shod; its yellow waves shot with blood-red reflections from the last colors of sunset.

“You better see that Pinto’s cinch is tight, or she may try to get you off in the river,” warned Ed, in my ear, as he jumped off to cinch up “Georgie.”

It was always exciting to me to ford the treacherous Gila, the tawny waters were so sweeping, and the ponies plunged so when their feet felt the quicksands, but we got across all right, and galloped home on the slippery, muddy roads. [21]

When I left these people it was with a genuine regard for their virtues. I found them in the main kind, honest, simple-minded, industrious, surprisingly clean, considering their obstacles of scant water and ever-present dust, and the calmest tempered people I have ever known.

I remember the second day of my stay we were going to ride to the Casa Blanca ruins. In watering the ponies at the well, “Georgie’s” loosened saddle turned and swung under his belly. Such bucking and frantic kicking as that half-broken colt indulged in for a few moments would have made a congress of cow-boys applaud, and when it was over the beautiful colt stood exhausted on the far side of a twenty acre field, with the saddle fragments somewhere between. Now to poor Indians the loss of a saddle is not small, and I fancy most frontiersmen, under the provocation, would have made the air blue with oaths, but Ed only sadly said: “I’m afraid that spoils Georgie,” and the stepfather laughed and started patiently out on the trail of the colt “to save the pieces,” while the mother took one of her bowl-shaped Pima baskets, with beans in it, and coaxed the colt till she caught him. Then he was patted and soothed and fed with sugar, the saddle patched up and replaced, and we rode eighteen miles that day and never another mishap. And from first to last never a harsh or complaining word.

I at no time encountered a beggar among the Pimas, [22]and tho they were mostly very poor I had not a pin’s worth stolen. I never heard an oath, or saw a brutal or violent act, or a child slapped or scolded, or a woman treated with disrespect or tyranny, nor any drunkenness or cruelty to animals. Perhaps I was especially fortunate, but I can only speak of what I saw. Their self-respect and serenity continually aroused my admiration.

I must say that they appeared to me to excel any average white neighborhood in good behavior.

It is a strange land, that in which the Pimas dwell; a desert overgrown with strange soft-tinted weeds, “salt weeds,” pink, red, green, gray, blue, purple; the rich-green yellow-flowering greasewood; odd cacti, and all manner of thornbearing bushes. The soil is inexhaustibly rich, were there water enough, but the white people, settling above the Indians, on the Gila, have so withdrawn the water that crop failures from lack of sufficient irrigation are the rule, now, instead of the exception, and the once ever-flowing Gila is more often a dry channel, as sun-baked as the desert around it.

All around their valley, and rising here and there from the plain, are low volcanic peaks, mere dead masses of rock except where in places a giant cactus stands candelabra-like among the slopes of stone. About the feet of these mountains, and along the channels where the torrents rush down in times of rain, are weird forests of [23]desert growths, mezquite, cat-claw, flat-beans, screw-beans, greasewood, giant-cactus, cane-cactus, white-cactus, cholla-cactus, and a host of others, almost everything bristling with innumerable thorns.

On this strange pasture of weed and thorn the Indian’s ponies & his few cattle graze.

Here in summer the sun beats down till the mercury registers 118 to 120 degrees in the shade, and dust storms & dust whirlwinds travel over the burning plain. [27]

Stories of the First Night


The Traditions of the Pimas

The old man, Comalk Hawk-Kih, (Thin Buckskin) began by saying that these were stories which he used to hear his father tell, they being handed down from father to son, and that when he was little he did not pay much attention, but when he grew older he determined to learn them, and asked his father to teach him, which his father did, and now he knew them all.


The Story of the Creation

In the beginning there was no earth, no water—nothing. There was only a Person, uh-wert-a-Mah-kai (The Doctor of the Earth).

He just floated, for there was no place for him to stand upon. There was no sun, no light, and he just floated about in the darkness, which was Darkness itself.

He wandered around in the nowhere till he thought he had wandered enough. Then he rubbed on his breast and rubbed out moah-haht-tack, that is perspiration, or greasy earth. This he rubbed out on the palm of his hand and held out. It tipped over three times, but the fourth time it staid straight in the middle of the air and there it remains now as the world. [28]

The first bush he created was the greasewood bush.

And he made ants, little tiny ants, to live on that bush, on its gum which comes out of its stem.

But these little ants did not do any good, so he created white ants, and these worked and enlarged the earth; and they kept on increasing it, larger and larger, until at last it was big enough for himself to rest on.

Then he created a Person. He made him out of his eye, out of the shadow of his eyes, to assist him, to be like him, and to help him in creating trees and human beings and everything that was to be on the earth.

The name of this being was Noo-ee (the Buzzard).

Nooee was given all power, but he did not do the work he was created for. He did not care to help Juhwertamahkai, but let him go by himself.

And so the Doctor of the Earth himself created the mountains and everything that has seed and is good to eat. For if he had created human beings first they would have had nothing to live on.

But after making Nooee and before making the mountains and seed for food, Juhwertamahkai made the sun.

In order to make the sun he first made water, and this he placed in a hollow vessel, like an earthen dish (hwas-hah-ah) to harden into something [29]like ice. And this hardened ball he placed in the sky. First he placed it in the North, but it did not work; then he placed it in the West, but it did not work; then he placed it in the South, but it did not work; then he placed it in the East and there it worked as he wanted it to.

And the moon he made in the same way and tried in the same places, with the same results.

But when he made the stars he took the water in his mouth and spurted it up into the sky. But the first night his stars did not give light enough. So he took the Doctor-stone (diamond), the tone-dum-haw-teh, and smashed it up, and took the pieces and threw them into the sky to mix with the water in the stars, and then there was light enough.1

And now Juhwertamahkai, rubbed again on his breast, and from the substance he obtained there made two little dolls, and these he laid on the earth. And they were human beings, man and woman.

And now for a time the people increased till they filled the earth. For the first parents were perfect, and there was no sickness and no death. But when the earth was full, then there was nothing to eat, so they killed and ate each other.

But Juhwertamahkai did not like the way his [30]people acted, to kill and eat each other, and so he let the sky fall to kill them. But when the sky dropped he, himself, took a staff and broke a hole thru, thru which he and Nooee emerged and escaped, leaving behind them all the people dead.

And Juhwertamahkai, being now on the top of this fallen sky, again made a man and a woman, in the same way as before. But this man and woman became grey when old, and their children became grey still younger, and their children became grey younger still, and so on till the babies were gray in their cradles.

And Juhwertamahkai, who had made a new earth and sky, just as there had been before, did not like his people becoming grey in their cradles, so he let the sky fall on them again, and again made a hole and escaped, with Nooee, as before.

And Juhwertamahkai, on top of this second sky, again made a new heaven and a new earth, just as he had done before, and new people.

But these new people made a vice of smoking. Before human beings had never smoked till they were old, but now they smoked younger, and each generation still younger, till the infants wanted to smoke in their cradles.

And Juhwertamahkai did not like this, and let the sky fall again, and created everything new again in the same way, and this time he created the earth as it is now.

But at first the whole slope of the world was [31]westward, and tho there were peaks rising from this slope there were no true valleys, and all the water that fell ran away and there was no water for the people to drink. So Juhwertamahkai sent Nooee to fly around among the mountains, and over the earth, to cut valleys with his wings, so that the water could be caught and distributed and there might be enough for the people to drink.

Now the sun was male and the moon was female and they met once a month. And the moon became a mother and went to a mountain called Tahs-my-et-tahn Toe-ahk (sun striking mountain) and there was born her baby. But she had duties to attend to, to turn around and give light, so she made a place for the child by tramping down the weedy bushes and there left it. And the child, having no milk, was nourished on the earth.

And this child was the coyote, and as he grew he went out to walk and in his walk came to the house of Juhwertamahkai and Nooee, where they lived.

And when he came there Juhwertamahkai knew him and called him Toe-hahvs, because he was laid on the weedy bushes of that name.

But now out of the North came another powerful personage, who has two names, See-ur-huh and Ee-ee-toy.

Now Seeurhuh means older brother, and when this personage came to Juhwertamahkai, Nooee and Toehahvs he called them his younger brothers. [32]But they claimed to have been here first, and to be older than he, and there was a dispute between them. But finally, because he insisted so strongly, and just to please him, they let him be called older brother. [33]


Juhwerta Mahkai’s Song of Creation

Juhwerta mahkai made the world—

Come and see it and make it useful!

He made it round—

Come and see it and make it useful!



Notes on Story of Creation

The idea of creating the earth from the perspiration and waste cuticle of the Creator is, I believe, original.

The local touch in making the greasewood bush the first vegetation is very strong.

In the tipping over of the earth three times, and its standing right the fourth time, we are introduced to the first of the mystic fours in which the whole scheme of the stories is cast. Almost everything is done four times before finished.

The peculiar Indian idea of type-animals, the immortal and supernatural representatives of their respective animal tribes, appears in Nooee and Toehahvs, and here again the local color is rich and strong in making the buzzard and the coyote, the most common and striking animals of the desert, the particular aides on the staff of the Creator.

Might not the creation of Nooee out of the shadow of the eyes of the Doctor of the Earth be a poetical allusion to the flying shadow of the buzzard on the sun-bright desert?

In the creation of sun and moon we find the mystic four referred to the four corners of the universe, North, South, East and West, and this, I am persuaded, is really the origin of its sacred significance, for most religions find root and source in astronomy.

In the dropping of the sky appears the old idea of its solid character.

In the “slope of the world to the Westward” there is something curiously significant when we remember that both the Gila and Salt Rivers flow generally westward.

Nooee cuts the valleys with his wings. It would almost appear that Nooee was Juhwertamahkai’s agent in the air and sky, Toehahvs on earth.

The night-prowling coyote is appropriately and poetically mothered by the moon. [35]

And here appears Eeeetoy, the most active and mysterious personality in Piman mythology. Out of the North, apparently self-existent, but little inferior in power to Juhwertamahkai, and claiming greater age, he appears, by pure “bluff” and persistent push and wheedling, to have induced the really more powerful, but good-natured and rather lazy Juhwertamahkai to give over most of the real work and government of the world to him. In conversing with Harry Azul, the head chief’s son, at Sacaton, I found he regarded Eeeetoy and Juhwertamahkai as but two names for the same. And indeed it is hard to fix Eeeetoy’s place or power. [36]

1 Many doubt that the Indians of North America knew anything about the diamond, but my interpreter insisted that the Doctor-stone was the diamond, therefore I have taken his word for it. Perhaps it was crystal.


The Story of the Flood

Now Seeurhuh was very powerful, like Juhwerta Mahkai, and as he took up his residence with them, as one of them, he did many wonderful things which pleased Juhwerta Mahkai, who liked to watch him.

And after doing many marvelous things he, too, made a man.

And to this man whom he had made, Seeurhuh (whose other name was Ee-ee-toy) gave a bow & arrows, and guarded his arm against the bow string by a piece of wild-cat skin, and pierced his ears & made ear-rings for him, like turquoises to look at, from the leaves of the weed called quah-wool. And this man was the most beautiful man yet made.

And Ee-ee-toy told this young man, who was just of marriageable age, to look around and see if he could find any young girl in the villages that would suit him and, if he found her, to see her relatives and see if they were willing he should marry her.

And the beautiful young man did this, and found a girl that pleased him, and told her family of his wish, and they accepted him, and he married her. [37]

And the names of both these are now forgotten and unknown.

And when they were married Ee-ee-toy, foreseeing what would happen, went & gathered the gum of the greasewood tree.

Here the narrative states, with far too much plainness of circumstantial detail for popular reading, that this young man married a great many wives in rapid succession, abandoning the last one with each new one wedded, and had children with abnormal, even uncanny swiftness, for which the wives were blamed and for which suspicion they were thus heartlessly divorced. Because of this, Juhwerta Mahkai and Ee-ee-toy foresaw that nature would be convulsed and a great flood would come to cover the world.

And then the narrative goes on to say:

Now there was a doctor who lived down toward the sunset whose name was Vahk-lohv Mahkai, or South Doctor, who had a beautiful daughter. And when his daughter heard of this young man and what had happened to his wives she was afraid and cried every day. And when her father saw her crying he asked her what was the matter? was she sick? And when she had told him what she was afraid of, for every one knew and was talking of this thing, he said yes, he knew it was true, but she ought not to be afraid, for there was happiness for a woman in marriage and the mothering of children. [38]

And it took many years for the young man to marry all these wives, and have all these children, and all this time Ee-ee-toy was busy making a great vessel of the gum he had gathered from the grease bushes, a sort of olla which could be closed up, which would keep back water. And while he was making this he talked over the reasons for it with Juhwerta Mahkai, Nooee, and Toehahvs, that it was because there was a great flood coming.

And several birds heard them talking thus—the woodpecker, Hick-o-vick; the humming-bird, Vee-pis-mahl; a little bird named Gee-ee-sop, and another called Quota-veech.

Eeeetoy said he would escape the flood by getting into the vessel he was making from the gum of the grease bushes or ser-quoy.

And Juhwerta Mahkai said he would get into his staff, or walking stick, and float about.

And Toehahvs said he would get into a cane-tube.

And the little birds said the water would not reach the sky, so they would fly up there and hang on by their bills till it was over.

And Nooee, the buzzard, the powerful, said he did not care if the flood did reach the sky, for he could find a way to break thru.

Now Ee-ee-toy was envious, and anxious to get ahead of Juhwerta Mahkai and get more fame for his wonderful deeds, but Juhwerta Mahkai, though really the strongest, was generous and from [39]kindness and for relationship sake let Ee-ee-toy have the best of it.

And the young girl, the doctor’s daughter, kept on crying, fearing the young man, feeling him ever coming nearer, and her father kept on reassuring her, telling her it would be all right, but at last, out of pity for her fears & tears, he told her to go and get him the little tuft of the finest thorns on the top of the white cactus, the haht-sahn-kahm,1 and bring to him.

And her father took the cactus-tuft which she had brought him, and took hair from her head and wound about one end of it, and told her if she would wear this it would protect her. And she consented and wore the cactus-tuft.

And he told her to treat the young man right, when he came, & make him broth of corn. And if the young man should eat all the broth, then their plan would fail, but if he left any broth she was to eat that up and then their plan would succeed.

And he told her to be sure and have a bow and arrows above the door of the kee, so that he could take care of the young man.

And after her father had told her this, on that [40]very evening the young man came, and the girl received him kindly, and took his bows & arrows, and put them over the door of the kee, as her father had told her, and made the young man broth of corn and gave it to him to eat.

And he ate only part of it and what was left she ate herself.

And before this her father had told her: “If the young man is wounded by the thorns you wear, in that moment he will become a woman and a mother and you will become a young man.”

And in the night all this came to be, even so, and by day-break the child was crying.

And the old woman ran in and said: “Mos-say!” which means an old woman’s grandchild from a daughter.

And the daughter, that had been, said: “It is not your moss, it is your cah-um-maht,” that is an old woman’s grandchild from a son.

And then the old man ran in and said: “Bah-ahm-ah-dah!” that is an old man’s grandchild from a daughter, but his daughter said: “It is not your bah-ahm-maht, but it is your voss-ahm-maht,” which is an old man’s grandchild from a son.

And early in the morning this young man (that had been, but who was now a woman & a mother) made a wawl-kote, a carrier, or cradle, for the baby and took the trail back home.

And Juhwerta Mahkai told his neighbors of what was coming, this young man who had changed [41]into a woman and a mother and was bringing a baby born from himself, and that when he arrived wonderful things would happen & springs would gush forth from under every tree and on every mountain.

And the young man-woman came back and by the time of his return Ee-ee-toy had finished his vessel and had placed therein seeds & everything that is in the world.

And the young man-woman, when he came to his old home, placed his baby in the bushes and left it, going in without it, but Ee-ee-toy turned around and looked at him and knew him, for he did not wear a woman’s dress, and said to him: “Where is my Bahahmmaht? Bring it to me. I want to see it. It is a joy for an old man to see his grandchild.

I have sat here in my house and watched your going, and all that has happened you, and foreseen some one would send you back in shame, although I did not like to think there was anyone more powerful than I. But never mind, he who has beaten us will see what will happen.”

And when the young man-woman went to get his baby, Ee-ee-toy got into his vessel, and built a fire on the hearth he had placed therein, and sealed it up.

And the young man-woman found his baby crying, and the tears from it were all over the ground, around. And when he stooped over to pick up his child he turned into a sand-snipe, [42]and the baby turned into a little teeter-snipe.

And then that came true which Juhwerta Mahkai had said, that water would gush out from under every tree & on every mountain; and the people when they saw it, and knew that a flood was coming, ran to Juhwerta Mahkai; and he took his staff and made a hole in the earth and let all those thru who had come to him, but the rest were drowned.

Then Juhwerta Mahkai got into his walking stick & floated, and Toehahvs got into his tube of cane and floated, but Ee-ee-toy’s vessel was heavy & big and remained until the flood was much deeper before it could float.

And the people who were left out fled to the mountains; to the mountains called Gah-kote-kih (Superstition Mts.) for they were living in the plains between Gahkotekih and Cheoffskawmack (Tall Gray Mountain).

And there was a powerful man among these people, a doctor (mahkai), who set a mark on the mountain side and said the water would not rise above it.

And the people believed him and camped just beyond the mark; but the water came on and they had to go higher. And this happened four times.

And the mahkai did this to help his people, and also used power to raise the mountain, but at last he saw all was to be a failure. And he called the people and asked them all to come [43]close together, and he took his doctor-stone (mah-kai-haw-teh) which is called Tonedumhawteh or Stone-of-Light, and held it in the palm of his hand and struck it hard with his other hand, and it thundered so loud that all the people were frightened and they were all turned into stone.

And the little birds, the woodpecker, Hickovick; the humming-bird, Veepismahl; the little bird named Gee-ee-sop, and the other called Quotaveech, all flew up to the sky and hung on by their bills, but Nooee still floated in the air and intended to keep on the wing unless the floods reached the heavens.

But Juhwerta Mahkai, Ee-ee-toy and Toehahvs floated around on the water and drifted to the west and did not know where they were.

And the flood rose higher until it reached the woodpecker’s tail, and you can see the marks to this day.

And Quotaveech was cold and cried so loud that the other birds pulled off their feathers and built him a nest up there so he could keep warm. And when Quotaveech was warm he quit crying.

And then the little birds sang, for they had power to make the water go down by singing, and as they sang the waters gradually receded.

But the others still floated around.

When the land began to appear Juhwerta Mahkai and Toehahvs got out, but Ee-ee-toy had to wait for his house to warm up, for he had built a fire to warm his vessel enough for him to unseal it. [44]

When it was warm enough he unsealed it, but when he looked out he saw the water still running & he got back and sealed himself in again.

And after waiting a while he unsealed his vessel again, and seeing dry land enough he got out.

And Juhwerta Mahkai went south and Toehahvs went west, and Ee-ee-toy went northward. And as they did not know where they were they missed each other, and passed each other unseen, but afterward saw each other’s tracks, and then turned back and shouted, but wandered from the track, and again passed unseen. And this happened four times.

And the fourth time Juhwerta Mahkai and Ee-ee-toy met, but Toehahvs had passed already.

And when they met, Ee-ee-toy said to Juhwerta Mahkai “My younger brother!” but Juhwerta Mahkai greeted him as younger brother & claimed to have come out first. Then Ee-ee-toy said again: “I came out first and you can see the water marks on my body.” But Juhwerta Mahkai replied: “I came out first and also have the water marks on my person to prove it.”

But Ee-ee-toy so insisted that he was the eldest that Juhwerta Mahkai, just to please him, gave him his way and let him be considered the elder.

And then they turned westward and yelled to find Toehahvs, for they remembered to have seen his tracks, and they kept on yelling till he heard them. And when Toehahvs saw them he called them his younger brothers, and they called [45]him younger brother. And this dispute continued till Ee-ee-toy again got the best of it, and although really the younger brother was admitted by the the others to be Seeurhuh, or the elder.

And the birds came down from the sky and again there was a dispute about the relationship, but Ee-ee-toy again got the best of them all.

But Quotaveech staid up in the sky because he had a comfortable nest there, and they called him Vee-ick-koss-kum Mahkai, the Feather-Nest Doctor.

And they wanted to find the middle, the navel of the earth, and they sent Veepismahl, the humming-bird, to the west, and Hickovick, the woodpecker, to the east, and all the others stood and waited for them at the starting place. And Veepismahl & Hickovick were to go as far as they could, to the edge of the world, and then return to find the middle of the earth by their meeting. But Hickovick flew a little faster and got there first, and so when they met they found it was not the middle, and they parted & started again, but this time they changed places and Hickovick went westward and Veepismahl went east.

And this time Veepismahl was the faster, and Hickovick was late, and the judges thought their place of meeting was a little east of the center so they all went a little way west. Ee-ee-toy, Juhwerta Mahkai and Toehahvs stood there and sent the birds out once more, and this time Hickovick went eastward again, and Veepismahl went west. [46]And Hickovick flew faster and arrived there first. And they said: “This is not the middle. It is a little way west yet.”

And so they moved a little way, and again the birds were sent forth, and this time Hickovick went west and Veepismahl went east. And when the birds returned they met where the others stood and all cried “This is the Hick, the Navel of the World!”

And they stood there because there was no dry place yet for them to sit down upon; and Ee-ee-toy rubbed upon his breast and took from his bosom the smallest ants, the O-auf-taw-ton, and threw them upon the ground, and they worked there and threw up little hills; and this earth was dry. And so they sat down.

But the water was still running in the valleys, and Ee-ee-toy took a hair from his head & made it into a snake—Vuck-vahmuht. And with this snake he pushed the waters south, but the head of the snake was left lying to the west and his tail to the east.

But there was more water, and Ee-ee-toy took another hair from his head and made another snake, and with this snake pushed the rest of the water north. And the head of this snake was left to the east and his tail to the west. So the head of each snake was left lying with the tail of the other.

And the snake that has his tail to the east, in the morning will shake up his tail to start the [47]morning wind to wake the people and tell them to think of their dreams.

And the snake that has his tail to the west, in the evening will shake up his tail to start the cool wind to tell the people it is time to go in and make the fires & be comfortable.

And they said: “We will make dolls, but we will not let each other see them until they are finished.”

And Ee-ee-toy sat facing the west, and Toehahvs facing the south, and Juhwerta Mahkai facing the east.

And the earth was still damp and they took clay and began to make dolls. And Ee-ee-toy made the best. But Juhwerta Mahkai did not make good ones, because he remembered some of his people had escaped the flood thru a hole in the earth, and he intended to visit them and he did not want to make anything better than they were to take the place of them. And Toehahvs made the poorest of all.

Then Ee-ee-toy asked them if they were ready, and they all said yes, and then they turned about and showed each other the dolls they had made.

And Ee-ee-toy asked Juhwerta Mahkai why he had made such queer dolls. “This one,” he said, “is not right, for you have made him without any sitting-down parts, and how can he get rid of the waste of what he eats?”

But Juhwerta Mahkai said: “He will not need to eat, he can just smell the smell of what is cooked.” [48]

Then Ee-ee-toy asked again: “Why did you make this doll with only one leg—how can he run?” But Juhwerta Mahkai replied: “He will not need to run; he can just hop around.”

Then Ee-ee-toy asked Toehahvs why he had made a doll with webs between his fingers and toes—“How can he point directions?” But Toehahvs said he had made these dolls so for good purpose, for if anybody gave them small seeds they would not slip between their fingers, and they could use the webs for dippers to drink with.

And Ee-ee-toy held up his dolls and said: “These are the best of all, and I want you to make more like them.” And he took Toehahv’s dolls and threw them into the water and they became ducks & beavers. And he took Juhwerta Mahkai’s dolls and threw them away and they all broke to pieces and were nothing.

And Juhwerta Mahkai was angry at this and began to sink into the ground; and took his stick and hooked it into the sky and pulled the sky down while he was sinking. But Ee-ee-toy spread his hand over his dolls, and held up the sky, and seeing that Juhwerta Mahkai was sinking into the earth he sprang and tried to hold him & cried, “Man, what are you doing! Are you going to leave me and my people here alone?”

But Juhwerta Mahkai slipped through his hands, leaving in them only the waste & excretion of his skin. And that is how there is sickness & death among us. [49]

And Ee-ee-toy, when Juhwerta Mahkai escaped him, went around swinging his hands & saying: “I never thought all this impurity would come upon my people!” and the swinging of his hands scattered disease over all the earth. And he washed himself in a pool or pond and the impurities remaining in the water are the source of the malarias and all the diseases of dampness.

And Ee-ee-toy and Toehahvs built a house for their dolls a little way off, and Ee-ee-toy sent Toehahvs to listen if they were yet talking. And the Aw-up, (the Apaches) were the first ones that talked. And Ee-ee-toy said: “I never meant to have those Apaches talk first, I would rather have had the Aw-aw-tam, the Good People, speak first.”

But he said: “It is all right. I will give them strength, that they stand the cold & all hardships.”

And all the different people that they had made talked, one after the other, but the Awawtam talked last.

And they all took to playing together, and in their play they kicked each other as the Maricopas do in sport to this day; but the Apaches got angry and said: “We will leave you and go into the mountains and eat what we can get, but we will dream good dreams and be just as happy as you with all your good things to eat.”

And some of the people took up their residence on the Gila, and some went west to the Rio Colorado. And those who builded vahahkkees, [50]or houses out of adobe and stones, lived in the valley of the Gila, between the mountains which are there now. [51]


Juhwerta Mahkai’s Song before the Flood

My poor people,

Who will see,

Who will see

This water which will moisten the earth!


The Song of Superstition Mountains

We are destroyed!

By my stone we are destroyed!

We are rightly turned into stone.


Ee-ee-toy’s Song when He made the World Serpents

I know what to do;

I am going to move the water

both ways.



Notes on the Story of the Flood

In the Story of the Flood we are introduced to Indian marriage. Among the Pimas it was a very simple affair. There was no ceremony whatever. The lover usually selected a relative, who went with him to the parents of the girl and asked the father to permit the lover to marry her. Presents were seldom given unless a very old man desired a young bride. The girl was consulted and her consent was essential, her refusal final. If, however, all parties were satisfied, she went at once with her husband as his wife. If either party became dissatisfied, separation at once constituted divorce and either could leave the other. A widow or divorced woman, if courted by another suitor, was approached directly, with no intervention of relatives. Of course, on these terms there were many separations, yet all accounts agree that there was a good deal of fidelity and many life-long unions and cases of strong affection.

Polygamy was not unknown.

Grossman says that the wife was the slave of the husband, but it is difficult to see how a woman, free at any moment to divorce herself without disgrace or coercion, could be properly regarded as a slave. Certainly the men appear always to have done a large part of the hard work, and as far as I could see the women were remarkably equal and independent and respectfully treated, as such a system would naturally bring about. A man would be a fool to ill-treat a woman, whose love or services were valuable to him, if at any moment of discontent she could leave him, perhaps for a rival. The chances are that he would constantly endeavor to hold her allegiance by special kindness and favors.

But today legal marriage is replacing the old system.

So far as I saw the Pimas were very harmonious and kindly in family life.

The birds, gee-ee-sop and quotaveech, were pointed out to me by the Pimas, and as near as I could tell quotaveech was Bendire’s thrasher, or perhaps the curve-bill [53]thrasher. It has a very sweet but timid song. I did not succeed in identifying gee-ee-sop, but find these entries about him in my journal: “Aug. 5—I saw a little bird which I suppose to be a gee-ee-sop in a mezquite today, smaller and more slender than a vireo, but like one in action, but the tail longer and carried more like a brown thrasher, nearly white below, dark, leaden gray above, top of head and tail black.” Again on Sept. 1: “What a dear little bird the gee-ee-sop is! Two of them in the oas-juh-wert-pot tree were looking at me a few minutes back. Dark slate-blue above and nearly white below, with beady black eyes and black, lively tails, tipped with white, they are very pretty, tame and confiding.”

