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Native American Stories : San Carlos Apache , Creation Myth – First Version

Creation Myth

Myths and Tales from the San Carlos Apache

Creation Myth (First Version)

There were no people but there were some persons existing who were without parents. These were Bésh Diłhił Hastiin, Black Metal Old Man, Na’iłtł’oolechu Diłhiłn, Black Big Spider, Ńłchį Diłhiłn, Black Whirlwind, and Godiye, Mirage. Bésh Diłhiłn had no horse. Spider had no house but his dwelling place was where his web hung crosswise. Although there was neither earth nor sky Whirlwind had his home in the space between the earth and sky. Mirage had nothing on which to dwell but he trembled about where there was no earth and no sky.
These came together and talked about what there might be on which they could dwell. They said they would live on the sky and that they would also make the earth. They determined that there should be something. These four persons were discussing with each other how it should be done. Black Whirlwind did this way; he rubbed his hand over his breast and removed some of the cuticle. Taking this between his thumb and forefinger he asked how the earth should be. He pressed the cuticle between his thumb and finger repeatedly. He then walked to that which he had made and the earth nearly moved into his place. White Whirlwind came up to it and stood there. The earth moved a little way. Yellow Whirlwind came up to it and took his station. The earth moved nearly to its place. Blue Whirlwind went to it and stood by it. Then the earth that was to be settled to its place.
They now discussed what should support the earth. They concluded to make four supports for it of bésh diłhił. They added a black whirlwind to these to help hold it up. They all agreed it was satisfactory.
When they had finished the earth they began making something to live on it. They made coyotes and the birds which have wings but are like human beings. There were all kinds of birds living on the earth. Thus people of this sort existed. Because these people were not good water covered the whole earth.
Then Ests’unnadlehi went into a vessel of turquoise. She put in some seeds and the two grinding stones, and stopped the opening in the vessel with clay. She floated around in this on top of the water. When she struck the side of the vessel with the muller it rang “bibit.” As long as there was much water it made a sound like “bit” when it was struck. When the water was gone she hit it again and heard a sound like “dan.” Thinking then that the water was gone down she broke out the stopper and came out. There was nothing but a level plain of sand where she came out. There was nothing there, not even bushes. She sat down by herself and began to consider what would be. She went up on the mountains where the sun’s rays struck as the sun came up and took a position on here knees with her head turned away. Four times the sun refused to shine. Having tried in vain she came there the next day and did the same thing with the same lack of results. This was repeated on the third and fourth days. When she had done it four times on the fourth day the sun penetrated her and she was glad.
Ests’unnadlehi became pregnant and gave birth to a girl. When this girl had grown to some size her mother told her to seek a connection with someone. She directed her to go to the bluff where water was dripping. The girl went there and took a position on her knees. The water fell between her legs, but did not enter her. She went there and did the same way three times in vain. Then her mother put her in position and the water entered her.
She became pregnant and gave birth to a boy. She was called Nalįdiłhiłn, the boy was to be Naiyenezgani, and her mother was Ests’unnadlehi. There were these three.
He who was to be Naiyenezgani had a smooth head. He had no hair, ears, nose, teeth, or lips. He was also devoid of the ridge above his eyes as well as of eyebrows and eyelashes. His arms had no joints and he no fingers, just a flat hand. His legs were similarly without joints and his feet were undivided into toes. He had no nails on his hands or feet. He was just smooth and unformed. The woman was considering what should be.
“Where does my father live?” the boy asked his grandmother. She told him not to speak about it, since he lived in a dangerous place and one was not allowed to talk about him. He repeated his question three times and the fourth time, his grandmother still refused to tell him. “You must mean that one of your organs is dangerous,” the boy finally said.
He started away just by himself having only his own devices. She couldn’t discover by what means he knew the way, but she thought he must have something to guide him. He came where his father’s house could be seen. He sat down there and began to cry. While he was sitting there crying and wondering by what means he could get to his father’s house, a head was stuck out of a hole right beneath him. “Well, why are you crying?” a voice asked. The boy replied that he was on the way to his father’s house and was crying because he was trying to find a means of going there. Then the one who put his head out said that in the morning he would go from right where the boy was sitting to the house of the Sun. Promising to return and telling the boy to wait, Spider started away. He went to the house of the Black Sun and tied his thread to the door post. Then he came back and told the boy everything was ready and that his thread was fastened. He directed the boy to go on the string which he had stretched for him.
The boy went on this thread and came in front of his father’s house. When he got there he stood below the house. He could hear someone sitting inside the house. He heard him get up and go up to the top of the house. From there he looked down on the earth. While he was gone Naiyenezgani went right inside. A woman was sitting in an inner room. When she saw him she asked why he had come, at the same time telling him no one was allowed to come there. The boy replied that he had come to see his father. The woman warned him against saying that, telling him that his father was a dangerous man who had killed those who had claimed to be his children. She said this to him four times in vain. Finally she said, “Well, have it that you came to see your father;” and going into a corner she took up a white cloud and spread it down. Telling him to lie down on this blanket, she rolled him up in it and hid him. She told him that at sunset the Sun would come home on the sky and that the boy would hear a sound like “dil” when he landed on the top of his house. He would know by that that the Sun had returned.
He heard the Sun coming down and heard him land. The Sun asked his wife who had come there. She replied that no one had come; that she had seen no one. She told him this four times as the Sun repeated the question. Finally she said, “You are always saying you never do anything amiss where you go.” The woman went then where she had hidden the boy and brought him nearby and put him down. She opened out each way the blanket in which he was rolled. The boy then got up. “This boy called you his father; he said he came to see his father. It may be so,” the woman told her husband.
The Sun took his child by the hand and led him to the east where there was tobacco with which he killed people. The pipe was lying with the tobacco. He filled the pipe and held it up to the east where it became ignited without any visible means of lighting it. The boy drew smoke once and there was nothing but ashes to be seen. He went to the south where there was white tobacco with a white pipe lying in it. He filled the pipe and held it up to the south. It became lighted without visible means. He gave it to the boy who drew on it once and nothing but ashes appeared. Next he went to the west where there was another pipe and tobacco. This he lighted by lifting it up. The boy drew on the pipe and nothing but ashes remained. He now went to the north, where another pipe lay in tobacco. He filled the pipe and held it up. It became lighted without apparent means. He gave it to the boy who drew once on the pipe which was immediately white with ashes. This made four times that he had tried in vain with the tobacco that kills people. “It is true that you are my son,” he said.
He then went with him to the east to a place called sek’ǫ’ which was blazing with “sky fire.” The Sun caught the boy by his foot and swung him around, his head hanging down, and threw him into the “sky fire.” He pushed him down with a poker of bésh diłhił. The black sek’ǫ’ glowing red went through the sky with him. He went through the sky as a downy feather and turned back to a man, landing back by his shadow before the Sun moved. The same thing was done at the south where white sky fire was blazing out. He pushed him down with a poker of white bésh. Again he escaped. Next, they went to the west where there was a yellow fire and he was poked down with yellow bésh. Again he turned into a downy feather and came down on his shadow. Last they went to the north where the sky fire was blue and the poker was blue bésh. He blazed through the sky with blue flames and returned to his shadow by becoming a feather. He did this without killing his son. “You are surely my child,” he said. Some of the first people to come into existence were there. They acknowledged the boy as their grandson. “It is Naiyenezgani, our grandson,” they all said.
“Form my child for me,” the Sun asked of them. They prepared a sweatlodge with four stones and a pile of wood. The sun directed that the four stones be put on the fire. Those who had come went in with their grandson. Two of the stones were brought into the lodge. They went into the bath four times. When the skin all over his body became soft they pushed the skin of his flat hands back and formed his fingers. They made the lacking joints and made hair for him. They also made supra-orbital ridges and ears and a nose with nostrils. They made also lips and teeth and a chin. They provided a joint in his neck where before one was lacking and the boy had not been able to turn his head. They also made joints in his arms so his arms could be bent. They fashioned his toes in the same manner as they made his fingers, making them as people’s feet are now.
“Now train him for me so he may fight against those who are dangerous,” the Sun asked. They made for him moccasins and leggings of obsidian and an obsidian shirt and hat. They provide him with an obsidian warclub. Thus he was equipped to fight the dangerous ones. They made something which should sit by ear and tell him what to do and direct his travels. When he was thoroughly equipped they told his father that he was ready.
The boy was then told he might return where his grandmother was living. He went to his grandmother who greeted him. He lived there with her.