The faith of the Aw-aw-tam in witchcraft appears first in this story and afterwards is conspicuous in nearly all. Almost all diseases they supposed were caused by bewitching, and it was the chief business of the medicine-men to find out who or what had caused the bewitching. Sometimes people were accused and murders followed. This was the darkest spot in Piman life. Generally, however, some animal or inanimate object was identified. Grossman’s account in the Smithsonian Report for 1871 is interesting. In the stories, however, witchcraft appears usually as the ability of the mahkai to work transformations in himself or others, in true old fairy-tale style.

Superstition Mountain derives its name from this story. It is a very beautiful and impressive mountain, with terraces of cliffs, marking perhaps the successive pausing places of the fugitives, and the huddled rocks on the top represent their petrified forms. Some of the older Indians still fear to go up into this mountain, lest a like fate befall them.

What beautiful poetic touches are the wetting of the woodpecker’s tail, and the singing of the little birds to subdue the angry waters.

The resemblances to Genesis will of course be noted by all in these two first stories. Yet after all they are few and slight in any matter of detail. [54]

In Ee-ee-toy’s serpents, that pushed back the waters, there is a strong reminder of the Norse Midgard Serpent.

The making of the dolls in this story is one of the prettiest and most amusing spots in the traditions.

The waste and perspiration of Juhwerta Mahkai’s skin again comes into play, but this time as a malign force instead of a beneficent one. It would also appear from this that the more intelligent Pimas had a glimmering of the fact that there were other causes than witchcraft for disease.

I have generally used the word Aw-aw-tam (Good People, or People of Peace) as synonymous with Pima, but it is sometimes used to embrace all Indians of the Piman stock and may be so understood in this story.

And perhaps this is as good a place as any to say a few descriptive words about these Pimas of Arizona, and their allies, who have from prehistoric times inhabited what the old Spanish historian, Clavigero, called “Pimeria,” that is, the valleys of the Gila and Salt Rivers.

Their faces seemed to me to be of almost Caucasian regularity and rather of an English or Dutch cast, that is rather heavily moulded. The forehead is vertical and inclined to be square; and the chin, broad, heavy and full, comes out well to its line. The nose is straight, or a little irregular, or rounded, at the end, but not often very aquiline, never flat or wide-nostriled. The mouth is large but well shaped, with short, white, remarkably even teeth, seldom showing any canine projection. The whole face is a little heavy and square, but the cheek bones are not especially prominent. The eyes are level, frank and direct in glance, with long lashes and strong black brows. In the babies a slight uptilt to the eye is sometimes seen, like a Japanese, which indeed the babies suggest. The head of almost all adults is well-balanced and finely poised on a good neck.

Another type possesses more of what we call the Indian feature. The forehead retreats somewhat, so does the chin, while the upper lip is larger, longer, more convex [55]and the nose, above is more aquiline, with wider nostrils. Consequently this face in profile is more convex thruout. The cheek-bones are much more prominent, too, and the head not generally so well-balanced and proportional.

While I have seen no striking beauty I believe the average good looks is greater than among white men, taken as they come.

The women as a rule, however, do not carry themselves gracefully, are apt to be too broad, fat and dumpy in figure, with too large waists, and often loose, ungracefully-moving hips. This deformity of the hips, for it almost amounts to that, I observe among Italian peasant women, too, and some negresses, and, I take it, is caused by carrying too heavy loads on the head at too early an age. There seems to be a settling down of the body into the pelvis, with a loose alternate motion of the hips. There are exceptions, of course, and I have seen those of stately figure and fine carriage. Sometimes the loose-hip motion appears in a man.

A slight tattooing appears on almost all Pima faces not of the last generation. In the women this consists of two blue lines running down from each corner of the mouth, under the chin, crossing, at the start, the lower lip, and a single blue line running back from the outer angle of each eye to the hair.

In the men it is usually a single zigzag blue line across the forehead.

The pigment used is charcoal.

The men are generally erect and of good figure, with good chests and rather heavy shoulders, the legs often a little bowed. Strange to say I never saw one who walked “pigeon-toed.” All turned the toes out like white men. The hands are often small and almost always well-shaped; and the feet of good shape, too, not over large, with a well-arched instep.

Emory and his comrades found the Pimas wearing a kind of breech-cloth and a cotton serape only for garments; [56]the women wearing only a serape tied around the waist and falling to the knee, being otherwise nude. Today the average male Pima dresses like a white workman, in hat, shirt, trousers and perhaps shoes, and his wife or daughter wears a single print gown, rather loose at the waist and ruffled at the bottom, which reaches only to the ankles. Both sexes are commonly barefooted, but the old sandals, once universal, are still often seen. These gah-kai-gey-aht-kum-soosk, or string-shoes, as the word means, were made in several different ways, and often projected somewhat around the foot as a protection against the frequent and formidable thorns of the country.

Sometimes a wilder or older Indian will be seen, even now, with only a breech-cloth on, and some apology for a garment on his shoulders.

The skin is often of a very beautiful rich red-bronze tint, or perhaps more like old mahogany.

Except the tattooing both sexes are remarkable for their almost entire absense of any marked adornment or ornament of person. Even a finger-ring, or a ribbon on the hair, is not common, and the profuse bead-work and embroidery of the other tribes is never seen.

The exceedingly thick and intensely black hair was formerly worn very long, even to the waist, being banged off just over the eyes of the women and over the eyes and ears of the men and allowed to hang perfectly loose. But the women seldom wore as long hair as the men. This long hair is still sometimes seen and is exceedingly picturesque, especially on horseback, and it is a great pity so sightly a fashion should ever die out. I have seen Maricopas roll theirs in ringlets. Sometimes the men braided the hair into a cue, or looped up the ends with a fillet. But the Government discourages long and loose hair, and now most men cut it short, and women part theirs and braid it. Like all Indians, the men have scant beards, and the few whiskers that grow are shaved clean or resolutely pinched off with an old knife or pulled out by tweezers. [57]

Their hair appears to turn gray as early as ours, tho I saw no baldness except on one individual. In old times (and even now to some extent) the hair was dressed with a mixture of mud and mezquite gum, at times, which was left on long enough for the desired effect and then thoroly washed off. This cleansed it and made it glossy and the gum dyed the gray hair quite a lasting, jet black, tho several applications might be needed.

Women still carry their ollas and other burdens on their heads and are exceedingly strong and expert in the art, balancing great and awkward weights with admirable dexterity.

The convenient and even beautiful gyih-haw (a word very difficult to pronounce correctly), or burden basket, of the old time Pima woman, seems to have entirely disappeared. It was not only picturesque, but an exceedingly useful utensil.

The wawl-kote, or carrying-cradle for the baby, is obsolete, too, now. Strange to say, tho in shape like most pappoose-cradles, it was carried poised on the head, instead of slung on the back in the usual way.

The Pimas are fond of conversation and often come together in the evening and have long talks. Their voices are low, rapid, soft and very pleasant and they laugh, smile and joke a great deal. They are remarkable for calmness and evenness of temper and the expression of the face is nearly always intelligent, frank, and good-natured.

They are noticeably devoid of hurry, worry, irritability or nervousness.

Unlike most Indians these have not been removed from the soil of their fathers and, indeed, such an act would have been cruelly unjust, for, true to their name, the Pimas have maintained an unbroken peace with the whites.

Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Emory, of “The Army of the West,” who visited them in 1846, was perhaps the first American to observe and describe these people. He says: “Both nations (Pimas and Maricopas) cherished an aversion to war and a profound attachment to all the peaceful [58]pursuits of life. This predilection arose from no incapacity for war, for they were at all times able and willing to keep the Apaches, whose hands are raised against all other people, at a respectful distance, and prevent depredations by those mountain robbers who held Chihuahua, Sonora and a part of Durango in a condition approaching almost to tributary provinces.”

As observed by Emory and the other officers of the “Army of the West” they were an agricultural people raising at that time “cotton, wheat, maize, beans, pumpkins and water melons.” I found them raising all these in 1903, except cotton, and I think he might have added to his list, peppers, gourds, tobacco and the pea called cah-lay-vahs.

Emory says: “We were at once impressed with the beauty, order, and disposition of the arrangements made for irrigating the land ... the fields are subdivided by ridges of earth into rectangles of about 200×100 feet, for the convenience of irrigating. The fences are of sticks, matted with willow and mezquite.” I found this still comparatively correct. The fields are still irrigated by acequias or ditches from the Gila, and still fenced by forks of trees set closely in the ground and reinforced with branches of thorn or barbed wire. Some of these fences with their antler-like effect of tops are very picturesque.

From the description given by Emory, and Captain A. R. Johnson of the same army, of their kees or winter lodges, they were essentially the same as I found some of them still inhabiting. There is the following entry in my journal: “I have been examining the old kee next door, since the old couple left it. It is quite neatly and systematically made. Four large forks are set in the ground, and these support a square of large poles, covered with other poles, arrow-weeds, chaff and earth, for the roof. The walls are a neat arrangement of small saplings, about 10 inches apart curving up from the ground on a bending slant to the roof, so that the whole structure comes to resemble a turtle-shell or rather an inverted [59]bowl. These side sticks are connected by three lines of smaller sticks tied across them with withes, all the way around the kee. Against these arrow-weeds are stood, closely and neatly, tops down (perhaps thatched on) and kept in place by three more lines of small sticks, bound on and corresponding to those within. Then the whole structure is plastered over with adobe mud till rain-proof. No window, and only one small door, about 2½ feet square, closed by a slat-work.”

This kee of the Pima was not to his credit. The most friendly must admit it dirty, uncomfortable and unpicturesque. It was too low to stand erect in, the little fire was made in the center, the smoke escaping at last from the low doorway after trying everywhere else and festooning the ceiling with soot.

The establishment of the Pima was most simple. He sat, ate and slept on the earth, consequently a few mats and blankets, baskets, bowls and pots included his furniture. A large earthen olla, called by the Pimas hah-ah, stood in a triple fork under the shade of the vachtoe and being porous enough to permit a slight evaporation kept the drinking water cool.

The arbor-shed or vachtoe pertains to almost every Piman home and consists of a flat roof of poles and arrow-weeds supported by stout forks. Sometimes earth is added to the roof to keep off rain. Sometimes the sides are enclosed with a rude wattle work of weeds and bushes, making a grateful shade, admitting air freely; screening those within from view, while permitting vision from within outward in any direction. Sometimes this screen of weeds and bushes, in a circular form, was made without any roof and was then called an o-num. Sometimes after the vachtoe had been inclosed with wattle work the whole structure was plastered over with adobe mud and then became a caws-seen, or storehouse. All these structures were used at times as habitations, but now the Pima is coming more and more to the white man’s adobe cottage as a house and home. But the vachtoe, [60]attached or detached, is still a feature of almost every homestead.

Under the vachtoe usually stood the metate, or mill (called by the Pimas mah-choot) which was a large flat or concave stone, below, across which was rubbed an oblong, narrow stone (vee-it-kote), above, to grind the corn or wheat. Other important utensils were a vatchee-ho, or wooden trough, for mixing, and a chee-o-pah, or mortar, of wood or stone, for crushing things with a pestle. The nah-dah-kote, or fire-place, was an affair of stones and adobe mud to support the earthern pots for cooking or to support the earthern plates on which the thin cakes of corn or wheat meal were baked. These were what the Mexicans call tortillas. Perhaps the staple food of the Pima even more than corn (hohn) or wheat (payl-koon) is frijole beans—these of two kinds, the white (bah-fih), the brown (mohn). A sort of meal made of parched corn or wheat; ground on the mahchoot and eaten, or perhaps one might say drank, with water and brown sugar (pano-che) was the famous pinole, the food carried on war trips when nutrition, lightness of weight and smallness of bulk were all desired. It has a remarkable power to cool and quench thirst. Taw-mahls, or corn-cakes of ground green corn, wrapped in husks and roasted in the ashes, or boiled, were also favorites. Peppers (kaw-aw-kull) were a good deal used for seasoning and relishes.

Today the country of the Pima is very destitute of large game but he adds to the above bill of fare all the small game, especially rabbits, quail and doves, that he can kill. In the old days when the Gila always had water it held fine fish and the Indians caught them with their hands or swept them up on the banks by long chains of willow hurdles or faggots, carried around the fish by waders. I could not learn that they ever had any true fish-nets or fish-hooks; nor any rafts, canoes or other boats. But owing to the frequent necessity of crossing the treacherous Gila the men, and many of the women, were good swimmers. [61]

The Toe-hawn-awh Aw-aw-tam, or Papagoes, whose reservation is in Pima County, near Tucson (and called St. Xavier) are counted “blood brothers” of the Pimas, speak essentially the same language, are on the most cordial terms with them, and are under the same agency.

The Maricopas are a refugee tribe, related to the Yumas, who once threatened them with extermination because of an inter-tribal feud. They were adopted by the Pimas and protected by them, and have ever since lived with them as one people, having however a different language, identical with that of the Yumas.

The Quojatas are a small tribe, of the Piman stock, living south of the Casa Grande.

The total number of Pimas, Papagoes and Maricopas in the U. S. is now estimated at about 8000, the Pimas alone as 4000.

I am not a linguist, or a philologist, and my time was short with these people, and I did not go to any extent into their language, or study its grammar. Their voices were soft and pleasant, and I was continually surprised at the low tones in which they generally conversed and the quickness with which they heard. But their words were most awkward to my tongue. There were German sounds, and French sounds, too, I would say, in their language, and there were letters that seemed to disappear as they uttered them, or never to come really forth, and syllables that were swallowed like spoonfuls of hot soup.

But I trust that I am substantially correct in the words that I have retained in the stories and that I have written them so that the English reader can pronounce them in a way to be understood.

The accent is generally on the first syllable. [62]

1 What the Pimas call the haht-sahn-kahm is the wickedest cactus in Arizona. The tops of the branches fall off, and lie on the ground, and if stepped on the thorns will go thru ordinary shoe leather and seem to hold with the tenacity of fish-hooks, so that it is almost impossible to draw them out.


The Story of Ah-ahn-he-eat-toe-pahk Mahkai

And there was an orphan named Ah-ahn-he-eat-toe-pahk Mahkai (which means Braided-Feather Doctor) who lived at a place called Two Reservoirs (Go-awk-Vahp-itchee-kee) north of Cheoff-Skaw-mack, or Tall Gray Mountain.

And his only relative was an old grandmother. And she used to go and get water in earthern vessels, a number of them in her carrying basket. And when she neared home she would call to her grandson, saying: “Come, help me wrestle with it!” meaning to help her down with her load. And he would jump and run, and wrestle so roughly he would break all the vessels in her basket.

And thus was he mean and mischievous, a bad boy in many ways. And one day his grandmother sent him to get some of the vegetable called “owl’s-feathers,” which the Awawtam cook by making it into a sort of tortilla, baked on the hot ground where a fire has just been. And he went and found an owl and pulled its feathers out & brought them to the old woman, and she said: “This is not what I want! It is a vegetable that I mean!”

And so he went off again and got the vegetable owl’s-feathers for her. [63]

After that she sent him for the vegetables named “crow’s-feet” and “blackbird’s-eyes,” saying to him that they were very good cooked together. And the mischievous orphan went & got the feet of some real crows and the eyes of real blackbirds and brought them to her. And she said: “This is not what I mean! I want the vegetables named after these things!”

And the boy, who was then about twelve years old, went and got what she wanted and she cooked them.

And this orphan boy had a dream which he liked and wished to have come true, and went to a dance that was being danced in the neighborhood, a ceremonial dance such as is celebrated when a young girl arrives at womanhood, and he went to see it, hoping it would in some way be like his dream, but when he saw it he was disgusted.

And he went to hear the song of a singing doctor, a mahkai or medicine-man, but when he heard his singing he was disgusted with that too.

And he left his home and on his way found a little house, or kee, made of rough bushes. And the one who lived therein invited him to stay awhile and see all the different people who would arrive there.

And he did so, and in the early evening they came—all the fiercest animals, cougars, bears, eagles, and they were bewitching each other, but nobody bewitched him, and in the morning he went on. [64]

And he went along until he came to another kee, and the owner invited him to stay over night and see all the people who came there. And he did so, and in the early evening came the same creatures and did the same as before, but he was not bewitched.

And he went on again till he came to a desert place, utterly barren, without trees or bushes and there a wind came to meet him, a whirlwind, Seev-a-lick, and it caught him up and carried him to the East & then back again; and to the North and back again; and to the West & back again; and then South & back again. And so it got possession of his soul and carried it off to its own place.

And Seevalick, the whirlwind, said to him: “You shall be like me.”

And there his dream came true and he said: “This is what I was looking for; this it is for which I was travelling.”

And he wished to go back, and the wind took his soul back again into his body, and so he returned to his home.

And after his return he was the best young man in the country, kind to everybody, and everybody liked him. But he did not care to be with boys of his own age, but liked better to be with the wise old men, and went where they came together at nights. And he would sit and listen to them, but did not attempt to make any speeches himself. His reasons were that the young were often vicious, thieves, beggars, murderers, and he would [65]rather be with the old who followed what was better.

And in the evening he would often hear the old people say: “We will go rabbit-hunting in such a place,” but he stayed at home and did not go with them.

But one night, after a while, when they said: “Tomorrow we will go jack-rabbit hunting,” he went home as they did, but the next morning, when they went hunting, he went and made himself a bow & arrows, as Seevalick had told him and placed them where he could find them.

And the next evening they were talking again of hunting, and appointed a place to meet, and the following morning, when they were getting ready, he got his bows & arrows, but he did not come quite up to the meeting place, but sat a little way off.

And as he sat there the people came up to him and made fun of him and asked him if he expected to kill anything with his weapons, for he had made a big bow & arrows as the Whirlwind had done. And the people handed these about among themselves, laughing, and when they were thru ridiculing them they brought back the bow and arrows and laid them down before him. But he said nothing, and when the people were thru he left the bow & arrows there, and went home and went again to look for a suitable stick to make a bow from.

And he made a new bow & arrows and left them where he could find them, and went home. [66]

And again he went in the evening to the old people’s gathering and heard them appoint a place for the hunting, and went home when they did. And in the morning, when he heard the signal cry for hunting, he went and got his bow & arrows and followed after them again, but again stayed some distance off. And again the people came about him and handled his bow & arrows and laughed at them. And again he left them lying there on the ground and went home to make a new bow & arrows.

And the fourth time this happened he was late at the place of meeting, and before he came the one at whose house the meeting was said to the others: “There is a young man who has been several times with us to the place where we come together for the hunting, and I suppose he has made a new bow & arrows today, for he has to do that whenever you handle his weapons. Now I want you not to handle his weapons any more, but to let him be till we see what he will do, for it appears to me that he is some kind of a powerful personage (mahkai).

And Toehahvs, who was listening, said: “You yourself, were the very first to handle his weapons.”

And the next morning when Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai heard the signal yells for the hunting, he went to the meeting place, with his bow and arrows, and sat away off, as before, but this time nobody came to him. [67]

And then the hunting began, and in it some one called to him: “There is a jack-rabbit (choo-uff) coming your way!” and he shot the rabbit with his arrow; but when he came to it he did not pick it up, but grasped the arrow and with a swinging motion threw the rabbit from it to the man nearest him.

And thus he went on all day, killing rabbits and giving them to others, keeping none for himself.

And again he was late at the place of meeting, and the man who had spoken the night before said: “Now you see what he has done! This is the fourth bow that he has made. If you people had left him alone before, he would, before this, have been killing game for you. And now if you do not disturb him I am sure he will go on, and you will have jack-rabbits to eat all the time.”

And so he killed rabbits at every hunt, and gave them away, especially to the old. Whenever he killed one he would pick it up and give it to an old man, and keep on that way.

And one night at the place of meeting the spokesman said: “Tomorrow we will surround the mountain and hunt deer, and we will put him at the place where the deer will run, and we will see how many he will kill!”

And in the morning, at the mountain, they placed him at the deer-run, and told him to “shut the valley,” meaning for him to head-off and kill any deer which might run toward him. But the young man began to get big rocks and try to make [68]a wall to close the valley up, and paid no attention to the deer running past him, and when the people came and asked him about his shooting he said: “You did not tell me to kill the deer, you told me to ‘shut the valley.’”

(Not but what he understood them, but he was acting again as he had once done with his grandmother.)

And the next day they tried another mountain and said: “We will see if the young man will kill us any deer there.” So when they came to this mountain they told him to go to a certain valley, on the other side, and hang himself there. This is a form of speech which means to hang around or remain at a place; but the young hunter went there and left his bow & arrows on the ground, and hung himself up by his two hands clasped around the limb of a tree.

And after they had chased many deer in his direction they said: “Let us go now & butcher-up the deer the young man has killed, for he must have killed a good many by this time.”

But when they came to where the young man was, there he hung by his hands, and when they asked him how many he had killed, he said: “I have not killed any. You did not tell me to kill any, only to hang myself here, which I did, and I have hung here and watched the deer running past.”

And they tried him again, on another morning, at another valley, and this time they told him if [69]he saw a doe big with fawn, “snon-ham,” which is also the word used for a woman soon to become a mother, he should kill her. And he went to his place, and there came by such a woman and he shot her down and killed her.

And the next day they took him to another mountain and told him to kill the “kurly,” which means the old, but they meant him to understand old deer. And when they came to him later to butcher-up the deer he had killed, and asked him where they were, he replied: “I have not killed any deer, you did not tell me to kill deer, but to kill the kurly, and there is the kurly I have killed!”

And it was the old man who goes ahead whom he had shot with his arrow.

And after they had buried the old man they returned to the village, and that night the man who owned the meeting place said: “Tomorrow we must give him another trial, and this time I want you to tell him straight just what you want. Tell him to kill the deer, either young or old, and he will do it. If you had done this before he would have killed us many deer. You should have understood him better by this time, but you did not tell him straight, and now he has killed two of us.”

And the next morning they took him to another mountain, and placed him in a low place, and told him to kill all the deer which came his way. And when they went after a while, after chasing many deer toward him, they asked him where the deer [70]were which he had killed, and he replied: “Down in the low place you will find plenty deer.” And they went there and found many dead deer of all kinds, and butchered them up. [71]


Notes on the Story of Ah-ahn-he-eat-toe-pahk Mahkai

In the story of Ah-ahn-he-eat-toe-pahk Mahkai we are introduced to the Indian faith in dreams and to more witchcraft. We come, too, to the national sport of rabbit-hunting, with its picturesqueness and excitement.

In the transaction between Seevalick and the boy we have a reappearance of the world-wide belief that there is a connection between the wind and the human soul.

The strange quality of savage humor, labored, sometimes gruesome, and often tragic, appears in the latter part of the tale.

It is noticeable that they buried the old man, but no mention is made of burying the woman who was shot. The Pimas of old time buried their dead in a sitting posture, neck and knees tied together with ropes, four to six feet under ground, and covered the grave with logs and thorn-brush to keep away wolves. The interment was usually at night, with chants, but without other ceremony. Then, immediately after, the house of the deceased was burned, and all personal effects destroyed, even food; the horses and cattle being killed and eaten by the mourners, excepting such as the deceased might have given to his heirs. After the prescribed time of mourning (one month for a child or distant relative, six months or a year for husband or wife) the name of the dead was never more mentioned and everything about him treated as forgotten.

The Maricopas burn their dead.

It is noticeable, too, that no one appears to have punished the slayer for his murderous practical jokes. Indeed, while the Awawtam appear to have been people of exceptionally good character, it also appears that they seldom punished any crimes except by a sort of boycott or pressure of public disapproval. [72]


The Story of Vandaih, The Man-eagle

And thus Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai became famous for the killing of game; and there was another young man, named Van-daih, who wanted to be his friend. So one day Vandaih made him four tube-pipes of cane, such as the Indians use for ceremonious smoking, and went to see the young hunter. But when he entered the young man was lying down, and he just looked at Vandaih and then turned his face away, saying nothing.

And Vandaih sat there and when the young man became tired of lying one way and turned over he lit up one of his pipes. But the young man took no notice of him. And this went on all night. Every time there was a chance Vandaih tried his pipe, but Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai never spoke, and in the morning Vandaih went away without the friend he desired having responded to him.

The next evening Vandaih came again and sat there all night, but the friend he courted never said a word, and in the morning he went away again.

And he slept in the daytime, and when evening came he went again, and sat all night long, but the young man spoke to him not at all.

And the third morning that this happened the wife of Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai said to him: [73]“Why are you so mean to Vandaih as never to speak to him? Perhaps he has something important to say. He comes here every night, and sits the whole night thru before you, and you do not speak to him. And maybe he will come tonight again, and I feel very sorry for him that you never say a word to him when he comes.”

And the young man said: “I know it is true, what you have said, but I know, too, very well, that Vandaih is not a good man. He gambles with the gains-skoot, he is a liar, a thief, licentious, and is everything that is bad. I wish some other boys would come to see me instead of him, and better than he, for I know very well that he will repeat things that I say in a way that I did not mean and raise a scandal about it.”

And the next night Vandaih came again and sat in the same place; and when Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai saw him he just looked at him and then turned over and went to sleep. But along in the night he awoke, and when Vandaih saw he was awake he lit one of his pipes. Then Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai got up. And when he got up Vandaih buried his pipe, but the other said: “What do you bury your pipe for? I want to smoke.”

Vandaih said: “I have another pipe,” and he lit one and gave it to Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai, and then he dug up his own pipe, and relighted it, and they both began to smoke.

And Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai said: “When [74]did you come?” And Vandaih replied: “O just a little while ago.”

And Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai said: “I have seen you here for four nights, now, but I know you too well not to know you have a way to follow,” [“a way to follow” means to have some purpose behind] “but if you will quit all the bad habits you have I will be glad to have you come; but there are many others, better than you, whom I would rather have come to see me.

And now I am going to tell you something, but I am afraid that when you go away from here you will tell what I have said and make more of it, and then people will talk, and I shall be sorry.

I will tell you the habits you have—you are a liar, a gambler with the dice-game and the wah-pah-tee, a beggar, you follow after women and are a thief.

Now I want you to stop these bad habits. You may not know all that the people say about you: They say that when any hunter brings in game you are always the first to be there, and you will be very apt to swallow charcoal1 if you are so greedy.

Wherever you go, when the people see you coming, they say: ‘There comes a man who is a thief,’ and they hide their precious things. When you arrive they are kind to you, of course, but they do not care much about you. [75]

I don’t know whether you know that people talk thus about you, but it is a great shame to me to know, when I have done some bad thing, that people talk about it.

Now if you quit these things you will be happy, and I want you to stop them. I am not angry with you, but I want you to know how the people are talking about you.

Now I want you to go home, but not say anything about what I have told you. Just take a rest, and tomorrow night come again.”

And the next night Vandaih came again, and Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai was in bed when he came, but he got right up and received him, and said: “Now after this I mean to tell you what is for your good, but I want you to keep quiet about it. There are many people that gamble with you. If they ask you again to gamble with them, do not do it. Tell them you do not gamble any more. And if they do not stop when you tell them this, but keep on asking you, come to me, and tell me, first, that you are going to play. And if I tell you, then, that I do not want you to gamble, I want you not to do it, but if I tell you you may gamble & you win once, then you may bet again, but I do not want you to keep on after winning twice. Twice is enough. But if the other man beats you at first, then I do not want you to play any more, but to quit gambling forever.”