He had no bow and arrows. He began hunting about for something and found some reeds. He looked again and found a mulberry tree. He carried the material secured from their home. He made an arrow and straightened it. He provided it with a foreshaft and feathered the arrow with eagle’s plumes. He at first put on a single feather and shot at a cactus which was standing close by. He missed the cactus and concluded a single feather was not sufficient. He put on two feathers and tried again. He missed again. “Not good,” he said, “three will be used.” When he had put on three, he shot again. “Dhu,” he heard as the arrow went through the center.
“Where is there some flint to put on the end of the foreshaft?” he asked his grandmother. His grandmother told him not to say that. The boy replied that it was one of his grandmother’s organs that was dangerous. He went far in his search until he came to some flint. He picked it up and struck it with a stone. As he gathered up the pieces something called Bee Yiłgai ran at him. He stopped and waited for it. Just as it came up to him he thrust at it with a dagger. It ran on him and was broken to pieces. He gathered up the pieces, tied them up, and carried them home. When he came home he flaked a piece of flint and put it on the end of his arrow in that way making it sharp.
When he had finished the flint he asked his grandmother where on earth were those who killed people. He asked this because of what the one which sat by his ear had told him. “Grandmother, where does the one live who kicks people over the cliff?” he asked. His grandmother told him not to speak that way, that the person was dangerous and one was not allowed to mention him.
He started off under his own leadership. He had a blue fox as his pet. He put a yellow snake in the fold of his shirt. He hunted about and found a canyon where there was a wall of rock on either side. He went in between these walls and came to a trail which was used by people. He followed along the trail and soon came where a man was lying against the cliff. He had one leg over the knee of the other with his foot in the air. Naiyenezgani stopped close by and told the man to get up and let him pass. The man refused and remained in the same position. Naiyenezgani sent his pet, the blue fox, along the tail. As the fox was passing the man kicked with his foot but the fox jumped and the kick passed behind. Naiyenezgani jumped past and asked why he did that. He went around and did the same thing four times. The man kicked each time missing him. Naiyenezgani, reaching into the bosom of his shirt, pulled out the yellow snake and threw it on the man as he lay against the rock. When the snake fell near his head and rattled, the man cried out that he was afraid of that sort. As he jerked his head about Naiyenezgani pulled out his obsidian club. “Bau,” he heard, as he knocked the man down from the top of the cliff where he lay. He killed him. The monster was Tsidakełisi. Naiyenezgani went back and told his grandmother he had killed Tsidakełisi.
He asked his grandmother where Nagegani, he who kills people by looking at them, lived: “He lives is a dangerous place,” she replied. He started away hunting for him. That which sat by his ear told him where he lived. He came near to the place where the monster was sitting with his children.
Naiyenezgani produced a mirage so they could not see him. While they were watching here where he was not, he went around and came down on them. The young ones saw him standing close by and told their father some man had come to them. The father told them to look at the visitor. Sitting there in a line they looked at him. He began to feel disturbed in his mind. His eyes in which they were looking did move. His mind was affected. When he was about to die he took his life medicine and put it in his mouth and recovered. He had something in the fold of his blanket which would explode. He took this out and put four pieces in the fire which encircled the place. He heard a noise like “chil” and the pieces flew in their faces. The fragments went into the eyes of all of them. They rubbed their eyes but not one of them could see anything. Naiyenezgani went up to them with his club and hit them, killing them. He went back where his grandmother lived.
“Where does black-tailed deer live? How does one do when he has killed one?” he asked his grandmother. “Do not butcher it under a piñon tree,” she told him. He went away again and hunted for a deer. He came to mountain far away where he hunted about. He came up to a deer at which he shot with an arrow, killing it. He killed it in an open place. Wondering why his grandmother had warned him not to do so, he seized the deer by a hind foot and dragged it to piñon which stood a little way down the hill. Then he dragged it up the slope to the shade of the piñon. He drew out his knife, turned the deer on its back and held it by one foreleg while he cut it down the breast and belly. When he had cut it open in that manner he removed the skin. He spread out the skin at one side and cut off both the front legs. He laid those down over there. He then cut off the hind legs and put them down. When he was cutting out the stomach and intestines some cold water was dripping on him. Wondering what was doing it to him he looked up above the piñon. He thought there might be a cloud but there was only blue sky. He thought something up there in the sky might be rotting and falling on him. He bent down and was pulling the intestines out when water fell on him again. When he looked up again he saw a beautiful girl sitting on the top of the piñon. When she saw him she called “my husband” and lifted up her skirt. She began to descend the tree. When she was nearly down he discovered her privates were provided with teeth. He grabbed up the second stomach and ran away dragging it along. The girl ran after him calling him husband. She nearly overtook him at the foot of the mountain. She kept trying to grab him. As she was about to overtake him he threw down between them the tripe which formed rows of radiating ridges like one’s spread out fingers. He was running ahead of these ridges but she was behind and had to cross them. He ran back where his grandmother was sitting. “You certainly told me the truth for Vagina-That-Kills is running after me. She will soon be here.” Considering what she could do with him she moved over the vessel in which food was boiling, put the fire to one side, and dug a hole underneath where the fire had been. She told Naiyenezgani to go into the hole she had dug and covered him with a thin stone and replaced the fire and the boiling pot. She made a big fire and sat down by one side of it.
Just then the girl came running up, asking which way her husband had run. The grandmother denied that any man had been there. The girl insisted that her husband had run there. She said she could determine by her urine for it would run and stop where her husband was located.
She went up on the slope and drew radiating lines. Her urine flowed down and came right to the fire. Saying her husband should be there, she threw the pot to one side, pushed the fire over, pulled up the stone, and grabbed him by the arm. She pulled him out and calling him husband asked him to hurry, at the same time raising her skirt. He looked and was afraid of her teeth which were grinding against each other. The girl urged him to hurry, but he excused himself by saying that he did not do that in an exposed place but required that a good bed be spread with grass. This bed he said must be in a house made of four poles of Douglas spruce which grows upon large mountains standing at the four cardinal points.
She ran off toward the east. While she was gone Naiyenezgani fashioned an implement so large (six inches in diameter) of white stone. He sewed a cover of buckskin on this. The girl soon came running back with a Douglas spruce pole. She ran off again to the south. While she was gone he made another implement of sand. The girl soon returned again bringing back another Douglas spruce pole. She went again toward the west. While she was gone he made an implement of pitch. She returned and went again to the north. While she was gone he made a fourth implement of the wax from the sumac.
The girl soon came back with a fourth pole of Douglas spruce. She prepared a bed of grass and built a house over it with the four poles. She placed herself on her back and asked her husband to hurry. He replied that it was not his custom to do such things in the daytime. The girl then besought the sun to hasten its descent and expressed a wish that night might come speedily. When it was night she placed herself again and called to her husband to hurry. He wrapped the four implements and a round stone in a blanket and carried them to the bed. He sat down by the woman placing the stone by her head. When she asked him to hurry he said he would, and took up the white stone implement he had made and holding the girl’s legs, inserted it. He heard a sound “guz, guz, guz” as the teeth worked upon it. The white stone implement was entirely consumed and came out in pieces. He immediately inserted the implement of sand. When that had been consumed in a similar manner, he inserted the implement of pitch. He heard a sound like “łuk, łuk, łuk.” Finally he used the implement made of the wax of the sumac. When he heard the sound “łuk” again he took up the stone he had put at the head of the bed, and pounding at the teeth, broke them all off. “This is the way woman shall be, she shall not have teeth,” he said. When it was daylight she sat a little way from camp crying.
Naiyenezgani sat with his grandmother. He asked her where Delgit lived. She cautioned him not to ask that, saying the place was a dangerous one. Naiyenezgani made the usual remark about his grandmother and walked out on the plain without special preparation for his task. He saw the animal he sought. It was lying in an open plain where there was no cover. While Naiyenezgani was sitting despondently wondering how he was to approach the animal that was lying there, the grass a little way from him moved. A “man” put up his head and said “sho” and asked why he was sitting there. Naiyenezgani said he was wondering how he could approach the animal lying yonder. His inquisitor said that he was the only one who frequently approached the animal. Naiyenezgani then asked that he go to the animal and prepare a way of approach. The other one replied that when he got there the animal would get up and look down. That would be evidence of his success. He then withdrew into his hole and started away.
After a time Naiyenezgani who had remained sitting there saw the animal get up and look down where it had been lying. Then the one who was assisting Naiyenezgani said, “Sho, it is I. I did it. I cut off some of your hair, because my children are cold. Lie down again.”