And after this a man did want to gamble with [76]Vandaih, but Vandaih said: “I have nothing to wager, and so cannot play with you.”

And still another man wanted to gamble with him, and he made him the same answer, but this man kept on asking, and at last Vandaih said: “Perhaps I will play with you, I will see about it. But I must have a little time first.” And he came to Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai and said: “There is a man who keeps on asking me to gamble with him, and I have come to tell you about it as you told me to do.”

And Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai told him to gamble, and gave him things to wager on the game, but said: “If he beats you I do not want you to gamble any more.”

And Vandaih took the things which had been given him, and went & played a game with this man who was so persistent, and won a game. And he played another game and won that, and then he said, “That is enough, I do not want to play any more;” but the other man kept on asking him to play.

But Vandaih refused & took the things which he had won to Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai and gave them all to him.

And the next morning he gambled again, and won twice, and he stopped after the second winning, as before.

And thus the young man kept on winning and Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai made gainskoot (dice-sticks) for him, and this was one reason why he [77]won, for Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai was a powerful doctor & the dice were charmed.

And he beat every one who played against him till he had beat all the gamblers of his neighborhood, and then distant gamblers came & he beat them also. And so he won all the precious things that were in the country and gave all to Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai & kept nothing back. But one man went to Ee-ee-toy, who was living at the Salt River Mountain (Mo-hah-dheck) and asked him to let him have some things to wager against Vandaih. And Ee-ee-toy said: “You can have whatever you want, and I will go along to see the game.”

But when Ee-ee-toy got there he found the dice were not like common dice, and it would be difficult for any one to win against them, they were made by so powerful a man.

And Ee-eetoy went westward and found a powerful doctor who had a daughter, and said to the father: “I want your daughter to go around to all the big trees and find me all the feathers she can of large birds, not of small birds, and bring them here. And I will come again & see what she may have found.”

And her father told her, and the very next morning she began to hunt the feathers, and when Ee-eetoy came again she had a bundle, and Ee-eetoy took them and took the pith out of their shafts and cleansed every feather which she had brought him. [78]

And Ee-ee-toy threw away the pith and cut the shafts into small pieces and told the girl to roast them in a broken pot over a fire; and she got the broken pot & roasted them, and they curled up as they roasted till they looked like grains of corn. And then he told her to roast some real corn & mix both together and grind them all up very fine, and Ee-ee-toy told her to take some ollas of this pinole in her syih-haw to the reservoirs.

And she did so, and passed by where Vandaih was going to play, and Vandaih said: “Before I can play I must drink.” But the man who was playing with him said: “Get some water of some one near,” but Vandaih said, “I would rather go to the reservoir.”

And Ee-ee-toy had prepared the girl before this, telling her that when she passed the players Vandaih would follow her to the reservoir and want to marry her. “Be polite to him,” he said “and ask him to drink some of the pinole, and to see your parents first.”

And the man who was going to gamble with Vandaih asked him not to go so far, for he wanted to gamble right away, but Vandaih replied: “I would rather go there. I will come right back. You be making holes till I get back.”

So the girl went to the reservoir, and Vandaih followed her and asked her to be his wife, and she said: “I want you to drink some of this pinole, [79]and in the evening you may go and see my folks and ask them about it.”

So Vandaih mixed some pinole and drank it, and it made him feel feverish, like one with a cold; and the second time he drank the goose-flesh came out on his skin; and the third time he drank feathers came out all over him; and the fourth time long feathers grew out on his arms; and the fifth time he became an eagle and went and perched on the high place, or bank of the reservoir.

Then the girl went to the place where the other man was waiting to play the game and told all the people to come and see the terrible thing which had happened to Vandaih.

And the people, when they saw him, got their bows and arrows and surrounded him and were going to shoot him.

And they fired arrows at him, and some of them struck him, but could not pierce him, and then all were afraid of him. And first he began to hop around, and then to fly a little higher, until he perched on a tree, but he broke the tree down; and he tried another tree and broke that down; and then he flew to a mountain and tumbled its rocks down its side, and finally he settled on a strong cliff. And even the cliff swayed at first as if it would fall,—but finally it settled and stood still.

And this was foretold when the earth was being made, that one of the race of men should be [80]turned into an eagle. Vandaih was a handsome man, but he had a bad character, and ever since the beginning parents had warned their children to practice virtue lest they be turned into eagles; because it had been foretold that some good-looking bad person should be thus transformed, and it was to be seen that good-looking people were often bad and homely ones good characters.

And Vandaih took that cliff for his residence and hunted over all the country round about, killing jack-rabbits, deer and all kinds of game for his food. And when the game became scarce he turned to men and one day he killed a man and took the body to his cliff to eat. And after this manner he went on. Early in the morning he would bring home a human being, and sometimes he would bring home two.

Then the people sent a messenger to Ee-eetoy, to his home on Mohahdheck, asking him to kill for them this man-eagle. And Ee-ee-toy said to the man: “You can go back, and in about four days I will be there.” But when the fourth day came Ee-eetoy had not arrived, as he had promised, but Vandaih was among the people, killing them, carrying them away to the cliff.

And the people again sent the messenger, saying to him: “You must tell Ee-ee-toy he must come and help his people or we shall all be lost.”

And the man delivered his message and Ee-ee-toy said, as before, that he would be there in four days. [81]

And this went on, the people sending to Ee-ee-toy, and Ee-ee-toy promising to come in four days, until a whole year had passed. And not only for one year, but for four years, for the people had misunderstood him, and when he said four days he meant four years, and so for four years it went on as we have said.

(Now Ee-ee-toy and Vandaih were relatives, and that was one reason why Ee-ee-toy kept the people waiting so long for his help and worked to gain time. He did not want to hurt Vandaih.)

But when the fourth year came Ee-ee-toy did go, and told the people to get him the “seed-roaster.”

And the people ran around, guessing what he meant, and they brought him the charcoal, but Ee-ee-toy said: “I did not mean this, I meant the ‘seed-roaster’!”

So they ran around again, and they brought him the long open earthen vessel with handles at each end, used for roasting, and with it they brought the charcoal which is made from ironwood. But he said: “I did not mean these. I mean the ‘seed-roaster.’”

And they kept on guessing, and nobody could guess it right. They brought him the black stones of the nahdahcote, or fire place, and he said: “I do not want these. I want the ‘seed-roaster.’”

And the people kept on guessing, and could not guess it right, and so, at last, he told them that what he wanted was obsidian, that black volcanic [82]stone, like glass, from which arrow heads are made. And this was what he called the “seed-roaster.”

So the people got it for him.

Then he told them to bring him four springy sticks. And they ran and brought all the kinds of springy sticks they could find, but he told them he did not mean any of these.

And for many days they kept on trying to get him the sticks which he wanted. And after they had completely failed Ee-ee-toy told them what he wanted. It was a kind of stick called vahs-iff, which did not grow there, therefore they had not been able to find it. And beside vahsiff sticks were not springy sticks at all, but the strongest kind of sticks, very stiff.

So they sent a person to get these, who brought them, and Ee-ee-toy whittled them so that they had sharp points. And there were four of them.

And Ee-ee-toy said: “Now I am going, and I want you to watch the top of the highest mountain, and if you see a big cloud over it, you will know I have done something wonderful. But if there is a fog over the world for four days you will know I am killed.”

When he started he allowed one of the dust storms of the desert to arise, and went in that, so that the man-eagle should not see him.

For many days he journeyed toward the cliff, and when sunset of the last day came he was still a good way off; but he went on and arrived at [83]the foot of the cliff after it was dark, and hid himself there under a rock.

About daybreak the man-eagle got up and flew around the cliff four times and then flew off. And after he was gone Ee-ee-toy took one of his sticks and stuck it into a crack in the cliff, and climbed on it, and stuck another above it and so he went on to the top, pulling out the sticks behind him and putting them in above.

And when he got to the home of the man-eagle, Vandaih, on the top of the cliff, he found a woman there. And she was the same woman who had given Vandaih the pinole with eagles’ feathers in it. He had found her, and carried her up there, and made her his wife.

When Ee-ee-toy came to the woman he found she had a little boy, and he asked her if the child could speak yet, and she replied that he was just beginning to talk; and he enquired further when the man-eagle would return, and she said that formerly when game was plenty he had not stayed away long, but now that game was scarce it usually took him about half a day, so he likely would not be there till noon.

And Ee-ee-toy enquired: “What does he do when he comes back? Does he sleep or not? Does he lie right down, or does he go looking around first?”

And the wife said: “He looks all around first, everywhere. And even the little flies he will kill, he is so afraid that some one will come to kill [84]him. And after he has looked around, and finished eating, he comes to lay his head in my lap and have me look for the lice in his head. And it is then that he goes to sleep.”

So Ee-ee-toy turned into a big fly and hid in a crack in the rock, and asked the woman if she could see him, and she said: “Yes, I can see you very plainly.”

And he hid himself three times, and each time she could see him, but the fourth time he got into one of the dead bodies, into its lungs, and had her pile the other dead bodies over him, and then when he asked her she said: “No, I cannot see you now.”

And Ee-ee-toy told her: “As soon as he goes to sleep, whistle, so that I may know that he is surely asleep.”

At noon Ee-ee-toy heard the man-eagle coming. He was bringing two bodies, still living & moaning, and dropped them over the place where Ee-ee-toy lay. And the first thing the man-eagle did was to look all around, and he said to his wife: “What smell is this that I smell?” And she said: “What kind of a smell?” And he replied: “Why, it smells like an uncooked person!” “These you have just brought in are uncooked persons, perhaps it is these you smell.”

Then Vandaih went to the pile of dead bodies and turned them over & over, but the oldest body at the bottom he did not examine, for he did not think there could be anyone there. [85]

So his wife cooked his dinner, and he ate it and then asked her to look for the lice in his head. And as he lay down he saw a fly pass before his face, and he jumped up to catch it, but the fly got into a crack in the rock where he could not get it.

And when he lay down again the child said: “Father! come!” And Vandaih said: “Why does he say that? He never said that before. He must be trying to tell me that some one is coming to injure me!” But the wife said: “You know he is only learning to talk, and what he means is that he is glad that his father has come. That is very plain.” But Vandaih said: “No, I think he is trying to tell me some one has come.”

But at last Vandaih lay down and the woman searched his head and sang to put him to sleep. And when he seemed sound asleep she whistled. And her whistle waked him up and he said: “Why did you whistle! you never did that before?” And she said: “I whistled because I am so glad about the game you have brought. I used to feel bad about the people you killed, but now I know I must be contented & rejoice when you have a good hunt. And after this I will whistle every time when you bring game home.”

And she sang him to sleep again, and whistled when he slept; and waked him up again, and said the same thing again in reply to his question.

And the third time, while she was singing, she turned Vandaih’s head from side to side. And [86]when he seemed fast asleep she whistled. And after she had whistled she turned the head again, but Vandaih did not get up, and so she knew that this time he was fast asleep.

So Ee-ee-toy came out of the dead body he had hidden in, and came to where Vandaih was, and the woman laid his head down & left him. And Ee-ee-toy took the knife which he had made from the volcanic glass, obsidian, and cut Vandaih’s throat, and beheaded him, and threw his head eastward & his body westward. And he beheaded the child, too, and threw its head westward and its body eastward.

And because of the killing of so powerful a personage the cliff swayed as if it would fall down, but Ee-ee-toy took one of his sharpened stakes and drove it into the cliff and told the woman to hold onto that; and he took another and drove that in and took hold of that himself.

And after the cliff had steadied enuf, Ee-ee-toy told the woman to heat some water, and when she had done so he sprinkled the dead bodies.

The first ones he sprinkled came to life and he asked them where their home was & when they told him he sent them there by his power.

And he had more water heated and sprinkled more bodies, and when he learned where their home was he sent them home, also, by his power.

And this was done a third time, with a third set of bodies.

And the fourth time the hot water was sprinkled [87]on the oldest bodies of all, the mere skeletons, and it took them a long time to come to life, and when they were revived they could not remember where their homes were or where they had come from. So Ee-ee-toy cut off eagles’ feathers slanting-wise (pens) and gave them, and gave them dried blood mixed with water (ink) and told them their home should be in the East, and by the sign of the slanting-cut feather they should know each other. And they are the white people of this day. And he sent them eastward by his power.

And in the evening he & the woman went down the cliff by the aid of the sharpened stakes, even as he had come up, and when they reached the foot of the mountain they stayed there over night. They took some of the long eagle feathers and made a kee from them, & some of the soft eagle feathers and made a bed with them. And they stayed there four nights, at the foot of the cliff.

And after a day’s journey they made another kee of shorter eagle feathers, and a bed of tail feathers. And they staid at this second camp four nights.

And then they journeyed on again another day and build another kee, like the first one, & stayed there also four nights.

And they journeyed on yet another day and built again a kee, like the second one, and stayed there four nights.

And on the morning of each fourth day Ee-ee-toy took the bath of purification, as the Pimas [88]have since done when they have slain Apaches, and when he arrived home he did not go right among the people but stayed out in the bushes for a while.

And the people knew he had killed Vandaih, the man-eagle, for they had watched and had seen the cloud over the high mountain.

And after the killing of Vandaih, for a long time, the people had nothing to be afraid of, and they were all happy. [89]


Notes on the Story of Vandaih

In the story of Vandaih we are given a curious glimpse into Indian friendship. The reference to smoking, too, is interesting. The Pimas had no true pipes. They used only cigarettes of tobacco and corn-husk, or else short tubes of cane stuffed with tobacco. These I have called tube-pipes. They smoked on all ceremonial occasions, but appear to have had no distinctive pipe of peace. The ceremonial pipes of cane had bunches of little birds’ feathers tied to them, and in my photo of the old seeneeyawkum he holds such a ceremonial pipe in his hand.

“He gambles with the gain-skoot:” The gain-skoot were the Pima dice—two sticks so marked and painted as to represent the numerals kee-ick (four) and choat-puh (six), and two called respectively see-ick-ko, the value of which was fourteen, and gains, the value of which was fifteen. These were to be held in the hand and knocked in the air with a flat round stone. At the same time there was to be on the ground a parallelogram of holes with a sort of goal, or “home,” at two corners. If the sticks all fell with face sides up they counted five. If all fell with blank sides up it was ten. If only one face side turned up it counted its full value, but if two or three turned up then they counted only as one each. If a gain was scored the count was kept by placing little sticks or stones (soy-yee-kuh) in the holes as counters. If the second player overtook the first in a hole the first man was “killed” and had to begin over. Among all Indians gambling was a besetting vice, and there was nothing they would not wager.

Sometimes instead of the gain-skoot they used waw-pah-tee, which was simply a guessing game. They guessed in which hand a certain painted stick was held, or in which of four decorated cane-tubes, filled with sand, a certain little ball was hidden and wagered on their guess. These tubes were differently marked, and one was named “Old Man,” one “Old Woman,” one “Black Head,” and [90]one “Black in the Middle.” Sticks were given to keep count of winnings.

The moral advice which Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai gives Vandaih, is very quaint, and the shrewd cunning with which he loads the dice, pockets the proceeds, and yet finally unloads all the blame on poor Vandaih, is quite of a piece with the confused morals of most folk-lore in all lands. On these points it is really very hard to understand the workings of the primitive mind. Here is certain proof that the modern conscience has evoluted from something very chaotic.

It will be noticed that Vandaih drinks the pinole, which bewitches him, five times instead of the usual four. Whether this is a mistake of the seeneeyawkum, or significant I do not know. Perhaps four is a lucky and five an unlucky number.

Another variation in the numerical order is in the woman whistling only three times, in putting Vandaih to sleep.

As I have before pointed out the reference to white men, and pens and ink, is evidently a modern interpolation, not altogether lacking in flavor of sarcasm.

There are suggestions in this story of Jack the Giant Killer, of the Roc of the Arabian Nights, of the harpies, and of the frightful creatures, part human, part animal, so familiar in all ancient folk-lore.

The latter part of this tale is particularly interesting, as perhaps throwing light on the origin of that mysterious process of purification for slaying enemies, so peculiar to the Pimas.

It seems to have been held by the Awawtam that to kill an Apache rendered the slayer unclean, even tho the act itself was most valiant and praiseworthy, and must be expiated by an elaborate process of purification. From old Comalk Hawk Kih I got a careful description of the process.

According to his account, as soon as an Apache had been killed, if possible, the fact was at once telegraphed to the watchers at home by the smoke signal from some [91]mountain. This custom is evidently referred to in Ee-ee-toy’s cloud over a high mountain as a signal of success. The Indians apparently regarded smoke and clouds as closely related, if not the same, as is shown in their faith in the power of tobacco to make rain.

As soon as the Apache has been killed the slayer begins to fast and to look for a “father.” His “father” is one who is to perform all his usual duties for him, for he is now unclean and cannot do these himself. The “father,” too, must know how to perform all the ceremonial duties necessary to his office, as will be explained. If a “father” can be found among the war-party the slayer need only fast two days, but if not he must wait till he gets home again, even if it takes four or more days. It appears that this friend, who has charge of the slayer, is humorously called a “father” because his “child” is usually so restless under his long fast, and keeps asking him to do things for him and divert him.

If there is no “father” for him in the war-party, as soon as possible a messenger is sent on ahead to get some one at home to take the office for him, and to make the fires in the kee, that being a man’s special duty. And the wife of the slayer is also now unclean by his act, and must purify herself as long as he, tho she must keep apart from him. And she also must have a substitute to do her usual work. She must keep close at home, and her husband, the slayer, remain out in the bushes till the purification is accomplished.

For two days the fast is complete, but on the morning of the third day the slayer is allowed one drink of pinole, very thin, and no more than he can drink at one breath. The moment he pauses he can have no more at that time.

When presenting this pinole, the “father” makes this speech:

“Your fame has come, and I was overjoyed, and have run all the way to the ocean, and back again, bringing you this water.

On my return I strengthened myself four times, and in [92]the dish in which I carried the water stood See-vick-a Way-hohm, The Red Thunder Person, the Lightning, and because of his force I fell down.

And when I got up I smelled the water in the dish, and it smelled as if something had been burned in it.

And when I got up I strengthened myself four times, and there came from the sky, and stood in the dish, Tone-dum Bah-ahk, The Eagle of Light. And he turned the water in the dish in a circle, and because of his force I fell down, and when I rose up again and smelled the water in the dish it was stinking.

And when I had started again I strengthened myself four times, and Vee-sick the Chicken Hawk, came down from the sky and stood in the dish. And by his force I was thrown down. And when I stood again and smelled the water in the dish, it smelled like fresh blood.

And I started again, strengthening myself four times, and there came from the East our gray cousin, Skaw-mack Tee-worm-gall, The Coyote, who threw me down again, and stood in the dish, and turned the water around, and left it smelling as the coyote smells.

And when I rose up I started again, and in coming to you I have rested four times; and now I have brought you the water, and so many powerful beings have done wonderful things to it that I want you to drink it all at one time.”

After the third day the “father” brings his charge a little to eat every morning and evening, but a very little.

On the morning of the fourth day, at daybreak the slayer takes a bath of purification, even if it is winter and he has to break the ice and dive under to do it. And this is repeated on the morning of each fourth day, till four baths have been taken in sixteen days.

The slayer finds an owl and without killing him pulls long feathers out of his wings and takes them home. The slayer had cut a little lock of hair from the head of the Apache he had killed (for in old times, at least, the Pimas often took no scalps) and now a little bag of buckskin [93]is made, and a ball of greasewood gum is stuck on the end of this lock of hair which is placed in the bag, and on the bag are tied a feather of the owl and one from a chicken hawk, and some of the soft feathers of an eagle, and around the neck of the bag a string of blue beads.

(And during this time the women are carrying wood in their giyh-haws to the dancing place.)

Now the Apaches are contemptuously called children, and this bag represents a child, being supposed to contain the ghost of the dead Apache, and the slayer sits on the ground with it, and takes it in his hands as if it were a baby, and inhales from it four times as if he were kissing it. And when it is time for the dance the slayers who are a good ways off from the dancing place start before sunset, but those who are close wait till the sun is down. And the “father” goes with the slayer, through woods and bushes, avoiding roads. And before this the “father” has dug a hole at the dancing place about ten inches deep and two feet wide, just big enough for a man to squat in with legs folded, and behind the hole planted a mezquite fork, about five feet high, on which are hung the weapons of the slayer, his shield, club, bow, quiver of arrows, perhaps his gun or lance.

(The shield was made of rawhide, very thick, able to turn an arrow and was painted jet black by a mixture of mezquite gum and charcoal, with water, which made it glossy and shiny. The design on it was in white, or red and white. The handle was of wood, curved, placed in the centre of the inside, bound down at the ends by rawhide, and the hand fended from the rough shield by a piece of sheepskin.)

In this hole the slayer sits down and behind him and the fork lies down his dancer, for the slayer himself does not dance but some stranger who represents him perhaps a Papago or a Maricopa, drawn from a distance by the fame of the exploit. Nor do the slayers sing, but old men who in their day have slain Apaches. These singers [94]are each allowed to sing two songs of their own choice, the rest of the veterans joining in. And as soon as the first old man begins to sing, the dancers get up, take the weapons of the men they represent, and dance around the fire, which the “fathers” keep burning, keeping time with the song.

And the women cook all kinds of good things, and set them before the singers, but the bystanders jump in and snatch them away. But sometimes the wife of an old singer will get something and save it for him.

And the relatives of the slayers will bring presents for the dancers, buckskin, baskets, and anything that an Indian values. And as soon as presented some relative of the dancer runs in and takes the present and keeps it for him.

And while this big war-dance is going on the rest of the people are having dances in little separate groups, all around. And as soon as the dance is over the weapons are returned to the forks they were taken from.

By this time it is nearly morning, and the slayers get up and take their bath in the river, and return and dry themselves by the expiring fire. Then returning to the bushes they remain there again four days, and that is the last of their purification.

As this dance is on the eve of the sixteenth day, there were twenty days in all.

Grossman’s account differs considerably from this, and is worth reading.

During the time of purifying, the slayers wear their hair in a strange way, like the top-knot of a white woman, somewhat, and in it stick a stick, called a kuess-kote to scratch themselves with, as they are not allowed to use the fingers. This is alluded to in the Story of Paht-ahn-kum’s War. A picture of a Maricopa interpreter, with his hair thus arranged, is in the report of Col. W. H. Emory, before alluded to. This picture is interesting, because it shows that the Maricopas, when with the Pimas, adopted the same custom. When I showed this picture [95]to the old see-nee-yaw-kum he was much interested, saying he himself had known this man, who was a relative of his, there being a dash of Maricopa blood in his family, and that he had been born in Mexico and had there learned Spanish enough to be an interpreter. His Mexican name, he said, was Francisco Lucas, but the Pimas called him How-app-ahl Tone-um-kum, or Thirsty Hawk, a name which has an amusing significance when we recall what Emory says about his taste for aguardiente, and that Captain Johnston says of the same man, “the dog had a liquorish tooth.”

1 “To swallow charcoal” implies the swallowing of meat so greedily it is not properly cleansed of the ashes of its roasting.

Stories of the Second Night


The Story of the Turquoises and the Red Bird

And at the vahahkkee which the white men now call the Casa Grande ruins was the home of Seeollstchewadack Seeven, or the Morning green Chief.

And one morning the young women at that place were playing and having a good time with the game of the knotted rope or balls, which is called toe-coll.

And in this game the young girls are placed at each end, near the goals, and at this time, at the west end, one of the young girls gradually sank into the earth; and as she sank the earth around her became very green with grass.

And Seeollstchewadack Seeven told the people not to disturb the green spot until the next morning; and the next morning the green spot was a green rock, and he told the people to dig around it, and as they dug they chipped off small pieces, and the people came and got what they wanted of these pieces of green stone. And they made ear-rings and ornaments from these green stones, which were tchew-dack-na-ha-gay-awh or turquoises.

And after the turquoises were distributed, and the fame of this had spread, the chief of another people, who lived to the east, whose name was Dthas Seeven (Sun-Chief) thought he would do something wonderful, too, being envious, and he opened one of his veins and from the blood made [100]a large, beautiful bird, colored red.

And Dthas Seeven told his bird to go to the city of Seeollstchewadack Seeven and hang around there till that chief saw him and took him in. And when they offered him corn he was not to eat that nor anything else they gave him, but when he saw his chance he was to pick up a bit of the green stone and swallow it, for when it should be seen that he would swallow the green stones then he would be fed on turquoises.

So the bird was sent, and when it arrived at the city of the turquoises, the daughter of Seeollstchewadack Seeven, whose name was Nawitch, saw it and went and told her father. And he asked, “What is the color of the bird?” and she answered, “Red;” and he said, “I know that bird. It is a very rare bird, and its being here is a sign something good is going to happen. I want you to get the bird and bring it here, but do not take hold of it. Offer it a stick, and it will take hold of it, with its bill, and you can lead it here.”

And Nawitch offered the bird a stick, and it caught hold of the end by its bill, which was like a parrot’s bill, and she led it to her father.

And Seeollstchewadack Seeven said: “Feed him on pumpkin seed, for that is what this kind of bird eats.”

And Nawitch gave the bird pumpkin seed, but it would not eat. And then she tried melon seed, but it would not eat. And then she tried devil-claw [101]seed, but it would not eat. And her father said, then: “Make him broth of corn, for this kind of bird eats only new dishes!” And she did so, but it would not eat the broth of corn.

And the old man told her to try pumpkin seed again; and she tried the pumpkin seed again, and the melon seed again, and the devil-claw seed, and the broth of corn, but the bird would not touch any of these.

But just then the bird saw a little piece of turquoise lying on the ground and it sprang and swallowed it. And the daughter saw this and told her father that the bird would eat turquoises. And her father said: “This kind of bird will not eat turquoises, but you may try him.” And she gave it some turquoises and it ate them greedily. And then her father said: “Go and get some nice, clean ones, a basket full.” And she did so, and the bird ate them all, and she kept on feeding it until it had swallowed four basketful.

And then the bird began to run around, and the girl said: “I fear our pet will leave us and fly away” but the old man said: “He will not fly away. He likes us too well for that,” but after a short time the bird got to a little distance and took to its wings, and flew back to the city of Dthas Seeven.

And Dthas Seeven gave it water twice, and each time it vomited, and thus it threw up all the turquoises.

And so Dthas Seeven also had turquoises. [102]


Notes on the Story of the Turquoises

Turquoises seem to have been regarded by all Arizona Indians as magical and lucky stones, and the Story of the Turquoises professes to give their origin.

Of the game, toe-coll, here spoken of, Whittemore gives this account in Cook’s “Among the Pimas:” “One of the amusements of the women was that of tossing balls. They had two small ones, covered with buckskin, and tied about six inches apart. Young women and married, from thirty to seventy-five in a group, assembled as dressed for a ball, their hair carefully manipulated so as to be black and glossy. Each had a stick of willow six feet long. With these they dextrously tossed the balls high in the air, running after them until one party was so weary that they gave up the game from mere exhaustion.

In order to make the excitement a success they had certain active women, keen of wit and quick of action, practice weeks in advance.”

Sometimes the balls were formed by two large knots in a short piece of rope. [103]


The Story of Wayhohm, Toehahvs and Tottai

And Seeollstchewadack Seeven wondered what this action of the bird meant, and he studied about it till he found out who it was that had sent the bird and for what purpose.

And he sent a cold rain upon the home of Dthas Seeven. And it rained a heavy rain for three days and three nights, so hard that it put out all the fires in the city of Dthas Seeven, and Dthas Seeven was dying with cold.