The animal lay down again and the one who was assisting gnawed off the hair in a round patch behind the shoulder. He went back into his hole and made four tunnels one below the other. When he had finished these he returned where Naiyenezgani was sitting. He told him that he had denuded a place where the animal’s heart was beating and that he had prepared four tunnels one above the other. Naiyenezgani, in case of attack, was to run into these tunnels in succession. Naiyenezgani then went to the animal by means of the uppermost tunnel. When he came there he saw the smooth skin throbbing from the action of the heart above it. Taking his obsidian warclub in his hand he came to the place. He drove the weapon into the animal’s heart and jabbed it about. The animal jumped up and stuck his horn into the ground ripping out the top tunnel. Naiyenezgani ran quickly to the next tunnel. When the animal ripped that one open he ran to the third and fourth. As he was ripping out this fourth one in which Naiyenezgani lay he fell over dead. Naiyenezgani succeeded in killing the animal just as he himself was likely to be killed. He killed it because it had been killing the people who lived on the earth. He went to the animal and began to skin it. The birds, who were then people, came there and asked for the hair saying their children were freezing. Each grabbed a handful of hair and went away with it. Naiyenezgani prepared the skin and then knocked the animal’s brain out. He took also the blood and manure. He sewed up the yellowish dressed skin to contain the blood. He also put the manure and brains in the container made of dressed skin. He took out the bones also. He carried all these to the place where his grandmother sat.
The hide was spread on the ground and pegged down where it was scraped with a rough stone. It was then softened by rubbing with the hands. From this he made a war coat with scalloped opening in front.
While he was living with his grandmother he asked her where Ts’innagole lived. She cautioned him not to mention it saying it was a dangerous place to which Naiyenezgani replied with the usual reference to his grandmother’s organs. Naiyenezgani put on his war coat and put the brains of Delgit in the front of his coat. The blood of Delgit he put in the front of his shirt. He put the manure also in the same place and the white bones of Delgit. Thus equipped he started away and came out on a plain. He had not gone far when he heard a noise “ye.” He looked about to see what had made the noise but found nothing although he looked over the ground on all sides of himself.
When he looked up there in the middle of the sky he saw something coming down to attack him. It had its talons sticking out. It came near him and nearly grabbed him. Naiyenezgani was lying with his face down and the bird grabbed at the back of his war shirt only. It said “ha” as it missed him. Naiyenezgani got up and walked on a little ways when he heard the same noise. He saw the bird again and lay down again on his face. The bird grabbed at him again but striking only the war coat missed him the second time. When he had gone on a little ways he was attacked a third time. This time he heard the claws as they scraped on the coat. He missed getting him a third time. Naiyenezgani walked on again. When he had gone a short distance he heard the noise again. He looked up and saw the bird coming down. This was the fourth attack and Naiyenezgani this time lay with his face up. He lay that way for he wanted to see what the bird was doing to him. It drove its talons under the scalloped trimming on the front of his coat and carried him off. He flew up on the sky to the east where the bird had its nest. At the east of the nest was a smooth sharp pinnacle of projecting rock on which he killed people. He threw Naiyenezgani down on that. When he struck it the blood, brains, and manure of Delgit burst out of their containers. The bird thought he had killed him and took him up where his children were sitting and threw him down to them. He flew off shaking himself and alighted at the east.
When the young ones came up to him and put their heads down to eat him he said, “sho.” “He said ‘sho’ to us,” they told their father. “It is only the breath oozing out,” he replied. Four times this happened but by that time the parent bird had flown away to hunt again. The man, who was supposed to have been killed, got up and came where the four young ones were sitting. He began striking among them using the bone of Delgit as a club. He threw them down the side of the cliff, leaving only one of the four. He began to question this one, asking in what sort of a storm its father brought back his prey. It replied that he came back where there was a big male rain.
Next he inquired in what sort of weather its mother brought prey. It replied that she came back when a female rain was falling. He then wanted to know under what conditions the brother and sister came back. It replied that the latter came back with prey when a young rain was falling. When his questions had been answered he killed the young one with the bone of Delgit and threw the body over the cliff. It had told him where at the east the father alighted, where at the south the mother stayed, where at the west the sister would alight, and at the north the brother would perch.
Naiyenezgani hid at the east. When a male rain fell he was ready with his club. The male bird came flying with a man and dropped him on the smooth pinnacle of bésh diłhił, at the east. It flew to its perch. When a female rain was falling the mother bird returned bringing a beautiful woman and threw here down. When a small rain fell the young female brought back a pretty girl. There was a storm of small hail to the north and the young male came back. Naiyenezgani killed them one by one as they came back with his warclub of obsidian and knocked them over the cliff.