And the people came about him to witness his dying, and they said: “Let us send some one to get the fire!” And they sent Toehahvs.

And Toehahvs went, and at last came to a house where he heard the fire roaring within. And he looked in, and there was a big fire. And he sat in the doorway holding out his paws toward the heat.

And the owner of the house, whose name was Way-hohm, or the Lightning, sat working within with his face to the fire and his back to Toehahvs. And Toehahvs wanted to dash in and steal some fire, but he did not dare, and he went back and told the people he had seen the fire but he could not get it.

On the fourth day it was still raining, and they sent another person. And this time they sent Tot-tai, or the Road Runner, for they said he could run almost as fast as Toehahvs. [104]

And Tottai came to the same house, and heard the fire, and peeped in the door to warm himself. And there sat the owner of the fire, Wayhohm, working with his face to the fire and his back to Tottai. And Tottai dashed in and caught hold of a stick with fire at one end and ran out with it.

And Wayhohm caught up his bow, the Bow-of-the-Lightning, Way-hohm-a-Gaht, and fired at Road Runner, and struck him on the side of his head, and that is why the side of Tottai’s head is still bare; and Tottai ran on, and Wayhohm shot at him again and struck the other side of his head.

And Tottai whirled around then so that the sparks flew every way, and got into all kinds of wood, and that is why there is fire in all kinds of sticks even now, and the Indian can get it out by rubbing them together to this day.

But Tottai kept on, and got to the house of Dthas Seeven all right, and they made a fire, and Dthas Seeven got better again. [105]


Notes on the Story of Wayhohm

There is a suggestion of Thor in the Story of Wayhohm, and also of Prometheus. Wayhohm’s house must have been the hall of the clouds.

How true to nature, here, is the touch describing the Coyote-person, Toehahvs. The excessive caution of the coyote, making it impossible for him, however eager, to force himself into any position he suspects, here stands out before us, contrasted in the most dramatic way with the dashing boldness of the road-runner.

When we reached the end of this story Comalk Hawk-Kih took two pieces of wood to rub them together to make fire. But he was old and breathless, and “Sparkling-Soft-Feather,” the mother of my interpreter, took them and made the fire for me. I have the implements yet.

There were two parts to the apparatus. Gee-uh-toe-dah, the socket stick was of a soft dry piece of giant cactus rib, and a notch was whittled in one side of this with a small socket at the apex, that is on the upper side.

This was placed flat on the ground, with a bit of corn husk under the notch, and held firmly in position by the bare feet. The twirling stick, eev-a-dah-kote, was a hard arrow weed, very dry and scraped smooth. The end of this was engaged in the little socket, at the top of the cactus rib, and then, held perpendicularly, was twirled between the two hands till the friction rubbed off a powder which crowded out of the socket, and fell down the notch at its side to the corn-husk. This little increasing pile of powder was the tinder, and, as the twirling continued, grew black, smelled like burned wood, smoked and finally glowed like punk. It was now picked up on the corn husk and placed in dry horse dung, a bunch of dry grass, or some such inflammable material, and blown into flame.

It looked very simple, and took little time, but I never could do it. [106]


The Story of Hawawk

And when Dthas Seeven had gotten better he meditated on what had happened to him, and studied out that Seeollstchewadack-Seeven was the cause of his trouble, and planned how to get the better of him.

Now the Indians have a game of football in which the ball is not kicked but lifted and thrown a good ways by the foot, and Dthas Seeven made such a ball, and sent a young man to play it in the direction of the city of Seeollstchewadack-Seeven. And the young man did so, and as he kept the ball going on it came to the feet of a young girl, who, when she saw the ball, picked it up and hid it under the square of cloth which Indian girls wear.

And the young man came up and asked her if she had seen the ball, and she answered no, she had not seen it, and she kept on denying it, so at last he turned back and said he might as well go home as he no longer had a ball to play with. But he had not gone far before the girl called to him: “Are you not coming back to get your ball?” And he went back to her, and she tried to find the ball, but could not.

But the ball was not lost, but it had bewitched her.

And after a time this girl had a baby, a tall baby, with claws on its hands and feet like a wild animal.

And the people did not know what this meant, [107]and they asked Toehahvs, and Toehahvs knew because this had been prophesied of old time. And Toehahvs said: “She is Haw-awk.”

And Hawawk grew and became able to crawl, but people were afraid of handling her because of the scratching of her claws. Only her relatives could safely handle her. And as she grew older, still, she would sometimes see other children and wish to play with them, but in a short time they would get scratched by her in her gambols and would run home crying and leave her alone. And it got so that when the children saw her coming they would tell each other and run home and she could get none of them to play with her.

She claimed Ee-ee-toy as her uncle, and when he had been rabbit-hunting and came in with game she would run and call him “uncle!” and try and get the rabbits away from him; and when he cleaned the rabbits and threw away the entrails she would run and devour them, and the bones of the rabbits the people threw away after the feasts she would eat, too.

And when Hawawk grew older she would sometimes complain to Ee-ee-toy if he came in without game. “Why is it you sometimes come in without rabbits?” she would say, “And why do you not kill a great many?” And he would reply: “It is not possible to kill a great many, for they run very fast and are very hard to shoot with a bow and arrow.” “Let me go with you,” she would say, “and I will kill a great many.” [108]But he would tell her: “You are a girl, and it is not your place to go hunting. If you were a boy it would be, but as it is you cannot go.”

And she kept on begging in this way, and he kept on refusing, she saying that she could kill a great many, and he saying that only a man or a boy could shoot many rabbits, because they ran so fast.

But as she grew older still she began to follow the hunters, and when the hunting began she would be in the crowd, but she tried to keep out of her uncle’s way so that he would not see her. And sometimes when she would thus be following the hunt a rabbit would run in her direction, and she would run fast and jump on it and kill it, and eat it right there; and after a while she could do this oftener and caught a good many; and she would eat all she wanted as she caught them, and the others she gave to her uncle, Ee-ee-toy, to carry home. And Ee-ee-toy came to like to have her with him because of the game she could get. But after a time she did not come home anymore, but staid out in the bushes, living on the game she could get. But when the hunters came out, she would still join them and after killing and eating all she wanted she would give the rest of her kill to her uncle, as before.

And so she contrived to live in the wild places, like a wild-cat, and in time became able to kill deer, antelopes, and all big game, and yet being part human she would tan buckskin like a woman [109]and do all that a woman needs to do.

And she found a cave in the mountain which is called Taht-kum, where she lived, and that cave can be seen now and is still called Hawawk’s Cave.

But she had been born near where the ruins of Casa Grande now are and claimed that vahahkkee for her own. And when she knew a baby had been born there she would go to the mother and say, “I want to see my grandchild.” But if the mother let her take the baby she would put it over her shoulder, into her gyih-haw, and run to her cave, and put the baby into a mortar, and pound it up and eat it. And she got all the babies she could in this way; and later on she grew bolder and would find the larger children, where they were at play, and would carry them off to eat them. And now she let all the rabbits and such game go, and lived only on the children she caught, for a long time.

And Ee-ee-toy told the people what to do in this great trouble. He told them to roast a big lot of pumpkin seeds and to go into their houses and keep still. And when the people had roasted the pumpkin seeds and gone into their houses, Ee-ee-toy came around and stopped up the door of every house with bushes, and plastered clay over the bushes as the Awawtam still do when they go away from home.

After a time Hawawk came around, and stood near the houses, and listened, and heard the people cracking the pumpkin seeds inside. [110]

And she said: “Where are all my grandchildren? They must have been gone for a long time, for I do not see any tracks, nor hear any voices, and I hear only the rats eating the seeds in the empty houses.”

And she came several times and saw no one, and really believed the people had gone entirely away. And for a while she did not come any more, but after a time she was one day running by the village and she saw some children playing. And she caught two and ran with them to her cave. And from that day she went on stealing children as before.

And Ee-ee-toy made him a rattle, out of a wild gourd, and went and lay on the trail on which Hawawk usually came, and changed himself into the little animal called “Kaw-awts.” And when Hawawk came along she poked him with a stick of her gyih-haw and said: “Here is a little kaw-awts. He must be my pet.” And then Ee-ee-toy jumped up and shook his rattle at her, and frightened her so that she ran home. And then Ee-ee-toy made rattles for all the children in that place and when they saw Hawawk coming they would shake their rattles at her and scare her back again.

But after a while Hawawk became used to the rattles and ceased to fear them, and even while they were shaking she would run and carry some of the children off.

And one day two little boys were hunting doves [111]after the manner of the country. They had a little kee of willows, and a hole inside in the sand where they sat, and outside a stick stuck up for the doves to light on. And when the doves came they would shoot them with their bows and arrows. And while they were doing this they saw Hawawk coming. And they said: “What shall we do! Hawawk is coming and will eat us up.”

And they lay down in the hole in the sand and covered themselves with the dove’s feathers. And Hawawk came and said: “Where are my grandchildren! Some of them have been here very lately.” And she went all around and looked for their tracks, but could find none leading away from the place. And she came back again to the kee, and while she was looking in a wind came and swept away all the dove-feathers, and she sprang in and caught up the two boys and put them in her gyih-haw and started off.

And as she went along the boys said: “Grandmother, we like flat stones to play with. Won’t you give us all the flat stones you can find?” And Hawawk picked up all the flat stones she came to and put them one by one over her shoulder into the basket.

And the boys said, again, after the basket began to get heavy, “Grandmother, we like to go under limbs of trees. Go under all the low limbs of trees you can to please us.” And Hawawk went under a low tree, and one of the boys caught hold of the limb and hung there till [112]she had gone on. And Hawawk went under another tree, and the other boy caught hold of a limb and staid there. But because of the flat stones she kept putting into her gyih-haw Hawawk did not notice this. And when she got to her cave and emptied her basket there were no boys there.

And when Hawawk saw this she turned back and found the tracks of the boys, and ran, following after them, and caught up with them just before they got to their village. And she would have caught them there, and carried them off again, but the boys had gathered some of the fine thorns of a cactus, and when Hawawk came near they held them up and let them blow with the wind into her face.

And they stuck in her eyes, and hurt them, and she began to rub her eyes, which made them hurt worse so that she could not see them, and then the boys ran home and thus saved their lives.

After that she went to another place called Vahf-kee-wohlt-kih, or the Notched Cliffs, and staid around there and ate the children, and then she moved to another place, the old name of which is now forgotten, but it is called, now, Stchew-a-dack Vah-veeuh, or the Green Well. And there, too, she killed the children.

And the people called on Ee-ee-toy to help them, and Ee-ee-toy said, “I will kill her at once!”

And Ee-ee-toy, being her relative, went to her home and said: “Your grandchildren want some [113]amusement and are going to have dances now every night and would like you to come.”

And she replied: “You know very well I do not care for such things. I do not care to come.”

And Ee-ee-toy returned and told the people she did not care to come to their dances, tho he had invited her, but he would think of some other way to get her to come where they were, that they might kill her.

And he went a second time, and told her the people were going to sing the Hwah-guff-san-nuh-kotch Nyuee, or Basket Drumming Song, and wanted her to come. But she said: “I have heard of that song, but I do not care to hear it. I care nothing for such things, and I will not come.”

So Ee-ee-toy returned and told of his second failure, but promised he would try again. And in the morning he went to her and said: “Your grandchildren are going to sing the song Haw-hawf-kuh Nyuee or Dance of the Bone-trimmed Dresses Song and they want you to come.” But she said: “I do not care for this song, either, and I will not come.”

And Ee-ee-toy told of his third failure, but promised the people he would try once more, and when the morning came he went to Hawawk and said: “Your grandchildren are going to dance tonight to the song which is called See-coll-cod-dha-kotch Nyuee,” (which is a sort of ring dance with the dancers in a circle with joined [114]hands) “and they want you to come.”

And she said: “That is what I like. I will come to that. When is it going to be?”

And he said: “It will be this very night.”

And he went and told the people she was coming and they must be ready for her.

Hawawk got ready in the early evening and dressed herself in a skirt of soft buckskin. And over this she placed an overskirt of deerskin, fringed with long cut fringes with deer-hoofs at the ends to rattle. And then she ran to the dancing place; and the people could hear her a long way off, rattling, as she came. And they were already dancing when she arrived there, and she went and joined hands with Ee-ee-toy.

And Hawawk was a great smoker, and Ee-ee-toy made cigarettes for her that had something in them that would make folks sleep. And he smoked these himself, a little, to assure her, but cautiously and moderately, not inhaling the smoke, but she inhaled the smoke, and before the four nights were up she was so sleepy that the people were dragging her around as they danced, and then she got so fast asleep that Ee-ee-toy carried her on his shoulder.

And all the time they were dancing they were moving across country, and getting nearer the cave where she lived, and other people at the same time were ahead of them carrying lots of wood to her cave. And when they arrived at her cave in the mountain of Tahtkum they laid her [115]sleeping body down inside, and placed the wood in the cave between her and the door, filling it all to the entrance, which they closed with four hurdles, such as the people fasten their doors with, so that she could not run out.

And then they set the wood on fire, and it burned fiercely, and when the fire reached Hawawk she waked and cried out. “My grandchildren, what have I done that you should treat me this way!”

And the fire hurt her so that she jumped up and down with pain, and her head struck the ceiling of the cave and split the rock. And when the people saw it they called to Ee-ee-toy, and he went and put his foot over the crack, and sealed it up, and you may see the track of his foot there to this day.

But Ee-ee-toy was not quick enough, and her soul escaped through the crack.

And then for a while the people had peace, but in time her soul turned into a green hawk, and this hawk killed the people, but did not eat them.

And this made the people great trouble, but one day a woman was making pottery and she had just taken one pot out of the fire and left another one in the furnace, on its side, when this hawk saw her and came swooping down from high in the air to kill her, but missed her, and went into the hot pot in the fire, and so was burned up and destroyed.

And one day they boiled greens in that pot, [116]the greens called choo-hook-yuh, and the greens boiled so hard that they boiled over, and splashed around and killed people. And they boiled all day and stopped at night, and at daybreak began again to boil, and this they did for a long time; boiling by day and stopping at night.

And the people sent for Toehahvs who lived in the east, and Gee-ah-duk Seeven, or Strong Bow Chief, who lived where is now the ruin of Aw-awt-kum Vah-ahk-kee, to kill the pot for them.

And when they arrived Geeahduk Seeven enquired if the pot slept. And the people said: “Yes, it sleeps all night.” Then said Geeahduk Seeven, “We will get up very early, before the pot wakes, and then we will kill it.”

But Toehahvs said; “That is not right, to go and kill it at night. I am not like a jealous woman who goes and fights her rival in the darkness. I am not a woman, I am a man!”

And Toehahvs said to Geeahduk Seeven: “I will go in the morning to attack the pot and I want you to go on the other side, and if the pot throws its fluid at me, so that I cannot conquer it, then do you run up on the other side and smash it.”

Then Toehahvs took his shield and his club, in the morning, and went to attack the pot. But the pot saw him, and, altho he held up his shield, it boiled over, and threw the boiling choohookyuh so high and far that some of it fell on Toehahvs’ back and scalded it. And Toehahvs had to give back a little. But at that moment [117]Geeahduk Seeven ran in on the other side and smashed the pot.

And there was an old man with an orphan grandson, living near there, and when the pot was smashed these came to the spot and ate up the choohookyuh. And at once they were turned into bears, the old man into a black bear, the boy into a brown bear.

And these bears also killed people, and tho the people tried to kill them, for a long time they could not do so. When they shot arrows at the bears, the bears would catch them and break them up. And so the people had to study out other ways to get the better of them. There is a kind of palm-tree, called o-nook, which has balls where the branches come out, and the people burned the trees to get these balls, and threw them at the bears. And the bears caught the balls, and fought and wrestled with them, and while their attention was taken by these balls the people shot arrows at them and killed them.

And thus ended forever the evil power of Hawawk. [118]


Notes on the Story of Hawawk

The Story of Hawawk opens with an interesting reference to the favorite Pima game of football. The ball was about two and one half inches in diameter, merely a heavy pebble coated thick with black greasewood gum. Sometimes it was decorated with little inlays of shell. It was thrown by the lifting of the naked or sandaled foot, rather than kicked. Astonishing tales are told of the running power and endurance of the older Indians. White and red men agree in the testimony.

Emory says of the Maricopa interpreter, Thirsty Hawk, before alluded to, that he came running into their camp on foot and “appeared to keep pace with the fleetest horse.” Whittemore, the missionary, says: “Some young women could travel from forty to fifty miles in sixteen hours, and there were warriors who ran twenty miles, keeping a horse on a canter following them.” G. W. Mardis, the trader at Phoenix, told me he had known Indians to run all day, and my interpreter told me of Pimas running forty to seventy miles in a day, hunting horses on the mountains. Others ran races with horses and with a little handicap and for moderate distance often beat them. On these long runs after horses the men took their footballs and kept them going, saying it made the journey amusing and less tiresome. And undoubtedly it was, in the practice of this sport, that their powers were developed. Beside the usual foot-races, in which all Indians delight, it often happened that two champions would, on a set day, start in different directions and chase their footballs far out on the desert, perhaps ten miles and then return. The one who came in first was winner. The whole tribe, in two parties, on horseback as far as they could get mounts, followed the champions, as judges, assistants, critics and friends and there was profuse betting and picturesque excitement and display.

But the fine old athletic games seem to have all died out now. [119]

Stories of miraculous conception are not uncommon in Indian tradition, and this story of the bewitching of the young girl into motherhood thru the agency of the football is an instance.

This gruesome and graphic tale is full of insight into Indian thought and fancy. In reading it we are reminded of many familiar old nursery tales of kidnapped child, pig or fowl (“the little red hin” of Irish legend for instance) and of Were-Wolf and Loup-Garou.

And here reappears the old myth of some god’s or hero’s footstep printed in solid rock.

Here is a hint, too, of transmigration in the various adventures of the soul of Hawawk.

My Indian hosts cooked me a pot of choohookyuh greens, and I found them very palatable.

The reference to the pottery making reminds me of Pima arts. Today the Maricopas have almost a monopoly of pottery making, tho the Quohatas make some good pottery too. It is shaped by the hands (no potters wheel being known) and smoothed and polished by stones, painted red with a mineral and black with mezquite gum and baked in a common fire. It is often very artistic in a rude way, in form and decoration.

The Papagoes do most of the horse-hair work, chiefly bridles, halters and lariat ropes, and make mats and fans from rushes.

The Pimas make the famous black and white, watertight baskets, which are too well known to need description. The black in these is shreds of the dead-black seed pod of the devil-claw and not some fibre dyed black, as some suppose.

There seems to have been no original bead work among Pima Indians. [120]


The Story of Tawquahdahmawks and her Canal

And after this the people had long peace, increased in numbers, and were scattered all around. Some lived where the old vahahkkees now are in the Gila country, and some lived in the Papago country, and some in the Salt River country. And those who lived where the mound now is between Phoenix and Tempe were the first to use a canal to irrigate their land. And these raised all kinds of vegetables and had fine crops. And the people of the Gila country and the people of the Salt River country at first did not raise many vegetables, because they did not irrigate, and they used to visit the people who did irrigate and eat with them; but after a while the people who lived on the south side of the Salt River also made a canal, and you can see it to this day.

But when these people tried their canal it did not work. When they dammed the river the water did not run, because the canal was uphill. And they could not seem to make it deeper, because it was all in a lime rock.

And they sent for Ee-ee-toy to help them. And Ee-ee-toy had them get stakes of ironwood, and sharpen them, and all stand in a row with their stakes in their hands at the bottom of the canal. [121]

And then Ee-ee-toy sang a song, and at the end of the song the people were all to strike their stakes into the bottom of the canal to make it deeper. But it would not work, it was too hard, and Ee-ee-toy gave it up.

And Ee-ee-toy said: “I can do no more, but there is an old woman named Taw-quah-dahm-awks (which means The Wampum Eater) and she, tho only a woman, is very wise, and likely can help you better than I. I advise you to send for her.”

And the people sent for her, and she said: “I will come at once.”

And she came, as she had promised, but she did not go to where the people were assembled, but went right to the canal. And she had brought a fog with her, and she left the fog at the river, near the mouth of the canal. And she went up the course of the canal, looking this way and that, to see how much up-hill it ran.

And when she reached where the canal ran up-hill she blew thru it the breath which is called seev-hur-whirl, which means a bitter wind. And this wind tore up the bed of the canal, as deep as was necessary, throwing the dirt and rocks out on each side.

And then the fog dammed up the river and the water ran thru the canal.

Then the old woman did not go near the people, but went home, and in the morning, when one of the people went to see why the old woman did [122]not come, he saw the canal full of water and he yelled to everybody to come and see it.

And in this way these people got water for their crops and were as prosperous as the others below them. [123]


Notes on the Story of Tawquahdahmawks

In this story we find proof that the oldest digging utensil was a sharpened stake.

Before these people became agricultural they must have subsisted mainly on the game and wild fruits of the desert. They showed me several seed-bearing bushes and weeds which in old time had helped to eke out for them an existence.

Starvation must have often stared them in the face, and the references to hunger, and the prophecies of plenty, and of visits to relatives whose crops were good, are scattered pathetically all thru these legends.

And indeed, until very recently, mezquite beans and the fruit of various cactus plants were staple articles of food.

Mezquite beans grow in a pod on the thorny mezquite trees. The gathering of them was quite a tribal event, large parties going out. The beans when brought home were pounded in the chee-o-pah, or mortar, which was made by burning a hollow in the end of a short mezquite log, set in the ground like a low post. A long round stone pestle, or vee-it-kote, was used to beat with, and sometimes the cheeopah itself was of stone. But stone mortars were usually ancient and dug from out the vahahkkee ruins.

The beans, crushed very fine and separated from the indigestible seeds, packed into a sweet cake that would keep a year.

Various cactus fruits were eaten. They warned me that for a novice to eat freely of prickly pears produced a lame, sore feeling, as if one had taken cold or a fever. I noticed no symptoms however. The fruit of the giant cactus is gathered from the top, around which it grows like a [124]crown, by a long light pole, made from the rib of the same cactus, with a little hook at its end made by tying another short piece, slant-wise, across. They called the constellation of Ursa Major, Quee-ay-put, or The Cactus-Puller, from a fancied resemblance to this familiar implement.

The giant cactus, or har-san, was eaten ripe, or dried in the sun, or boiled to a jam and sealed away in earthern jars. They also fermented it by mixing with water, and made their famous tis-win or whiskey from it. They had “big drunks” at this time, in which all the tribe joined in a general spree.

A sort of large worm (larva) was also gathered in large quantities, boiled and eaten with salt.

The confusion in the Pima thought on religious matters is well revealed in this tale, in which Ee-ee-toy, who may be regarded as a god, frankly admits that in some matters an old woman may be wiser and more powerful than he. Nothing appears to have been very clearly defined in their faith except that a mahkai might be or do almost anything. [125]


How Nooee Killed Ee-ee-toy

Ee-ee-toy lived in the Salt River Mountain, which is called by the Awawtam Moehahdheck, or the Brown Mountain, and whenever the girls had ceremonial dances because of their arrival at womanhood he would come and sing the appropriate songs. And it often happened that he would tempt these young girls away to his mountain, to be his wives, but after keeping them awhile he would grow tired of them and send them back.

And the people disliked Ee-ee-toy because of this. And when they had crops, too, Ee-ee-toy would often shoot his hot arrows thru the fields, and wither up the growing things; and tho the people did not see him do this, they knew he was guilty, and they wanted to kill him, but they did not know how to do it.

And the people talked together about how they could kill Ee-ee-toy. And two young boys, there were, who were always together. And as they lay at the door of their kee they heard the people talking of sending bunches of people here and there to kill Ee-ee-toy, and one said: “He is only one, we could kill him ourselves.” And the other one said: “Let us go and kill him, then.”

So the two boys went to Moehahdheck, and found Ee-ee-toy lying asleep, and beat him with their clubs, and killed him, and then came back and told the people of what they had done. But [126]none of the people went to see the truth of this and in the morning Ee-ee-toy came again, just as he used to do, and walked around among the people, who said among themselves: “I thought the boys said they had killed him.”

And that same night all the people went to Moehahdheck, and found Ee-ee-toy asleep, and fell upon him and killed him. And there was a pile of wood outside, and they laid him on this and set fire to the wood and burned his flesh. And feeling sure that he was now dead, they went home, but in the morning there he was, walking around, alive again.

And so the people assembled again, and that night, once more, they killed him, and they cut his flesh up into little bits, and put it into a pot, and boiled it, and when it was cooked they threw it all away in different directions. But in the morning he was alive again and the people gave it up for that time.

But after awhile they were planning again how to kill him; and one of them proposed that they all go and tie him with ropes and take him to a high cliff, and push him off, and let him fall. And so they went and did this, but Ee-ee-toy was not hurt at all. He just walked off, when he reached the bottom, and looked up at the people above him.

The next scheme was to drown him. They caught him and led him to a whirlpool, and tied his hands and feet and threw him in. But he [127]came up in a few minutes, without any ropes on, and looked at the people, and then dived, and so kept on coming up and diving down. And the people, seeing they could not drown him, went home once more.

Then Nooee called the people together and said: “It is of no use for you to try to kill Ee-ee-toy, for you cannot kill him. He is too powerful for men to kill. He has power over the winds, and all the animals, and he knows all that is going on in the mountains, and in the sky. And I have power something like him.”

So Nooee told the people to come in, that evening, to his house. He said: “I will show you part of my power, and I want everyone to see it.”

And Nooee lived not far from where Ee-ee-toy did, south of the Moehahdheck mountain, at a place called Nooee Vahahkkee, and that was where he invited the people to come.

And so, when the people assembled at Nooee Vahahkkee, Nooee made earth in his habitation, and mountains on it, and all things on it, in little as we say, so that the people could see his power; for Juhwerta Mahkai had made him to have power, tho he had not cared to use it. And he made a little world in his house for them to look at, with sun, moon and stars working just as our sun and stars work; and everything exactly like our world.

And when night came, Nooee pushed the darkness back with his hands, and spread it on the walls, so that the people could see his little world [128]and how it worked. And he was there four days and four nights, showing this wonder to the people.

And after this Nooee flew up thru the openings in the roof of his house, and sat there, and saw the sun rise. And as soon as the sun rose Nooee flew towards it, and flew up and up, higher and higher, until he could see Ee-ee-toy’s heart. And he wore a nose ring, as all the brave people did, a nose ring of turquoise. But from his high view he saw that everything looked green and so he knew he could not kill Ee-ee-toy that day.

And the next day he did the same thing, only he wore a new nose-ring, made of a sparkling shell. And when he got up high enuf to see Ee-ee-toy’s heart he saw that the ground looked dry, and he was very much pleased, for he knew that now he would, someday, kill Ee-ee-toy. And he went home.

And the third morning Nooee again put on his nose ring of glittering shell, and flew up to meet the Sun, and he flew up and up until he came to the sun himself. And Nooee said to the Sun: “You know there is a Person, on earth, called Ee-ee-toy, who is very bad, and I want to kill him, and I want your help, and this is the reason I come to you.”

And Nooee said to the Sun: “Now you go back, and let me shine in your place, and I will give just as much light as you do, but let me [129]have your vi-no-me-gaht, your gun, to shoot with, when I get around to your home.” And the Sun said: “Moe-vah Sop-hwah, that is all right. But I always go down over yonder mountain, and when you get to that mountain just stop and look back, and see how the world looks.”

And Nooee took the Sun’s place, and went down, that evening, over the mountain, stopping, as he was told, to see how wonderful the world looked; and when he came to the Sun’s home, the sun gave him the weapon he shot with.

And the next morning Nooee rose in place of the Sun, and after rising a little he shot at the earth, and it became very hot. And before noon he shot again, and it was still hotter. And Ee-ee-toy knew, now that he was going to be killed, but he tried to use all his power to save himself. He ran around, and came to a pond where there had always been ice, and he jumped in to cool himself, but it was all boiling water.

And when it was nearly noon Nooee shot again, and it became terribly hot, and Ee-ee-toy ran for a rock which had always been cold, but just before he got there the heat made the rock burst.

And he ran to a tree, whose cool shade he often enjoyed, but as he came near it the tree began to burst into flame, and he had to turn back. And now it was noon, and Nooee shot again.

And Ee-ee-toy ran to a great post, all striped [130]around with black and white, which had been made by his power, and which had a hollow that was always cool inside, and was about to put his arms around it when he fell down and died.

So Ee-ee-toy was dead, and Nooee went down to his setting, and returned the weapon to the Sun, and then went home to his vahahkkee. [131]


The Song of Nooee when he went to the Sun

The Rising (Sun) I am going to meet.

(Repeated many times)


When Nooee Killed Ee-ee-toy1

(A Song)

The gun, he gave it to me as a cane;

With it I killed the Brother’s heart.



Notes on how Nooee Killed Ee-ee-toy

The hot arrows of Ee-ee-toy, that withered the crops, remind us of Apollo.

The idea often comes up in these stories that a person possessing the powers of a mahkai was hard to kill, having as many lives as a cat. It would also appear that there was a confusion as to what constituted killing, anyway. They perhaps regarded mere unconsciousness as death. Both Ee-ee-toy and Nooee are “killed,” but after an interval are alive again. And Whittemore relates: “An Apache, seeing Louis, the Pima interpreter, came to him in high glee. Taking his hand, he said: ‘You are the Pima who killed me years ago.’ Louis then recognized him as the man to whom he had dealt a heavy blow with a warclub, and then left him for dead on the battle-field.”

Is there any connection between the the fact that when Nooee wore a nose-ring of turquoise the earth looked green, and that when he wore a nose-ring of glittering shell the earth looked dry to him?

Could this whole story have been a myth of some great drouth? [133]

1 The reference to the “gun” shows clearly that this song was made after the advent of the white man.


Ee-ee-toy’s Resurrection and Speech to Juhwerta Mahkai

And after Ee-ee-toy was dead he lay there, as some say for four months, and some say for four years. He was killed, but his winds were not killed, nor his clouds and they were sorry for him, and his clouds rained on him.

And he lay there so long that the little children played on him, jumping from him.

But at last he began to come to life again, holding down the ground—as a wounded man does, moaning, and there was thunder, and an earthquake.

And Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai’s daughter was grinding corn when this happened, and the corn rolled in the basket, and she said: “How is it that it thunders when there are no clouds, none to be seen, and that the corn rolls in the basket?”

And her father said: “You may think this is only thunder, but I tell you wonderful things are going to happen.”

Ee-ee-toy, when he got a little stronger, picked up some stones and examined them, and threw them away. He did this four times, throwing away the stones each time, not liking any of them. And the children went there to play, and found him alive, and asked each other: “Why is that old man doing that, picking up stones, and throwing them away, and picking up more?” [134]

And he began then to cut up all kinds of sticks, four at a time, and to lay them down and look at them, but he liked none of them. Then he cut arrow weeds, four of them, and he liked their look. And he lit his pipe and blew the smoke over them, and spread his hand above them, and he liked the light of them which came thru his fingers.

And he put those sticks away in his pouch. And then he rose and took a few steps, and began to walk. And all his springs of water had been dried up while he was dead, but when he walked the earth again they gushed forth, and he dipped his fingers in them and stroked his wet fingers over his breast and he did the same to the trees.

And he went on and came to the cliff, where Vandaih once was, and he did the same to it, putting his hand to it and rubbing it. And he went to see the Sun.

He came to where the Sun starts, but the Sun was not there, but he could see the road the Sun takes, and he followed it. And that road was fringed with beautiful feathers and flowers and turquoises.

And he came to the tree which is called The Talking Tree. And the Tree took of its bark thin strips, which curled as owl feathers do when split, and tied them on a little stick, and put them in Ee-ee-toy’s hair. And it gave him four sticks, made from that one of its branches which dipped [135]to the south. And from its middle branch it made him a war club, and from a gall, or excrescence, which grew on its limb, it made him a vah-quah, or canteen.

After that he went along the beautiful fringed road which the Sun travels, and came to the place where the Sun drinks. And he took a drink there himself, putting his knee in the spot where the Sun’s knee-print is, and his hand where the Sun rests his hand. And in the clear water he saw a stone like the Doctors’ Stone, somewhat, but of the color of slate, with a zigzag pattern around it. And he took his four arrow-weeds and placed them under this stone and left them there.

And he went on, and went down where the Sun goes down. And he went to see Juhwerta Mahkai, to the place where he lived with his people, those who sank thru the earth before the flood.

And when Ee-ee-toy came to where Juhwerta Mahkai was, he said to him:—

“There was an Older Brother, and his people were against him;

And he had made an earth that was like your earth;

And he had made mountains that were like your mountains;

And he had made springs of water, like yours, that were satisfactory;

And he made trees like yours, and everything that he made worked well.[136]

And they shot him till he bounced, four times on the open ground;

And threw him with his face to the earth.

And he lay there, dead, but when he came to life he used the strength of his right arm and rose up.

But things were changed, and looked different from the old times.

He examined the sticks, but none suited him;

He eyed along the river, that green snake, which he had made, and found the sticks that pleased him.

And he cut those arrow-weeds, he found there, into four pieces, and blew the smoke over them.

And out of them came sparks of light, that almost reached the Opposite World, the World of the Enemy, where things are different.

And when he saw the light from the sticks he smiled within himself;

He was so pleased he had found the sticks that suited him.

And he brought the Black Fog from the West, and stroked the sticks with it, and so finished them,

And from the Ocean he brought the Blue Fog, and stroked the sticks with it, and finished them;

And from the East he brought the Fog of Light, and stroked the sticks with it and finished them;

And from Above brought the Green Fog, and put it in hiding, and there secretly stroked the sticks with it, and finished them;[137]

From the West he brought the Black Snake, which he had made, and bound the sticks together, and finished them.

And from the Ocean he brought the Blue Snake, and bound the sticks together, and finished them;

From the East he brought the Snake of Light, and bound the sticks together, and finished them;

And from Above he brought the Green Snake, and bound them together and finished them.

And then he rose up, and with the first step he stepped on the great doctors of the earth and sank them down;

The next step he stepped on the Speaker, and sank him down;

The next step he stepped on the Slayer, and sank him down;

And the next step he stepped on the rushing young maid who gathers the fruit to feed the family, and sank her down.

And then he sank down himself, and walked under the earth’s crust a little way, and then came out and found the Light’s Road, his own proper way, and walked in it.

Where he found his springs of water, which he had made, with their green moss growing, and dipped his hand in them and moistened his heart;

And every mountain he came to, which he had made, he entered and there he cooled his heart;[138]

And rested his hand on every tree he had made, and so freshened his heart;

And came like a ghost to the place, the cliff, where he had killed the man-eagle, and sat there.

And there was Someone there, whom he did not know, who asked him what he wanted, coming there like a ghost;

Who said: ‘I told you that you would be against my people and the earth!’

And from there he went to the East and strengthened himself four times;

When he arrived at where the Sun arises;

Where he came to the four notches which the Sun uses when he is rising.

And where the Sun steps it is full of wind;

And where the Sun puts his hands it is full of wind.

In spite of that he climbed the way, the way in which the Sun rises.

And he went Westward, stopping and taking his breath four times;

Even at the fourth time, still going, still breathing westward.

It was the west-bound road he followed, the road adorned with all beautiful fringes;

Fringes of soft feathers, and large feathers; and flowers made from beautiful trees, and turquoises.

And he went along this road, pulling all the fringes, and whenever he came to the doctors, tossing them up in the air.[139]

And there he came to Nee-yaw-kee-tom Oas, The Talking Tree;

And he came to it like a ghost, and fell down on his knees toward it;

And the Tree asked him why he came like a ghost, and what he wanted:—

‘I have told you that some day you would be the enemy to my people and to the earth.

There the Tree pulled off its bark and stuck it in his head, like split owl feathers;

And it was its middle branch which it cut down in fine shape for a club and slipped under his belt;

And it was a nut-gall from its limbs which it made into a canteen for him.

And these two together it slipped under his belt.

And it was the branch toward the ocean which it broke into four pieces, equally, and handed to him.

And from thence he travelled on, on the Middle Road, and where there were beautiful fringes he examined them as he went along.

And from the Middle Road he could see the road on either side, the Road of the Enemy.

And it was among the fringes, where he was pulling the flowers made from sticks, that he reached the Speaker and tossed him, too.

And there he reached the place where the Sun drinks.

And tho the print of the Sun’s knee was full of wind, and the print of his hand full of wind, [140]there he knelt and drank as the Sun drinks.

And there, in the clear water, he found the Doctor’s stone, the Dab-nam-hawteh, which is square, and there, under it, left the arrow-weeds.

And he started on from thence and went to the Sunset Place.

Going down as the Sun goes down, and slid down from there four times, to the home of Juhwerta Mahkai.

When he sat down there a strong wind came from the West and carried him to the East and brought him back and sat him down again;

And from Above a strong wind came and tossed him up toward the sky, and returned him back and sat him down again.

And the Black Gopher, his pet from the West, was rolling over;

And the Blue Gopher, his pet from the South, was rolling over;

And the Gopher of Light, his pet from the East, was rolling over;

And the Yellow Gopher, his pet from the North, was rolling over;

Because of their trouble about him.”

And Juwerta Mahkai picked up Ee-ee-toy like a baby, and held him in his arms, and swept the ground, and set him down upon it.

And blew smoke over him, till he felt refreshed like a green tree.

One kind of smoke was the ghost-smoke, which he blew over him;[141]

And the other kind was the smoke of the root called bah-wiss-dhack.

And there they built the O-num of Light:

Which means the circle of those great ones around the fire.

And thence they sent the Gray Owl, to go around the enemy and breathe over them.

Who, when they heard him, were shaking with fear;

A fear that pulled out their thoughts so that they knew nothing and were weak in arms and legs,

And they could not remember their dreams, and their skins became like the skins of sick people;

And their lice became many, and their hair became coarse, and their eyes became sore.

And they chose the little Blue Owl and sent him to the enemy, and he breathed over them.

And he was invisible because of his blue darkness, and he breathed over them quietly.

And they selected a Green Road Runner, and sent him to breathe over them.

And the people could not see him because of his green darkness, and he breathed over them quietly.

And they selected the small Gray Night Hawk;

And he blew a gray dust all thru the enemy’s houses and swept their ground.

And their springs of water were left dry, choked with driftwood and covered with cobwebs.

And their kees, their houses, were full of soot, and their trails like old trails;

And after that the fresh foot-tracks could be seen—[142]

And they went out and found the enemy by his fresh tracks and captured him, for he had no weapons.

And from the sending out of the birds, even to the end, all this is a prophecy.



Notes on Ee-ee-toy’s Resurrection

The Story of Ee-ee-toy’s Resurrection is perhaps the most poetic in the series, and the opening picture of him lying on the ground, lifeless, with the elements lamenting over him and the little children playing on him, might challenge the genius of a great artist.

It is particularly rich in the mystical element also.

I confess that I am not very confident of my rendering of those of the opening sentences of Ee-ee-toy’s speech between “And he had made an earth” and the statement “And they shot him,” etc. My Indians seemed to get hopelessly tangled over archaic words and other impediments here and not at all sure of what they told me. The rest I think is correct.

Here we came to the mystic colors of the four quarters, North, South, East and West and of the zenith, the Above, which the Pimas reckoned evidently as a cardinal point. If their mystic power was derived from the cardinal points, might not their inclusion of the zenith make five also sometimes a mystic number? I think that it perhaps was.

Brinton says that among the Mayas of Yucatan, East is Red, West is Black, North is White and South is Yellow.

The Speaker: It was customary in the villages of the Awawtam for some individual, perhaps a chief, or a mahkai, or some representative of these, to mount on a kee, or other high place, and in a loud voice shout news, orders, advice, or other important matters to the people. This was the Speaker, a sort of town crier.

To step on the rushing young maid who gathered the cactus fruit was a blow at the enemy’s subsistence.

It seems to have been a custom among the mahkais to have pet animals to assist them in their magic.

A circle of bushes, stood up in the earth, forming a screen for shelter or privacy, was called an onum. One or more may be found near almost any Pima hut. [144]

To work witchcraft on a foe, so that he be left weaponless and helpless, and off his guard against attack, seems to have been the favorite dream of whoso went to war. Treachery was idolized. There was no notion of a fair fight.

Stories of mythical beings who, tho repeatedly killed, persist in coming to life again, are common among many Indian tribes.

Stories of the Third Night


The Story of Ee-ee-toy’s Army

And after Ee-ee-toy was thru speaking Juhwerta Mahkai addressed him, and promised him his help, and that he would lead out to earth again his people, who had sunk down before the flood, that these might fight against the people whom Ee-ee-toy had made and who now had turned against him.

So when his people heard this they gathered together all their property that they could carry, to take to earth with them.

And Juhwerta Mahkai said to Ee-ee-toy: “You go ahead of the people and I will follow.”

And they went out in bands.

The first band was called the Mah-mahk-Gum. These were led by Ee-ee-toy, and their color was red.

The second band was called Ah-pah-pah Gum. And their colors were white and yellow.

The third band was called Vah-vah Gum. And their color was red.

The fourth band was called Ah-pah-kee Gum. And their colors were white and yellow.

The fifth band was called Aw-glee Gum. And their color was red.

And the sixth band was called Ah-pel-ee Gum. And their colors were white and yellow.

And these bands were so called because it was by these names they called their fathers. [148]

As they were going to start they sent the Yellow Gopher ahead to open a way for them to this earth.

And the gyih-haws were loaded with their belongings, and stood up beside the ranks. And the bands went thru, one by one.

And when the fifth band was partly thru Toe-hahvs looked back and saw the gyih-haws walking beside the ranks, and he was amused and said: “I don’t think there will be enemies enuf for us to kill, we are so many, and there are these other things, beside us, that look so funny.” And he began to laugh.

And as soon as he laughed the gyih-haws stopped walking, and ever since they have never walked, and the women have been obliged to carry them.

And after these words, too, the earth closed up, so that the sixth band and part of the fifth band were left behind. And Juhwerta Mahkai was left behind, also, and only Ee-ee-toy and Toe-hahvs, and some other powerful men, went thru to lead the people.

And after they had come out a little way they came to a place called the White Earth. And Ee-ee-toy stopped then and the others camped with him.

And there the powerful men all sang, and the people joined in, and all dressed themselves in their war-bonnets, and attired themselves for war, and had a great war dance together. [149]

And they went on again, another journey, and camped at the place called Black Mountain, and again sang and danced a war dance.

So they went on, slowly, camping at one place, sometimes, for many days or several weeks, making their living by hunting game.

And whenever they stopped they sent scouts and spies ahead to look out for the next stopping-place, so that they might go ahead safely. And this went on for many years.

And there were no deer in those days, and Ee-ee-toy said to the wood-rat: “Let me make a deer of you.” And the wood-rat said: “Moevah Sophwah” (all right). But when Ee-ee-toy took out his knife and began to cut at his skin to change him into a deer, he cried out so hard that Ee-ee-toy let him go. And you may see the knife mark on his chest and neck to this day.

And Ee-ee-toy asked another rat, the little one with coarse hair, called Geo-wauk-kuh-wah-paw-kum, if he might make him into a deer, and the little rat said “Moevah Sophwah!” And this little rat was brave, and let Ee-ee-toy cut and change him, and he became a deer. And Ee-ee-toy said: “You shall not be like some animals, that love to roam all over, you shall love only one spot and wish to stay there.” And that is why, to this day, the deer do not care to leave their own places and wander as coyotes do.

So there were now plenty of deer, and the people had something new to live upon. [150]

And there were two brothers who were especially good at hunting the deer. Their names were Hay-mohl and Soo-a-dack Cee-a-vawt. And they hunted as the people marched, and kept them well supplied with deer-meat.

And there was a doctor among them who took the ears and tail of the deer and worked such witchcraft on them that the deer could hide away so well that the hunters could not see them. They hunted, as the people journeyed along, but all in vain.

And the hunters in their trouble sought to get help from a doctor, and they happened to go to the very one who had helped the deer, and they told him they wanted help to find the deer, for the children were crying and hungry and they wanted meat to feed them. And the doctor said: “I guess the trouble is that you look for the deer in the old places, where you have already killed them. If you will hunt for them in the ‘cheeks’ (the outlying flanks) of our line of march, you will find them.” And the hunters hunted for the deer in the cheeks but could not find them.

And they went that evening to the same doctor and told him of their bad luck, and the doctor said: “If you will look for them next time in the little valleys between the hills, I think, you will find them, for they like to go there.”

And the hunters went the next day and looked in the little valleys, but could not find the deer, and they came that evening and told the doctor of [151]their bad luck. And he said: “If you hear of anyone who chances to kill a deer, even if it is only a fawn, bring me the tips of its ears, and of its tail, and of its nose.”

And the doctor said: “I want you to bring me these because a deer feels first with his tail that some one is after him, and, second, hears with his ears that some one is near, and, third, smells danger with his nose. And that is why I want you to bring me these.”

The next day these brothers were in a crowd and heard that a fawn had been killed, and went to it and cut off the tips of its tail and of its ears and of its nose and brought these to the doctor. And the doctor took these, and then he took those which he had used at first to hide the deer with, and with these in his hand he began to sing.

And in his song he asked one of the brothers, Haymohl, for the turquoise earrings which he wore; and then he asked Sooadack Ceeavawt for the beads which were around his neck. But the brothers kept on listening to his song and did not understand what he meant.

And he told them to hunt the next day near the crowd of people, and they did so and killed a fawn, and took it home and had meat with their family. And then they went again to the doctor; who again sang his song, asking for the same gifts. And this time the brothers understood him and Haymohl said: “O, I never thought of these,” and took off his ear rings and gave them to him. And Sooadack Ceeavawt took off his necklace [152]of beads and gave them to him. And the doctor told them that the next day they were to hunt near the crowd, and they would find plenty of deer anywhere they might hunt for them. And he went to where the fawn skin was, and took pieces of its skin and made medicine-bags for the brothers, out of the cheek pieces of the fawn stretched out and made into soft buckskin, and filled these with the scrapings of the buckskin and the tips of the fawn’s ears and of his tail and nose and gave one to each of the brothers.

And the brothers took these bags, and wore them at their belts, and the next day they went out hunting and in a little while killed a deer, and went on a little further and killed another, and after that found plenty of deer; and from that time on the people had plenty of venison again.

And the people marched on in the order of their villages; and a member of one village, a woman, was taken sick, and her fellow-villagers stayed with her to take care of her, and the rest of the army marched on, leaving this village behind. And these remained with her till she died, and buried her, and then journeyed on till they overtook the others.

And as they traveled a pestilence broke out, a sickness which spread thru all the villages and delayed them. But a doctor told them to kill a doe and have a big dance, the dance that is called “Tramping Down the Sickness,” that the sick might get well. And they did this and all their sick ones recovered. [153]


The First Song of Ee-ee-toy’s Army

The White Earth I come to and sing;

Where many war-bonnets are shaking with the wind;

There we come together to dance and to sing.


The Doctor’s Song to the Hunters


Haymohl give me the necklace!

Sooadack Ceeavawt give me the turquoise ear-rings!


1 This word was not translated—probably archaic and the meaning forgotten.


The Destruction of the Vahahkkees

(The Pima plural of vah-ahk-kee is vahp-ahk-kee, but I have made all plurals English, as more understandable.)

And after this they were not sick any more, and they came to the Gila Country, to Ee-ee-toy’s land, the Land of the Vahahkkees, and here they divided themselves into four parties, of which one went south; but the doctors united them all by “The Light,” so that they would know about each other in case there was a battle in which any needed assistance.

And as they came into this country the people there were stirred up with alarm, and the great doctor who lived at Casa Blanca, whose name was Tcheu-tchick-a-dah-tai Seeven, sent his son to Stcheuadack Seeven, at Casa Grande, to enquire if there were any prophecies that he knew of about the coming of this great invading army.

So the boy went, but just before he got there he heard a frog, a big one, which Stcheuadack Seeven kept for a pet and to assist him in his work as a doctor, and when the boy heard the frog he was frightened, and ran back, and when his father asked what he had learned, he said: “Nothing, I heard a noise there that frightened me, so I ran home again.”

And his father said: “That is nothing to be [155]afraid of, that is only the voice of his pet, his frog,” and he sent the boy once more.

So the boy went again, and came to Stcheuadack Seeven who asked him what his father had sent him for, and the boy replied that his father wanted to know if there were any prophecies about the coming of this enemy, and how he felt about it every evening.

When the boy returned his father asked him what Stcheuadack Seeven knew, and how he felt, and the boy said: “He does not know anything. He says he sits out every night, and hears the different animals, and enjoys their pleasant voices, and in the morning he enjoys hearing the sweet songs of the birds, and he always feels good, and does not fear anything.”

So his father said: “I am well satisfied that I will not be the first to see this thing happen. It will be Stcheuadack Seeven who will first see it, and it will not be ten days before it will occur.”

And in a few days Ee-ee-toy’s army came to the village of Stcheuadack Seeven and killed all the people there.

And Geeaduck Seeven, who lived at Awawtkum Vahahkkee, told his people to flee: and many did so and ran to the mountains and other places, but the others who did not run away came to Geeaduck Seeven’s house, and he told them to come in there.

And the enemy came, and they fought, but it was not easy for Ee-ee-toy’s warriors to fight the [156]men of Geeaduck Seeven, because they were nearly all inside, but his men managed to set fire to the house, and so destroyed it, and killed all who were therein.

Then Ee-ee-toy’s men marched on, north, to where Cheof-hahvo Seeven, or Long Dipper Chief, lived, and as they marched along they sang about the places they were conquering, and they sang of the beads that they expected to get at this village, the beads called sah-vaht-kih, and there was an old woman among them who said: “When you get those beads, I want them.” And so when they had conquered that vahahkkee they gave the beads to her.

And they went from there to the home of Dthas Seeven, who had a cane-cactus fence about his place, and Ee-ee-toy’s men heard of this, and sang about it as they went along. And they took this place and killed Dthas Seeven.

And then they went on to where the Casa Blanca vahahkkees now are in ruins; and the great doctor who lived there, the same who had sent his boy to inquire of the prophecies, drew a magic line before his place, so that the enemy could not cross. And when Ee-ee-toy’s men came to the line the earth opened, and they could not go further till one of their great doctors, by his power, had closed it, and then they could pass it.

And they had a great battle there, for the place was very strong, and hard to get into. And there was a doctor among them called Nee-hum Mah-kai, [157]or Thunder Doctor, and they asked him to use his magic power to tear the place down, and he tried, but could not succeed. And they asked another, called Tchu-dun Mahkai, or Earthquake Doctor, and he tried and failed also. And then they asked another, a little man, not supposed to have much power, and he took a hair from his head, and held it up by the two ends, and sang a song, and turned it into a snake. And he sent the snake, and it struck the house, and shook it so that it broke and fell down from above. And then Ee-ee-toy’s men took the place, and killed everybody there except Tcheutchickadahtai Seeven, who escaped and ran on.

And one of Ee-ee-toy’s warriors pursued him, and was going to strike him with a club when he sank down, and the place where he sank was filled with a fog, so that they could not see him, and he got out on the other side and ran on. But they had a doctor called Ku-mi-wahk Mahkai, or Fog Doctor, and they had him clear away the fog and then they could see him and chased him again.

And again, when about to be struck, he sank down, and a mirage filled the place so that they could not see him, for things did not look the same. And he got out beyond, and ran on. And they had a Sas-katch Mahkai, or Mirage Doctor, who cleared away the false appearance, and again they chased him, and were about to kill him, when again he sank. [158]

And this time a rainbow filled the place and made him invisible, and again he ran on till their Kee-hawt Mahkai, or Rainbow Doctor, removed the rainbow.

And once more they were about to strike him when he sank, and the quivers which heat makes, called coad-jook, filled the hole, and again he got away. But they had a Coadjook Doctor, and he removed it, and then they chased him and killed him.

And they went northward again from there.

And there was a rattlesnake who had never killed an enemy, and he asked a doctor to help him do this, and the doctor told him he would. And the doctor told his pet gopher to dig a hole to the village of the doctor who lived beyond Od-chee, where is the place called Scaw-coy-enk, or Rattlesnake Village. And this doctor was the speaker of his village, and every morning stood on a big stone and in a loud voice told the people what they were to do. And the gopher dug a hole to this stone, through which the rattlesnake crawled and lay in wait under the stone. And when the doctor came out to speak to his people in the morning, the rattlesnake bit him and then slid back into his hole again. And the doctor came down from the stone, and went into his kee, and fell down there and died.

And after taking this place they marched to the place called Ko-awt-kee Oy-yee-duck, or Shell Field, where a doctor-chief lived, named Tcheunassat [159]Seeven, and this place they took, and Ee-ee-toy himself killed this doctor, this being the first foe he had killed.

And they went on again to the place where Nooee lived, called Wuh-a-kutch. And Ee-ee-toy said: “When you come there you will know the man who killed me by his white leggings, and when you find him, do not kill him, but capture him, and bring him to me, and I will do what I please with him.”

And Ee-ee-toy had the Eagle and the Chicken-Hawk go up in the sky to look for Noo-ee, for he said he might go up there. And the Eagle and the Chicken-Hawk found Nooee there, and caught him, and brought him to Ee-ee-toy, who took him and scalped him alive. And Nooee, after he was scalped, fell down and died, and the women came around him, rejoicing and dancing, and singing; “O why is Seeven dead!” And after awhile be began to come to life again, and lay there rolling and moaning.

And Ee-ee-toy’s men went on again to a village beyond Salt River, where lived a chief who had a brother, and they were both left-handed, but famous shots with the bow. And these brothers put up the hardest fight yet encountered. But when the brothers were too hard pressed they fled to Cheof See-vick, or Tall Red Mountain, and there they kept shooting and killed a great many of Ee-ee-toy’s men, who were short of arrows, after so long fighting and many of their bows broken. [160]

Because of this, Ee-ee-toy’s men had to fall back and surround the place.

And when this happened the band that had gone to the south knew by the “Light” that it was so, and came to help them. And these had many bows and arrows, and beside brought wood to mend the broken bows, and wood to make new arrows; and when they came into the place they gave their bows and arrows to Ee-ee-toy’s men and made themselves new bows from the wood they had brought. And these men were the ancestors of the Toe-hawn-awh Aw-aw-tam, the present Papagoes, and that is why to this day the Papagoes are most expert in making bows and arrows. And then the fight began again and the two brave brothers were killed.

And from there they went on to another awawtkumvahahkkee, where is now Fort McDowell, where lived another seeven whom they fought and conquered.

And from there they went on westward thru the mountains. But when they came to Kah-woet-kee, near where is now Phoenix, one of the chiefs in Ee-ee-toy’s army said: “I have seen enuf of this country, and I will take this for my part and remain here.” And he did so.