He killed all those who preyed on people. He sat there alone wondering what he should do. As he sat there he cried. While he was crying he heard a noise up above. Wondering where the noise came from he looked up and saw something coming down to him from the middle of the sky. An eagle lit nearby. Behind the eagle sat Chicken Hawk, behind Hawk, Raven, and behind Raven, Pelican. Eagle Chief spoke to Naiyenezgani asking what he was doing there and why he was crying. Chicken Hawk spoke to him from the south and asked the same questions. Pelican Chief spoke next asking the same. Last, Raven Chief inquired the same things. They told him no one was allowed there. Naiyenezgani replied to each, “Ts’innagole brought me up here, I say, and I was thinking I wish I could get back some way.” “Where is the one who brought you up?” they asked. Naiyenezgani said that he had killed him as well as his wife, his daughter, and his son. They then asked what he wished them to do. He replied that they probably had a way. To this they all consented. Eagle Chief who was the spokesman took off his eagle shirt and putting it near him told him to put it on. From the south Chicken Hawk offered his shirt, and next Pelican Chief offered his and finally Raven Chief took off his shirt and offered that. Naiyenezgani put them all on. They then asked him to shake himself. He did so. They next told him to fly with the wings he had. He flew a short distance as they instructed him. Next he flew a little further. They kept pointing out places to which he should fly. He encircled the points as they pointed them out and came back to alight. Finally they told him to fly around four times and to come back where Eagle was. “Do you like it?” they asked the man. He replied that he liked it. “Very well,” they said, “you fly and we will fly under you. We will make four circles as we fly.”
They started off, the man flying ahead and the others under him. He made one circuit with the others doing just as he did. They all alighted and the birds told the man a dangerous place lay ahead of them. They said they would go back with him to this earth on which he lived. They directed him to do exactly as they did. They would go first underneath, flying in a circle. They started off one behind the other. He did just as they did as they flew down to the earth. When they had come down they directed him to fly where he lived. They asked if he wished them to accompany him.
He went back where his grandmother was living. “Now you see it was dangerous as I told you it was,” she said to him. “What you said was true,” he replied.
He had killed all the monsters which preyed on the peoples who lived on the earth. As he was traveling about he came where a high rock stood under which Old Man Big Owl lived with his two daughters. The girls were both alike and Naiyenezgani’s mind was disturbed with desire. He wished they would speak to him. Old Man Owl saw what was in Naiyenezgani’s mind. “What you are wishing will happen,” he said. “My daughter is cleaning out the cave behind. She is making a bed. Marry the one in there.” He married her.
The one he married brought in some food. The monitor which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him that what she brought was not good, that it was human brains. Naiyenezgani told the girl that he did not eat such food, to take it back. She took it back and brought him meat boiled soft. His monitor told him again the food was not good. He told the girl again to take the food away; that he did not eat that kind. She took it away and brought him something that looked like corn. It was white, had been boiled, and was turned wrong side up. Again he was told it was not good. The dish was human eyes. He told her again that he was not accustomed to eat that and that she should carry it back. She was bringing him human flesh all the time.
Then Naiyenezgani spoke. Owl’s children were evil smelling. He directed that they wash with soapweeds and that Owl himself should also wash. He told his wife to throw away her property and to wash and sweep her house. They did so; they bathed.
Naiyenezgani had a little cornmeal which never was spent in his belt. He gave this to the girl he married telling her that that was the sort of food human beings ate, and that her food was very bad. He told her to take it to her house, and boil it as thick mush with water, and eat it. He also told her how to make ta’mil, a thin soup. He added that although there was but little of the meal, that never gave out. They prepared it as he told them and ate the food.
His wife went not far from their house for water, carrying her tús on her back. Although it was only a short distance some time elapsed, and she did not return. He said to himself, “She always comes back quickly I better go and see what is the matter.” When he came there he found only the tús by the water and his wife’s track and two footprints of a man with a long foot. He wondered what had happened and then the one who sat by his ear told him that Gołilisi had stolen his wife and that they had gone a long way off. Gołilisi had a flute and with that he traveled over the earth. Naiyenezgani, too, had a flute with which he traveled. The one who sat by his ear told Naiyenezgani that the two had landed far toward the east where the mountain ridge was blue with distance. Beyond that as far again where another mountain was blue they had come. In this manner they had gone four times to distant mountains and beyond that they were traveling on the ground.
When his monitor had told him this he thought he would try with his flute. When he blew on it his flute went with him to the distant blue mountain where they had alighted. There he saw his wife’s tracks and the long footprints lying over them. He blew his flute again and alighted on the next mountain. There again were the tracks. He blew his flute the third time and landed on another ridge where the tracks were again to be seen. He blew again on the flute and went to the blue mountain where he alighted and saw his wife’s tracks. The man’s long footprints were there also. This made four times. From there on they had walked along together. He followed their trail for a long way until he came to a difficult canyon from which he could see smoke rising. He found his wife had been taken into the canyon.
He came to the trail which led to the water supply and sat down behind a bunch of grass. Soon a girl came from the camp to the water. As she was filling her vessel he picked up a small stone and threw it into the water. Wondering what had caused it the girl began to look around and discovered him. Leaving the water bucket she ran where her father was sitting and told him the one who steals people was sitting by the water. The father said he would not be in such a place and that the girl was not telling the truth. The girl repeated her statement which the father again doubted. Each made the statements four times after which the father decided to investigate. A company of men went to the water place and addressing Naiyenezgani as friend, asked how he was traveling, and why he did not come to the camp as travelers were supposed to do. Naiyenezgani then agreed to return with them. They came to the edge of a large camp where Naiyenezgani sat down. The people came to look at him because they did not know him and he had a strange appearance. They asked the reason for his journey. He replied that someone there had taken away a woman. He said he had followed her track to that place and that was the reason for his coming. They replied that Gołilisi had come early that morning with a good-looking woman. She might be the one for whom he was looking. Naiyenezgani replied that he had come from Tałakǫwa. The people expressed surprise saying they had never seen people from there and that they did not know of a place of that name anywhere on the earth. They decided to summon Eagle Chief who was accustomed to say he had seen everything. When he had come and was seated they said to him: “You always say you have seen everything, do you know of a place on the earth named Tałakǫwa? A man sitting here says he came from there since this morning.” Eagle Chief replied that here was no such place, that he had been everywhere and had never seen a place so named.
They next sent for Yellow-tailed Hawk Chief who also claimed to have seen every locality. When he was seated they put the same question with the same introduction. Yellow-tailed Hawk Chief made the same denial that such a place could exist.
Raven Chief was next called who, when questioned in the same words, made the same reply. They then sent for Pelican (?) Chief. When told a man claimed to have come from Tałakǫwa since morning he immediately replied, “He did not travel on the earth then.” “When I was going about,” he said, “before my wings had gaps in them I once saw in the distance a place called Tałakǫwa, then I had to turn back. It is very far from here.”
Naiyenezgani then inquired where Gołilisi lived. They told him he lived a short distance away. Then those who came to him asked him four times if he knew some game, some method of gambling. They asked him about dice sticks, hoop and pole, and hiding the ball, but he replied he did not know any of them. When they had asked the fourth time they told him someone had won from them their daughters, their sons, and their wives, and that not one was left to them. Naiyenezgani asked who it was who had done this to them. They replied that it was Gołilisi. He then inquired by what means he won them. They enumerated: hoop and pole, cards, hiding the ball, pushing over the post, three-stick dice, the many-stick dice, a contest in which his hair was stretched across the canyon, a footrace, and a race on horseback, the course being the edge of the world. They said that he had all their daughters, sons, and wives shut up where no one could see them. They asked Naiyenezgani to release them all.
He next inquired at what time of day Gołilisi came to play. They replied that he came out on the ridge, yonder, at sunrise carrying his nazhonsh pole and shouted a challenge.
Naiyenezgani went to the ground where nazhonsh was played and hid away a pole which he made. He also made the hoop and hid it away. The people who were to help him came with him. With Gołilisi came the girls and boys he was going to stake on the game.