And the bands went on and came to the Colorado River, and there one of the great doctors, called Gaht Mahkai, or Bow Doctor, struck the river with his bow and laid it down in the water. And the water separated then so that the people [161]were able to go over to the other side. And beyond the Colorado they came to a people who lived in holes in the ground, whom they found it hard to fight, and they asked help of their Thunder Doctor, and when the people came out of their holes to fight he struck right in the midst of them, but killed only one. Then they asked help of the Earthquake Doctor, and he was able to kill only one. And these two were all they killed. And these people were called Choo-chawf Aw-aw-tam, or the Foxes, because they lived in holes.

And after the army failed to conquer the Foxes they returned across the Colorado River, near where is now Yuma. And here again the Bow Doctor divided the water for them. But before all the bands were across the waters closed, and some were left behind. And these called to those who were across to have the Bow Doctor hit the waters again, that they also might get there. But those who were across would not do this, but told them that there was plenty of land where they were that would make them a comfortable home. And those left there were the ancestors of the present Yumas and Maricopas. [162]


Song before the Fight with Cheof-Hahvo Seeven1

In the land where there are a great many galley-worms—

I will get the doctor out,

It will lighten his heart.


A Song of the Doctor whose Snake Threw down the Vahahkkee

I made the black snake;

And he went across and wounded the vahahkkee.



Notes on the Story of Ee-ee-toy’s Army and that of the Destruction of the Vahahkkees

In the Story of Ee-ee-toy’s Army we come to an amusing superstition of the Pimas. There is a funny little creature in Arizona, related to the tarantula, perhaps, which the Pimas say is very poisonous, and which is certainly very quick in motion and the hardest thing to kill I ever saw. It is covered with a sort of fuzzy hair, which blows in the wind, and is sometimes red and sometimes yellow or white. Now there seems to be a connection in the Indian mind between this way-heem-mahl, as they name him, and this story of Ee-ee-toy’s Army. The bands, it is related, were distinguished by certain colors—some took red, and some yellow and white, for their badge-color. And the Pimas of today suppose themselves descended from these bands, and some clans claim that the bands of the red were their forbears, and some trace back to the bands of yellow and white. And not many years back there was a rivalry between these, and the wayheemmahls, having the same colors, were identified with the bands, and the Pimas descended from a band of a certain color would not kill a wayheemmahl of that color, or willingly permit others to do so, but would eagerly kill wayheemmahls of the opposite color. If, then, a Pima of the red faction saw a yellow wayheemmahl, running over the ground, he was quick to jump on it; but if a Pima of the yellow stood near he would resent this attack on his relation, and a hair-pulling fight would result. This custom is probably altogether obsolete now.

It will be noticed that the fantastic explanations of why gyihhaws are now carried by the women, is contradicted by the carrying of gyihhaws by various women in previous stories.

The closing of the earth cuts down the six bands to four and a fraction. [164]

Wardances, and extravagant and boastful speeches prophesying success, seem to have preceded all the military movements of the Awawtam.

The creation of deer in this story, by Ee-ee-toy, is contrary to their presence in earlier tales, as in that of Ahahnheeattoepahk Mahkai.

The careful mention of the sickness and death of an apparently unimportant woman is curious, and hard to explain. Perhaps this was the inauguration of the pestilence.

The Story of the Destruction of the Vahahkkees has the most historic interest of any.

The uniting of the bands by the “Light” is very curious. My Indians could not tell me what this was, only something occult and mysterious by which they had clairvoyant ken of each other’s needs. Its use appears in the fight at Cheof Seevick.

The resemblance to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea is remarkable in the exploit of the Bow Doctor, and the crossing of the Rio Colorado.

The Choochawf Awawtam appear to have been cave-dwellers, and my Indians were confused in memory as to whether they were encountered on the hither or far side of the Colorado.

The statement that the closing of the waters left the Yumas and Maricopas on the far bank of the Colorado is likely only a mahkai’s fanciful attempt to explain their presence there. As the Indians of the Yuman stock speak an entirely different language from the Indians of the Piman stock, it is unlikely they were united in the original invading army. There is no other evidence that there ever was any alliance between them till the Maricopas, fearing extermination from the Yumas, joined the Pimas sometime in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Comalk Hawkkih gave me this account of the coming in of the Maricopas: The Yumas and the Maricopas were once all one people, but there was a jealousy between two [165]sons of a chief, one of whom was a favorite of his father, and one killed the other, and this grew to a civil war. The defeated party, the Maricopas, went first to Hot Springs, where they staid awhile, and then to Gila Bend, but each time the Yumas followed and attacked them and drove them on. Fearing extermination they came to the Pimas for protection. The Pimas adopted them. Now began war between Yumas and Mohaves on one side, and Pimas, Papagoes and Maricopas on the other. There were only two battles after the Maricopas came in, but in the second battle all the Yuma warriors engaged were killed, and the Mohaves had to flee over the mountain, and only a part of these escaped. This battle was fought at what is now called Maricopa Mountain.

So terrible was the defeat, that to this day the Yumas hold an annual “Cry,” or lamentation, in memory of it. Their old foes are invited, and if any Pima or Maricopa attends he is given a horse. This war reduced both Yumas and Maricopas to a mere remnant.

Since then the Maricopas have lived with the Pimas, and in customs are almost exactly similar, except that they burn their dead, and still speak their distinctive language.

They are a taller, larger race than the Pimas, more restless, said to be quicker witted, but more inclined to vice, and to be rapidly dying out; while the Pimas yet hold their own in numbers, despite recent inroads of tuberculosis. [166]

1 This song is evidently imperfect, for in the context it is said that before this fight they sang about the beads, sah-vaht-kih, but there is no mention of them here.


The Story of Sohahnee Mahkai and Kawkoinpuh

Now when the bands were going thru this country they had selected the places for their homes, expecting to return, and each band, as it selected its place, drove down short sticks so as to know it again.

And after returning across the Rio Colorado the bands went again to these places which they had selected and settled there.

Only the Toehawnawh Awawtam (the Papagoes) did not at first go to their selected place, but went on beyond Awn-kee Ack-kee-mull, the Salt River, to where is now Lehi.

And there was one doctor among them named So-hah-nee Mahkai, and he had no child, but he had found one of the children belonging to the country, which had been left alive, and he had adopted it for his own. And he went on and lived by himself at the place then called Vah-kah-kum, but now named Stcheu-a-dack-a-Vahf, or Green Cliff.

And the Aw-up, or Apaches, were a part of the original people of this country, and this child which Sohahnee Mahkai had adopted was an Apache.

And when he had grown up to be quite a large boy the Apaches planned to capture Sohahnee Mahkai; but Sohahnee Mahkai knew of this and told the boy to go to a place where he had been clearing up a farm and to find the stick there with [167]which he had been cutting down bushes, and to dig a hole there under the bushes, and then to come back home and eat his supper. And after he had eaten his supper he was to return to the place where the stick was, and hide in the hole under the bushes which were there.

And the boy’s name was Kaw-koin-puh, and he dug the hole under the bushes, as he was directed, and returned for his supper.

And then Sohahnee Mahkai said to him: “Now to-night the Apaches will come to kill me, but here is a basket-box which I want you to have after I am dead. And when you are safe in your hole you will hear when they come to kill me. But don’t you come out till they are far enuf away. Then come and find my body, no matter whether h is here or dragged away. And when you find it, do not mind how stained and bloody it is, but fall upon it, and put your mouth to mine, and inhale, and thus you will inherit my power. And when you leave my body, do not attempt to follow after the Apaches, for they would surely kill you, for tho you are one of them they would not know that, because you do not speak their language. But I want you to return to where we left some people at the place called Vik-kuh-svan-kee.”

So the boy took the little basket-box, and went to his hole, and early in the evening the Apaches came and surrounded the house, and staid there till near morning, and then began the attack. And [168]the boy could hear the fighting, and could hear Sohahnee Mahkai yell every time his arrow killed anyone; and he could hear the old woman, his wife, shout out in her exultation, too. And it was after the sun was up that the old woman was killed; and then Sohahnee Mahkai ran out and the Apaches chased him and killed him, and said: “Now let us cut him open and find what it is that made him so brave, and enabled him to kill so many of us.” And they cut him open and found under his heart a feather of the chicken hawk.

And the Apaches took that feather, and that is how they are so brave and even if there are only two of them will often attack their enemies and kill some of them.

And after the Apaches were far away the boy came out of his hole and found the old woman, and from there tracked till he found the old man; and he fell over him, as he had been told, and inhaled four times; and then he went to Vikkuhsvankee, but he got there at night, and did not attempt to go into any house, but staid outside all night in the bushes.

And in the morning a girl came and found the boy, and went back and told the people there was some one outside who was a stranger there, some one with short hair. And they came and stood around him, and teased him, and threw dirt at him, until finally he cried out: “Don’t you remember me, who I am? My name is Kawkoinpuh and I was [169]here once, but went away with the doctor, Sohahnee Mahkai. And now the Apaches have killed him and the old woman, his wife, and I am left alone.”

And when he said this the people remembered him, and took him by the hand, and led him to a doctor named Gawk-siss Seev-a-lick, who adopted him, and he was treated nicely because he was a good hunter and used to keep the doctor in plenty of game.

And the doctor had a daughter, and when she was old enuf he gave her to Kawkoinpuh for his wife. And Kawkoinpuh staid with his wife’s people; and his wife expected a child, and wanted different things to eat. So Kawkoinpuh left home and went to the mountain called Vahpkee, and there got her a lot of the greens called choohookyuh. And after a while he wanted to go again, but she said: “Do not go now, for the weather is bad. Wait till it is more pleasant.” But he said, “I am going now,” and he went.

And this time he was hunting wood rats instead of greens, and he had killed three and was trying to scare out the fourth one, where he could shoot it, when the Apaches came and surrounded him a good ways off.

He saw them and ran for home, but there were many Apaches in front of him, and they headed him off.

But he jumped up and down and sideways, as Sohahnee Mahkai had done, shooting and [170]killing so many that finally he broke thru their ring, and started for home. But he kept turning back and shooting at them as he ran. And one of them came near and was about to kill him, but he shot first and killed the Apache. And then another came near and this time the Apache shot first, and so Kawkoinpuh was killed.

And when evening came, Gawksiss Seevalick came out, and called aloud, and invited the people to his house, and asked them if any had seen his son, Kawkoinpuh; who had seen him last; for he knew something had happened to him, as he always came home after his hunt, because he loved his home. But nobody had seen anything of Kawkoinpuh, because no one had been out, the weather being bad.

But Gawksiss Seevalick knew the boy was killed, because he was a doctor, and there is a being above, called Vee-ips-chool, who is always sad and who makes people sad when anything bad has happened.

So they went out the next morning, and tracked the boy, and came to where he had killed the wood-rats, and then they found the tracks of the Apaches, and then found a great many Apaches whom he had killed, and finally they found his body.

The Apaches had cut him open, and taken out his bowels and wound them around bushes, and cut off his arms and legs and hung them on trees. And one of the men, there, told them to get wood [171]and to gather up these parts of Kawkoinpuh’s body and burn them. And some of the people remained behind and did this, and then all went home.

And in the evening Gawksiss Seevalick again called the people together and sang them a song to express his grief.

And the next morning he went with his daughter to where Kawkoinpuh had been burned, and there they found some blood still remaining and buried it. And that evening again he called the people together, and said: “You see what has happened; we have lost one of our number. We ought not to stay here, but to return to the place we first selected.” And the people took his advice and got their things ready and started.

And they went slow because they were on foot, and it took them four nights to get to the place where they wanted to go. And the first night there was no singing, but the second night there was a doctor named Geo-goot-a-nom-kum who sang a song for them; and the third night there was a doctor named Geo-deck-why-nom-kum who sang a song for them; and on the fourth night there was a doctor named Mahn-a-vanch-kih who sang for them a song. [172]


Notes on the Story of Sohahnee Mahkai

In this we are given a most graphic and pathetic glimpse of Indian warfare.

Notice the bushes are “cut down” (broken off more likely) by a stick. A glimpse of the rude old tools.

Very poetic is the conception of Veeipschool, “the being above who is always sad, and makes people sad when anything bad has happened.” A personification of premonition. [173]


The Story of Pahtahnkum

And when they came to their journey’s end the wife of Kaw-koin-puh had a baby, which grew up to be a fine boy, but the mother cried all the time, where-ever she went, on account of her husband’s death.

And the people, after they had settled down, used to go rabbit-hunting, and the children too, and this boy, Paht-ahn-kum, used to watch them wistfully, and his mother said: “I know what you are thinking of, but there is nothing for you to kill rabbits with. But I will send you to your uncle, my brother, whom I am expecting will make a bow and arrows for you.”

And the next morning, early, the boy went to his uncle, who said: “Why do you come so early? It is an unusual thing for you to come to see me so early instead of playing with boys and girls of your own age.”

And the boy replied: “My mother said she was expecting you to make me a bow and arrows.”

And his uncle said: “That is an easy thing to do. Let us go out and get one.” And they went out and found an o-a-pot, or cat-claw tree, and cut a piece of its wood to make a bow, and they made a fire and roasted the stick over this, turning it, and they made a string from its bark to try it with; and then they found arrow-weeds, and made [174]arrows, four of them, roasting these, too, and strengthening them; and then they went home and made a good string for the bow from sinew.

And then the boy went home and showed his mother his bow and arrows.

And the next morning the children went hunting and little Pahtahnkum went with them to the place of meeting.

And they found a quotaveech’s nest near them, with young ones in it, and one of the men shot into it and killed one of the young ones, and then the children ran up to join in the killing. And when Pahtahnkum came up, one of the men threw him one of the young birds, and said: “Here, take it, even if your mother does not wish to marry me.”

And the little boy ran home and gave his game to his mother, and when she saw it she turned her back on it and cried. And he wondered why she cried when he had brought her game and was wishing she would cook it for his dinner.

And his mother said: “I never thought my relatives would treat you this way. There is an animal, the caw-sawn, the wood rat, and a bird, the kah-kai-cheu, the quail, and these are good to eat, and these are what they ought to give you, and when they give you those, bring them home and I will cook them for you.” She said, further; “This bird is not fit to eat; and I was thinking, while I was crying, that if your father were living now you would have plenty of game, [175]and he would make you a fine bow, and teach you to be as good a hunter as there is. And I will tell you now how your father died. We did not use to live here. But beyond this mountain there is a river, and beyond that another river still, and that is where we lived and where your father was killed by the people called Apaches, and that is why we are here, and why we are so poor now.

I am only telling you this so you may know how you came to be fatherless, for I know very well you can never pay it back, for the Apaches are very fierce, and very brave, and those who go to their country have to be very careful; for even at night the Apaches may be near them, and even the sunshine in their country feels different from what it does here.”

And the little boy, that night, went to his uncle, who asked: “Why do you come to me in the night?”

And the little boy said: “I come to you because today I was hunting with the bow and arrows you made me, and someone gave me a little bird, and I was bashful, and brought it right home for my mother to cook for me, and she cried, and then told me about my father and how he died. And I do not see why you kept this a secret from me. And I wish you would tell me what these Apaches look like, that they are so fierce and brave.”

And his uncle said: “That is so. I have not [176]told you of these things because you are just a baby yet, and I did not intend to tell you until you were a man, but now I know you have sense enuf to wish to learn. There is nothing so very different or dangerous about these Apaches; only their bows, and their arrows of cane are dangerous.”

And the little boy went on to another doctor, who said: “Why do you come to me? Are you lost? If so, we will take you home.” But the little boy said to him: “No, I am not lost, but I want you to tell me one thing—why the Apaches are so dangerous—are they like the har-sen, the giant cactus, with so many thorns?” And the doctor answered: “No, they are men like we are, and have thoughts as we have, and eat as we do, and there is only one thing that makes them dangerous and that is their bows and their arrows of cane.”

So the little boy went to the next doctor, and this doctor also asked him if he were lost, and he said: “No, but I want you to tell me just one thing—why the Apaches are so dangerous. Are they like the mirl-hawk, the cane-cactus, with so many branches all covered with thorns?” And the doctor replied: “No, they are human beings just as we are, and think just as we do, and eat as we do, and the only things that make them dangerous are their bows and their arrows of cane.” And the little boy said: “I am satisfied.”

But he went yet to another doctor and asked [177]him also why the Apaches were so dangerous, were they like the hah-nem, the cholla cactus? But the doctor said no, and gave the same answer as the others had done, and the little boy said: “I am satisfied, then,” and went back to his uncle again and began to question him about what people did when they got ready for war, and what they did to purify themselves afterward, and his uncle said: “It is now late at night, and I want you to go home, and tomorrow come to me, and I will tell you about these things.”

So the little boy went home, but very early in the morning, before sunrise, he was again at his uncle’s house, and came in to him before he was yet up. And his uncle said: “I will now tell you, but we must go outside and not talk in here before other people.”

And he took the little boy outside, and they stood there facing the east, waiting for the sun to rise, with the little boy on the right of his uncle. And when the sun began to rise the doctor stretched out his left hand and caught a sunbeam, and closed his hand on it, but when he opened his hand there was nothing there; and then he used his right hand and caught a sunbeam but when he opened his hand there was nothing there; and he tried again with his left hand, and there was nothing, but when he tried the second time with his right hand, when he opened it, there was a lock of Apache’s hair in his hand. [178]

And he took this and put it in the little boy’s breast, and rubbed it in there till it all disappeared, having entered into the little boy’s body.

And then he told the little boy to get him a small piece of oapot or cat-claw tree, but no, he said, I will go myself; and he went and got a little piece of the oapot, and tied a strip of cloth around the boy’s head, and stuck the little piece of wood in it, and then told him to go home to his mother and tell her to give him a new dish to eat from.

And this stick which the doctor had put into the boy’s hair represented the kuess-kote or scratching stick which the Pimas and Papagoes used after killing Apaches, during the purification time; and the doctor had made it from cat-claw wood because the cat-claw catches everybody that comes near, and he wanted the boy to have great power to capture his enemies.

And his uncle told the boy to stay at home in the day time, lying still and not going anywhere, but at night to come to him again. “And before you come again,” he said, “I will make you something and have it ready for you.”

And the little boy kept still all that day, but at night he went to his uncle again, and his uncle had four pipes ready for him, made from pieces of cane, and he said, “Now tonight when the people gather here (for it was the custom for many people to come to the doctor’s house in the evening) they will talk and have a good time, but [179]after they are thru I will roll a coal from the fire toward you, and then you light one of the pipes and smoke four whiffs, and after that slide the watch-kee, the pipe, along the ground toward me, as is the custom, and I will smoke it four times and pass it to my next neighbor, and he will do the same, and so the pipe will go all around and come back to you. And even when it is out, when it comes back to you, you are to take it and stick the end that was lighted in the ground.

So that evening the people all assembled as usual, and told all the news of the day, and about the hunting as was their custom. And when they were thru, and had quieted down, the uncle moved to the fire and rolled a coal toward Pahtahnkum, who took it and lit one of the pipes, and smoked it four times, and then slid it slowly (the pipe must be slid slowly because if it were slid rapidly the enemy would be too quick and escape, but if it is done slowly the enemy will be slow and can be captured) along the ground to his uncle. And his uncle took the watchkee, the pipe-tube, and smoked it also four whiffs, and passed it on, but saying: “Of course you are all aware that if any man among you has a wife expecting to have a baby soon, he should not smoke it, but pass it on without smoking to his neighbor, for if you smoke in such case the child will not be likely to live very long.”

And so the pipe passed around, and the boy, when the pipe came to him again, buried it as [180]he had been told, and then he began to make this speech:—

“I am nothing but a child, and I go around where the people are cooking and when they give me something to eat I generally suffer because it is so hot. And there was a hunt, and you gave me nothing but a little quotaveech, and stuck it under my belt as if it were something good to eat: and when I took it home to my mother, and dropped it down by her, she turned her back upon it and began to cry. And when she had done crying she told me of all that had happened before, about my father’s death, and the story entered my heart; and I went for help to a respectable person, a doctor, one to whom a child would not be likely to go, and he kindly assisted me, and told me what I asked of him.

And I wanted to be revenged on the slayers of my father, and in imagination a day was appointed for the war, and I went; and the first night I feared nothing and felt good, and the second night, too, I feared nothing and felt good, but the third night I knew I was in the land of the Apaches, an enemy with shield and club, and I did not feel good, and it seemed to me the world was shaking, and I thought of what my mother had said, that the land of the Apaches was different from ours.

And the fourth day I went on and came to the mountain of the Apaches, and I found there the broken arrows of my father’s fight; and I sat [181]down, for it seemed to me the mountains and the earth were shaking, and shook my knees, and I thought of what my mother had said that the land of the Apaches felt entirely different.

And the next day I went on and came to the water of the Apaches. And my hair lay over the water like moss. And I looked and found my skull, and I used it for a dipper, and parted the hair with it, and dipped up the water and drank it. And when I drank from the skull I felt as if I were crazy, and clutched around with my hands at things that were not there.

And from there I went on to another water, and that was covered with the white war-paint of my hair, which lay like ashes on the water, and I looked around and found my skull, and drank from that water, and it smelled strong to me like the smell of human flesh and of black war-paint.

And all this was caused in my imagination by the thought of my dead father, and of how the Apaches had gone along rejoicing because they had killed him.

And the next place was a great rock, and I sat down under it, and it was wet with my tears; and the winds of the power of my sadness blew around the rock four times, and shook me.

In the far east there is a gray cousin, the Coyote, and he knows where to find the Apaches, and he was the first I selected to help me and be my comrade, and he took my word, and joined me; and stood up and looked, and saw the Apaches [182]for me and told me; and I had my band ready, and my boys captured the Apaches, who had no weapons ready to injure them.

And after killing them I took their property, and I seemed to get all their strength, all their power. And I came home, bringing all the things I had captured, and enriched my home, strengthening myself four times, and the fame of my deed was all over the country.

And I went to the home of the doctor, taking the child I had captured, and when we were there the blue tears fell from the eyes of the child onto my boys and girls.

And all of you, my relatives, should think of this, and be in favor of the war, remembering the things we have captured, and the enemies we have killed, and should make your singing all joy because of our past successes.”

And after the speech was done, feeling it the speech of a child, the people were silent, but at length Toehahvs said: “I like the way of the child, because I am sure he is to be a powerful person, perhaps stronger than any of us, and I respect him, and that is why I am kind to him, and I want that we should all take a smoke, and after that you will get over your feeling of his insignificance.”

And then they all smoked again, and began to talk about the war, and of the things they lacked, but the boy wanted them to get ready in four days, telling them that was plenty of time. And [183]so they all began to get ready for the war, making and getting ready shields, clubs, bows, arrows, shoes, and whatever was needed.

And so the people departed for the war, and the very day they left, the mother of Pahtahnkum went and got clay to make the new dishes for the men who should kill Apaches, for she foreknew that many would be killed, and so she sang at her work. And a few of the people were left at home, and one of these was an old man, and he passed near where the mother (whose name was Koel-hah-ah) was making her pottery, and heard her singing her song, and he said to the people: “It is very strange that this woman who used to cry all the time is singing now her boy has gone to the war. Perhaps she is like some wives, who when their time of mourning is over are looking out for another man.”

And the war-party went by near where Tawtsitka (Sacaton) now is, around the mountain Chirt-kih, and west of the Sah-kote-kih, (Superstition) mountains, and there they found tracks of the Apaches, and paused, and the boy, Pahtahnkum, told them to wait there while he went forward and found where the Apaches were.

And Toehahvs said: “I will go with you, so we can help each other and be company, and you will feel that you have some strength, and I will feel the same.”

So Pahtahnkum and Toehahvs went out on their scout, and went up an arroyo, or washout [184]valley, In the mountains, and in making a turn came suddenly upon some Apache children playing in the sand, and the children saw them and ran up the valley to where the Apache houses were. And the two scouts stood and looked at each other and said: “What shall we do now! for if we go back the people will blame us for letting the Apaches see us first.”

And Pahtahnkum said: “You go back and step in my tracks, and I will turn into a crow and fly up on this rock.” And this was done, and when the Apaches came they could see only the coyote tracks, and they said: “There are no human tracks here. It must have been a coyote the children saw,” and they went back home. And then Pahtahnkum flew to where Toehahvs was, and came down and took his human shape again.

And the band had been anxious about them, because they were gone so long, and had followed their tracks, and now came near, and when Pahtahnkum saw them, instead of going back to them, he and Toehahvs turned and ran toward the Apaches, and all the band rushed after them, and they took the Apache village by surprise, and conquered and killed all the men, and then killed all the women, and scalped them all.

And because Pahtahnkum had been so brave, and had killed many, the people brought all the scalps to him, and all the baskets, and bows and arrows, and other things they had taken, and laid them around him; and then they all stood around [185]him in circles, the oldest in the middle next to the boy, and the others, in the order of their age, in circles outside.1 And then Pahtahnkum began to yell, he was so rejoiced, and he threw the scalps of the Apaches up into the air, and then, after them, the other things, the bows and arrows, and all things captured, because he wanted to make a cloud; for when an Apache is killed it will rain.

And while this was happening, his mother was rejoicing at home, knowing all that was happening to her boy.

So the people took everything the Apaches had, and a good many children as captives, and they returned by the same road, and before they got home they sent a messenger ahead.

And when they got home they presented all the property taken, and all the weapons and all the captives to the mother of Pahtahnkum.

Now when the neighbors of those Apaches heard of this they formed a big war-party, and followed Pahtahnkum’s trail, but when they came to the place called Taht-a-mumee-lay-kote they stopped, because they did not know where to find water, and so they turned back, tho from there they could see the mountains where Pahtahnkum lived.

And after Pahtahnkum had gone thru the prescribed purifications, and the war-dances and [186]rejoicing proper to the occasion, he again formed a war-party, and again took the trail after the Apaches, only this time he went to the other end of the Superstition Mts. And there they saw the lights at night on a peak, where the Apaches lived, and went up there and killed them, except the children, whom they took for captives.

And then they went down into an open place in the desert, and there placing Pahtahnkum and Toehahvs in the center, they again formed the circles, with the older ones nearest the middle, and again brought all their trophies to Pahtahnkum and Toehahvs, who threw them up with rejoicing, as before.

And again the Apaches formed a war-party, and pursued them; and again they, when they came to the low mountains south west of where Tawtsitka now is, were frightened, as they looked over the desert, and said: “This country is unknown to us, and we do not want to die of thirst,” and again they abandoned the pursuit, and returned home. And because the place where they made fires was found, these mountains are called Aw-up Chert-taw to this day.

And again everything was given to Koelhahah, as before.

And once more, after the purification, Pahtahnkum formed a war-party; and this time they went to the east, and there again found Apaches at the place called Oy-yee-duck, or The Field, because there the Apaches had cultivated fields, [187]and here they fought the Apaches, and defeated them; but they had hard work to kill one Apache, who was very brave, and who kept his wife before him and his child behind him, and as the Papagoes did not want to kill these they could not get at the man. But finally Pahtahnkum killed a man near him, and some one else killed the woman, and then Pahtahnkum killed this man and took the little boy captive.

And again they went out to an open place, and formed the circles, and rejoiced as before.

And a party of Apaches pursued them again and again were discouraged, and turned back at the red bluff to the eastward, where they dug a well, which place is still called Taw-toe-sum Vah-vee-uh, or the Apache’s Well.

And again, in due time, a war-party was formed, and this time it went far east, and there was found a single hunter of the Apaches, and this man they killed and cut up and mutilated as had been done with Pahtahnkum’s father, putting his flesh out as if to jerk it. And they went south-east from there and again found a single hunter; and him they scalped and placed his scalp like a hat on a giant-cactus, for which reason the place is still called Waw-num, which means a hat.

And Pahtahnkum walked behind, for he was very sad, thinking of his father.

And then Pahtahnkum returned home, having revenged his father, and this was the last of his wars. [188]

And once more the Apaches followed him, but stopped at a place near the Superstition Mts. where, as there had been rain and the ground was wet, they stopped to clean a field, See-qua-usk, or the Clearing, but they gave it up and returned, not even planting the crop.

And his mother made a large olla, and a small flat piece of pottery, like the plates tortillas are baked on. And she put all the Apache hair in the olla, and placed the flat plate on top to cover it with greasewood gum to seal it up tight. And then she went and found a cave, and by her power called a wind and a cloud that circled it round.

And then she returned to her people, and, placing the olla on her head, led them to the cave, and said. “I will leave this olla here, and then when I have need of wind, or of rain, I can form them by throwing these up, and so I shall be independent.”

And after this Pahtahnkum was taken ill, and the people said it was because he had not properly purified himself.

And he went to the tall mountain east of Tucson, and from there to other mountains, seeking the cool air, but he got no better, and at last he came to the Maricopa Mts., and died there, and his grave is there yet.

And his mother died at her home. [189]


The Song of Koelhahah about her Son

My poor child, there will be great things happen you!

And there will be great news all over the world because of my boy.

The news will go in all directions.



Notes on the Story of Pahtahnkum

In this, in the smoking at the war-council, appears a curious superstition concerning the effect of a man’s smoking upon his unborn child.

Another superstition appears in the idea that the killing of an Apache and throwing up of his accoutrements or scalp would cause rain.

I have a boy’s bow and arrows just like those described in this story, bought of a Pima child.

War arrows were a yard long, with three feathers instead of two, and tipped with flint or, later, with iron. But even a wooden arrow would kill a deer.

Bows were made from Osage orange, cat-claw, or o-a-pot; or, better still, from a tree called gaw-hee. Arrows from arrow-weeds. The Apache arrows were made of cane.

The Pimas were formerly famous for archery, and the shooting of bird on the wing, and of jack rabbits at full run while the archer was pursuing on horseback, were favorite feats.

The Apache well: I am told the old Arizona Indian wells were not walled up, and the sides were at such a slant that the women could walk down to the water and back with their ollas on their heads.

Wells are now obtained without great difficulty, but the water is salty and often alkaline and none too cool.

1 The reason why the older people went inside the circle was to protect the younger ones from the impurity of anything Apache, and they went inside as more hardened to this.

Stories of the Fourth Night


The Story of the Gambler’s War

And after this, for a long time, there was peace toward the Apaches, but it happened, once, that two brothers of the country went to gamble with the Awup, playing the game called waw-pah-tee in which the gamblers guess in which piece of cane a little ball is hidden.

And one of the brothers, after losing all his goods, bet his brother and lost him, and then bet the different parts of his own body, leaving his heart to the last, and finally wagered his heart against all his previous bets, saying it was worth more than they, and hoping so to recover all, but he lost that also.

And when the game was ended the Apaches killed his brother, but allowed him to walk away, and he returned to his own land.

But all the way he would see his brother’s tracks, and whenever he stopped to camp he would see his brother’s body, where it lay, and how he looked, lying there dead; and when he got home he felt so sad he cried aloud, but no one paid any attention to him.

And when he got home his folks gave him food to eat, and water to drink, but he would neither eat nor drink, feeling so sad about his brother, and he took nothing for four days.

But on the fifth day he went out and sought [194]the cool shade of trees to forget his brother, and went upon the hills and stood there, but he could not forget; and then, in coming down, he fell down and went to sleep.

And in his sleep his brother came to him, and he seemed to know him, but when he tried to put his arms around his brother he woke up and found he was not there.

And he went home and ate, and then made this speech:—

“My pitiful relatives, I will pity you and you will pity me.

This spread-out-thing, the world, is covered with feathers, because of my sadness, and the mountains are covered with soft feathers.

Over these the sun comes, but gives me no light, I am so sad.

And the night comes, and has no darkness to rest me, because my eyes are open all night.

(This has happened to me, O all my relatives.)

And it was my own bones that I raked up, and with them made a fire that showed me the opposite land, the Land of the Enemy.

(This was done, my relatives.)

The sticks I cut for the number of days were my own sinews, cut and bound together.

It was my own rib that I used as an eev-a-dah-kote, or fire rubbing stick.

It was my own bowels that I used for a belt.

And it was my scalp, and my own hair, that I used for sandals. [195]

It was my own skull that I filled with my own blood, and drank from, and talked like a drunkard.

And I wandered where the ashes are dumped, and I wandered over the hills, and I found it could be done, and went to the shadows of the trees and found the same thing.

On the level ground I fell, and the Sun, the Traveller, was overhead, and from above my brother came down, and I tried to hug him, but only hugged myself.

And I thought I was holding all sadness, but there was a yet stronger sadness, for my brother came down and stood on my breast, and the tears fell down and watered the ground.

And I tried to hug him, but only hugged myself.

And this was my desire, that I should go to the powerful woman, and I reached her quietly where she lived.

And I spoke to her this way:

‘You were living over there.

You are the person who makes a hoop for her gyihhaw from the Apaches’ bow, and with their arrows makes the back-stop, the oam-muck, and with their blood you color the gyihhaw prettily; and you split the arrow-heads and make from them the ov-a-nuck, and tie it in with the Apaches’ hair, weaving the hair to the left and then binding it on.’

And this way I spoke to her.

And then she gave me good news of the weakness of the Apaches and I ran out full of joy. [196]

And from there I rose up and reached the Feather-Nested Doctor, Quotaveech, and I spoke to him this way:

‘And you belong here.

And you make the ribs of your kee from the Apache bows, and you tie the arrows across with the bow strings, and with the sinews of their bows you tie them.

And with the robes of the Apaches, and with their head-wear, and with their moccasins, you cover the kee instead of with arrow weeds.

And inside, at the four corners, there are hung locks of Apaches’ hair, and at the corners are the stumps of the cane-tube pipes, smoking themselves, and forming the smoke into all colors of flowers—white and glittering and gray and yellow.’

And this way I spoke to him, and he gave me the good news of the weakness of the Apaches.

And I came down and went Southward to the other doctor, called Vahk-lohn Mahkai and there I reached him.

And this way I spoke to him:

‘And here is where you belong.

The Apache bow you make into the likeness of the pretty rainbow, and the arrows you make into the likeness of the white-headed grass.

And the fore shaft of the arrows you turn into water moss, and the arrows into resemblance of flat clay.

And the hair of the Apaches you make into likeness of clouds.’ [197]

And this way I spoke to him, and he told me the news of the weakness of the Apaches.

And I ran out of the house, and went westward, and found the old woman doctor, Tawquahdahmawks.

And I said to her:

‘You belong here.

And you make the bow of the Apaches into the hoop of the game the Aw-aw-bopp, the Maricopas, play, the rolling hoop that they throw sticks after.

And their arrows you flatten up with your teeth, and wear around your brows like a crown.

And the fore shafts of the arrows you have split, and painted red with the Apache blood, and made into gainskoot, the dice sticks.

And the Apache hair you make into a skirt.’

And this way I spoke to her, and she told me the thought of the two different peoples, the Awawtam and the Awup, that they were enemies, and she told me this, and I went out from there and strengthened myself four times.

And I spread the news when I got home, and set the doctor over it.

And there was the stump of the doctor’s pipe standing there, and smoking itself, and I imbibed it, and smoked it toward the enemy, and the smoke changed into different colors of flowers, white, glittering, grey and yellow, and reached the edge of the earth, the land of the Apache, and circled around there. [198]

And it softened the earth, and brought fresh grass, and fresh leaves on the trees, so that the Apaches would be gathered together.

And my western famous enemy went and told his son to go to his uncle, to see if it was so that there was plenty of grass and plenty of things to eat there.

And his son went and said: ‘My father sent me to find out about these things,’ and his uncle said: ‘It is so what he has heard, that we have plenty of things to eat, and all kinds of game, and that is what I eat.

You go back and tell the old man to come, so that I will be with him here.’

So the boy went and told the old man this, and he got up and put on his nose-ring of turquoise, and took his cake of paint, and his locks of hair, and his pouch.

After he got everything together he started out and camped for one night, and arriving at his destination the next morning, after the sun rose, came to his brother and called him, ‘Brother!’ with a loud voice.

And the next morning the brother got up and went hunting, and found a dead deer, and brought it home, and called it fresh meat, and they ate it together.

But instead of eating deer they ate themselves up.

And their skins became like sick person’s skin, and their hair became coarse, and their eyes were sore, and they became lousy, and were so weak [199]that they left their hands beneath their heads when they scratched themselves lying down.

And the brother’s wife went and gathered seed to eat, and found it easy to gather, without husks, and thought to enjoy eating it, but when she ate it she ate her own lice, and her skin became as a sick person’s skin, her hair became coarse, her person lousy, her eyes sore.

And my enemy in the far east heard about food being so plenty to eat there, and sent his son to ask his uncle if these reports were so.

And his father got up and took his war-bonnet of eagle-feathers, and his moccasins, and, using his power, brought even his wind and his clouds and his rainbow with him, and all his crops, for tho he had plenty at home he thought to find more at his brother’s place.

And, camping one night on the road, he came to his brother, after sunrise, and called him ‘Brother’ with a loud voice.

And everything happened to this enemy from the east, and his brother, and brother’s wife, that had happened to the enemy from the west and his brother and brother’s wife.

And I found the Apache enemy early in the morning, lying asleep, still needing his blanket, and covering himself up, and captured him without trouble.

And there I captured all his property, and took from him captives and many scalps, and my way coming back seemed to be down hill, and I strengthened myself and came to the level ground. [200]

And when I came to the hollow where I drank, the water rippled from my moving it.

And I appointed messengers to go ahead and tell those at home, the old men and women waiting to hear of us, the good news of our victory.

And after sending on the messengers I went on, rejoicing, carrying the consciousness of my victory over the Apaches with me; and arriving home at evening I found the land filled with the news, even the tops of the hills covered.

And I told my people to send word to our western relatives, and to our southern relatives, and our eastern relatives, that the good news might be known to all.”

After this he called the people together for war, and the first evening they camped a man prophesied, and said:

“Now we have heard our war-speech, and are on our way, and I foresee the way beautiful with flowers, even the big trees covered with flowers, and I can see that we come to the enemy and conquer them easily.

And the road to the east is lined with white flowers, and the Apaches, seeing it, rejoice also, with smiles, thinking it for their good, but really it is for their destruction, for it is made so by the power of our doctors.

And in the middle of the earth, between us and the enemy, stood the Cane-Tube Pipe and smoked itself.

I inhaled the smoke and blew it out toward the East, and saw the smoke rising till it reached the [201]Vahahkkee of Light, and up still till it reached the Cane of Light.

And I took that cane and punched it at the corner of the Vahahkkee, and out came the White Water and the White Wasps, and the wasps flew around it four times and then they went down again.

And then in the South I saw the Blue Vahahkkee, and the Blue Cane, and I took the cane and punched it into the corner of the vahahkkee, and there came out Blue Water and Blue Wasps, and the wasps flew around four times, and then sank down again.

And in the West there stood the Black Vahahkkee, and the Black Cane, and I took the cane and punched at the corner, and there came out Black Water and Black Wasps, and the wasps flew around four times, and then went in again.

And in the North stood the Yellow Vahahkkee, and the Yellow Cane, and I took the cane and punched it at the corner, and there came out Yellow Water and Yellow Wasps, and the wasps flew around four times, and then went in again.

And on top of this vahahkkee was a Yellow Spider, and I asked him to help me, and he stretched his web four times, and there found my enemy.

And there he bound his heart with his web, and bound his arms, and bound his bow and his arrows, and left him there in the state of a woman, with nothing to defend himself with. [202]

And he pushed me toward where he had left him, and I captured him very easily, and all his property, and all his children.

You, my relatives, may not like the noise of our rejoicing, but it is only for a short time that we rejoice over the enemy.”

And they camped out another night, and another one spoke, and he said:

“I was lying in ashes, and praying the distant mountains for strength, and the far doctors for power.

And there was a Sun that rose from the east and followed the western road.

And all the four-footed animals met together and called themselves relatives, and all the birds met together and called themselves relatives, and in this order followed the Sun.

And the Sun rose again, and brought me the See-hee-vit-tah Feather, the Sunbeam, to wear on my head, and hugged me up to him.

And the Sun rose again, and brought the Blue Fog, and in the fog took me toward the enemy.

But instead of taking me to the enemy it took me up into the sky, to the Yellow Crow.

And the Yellow Crow, as a powerful mahkai, went down to the enemy and divided their land four times, and slew the human beings, and painted the rocks over beautifully with their blood.

And from there I went to the Yellow Spider, living on the back of the mound at the North, and asked him to help me. [203]

And he stretched his web four times, and found my enemy, and bound him, and pushed me toward him, and I took him, and all his, captive, and came home rejoicing.

So, my relatives, think of this, that there will be victory. You may not like the noise of our rejoicing, but it is only for a short time that we rejoice over the enemy.”

And they went toward the mountains where the Apaches live, and camped there, and there were empty Apache houses there, and one of them spoke using himself figuratively as a type of his people:

“Perhaps these Apaches have gone from here to my house, and have killed me and have dragged me thru the waters we passed coming here, and have beaten me with all the sticks we saw on the road, and have thrown ashes over me, and maybe these are my bones that lie here, and this dry blood is my blood.

This has been done, my relatives, and there in the East is a Vahahkkee of Light, and within it there is a Butcher-bird of Light.

And I asked the Butcher-bird for power, and he followed his Road of Light, and touched the ground four times with his tail, and came to me.

And he went on the road that is lighted by a mahkai, and following that reached my enemy.

And my enemy thought himself a good dreamer, and that his dreams were fulfilled for good, and that he had a good bow with a good string, and good cane arrows, but the Butcher-bird had already [204]punched his eyes out without his knowing it.

And all the animals and birds of the Apaches think they have good eyes to see with, but the Butcher-bird has punched their eyes out without their knowing it.

And the winds of the Apaches think they have sharp eyes, and the clouds of the Apaches think themselves sharp-eyed, but the Butcher-bird has punched their eyes out without their knowing it.

So he treated the enemy like that, and left him there as a woman, and then pushed me toward him, and I went and captured him easily.

And I gathered all the property, and all the captives, and, turning back, looked ahead of me and found the country all springy with water, and wasps flying, and I followed them.

And ahead of me was a road with many flowers, and a butterfly that beautifully spread itself open and led the way, and I followed.

And I brought the dead enemy home, and from there the news spread all over my country.

So, my relatives, think of this, that there will be victory.

And you may not like the sound of our rejoicing, but it is only for a short time that we rejoice over our enemy.” [205]


Notes on the Story of the Gambler’s War

In this we are given wonderful glimpses into the strange, fierce, sad, extravagant poetry of the Indian speeches, which seem oftenest inspired by the passion of revenge. Notice that in these stories, if several speeches are given in any one story, they generally have a quite similar ending, a sort of refrain: “So, my relatives,” etc.

This story ends abruptly, and is, I think, manifestly only a fragment. Following the speeches, which were mere boastful prophecies, should have been an account in detail of the actual campaign, as in the story of Pahtahnkum’s war. [206]


The Story of Nahvahchoo

Ee-ee-toy was once wandering along when he found some moss that had been left there ever since the flood, and he stood and looked at it, wondering how he could make it into a human being.

And while he watched it the sun breathed on it, and it became not a man, but a turtle.

And he wandered on again and found some driftwood, and while he stood wondering how to make it into a human being, the sun breathed on it, and it became a man, but he could not see its face, which was covered as with a mask.

And the turtle and the masked man, thus created, went westward, and came to a Blue Vahahkkee, and they went in and staid all night.

In the morning, when the sun rose, they were frightened at the blue beams that shone thru the vahahkkee, and they left.

And after going a little way they came to a Black Road, and Black Birds flew over them to keep them from being seen.

And they came to a Black Night. In that night was a Black Bow, which stretched as if it were going to shoot them, so that they were afraid to lie down all night.

And the next day they came to a Blue Road, and a flock of Blue Birds flew over them, and all around, striking them. [207]

After a while they came to a Blue Night, and in the night was a Blue Bow, which stretched itself threateningly at them, as the Black Bow had done the night before.

And they could not sleep for fear that night, either; and the next day they came to a White Road, and a flock of White Birds followed them, striking them.

And they came to a White Night, and in that night was a White Bow, which threatened them as the others had done, so that again they could not sleep.

And the next day they had a similar experience, only it was a Yellow Road, with Yellow Birds, and a Yellow Night with a Yellow Bow.

The next day there was no danger any more, and they went on and came to a mountain, Co-so-vah-taw-up-kih, or Twisted Neck Mountain, and there the Nahvahchoo (masked man), having run ahead, left the turtle behind, and when evening came sat down and waited for the turtle to come up. But the turtle was too far behind, and when night came stopped where he was, and made a fire, and made corn and pumpkins, and roasted the corn and set the pumpkins around the fire, as the Indians do, to scorch them before putting them in the ashes.

And Nahvahchoo heard the popping sound of the cooking, and came running back, and tried to steal a piece of the fire to have one of his own, but the turtle would not let him. And so the [208]Nahvahchoo went off and made a fire of his own, and corn and pumpkins of his own, and cooked them as the turtle had done.

In the morning, after they had feasted on the pumpkin and corn, the turtle, Wee-hee-kee-nee, sank down and went under the earth to the ocean, and made that his home, and Nahvahchoo sank down and went in the same direction, but not so far, coming up on the sea shore.

And Nahvahchoo went along the sea-shore, toward the east, till he came to a great deal of driftwood, and many flowers, and handled all these, and got their strength, and made his home in the east.

One day Nahvahchoo heard the earth shaking, and ran out of his house to try and find where the shaking came from, and he went south and did not feel it, and went west and felt it a little, and went north and felt it more. And so he ran back and put on his mask, and took his bow, and went north. And the first time he stopped and listened he heard it somewhat, and the next time he heard it more, and the third time still more, and the fourth time he came to where many people were singing the song Wah-hee-hee-vee, and dancing the dance Vee-pee-nim, in which the dancers wear gourd masks, on their faces, pierced full of little holes to let the light thru.

And they were dancing, too, the dance Kawk-spahk-kum, in which the dancers wear a cloth mask, like Nahvahchoo, with a little gourd, full of holes, over the mouth-hole, to sing thru. [209]

And they were dancing also the dance Tawt-a-kum, in which the dancer wears a bonnet of cloth, and a mask like Nahvahchoo does.

And the people sitting around in these dances had little rods which they rubbed upon notched sticks, in time to the singing and the dancing.

At first Nahvahchoo was greatly excited by all this dancing, for all these people seemed to do nothing else but sing and dance, and make the rods and notched sticks and stand them up in bunches; but after a few days he began to think of game, for he was a great hunter, and he went out and found the tracks of a deer.

And measuring these with his arrow he laughed, covering his mouth with his hand, and said: “This deer will not run very fast, I could catch him myself.” For a deer that measures a good way between his tracks is long-bodied, and cannot run fast, while a deer that measures short between tracks has a short body, and jumps quicker.

And he followed the deer, which heard him coming, and began to run, and when Nahvahchoo saw by its tracks that it was running, he ran, too, and getting on a hill saw the dust of its running away off; and he ran after it, and when he came to the next hill it was close, and he ran down, and killed it, and took it back to the singers, and they fell ravenously upon it and ate it all up, not leaving him even the bones.

Nahvahchoo sat off a little way and watched them, and one of their speakers addressed him, [210]and said: “We know you, who you are. You are a great doctor, and a great hunter, and a great farmer, and a powerful man every way. And maybe you expected us to join in your hunt and help you carry the game. But we want you to join us, and become a singer, and you will have plenty of corn and beans to eat, and you will find that such food will last, while, as you see, the game, when you bring it in, lasts but a little while.”

So Nahvahchoo staid with them and became a singer, and after a while the people told him to go to a certain vahahkkee, and said: “You will find something there with which you will be pleased. And then go to the opposite one, and you will find that with which you will be still more pleased.

And one of these vahahkkees was called See-pook (Red-bird) Vahahkkee and the other was named Wah-choo-kook-kee (Oriole) Vahahkkee.—But tho they told him to go to these they did not allow him to do so, but one day he slipped away, when they were not looking, and opened one, and saw in it many wonderful things, clouds forming and sprinkling all the time; and in the other it was the same.

And one was covered with red flowers, and the other with yellow flowers, and where they came together the mingling of red and yellow was very pretty.

At the door of each vahahkkee was a corn-mill. [211]And he stole one of these and went west. But after a while he stopped and said: “I wonder what is going to happen, for the east is all green and the west is of the same color.”

But he ran on, and the clouds came over him, and it began to sprinkle, and then to rain, and then the water began to run, and get deeper and deeper, and he said: “This is happening to me because I stole this mill, but I am not going to let it go, I am going to keep it.”

And he ran on and came to where he had separated from Weeheekeenee, and went on and over Cosovahtawupkih, the Twisted Neck Mountain.

And on that mountain he felt rather faint, and put his hand in his pouch and found a root and chewed it, the root Cheek-kuh-pool-tak, and breathed it out, and it stopped raining.

And he went on to the Quojata Mountain, and sat there and took a smoke; and then on to Ahn-naykum; and then to Odchee, where he left the mill; and then to Kee-ahk Toe-ahk, where he also rested and took a smoke; and then he went home.

And when Nahvahchoo arrived home he made a speech:

“Where shall we hear the talk that will make us drunk and dizzy with the flowers of eloquence?

There was near the water the driftwood lying, and from above the sun breathed down and a being was made.

And it was the beautiful daybreak that I took and wiped its face with, and the remains of darkness that I painted its face with. [212]

And there were all kinds of bird’s feathers that I made a feather bonnet from.

And there were joining wasps that came and flapped on the bonnet.

And there were many butterflies that flapped their wings upon the bonnet, upon its feathers.

And it was from the rainbow that I made its bow, and from the Milky Way that I made its arrow.

From a red skin it was that I made its saw-suh-buh, to cover its arm for the bow-string not to injure it.

And it was a red kuess-kote that I made and put in its hair to scratch with.

And it was the gray fog that I fastened in its shoulders for its mantle.

And the strong wind it was that I used for its girdle, around its waist.

In the middle of the earth lay a square water moss, and the sun breathed on it and it turned into a creature, a turtle.

And from there the Driftwood-Being went west with it.

From there they went westward and watched the sun rise in the Blue Vahahkkee, and were frightened, and returned.

From there they came to a Black Road, and Black Birds followed them, and to a Black Night wherein a Black Bow frightened them.

And from there they came to a Blue Road, with Blue Birds following, and to a Blue Night with a Blue Bow to frighten them. [213]

And from there they came to a White Road with White Birds following, and a White Night with a White Bow to threaten them.

And the next day it was a Yellow Road and Yellow Birds, and after that a Yellow Night and a Yellow Bow.

And there was a square water full of ice, and he went around it four times.

And there he found Seepook Vahahkkee, with its red flowers, and Wahchookookkee Vahahkkee with its yellow flowers, and there he got the everlasting corn-mill, and went westward and strengthened himself four times.

And as he went westward there came a wind which felt good and refreshed him, and pleasant clouds that sprinkled him with water, and then there was rain, and the rattling of running water, and he went on his road rejoicing.

And he reached the Twisted Neck Mountain, and there he felt faint a little, and took from his pouch the root Cheekkuhpooltak, and chewed it, and breathed it out, and was refreshed and went on.

And he refreshed himself four times and went on, and found Tonedum Vahahkkee, the Vahahkkee of Light, and there he gave his power to the people who were gathered together, and said: ‘My relatives, I want you to think of this, that our country will be more beautiful and produce more, because you know our country will not hereafter be what it has been’.”

And he made another speech: [214]

“It was after the creation of the earth, and there was a mud vahahkkee, and inside of it lay a piece of wood burning at one end, and by it stood a cane-tube pipe, smoking, and we inhaled the smoke, and then we saw things clearer and talked about them.

In the West there was a Black Mocking Bird, and from him I asked power, and he brought the news and spread it over all the earth, and to every hill and every mountain and every tree, that the earth would stand still, but it did not, it still moved.

(And you, Black Mocking Bird, take back your Black Winds, and your Black Clouds, and stay where you are, and your relatives may sometimes come to you for power.)

And in the South there was a Blue Mocking Bird, and I asked it for power, and it stretched the news over all the earth, and over every hill and every mountain, and to every tree, that the earth stood still, but it did not, it still moved.

In the East was a Mocking Bird of Light, and I asked it for power, and it stretched the news over all the earth, and to every hill, mountain and tree, that the earth stood still, but it still moved.

And Above there was darkness, where lived the Feather Nested Doctor, who is famous for his power, and I asked him for power, and he spread the news, as the others had done, but the earth still moved. [215]

And in the North lived a Yellow Spider, and I asked him for power, and he stretched his news, and made his web, and tied the earth up with it, and made a fringe like a blanket fringe at each corner, and laid his arrows over it.

The fringe at the West corner he made black, and covered it with the Black Vahahkkee to hold it down; and he put the blue fringe at the South corner, and over it the Blue Vahahkkee to hold it down, and he put the black arrows over the Black Vahahkkee, and the blue arrows over the Blue Vahahkkee.

And in the East he put the Vahahkkee of Light over the fringe and the arrows of light over it.

And after all this was done the earth stood still.

And after this is done you are carried away like a child, and are set down facing the East, and your heart comes out towards it, and can be seen going up and down till it reaches it.

And over the land your seed shall spring up and grow, and have good stalks and many flowers, and have good wide leaves and heads of good seeds.

And after the seed is ripe they will take it and put it away and grind it with sunbeams, and the boys and girls shall eat and be happy, and all the old men and women shall eat it and lengthen their lives.” [216]


Notes on the Story of Nahvahchoo

The story of Nahvahchoo was celebrated till lately among the Pimas by dancing games, resembling those described in this story, the players wearing masks and gourds, and rattling notched sticks, one of them impersonating Nahvahchoo himself.

In the reference to the earth’s moving, in one of the speeches, one might suspect a glimpse of true astronomical knowledge, but this is likely only a poetic figure.

The “everlasting corn will” reminds a little of the old folk-lore tale of the everlasting salt mill whose continuous grinding makes the ocean salt. [217]


The Story of Corn and Tobacco1

There was a powerful mahkai who had a daughter, who, tho old enuf, was unmarried, and who grew tired of her single life and asked her father to bury her, saying, we will see then if the men will care for me.

And from her grave grew the plant tobacco, and her father took it and smoked it and when the people who were gathered together smelled it they wondered what it was, and sent Toehahvs to find out.

But, altho the tobacco still grew, the woman came to life again and came out of her grave back to her home.

And one day she played gainskoot with Corn, and Corn beat her, and won all she had. But she gave some little things she did not care for to Corn, and the rest of her debt she did not pay, and they quarreled.

She told Corn to go away, saying; “Nobody cares for you, now, but they care a great deal for me, and the doctors use me to make rain, and when they have moistened the ground is the only time you can come out.”

And the Corn said: “You don’t know how much the people like me; the old as well as the young eat me, and I don’t think there is a person that [218]does not like me.” And Corn told Tobacco to go away herself.

There were people there who heard them quarreling, and tho Tobacco staid on, whenever she would be in a house and hear people laughing she would think they were laughing at her. And she became very sad, and one day sank down in her house and went westward and came to a house there.

And the person who lived there told her where to sleep, saying, “Many people stop here, and that is where they sleep.”

But she said: “I am travelling, and no one knows where I am, and if any one follows me, and comes here, you tell them that you saw me, that I left very early in the morning and you do not know which way I went.” And she told him that she did not know herself which way she would go, and at night, when she went to bed, she brought a strong wind, and when she wanted to leave she sank down and went westward, and the wind blew away all her tracks.

And she came to the Mohaves and lived there in a high mountain, Cheof Toe-ahk, or tall mountain, which has a cliff very hard to climb, but Tobacco stood up there.

And after Tobacco had gone, Corn remained, but when corn-planting time came none was planted, because there was no rain. And so it went on—all summer, and people began to say: “It is so, when Tobacco was here, we had plenty of [219]rain, and now we have not any, and she must have had wonderful power.”

And the people scolded Corn for sending Tobacco away, and told him to go away himself, and then they sent for Tobacco to come back, that they might have rain again.

And Corn left, going toward the east, singing all the way, taking Pumpkin with him, who was singing too, saying they were going where there was plenty of moisture.

And the next year there was no water, and a powerful doctor, Gee-hee-sop, took the Doctor’s Stone of Light, and the Doctor’s Square Stone, and some soft feathers, and eagle’s-tail feathers, and went to where Tobacco lived, asking her to come back, saying “We are all suffering for water, and we know you have power to make it rain, And every seed buried in the ground is begging for water, and likely to be burned up, and every tree is suffering, and I want you to come.”

Then Tobacco said: “What has become of Corn? He is still with you, and corn is what you ought to eat, and everybody likes it, but nobody cares for me, except perhaps some old man who likes to smoke me, and I do not want to go back, and I am not going!”

But Geeheesop said: “Corn is not there now, he has gone away, and we do not know where he is.” And again he asked Tobacco to come back but she refused, but gave him four balls of tobacco seed and said to him: “Take these [220]home with you, and take the dirt of the tobacco-worm, and roll it up, and put it in a cane-tube and smoke it all around, and you will have rain, and then plant the seed, and in four days it will come up; and when you get the leaves, smoke them, and call on the winds, and you will have clouds and plenty of rain.”

So Geeheesop went home with the seed balls, and tobacco-worm dirt, and did as Tobacco had told him; and the smoking of the dirt brought rain, and the seeds were planted in a secret place, and in four days came up, and grew for a while, but finally were about to die for want of rain.

Then Geeheesop got some of the leaves and smoked them, and the wind blew, and rain came, and the plants revived and grew till they were ripe.

When the tobacco was ripe Geeheesop gathered a lot of the leaves and filled with them one of the gourd-like nests which the woodpecker, koh-daht, makes in the har-san, or giant-cactus, and then took a few of these and put them in a cane-tube pipe, or watch-kee, and went to where the people gathered in the evening.

And the doctor who was the father of Tobacco said: “What is this I smell? There is something new here!”

And one said, “Perhaps it is some greens that I ate today that you smell,” and he breathed toward him.

But the mahkai said, “That is not it.[221]

And others breathed toward him, but he could not smell it.

Then Geeheesop rolled a coal toward himself, and lit up his pipe, and the doctor said: “This is what I smelled!”

And Geeheesop, after smoking a few whiffs, passed the pipe around to the others, and all smoked it, and when it came back to him he stuck it in the ground.

And the next night he came with a new pipe to the place of meeting, but the father of Tobacco said: “Last night I had a smoke, but I did not feel good after it.”

And all the others said: “Why we smoked and enjoyed it.”

But the man who had eaten the greens kah-tee-kum, the day before, said: “He does not mean that he did not enjoy the smoke, but something else troubled him after it, and I think it was that when we passed the pipe around we did not say ‘My relatives,’ ‘brother,’ or ‘cousin,’ or whatever it was, but passed it quietly without using any names.”

And Tobacco’s father said “Yes, that is what I mean.”

(And from that time on all the Pimas smoked that way when they came together, using a cane-tube pipe, or making a long cigarette of corn-husk and tobacco, and passing it around among relatives.)

So Geeheesop lit his pipe and passed it around [222]in the way to satisfy the doctor.

And the people saved the seeds of that tobacco, and to day it is all over the land.

And the Corn and the Pumpkin had gone east, and for many years they lived there, and the people they had left had no corn, and no pumpkins; but after a while they returned of themselves, and came first to the mountain Tahtkum, and lived there a while, and then crossed the river and lived near Blackwater, at the place called Toeahk-Comalk, or White Thin Mountain, and from there went and lived awhile at Gahkotekih or, as it is now called, Superstition Mountain.

While they lived at Gahkotekih there was a woman living near there at a place called kawt-kee oy-ee-duck who, with her younger brother, went to Gahkotekih to gather and roast the white cactus, and while they were doing this Corn saw them from the mountain and came down.

And the boy saw him and said: “I think that is my uncle coming,” but his sister said, It cannot be, for he is far away. If he were here the people would not be starving as now.”

But the boy was right, it was his uncle, and Corn came to them and staid with them while the cactus was baking. And after awhile, as he sat aside, he would shoot an arrow up in the air, and it would fall whirling where the cooking was, and he would go and pick it up.

Finally he said to the woman: “Would you [223]not better uncover the corn and see if it is cooked yet?” And she said: “It is not corn, it is cactus.”

Again, after a while, he said: “Would you not better uncover the pumpkin and see if it is done?” And she replied: “It is not pumpkin, we are baking, it is cactus.” But finally he said “Well, uncover it anyway,” and she uncovered it, and there were corn and pumpkin there, together, all nicely mixed and cooked, and she sat staring at it, and he told her to uncover it more, and she did so and ate some of it.

And then he asked about the Tobacco woman, if she were married yet, and she said, “No, she is not married, but she is back with us again, now.”

Then he asked her to send the little boy ahead and tell the people that Corn was coming to live with them again. But first the little boy was to go to the doctor who was the father of Tobacco, and see if he and his daughter wanted Corn to return. If they did he would come, and if they did not he would stay away. And he wanted the boy to come right back and tell what answer he got.

So the little boy went, and took some corn with him to the doctor, and said: “Corn sent me, and he wants your daughter, and he wants to know if you want him. If you do he will return, but if you do not he will turn back again. And he wants me to bring him word what you say.” [224]

And the mahkai said “I have nothing to say against him. I guess he knows the people want corn. Go and tell him to come.”

And Corn said: “Go back to the doctor and tell him to make a little kee, as quick as he can, and to get the people to help him, and to cover it with mats instead of bushes, and to let Tobacco go there and stay there till I come.

And tell all the people to sweep their houses, and around their houses, and if anything in their houses is broken, such as pots, vahs-hroms, to turn them right side up. For I am coming back openly; there will be no secret about it.”

So the little boy went back and told the doctor all that Corn had told him to say, and the doctor and the people built the kee, and Tobacco went there, and the people swept their houses and around them as they were told.

And before sunset the woman came home with the corn and pumpkins she had cooked at the mountain, but Corn staid out till it was evening.

And when evening came there was a black cloud where Corn stood, and soon it began to rain corn, and every little while a big pumpkin would come down, bump. And it rained corn and pumpkins all night, while Corn and his bride were in their kee, and in the morning the people went out and gathered up the corn from the swept place around their houses.

And so Corn and Pumpkin came back again.

The people gathered up all the corn around [225]their houses, and all their vessels, even their broken ones, which they had turned up, were full, and their houses were soon packed full of corn and pumpkins.

So Corn lived there with his wife, and after a while Tobacco had a baby, and it was a little crooked-necked pumpkin, such as the Pimas call a dog-pumpkin.

And when the child had grown a little, one day its father and mother went out to work in the garden, and they put the little pumpkin baby behind a mat leaning against the wall. And some children, coming in, found it there, and began to play with it for a doll, carrying it on their backs as they do their dolls. And finally they dropped it and broke its neck.

And when Corn came back and found his baby was broken he was angry, and left his wife, and went east again, and staid there awhile, and then bethought him of his pets, the blackbirds, which he had left behind, and came back to his wife again.

But after awhile he again went east, taking his pets with him, scattering grains of corn so that the blackbirds would follow him.

Corn made this speech while he was in the kee with Tobacco:

In the East there is the Tonedum Vahahkkee, the Vahahkkee of Light, where lives the great doctor, the king fisher.

And I came to Bives-chool, the king fisher, [226]and asked him for power, and he heard me asking, and flew up on his kee, and looked toward the West, and breathed the light four times, and flew and breathed again four times, and so on—flying four times and breathing after each flight four times, and then he sat over a place in the ground that was cut open.

And in the West there was a Bluebird, and when I asked him for power he flew up on his kee, and breathed four times, and then flew toward the East, and he and Biveschool met at the middle of the earth.

And Biveschool asked the Bluebird to do some great thing to show his power, and the Bluebird took the blue grains of corn from his breast and then planted them, and they grew up into beautiful tall corn, so tall its tops touched the sky and its leaves bowed over and scratched the ground in the wind.

And Biveschool took white seeds from his breast, and planted them, and they came up, and were beautiful to be seen, and came to bear fruit that lay one after another on the vine—these were pumpkins.

And the beautiful boys ran around among these plants, and learned to shout and learned to whistle, and the beautiful girls ran around among these plants and learned to whistle.

And the relatives heard of these good years, and the plenty to eat, and there came a relative leading her child by the hand, who said: “We [227]will go right on, for our relatives must have plenty to eat, and we shall not always suffer with hunger.

So these came, but did not eat it all, but returned.

So my relatives, think of this, that we shall not suffer with hunger always.”

And Corn made another speech at that time to Tobacco’s father:

“Doctor! Doctor! have you seen that this earth that you have made is burning! The mountains are crumbling, and all kinds of trees are burning down.

And the people over the land which you have made run around, and have forgotten how to shout, and have forgotten how to walk, since the ground is so hot and burning.

And the birds which you have made have forgotten how to fly, and have forgotten how to sing.

And when you found this out you held up the long pinion feathers, mah-cheev-a-duck, toward the East, and there came the long clouds one after the other.

And there in those clouds there were low thunderings, and they spread over the earth, and watered all the plants, and the roots of all the trees; and everything was different from what it had been.

Every low place and every valley was crooked, but the force of the waters straightened them out, and there was driftwood on all the [228]shores: and after it was over every low place and every valley had foam in its mouth.

And in the mouth stood the Doctor, and took the grains from his breast, and planted them, and the corn grew and was beautiful. And he went on further, to another low valley, and planted other seeds, and the pumpkin grew and was beautiful.

And its vine to the West was black and zigzag in form, and to the South was blue and zigzag in form, and to the East was white and zigzag in form, and to the North was yellow and zigzag in form.

So everything came up, and there was plenty to eat, and the people gathered it up, and the young boys and girls ate and were happy, and the old men and the old women ate and lengthened even their few days.

So think of this, my relatives, and know that we are not to suffer with hunger always.”

And the Dog-Pumpkin Baby lay there broken, after Corn went away, but after awhile sank down and went to Gahkotekih, and grew up there, and became the Harsan or Giant Cactus.

And the mother and grandfather could not find the Dog-Pumpkin Baby, and called the people together, and Toehahvs was asked to find it, and he smelled around where it had been, and went around in circles.

And he came to where the Giant Cactus was and thought it was the baby, but was not sure, [229]and so came back, and told them he could not find it.

And they wanted Nooee to go, and Toehahvs said to Nooee: “I did see something, but I was not quite sure, but I want you to examine that Giant Cactus.”

So Nooee flew around and around and examined the Giant Cactus and came back, and when the people questioned him said: “I have found it and it is already full-grown, and I tell you I think something good will happen to us because of it.”

And when the Cactus had fruit the people gathered it, and made tis-win, and took the seeds and spread them out in the sun.

And the Badger stole these seeds, and when the people knew it they sent Toehahvs after the thief.

And Toehahvs went and saw Badger ahead of him in the road, and saw him go out and around and come into the road again and come toward him.

And when they met, Toehahvs asked him what he had in his hand. And Badger said “I have something, but I’m not going to show you!”

Then Toehahvs said: “If you’ll only just open your hand, so I can see, I’ll be satisfied.”

And Badger opened his hand, and Toehahvs hit it a slap from below, and knocked the seeds all around, and that is why the giant cactus is now so scattered. [230]


Notes on the Story of Corn and Tobacco

In the Story of Corn and Tobacco we touch the superstitions about rain, the most desired thing in the desert. The mahkais used tobacco in their incantations, both for curing sickness and for making rain. It would appear that the Piman mind confused clouds of smoke and clouds of vapor, and because tobacco made clouds it was probably supposed to be potent in begetting rain. The Pimas told me that the Doctor’s Square Stone was used in the incantations for rain, and there appears to have been a connection in Piman thought between feathers and clouds, and therefore between feathers and rain, and it will be noticed that when Geeheesop went to get Tobacco’s help in making rain he took feathers and both kinds of Doctor-stone.

This story seems to profess to give the origin of tobacco, giant cactus and of tiswin. [231]

1 Read before the Anthropological Society of Philadelphia, May 11, 1904.


The Story of the Children of Cloud

There was a woman who lived in the mountains, who was very beautiful, and had many suitors, but she never married anyone.

And one day she was making mats of cane; and she fell asleep and a rain came and a drop fell on her navel.

And she had twin babies, and all the men claimed them, but when the babies were old enuf to crawl she told all the claimants to get in a circle, and she would put the babies in the middle, and if they crawled up to any man he would be the father.

But the babies climbed upon nobody, and she never married.

And when these twin boys were old enuf their mother showed them a cloud in the east, and said: “That is your father, and his name is Cloud, and the Wind is your uncle, your father’s older brother.”

But the children paid little attention, but when they got older they asked their mother if they could go and see their father. And their mother let them go.

And they went, and came to a house, and the man who lived there asked them where they were going, and they said they were looking for their father, whose name was Cloud.

And the man pointed to the next house, and [232]said: “That man, there, is your father.”

And they went to that man, but he said: “It is not so. He is your father. He is Cloud,” and sent them back again.

But the first man sent them back once more to the second, who was really Cloud.

And Cloud said, that time; “I wonder if it is so that you are my children!”

And the boys said: “That is what they say.”

And Cloud said: “I want you to do something to prove it.”

Then the oldest boy thundered loud and lightened, and the other lightened a little, and Cloud said, “It is true, you are my children!”

And before night Cloud fed them, and then went into his kee and shut it up and left them outside all night. And it rained and snowed all night, but they staid outside.

And in the morning Cloud came out, and said: “It is really so, that you are my children.”

And the next night he took them to a pond, where there was ice, and left them there all night. And the next day, when he came there and found they had staid in the water all night he said: “It is really so—you are my children.”

So Cloud acknowledged them for his children and took them into his kee. And after awhile the boys wanted to go back to their mother, and Cloud said: “You may go, but you must not speak to anybody on the way. And I will be with you on the journey.” [233]

So the boys started, and cloud was over them, in the sky, shadowing them.

And after a while they saw a man coming, and the younger boy said: “We must ask him how our mother is.”

But the older brother said: “Don’t you remember that our father told us not to speak to anyone?”

The younger said: “Yes, I remember, but it would not be right not ask how our mother is.”

So when the man came the boy asked: “How is everybody at home, and how is the old woman, our mother?”

And then the cloud above them lightened and thundered, and they were both turned into century plants. [234]


Notes on the Story of Cloud

In Emory’s report, before alluded to, also in Captain Johnston’s, we find variants of The Story of the Children of Cloud. Thristy Hawk, the Maricopa, told Emory “that in bygone days a woman of surpassing beauty resided in a green spot in the mountains, near where we were encamped. All the men admired and paid court to her. She received the tributes of their devotion, grain, skins, etc., but gave no love or other favor in return. Her virtue and her determination to remain unmarried were equally firm. There came a drought which threatened the world with famine. In their distress, people applied to her, and she gave corn from her stock, and the supply seemed endless.... One day as she was lying asleep with her body exposed, a drop of rain fell on her stomach, which produced conception. A son was the issue, who was the founder of a new race which built all these houses” (ruins, vahahkkees).

Johnston has it: “The general asked a Pima who made the house I had seen. ‘It is the Caza de Montezuma,’ said he, ‘it was built by the son of the most beautiful woman, who once dwelt in yon mountain; she was fair, and all the handsome men came to court her, but in vain; when they came, they paid tribute, and out of this small store she fed all the people in time of distress, and it did not diminish; at last, as she lay asleep, a drop of rain fell upon her navel, and she became pregnant, and brought forth a boy, who was the builder of all these houses.”

The seeneeyawkum gives her twins but knew nothing of any story of their children or of these buildings, the vahahkkees. [235]


The Story of Tcheunassat Seeven

Stcheuadack Seeven wanted to gamble with Tcheunassat Seeven, who lived at Kawtkee Oyyeeduck, and sent a man with an invitation to come and play against him, and bring all his wives.

And Tcheunassat Seeven said: “I will go, for my wives are used to travelling, and we will take food, and will camp on the road, and day after tomorrow, about evening, we will be there.”

So the messenger went back with this word, and in the morning Tcheunassat Seeven got his lunch ready, and he and his wives started; and the first night camped at Odchee, and the next day came to the little mountain, near Blackwater, called Sahn-a-mik, and they crossed Ak-kee-mull, The River, the Gila, there, and Tcheunassat Seeven told his wives to wash their hair and clean themselves there, and then he told them to go ahead to Stcheuadack Seeven while he took his bath. And while he bathed they went on and came to Stcheuadack Seeven’s house, where he was singing and his wives dancing.

Then the wives of Tcheunassat Seeven did not ask for invitation, but went right in and joined the dance, and went to Stcheuadack Seeven and took hold of his hand in the dance, pushing each other away to get it. [236]

And Stcheuadack Seeven thought from this that he would get all of Tcheunassat Seeven’s wives away from him.

Tcheunassat Seeven, after his bath, cut a piece of oapot wood and sharpened it, and split the other end into four pieces, and bent them over and tied the ends of crow’s feathers to them, and stuck it in his hair, and dipped his finger in white paint and made one little spot over each eye, which was all the paint he used, and then he went and watched his wives dancing and taking Stcheuadack Seeven’s hand.

And Stcheuadack Seeven asked them if that was their husband, and they said: “Yes, he is our husband. He is not very good-looking, but we care so much for him.”

Tcheunassat Seeven watched the dancing awhile and then stepped back a little and took out his rattle and began to sing. And at once everybody crowded around him, and all his wives came back to him, and finally all Stcheuadack Seeven’s wives came and contended for his hand, as his wives had been doing with Stcheuadack Seeven.

And this went on into the night, all dancing and having a good time, except Stcheuadack Seeven, who walked around looking at his wives dancing.

And finally he sent a message to the most beautiful of his wives (who had a beautiful daughter) and told him to tell her: “I am sleepy, [237]and I want you home now, and I want all my wives to go into the house.”

And she said: “I will come. I will tell my daughter, who is over there, and then we will come home.”

But she did not tell her daughter, and did not come home, and Stcheuadack Seeven waited awhile, and then found his messenger and asked him: “Did you tell her?”

And the messenger said: “I did.”

And he said: “Tell her again that I am waiting outside here, and I want her to come to me and we will go home.”

Then the messenger told the woman again, but she did not come, and Stcheuadack Seeven wandered around outside till morning.

And near morning Tcheunassat Seeven sang a beautiful song, and began to move toward his own home, dancing all the way, and all the women going before him.

And he did this till morning, and then stopped, and went home, taking all his own wives and all of Stcheuadack Seeven’s wives with him.

And Stcheuadack Seeven went home, when he saw this, and took his beautiful cloak all covered with live butterflies and humming-birds, and lay down, covering himself with it.

But four days after, Stcheuadack Seeven told the messenger to take this beautiful cloak to Tcheunassat Seeven, and ask him to send back that beautiful wife and her daughter, and to keep [238]the rest of the wives; and to keep the cloak and use that to marry more wives.

But Tcheunassat Seeven said to the messenger: “Tell him I do not want his cloak. I have one just like it, and I have all I want, and I will not send back any of his wives. It was his wish that we should gamble, and if he had been the better singer and had won my wives I would not have asked for any of them back.”

And now Tcheunassat Seeven appeared as a beautiful person, with long hair and turquoise ear-rings, and he said: “He need not think I always look as I did when I came to his dance. That was only to fool him.”

The beautiful daughter of the beautiful wife grew up, and Tcheunassat Seeven married her, too, and she had a baby.

And when Stcheuadack Seeven heard of it, he said: “I am going to punish him.” And he made a black spider and sent it thru the air.

And in the evening when the mother wanted to air her baby’s cradle, she took it out, and then the black spider got in the baby’s cradle and hid himself, and when the baby was put back the spider bit it, and it began to cry.

And its father and mother tried to pacify it, but could not, and when they took it out of the cradle, there they found the black spider.

And Tcheunassat Seeven sent word to Stcheuadack Seeven to come and see his grand-child, which was about to die, but Stcheuadack Seeven [239]said to the messenger: “What is the matter with Tcheunassat Seeven? He is a powerful doctor. Tell him to cure the child. I will not come. The bite of a black spider is poisonous, but it never kills anybody. Tell him to get some weeds on Maricopa Mountain and cure the child.” And he sent the messenger back again.

And Tcheunassat Seeven said: “How can I get those weeds when I do not know which ones are right and there are so many! I cannot go.”

And he did not go, and the child died. [240]


A Song of Tcheunassat Seeven

There stands a dead vahahkkee

On top of it there runs back and forth the Seeven

And he has a robe with yellow hand prints on it.


The Lark’s Song about his Lost Wife1

My poor wife!

In the West she seems to be bound by the song of the Bamboo.


1 This is a Pima flute-song, a record of which I obtained for my phonograph while in Arizona. It has no direct connection with the legends; but illustrates the Story of Tcheunassat Seeven a little, as it is about a woman, the wife of an Indian named the Lark, who is led away by the seductive singing of another Indian named the Bamboo; the Indians having an idea that women were most easily seduced by music. The Pimas, when they speak English, calling the wild cane bamboo.


The Legend of Blackwater

A little off from the road between Sacaton, and Casa Grande Ruins there is, or was in the old days, a mysterious pool of dark water, which the Indians regarded with superstitious awe.

They said it was of fathomless depth, that it communicated with the ocean, and that strange, monstrous animals at times appeared in it. There are Indians still living who declare they have seen them with their own eyes.

I visited this famous place once with my interpreter, Mr Wood. After galloping a while thru a mezquite forest we suddenly emerged upon its legendary shores. Alas, for the prosaic quality of fact! It was but a common-place water-hole, or spring-pond, a few rods across, with bogs and bulrushes in its center.

The unkindness of irrigation ditches, withdrawing its waters, revealed that like most bottomless pools of story it was very shallow indeed.

It was nearly dry.

Its name of Blackwater has been given to the nearby surrounding district.

This was the only trace of the common Indian superstition of water monsters I found among the Pimas.

Koo-a Kutch

The End



In this book of Pima legends, various errors with regard to Indian words have occurred which will be corrected in a second edition. These are principally as follows:

The rule was made that all Indian words should be printed the first time in italics, with hyphens to facilitate pronunciation; afterwards in roman type, without hyphens. This rule has many times been violated.

There is a lack of uniformity in the spelling, etc., of many of the Indian terms. Thus the name of the old seeneeyawkum has been spelled in different ways, but should always be Comalk Hawkkih. The name of the Creator should always be Juwerta Mahkai. The name of his subordinate should be Eeheetoy. Gee-ee-sop should be Geeheesop. Cheof should be Cheoff. Vah-kee-woldt-kee, as on page 8, should be Vahf-kee-woldt-kih as on page 112. Sah-kote-kee, on page 183, should be Sah-kote-kih, and Chirt-kee should be Chirt-kih. On page 224, vahs-shroms should be vahs-hroms. Tcheuassat Seeven (page 237) should be Tcheunassat Seeven. Stchenadack Seeven (page 238) should be Stcheuadack Seeven. Scheunassat Seeven, on page 239, should be Tcheunassat Seeven. In the story of the Turquoises and the Red Bird (page 99) the name of the chief who lived in the Casa Grande ruins should have been spelled with a u, instead of a w, to secure uniformity; also the Indian name of the turquoises. The name of the Salt River Mountain, wherever it occurs, should always be Moehahdheck.

Table of Contents



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The following corrections have been applied to the text:

Page Source Correction
N.A. ot of
4 chapparal chaparral
6 gygrate gyrate
8 granery granary
8 Vah-kee-woldt-kee Vahf-kee-woldt-kih
11 grease wood greasewood
14 ruthlesaly ruthlessly
14 vahahkees vahahkkees
19 Tcheu-nas-set Tcheu-nas-sat
19 Maricopias Maricopas
23 mesquite mezquite
23 inumerable innumerable
35 self-existant self-existent
35 Juhwertamahki Juhwertamahkai
39 mpossible impossible
41, 102 [Not in source]
42 .) ).
43 Ge-ee-sop Gee-ee-sop
43 receeded receded
45 Veeppismahl Veepismahl
45 humming bird humming-bird
53, 55, 72, 72, 89, 90, 92, 125, 132, 132, 150, 151, 195, 204, 239 , .
55, 90, 99, 220, 241 [Not in source] .
60 matate metate
60, 92 [Not in source] ,
65 the the the
66 arrrows arrows
72 Ahahnheteatoepahk Ahahnheeattoepahk
73 [Not in source] his
76 gemble gamble
76 Anahnheeattoepahk Ahahnheeattoepahk
78, 231 And and
84 moman woman
86 there their
86 forth fourth
89 paralellogram parallelogram
90 moderu modern
91 E-ee-toy’s Ee-ee-toy’s
91, 113, 133, 135, 168, 177, 184, 199, 215, 232, 232 . ,
92 fromthe from the
92 mauy many
93 grease-wood greasewood
93 raw hide rawhide
94 Grossmans Grossman’s
94 odopted adopted
94 pictnre picture
102 Turqoises Turquoises
105 exessive excessive
106, 170, 185, 185 [Not in source] to
109 thy they
110, 116 . :
111 [Not in source] :
111 Wont Won’t
111 shouder shoulder
111 begain began
112 canght caught
113 grand-children grandchildren
118 appeard appeared
118 foot balls footballs
124 thougth thought
127 Mahki Mahkai
128 Eee-ee-toy Ee-ee-toy
128 ènuf enuf
131 Killeed Killed
133 ; .
134 fethers feathers
135 excresence excrescence
139 [Not in source]
141 chocked choked
148, 166, 168, 169 Makai Mahkai
158 Tcheunasset Tcheunassat
163 Vahakkees Vahahkkees
167 killl kill
168 a-around around
169 wonted wanted
170 Gawksis Gawksiss
175 difderent different
176 are Are
177 but But
177 how what
183 usod used
183 Chirt-kee Chirt-kih
183 Sah-kote-kee Sah-kote-kih
188 grease-wood-gum greasewood gum
190 accontrements accoutrements
194 opposide opposite
196, 211 ; :
197 Tawquahdhamawks Tawquahdahmawks
197 ’. .’
197 docter doctor
198, 234 ’, ,’
199 thot thought
200 aud and
200 then them
215, 215, 215 Vahahkee Vahahkkee
220 Geeeesop Geeheesop
224 vahs-shroms vahs-hroms
227 strightened straightened
228 conld could
229 theif thief
232 aknowedged acknowledged
237 beautifui beautiful
237 Tcheuassat Tcheunassat
238 Tcheunassst Tcheunassat
238 Stchenadack Stcheuadack
239 Scheunassat Tcheunassat
241 surounding surrounding