Naiyenezgani hid himself near the edge of the camp. Gołilisi put down his pole and came to the camp. He had let out all the pretty girls, boys, and women. He came where Naiyenezgani was sitting and going among the people challenged them to play nazhonsh. They replied that they could not beat him. He said that did not matter that they should hurry and play. He finally came to the house at the edge of the camp where Naiyenezgani was hidden. He asked him too to play. Naiyenezgani replied that he did not know how to play. He was invited to play four times and four times refused. Then Naiyenezgani reconsidered, saying, “Whatever it is you mean I will try it. You go ahead and I will follow.” They went then to the playing ground. Then he told the people who came with him. “Your daughters, your sons, your wives, your people all go down with him.” They consented. He came where they were to play and the girls, boys, and women went with him. The man stood here and the company he was going to bet stood over there. All the girls, boys and women were on the one side. All the men who were helping Naiyenezgani came with him. The people on Gołilisi’s side were crowded. “I will bet all in this group,” he said. In the same way Naiyenezgani bet the people on his side. He said that he would play although he was no match for him. Gołilisi threw down his poles and hoop and told Naiyenezgani to choose one. Thinking they were the kind that people usually played with he took one up. Gołilisi took the other. He was then told to take up the hoop. When the request had been made four times he himself (Gołilisi) took the hoop and rolled it. This hoop of his had eyes, a tongue that it ran out, and a nose. It was alive and breathing. He rolled the hoop and threw the pole. Naiyenezgani threw his pole right after him. The hoop broke apart. The pole fell over there making a sound like “nhak’”. The other pole fell a little way beyond. The pole came all apart where it joined. “What did you do to my pole?” Gołilisi asked. “What kind was your pole?” Naiyenezgani asked. “Your hoop is alive, it sticks out its tongue, it winks its eyes. That is not the way for nazhonsh to be played. That is not a good way. These are the proper ones,” he said, and brought out the ones he had made and hidden. He threw the poles down on the playing ground saying those were the sort with which people played.
One of the poles he had made was straight and red; the other was bent in every direction. Naiyenezgani told Gołilisi to choose a pole. He went to them and said he would take this one, picking out the straight red one. Naiyenezgani took the poor looking one. “What did you do with the hoop?” Naiyenezegani asked. The other replied he did not know where it was. When Gołilisi started to get the hoop.[sic] Naiyenezgani reached for the one which lay hidden in his clothes. While he was reaching for it Gołilisi’s hoop moved away. He kept reaching for it and the other hoop kept moving away. When he had reached for it four times in vain and the other had moved away so that Gołilisi had failed to find it he reached for the hoop again and pulled it out of the fold of his clothes. He threw it down saying, “This is the proper kind of hoop which people use. Your hoop is not good.” To this Gołilisi consented. He rolled the hoop and threw his pole first. The end of the pole struck the hoop and it fell beyond the end of his pole. Naiyenezgani threw his pole telling it to go beyond. His pole jumped on his hoop and he won. “Well, that man beat me,” Gołilisi said. Just once it did not land on the pole as they played against each other. He won those Gołilisi had bet and they all moved to Naiyenezgani’s side.
Gołilisi then proposed that Naiyenezgani bet those he had wagered before and in addition all those he had won. Naiyeznegani consented and they played again. He rolled the hoop and threw his pole first. The hoop fell on his pole and was carried along by it. Naiyenezgani threw his pole after him and it went beyond the other. “Beyond,” he told his hoop and it fell on the pole. He won again. Gołilisi exclaimed again as he lost.
Again he proposed that Naiyenezgani should bet all his winnings, saying he would bet the same number. The bet being arranged on this basis they played again. Naiyenezgani rolled the hoop for him and threw his pole. The other man threw his pole later. Naiyenezgani won again. Gołilisi exclaimed again, “He beats me every time.” Those he had won went across to Naiyenezgani.
They had played three times. Again the winnings were wagered and they played as before. The hoop went beyond as Naiyenezgani told it to and fell on his pole. He won again, the fourth time, and those he won came to his side. They put the hoop and pole game down.
Gołilisi then suggested they try pushing the posts over. The sticks had already been set up. The one for Gołilisi was set deep and Naiyenezgani’s shallow. Four times they bantered each other to see who should try first. Gołilisi ran first, struck the post with his shoulder and fell back. The post still stood. Naiyenezgani ran second and hit the post which fell forward. He won and those he had won came over to him. Again the bets were doubled. There was a line of water baskets filled with all the different kinds of seeds which grow upon the earth. The names of those seeds were to be called. If Naiyenezgani missed naming them he would lose the people. The one that sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him the names, saying that those over there were called so and so and these were called this way. Naiyenezgani gave all the names and won again. Again the bet was doubled and Gołilisi equalled the number. Naiyenezgani’s wife was not among those won so far. They bet again for a game of hiding the ball at night. Gołilisi came that night to play. That which say by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him that Gołilisi won by the aid of a gopher which took the ball in his cheek pouches and went with it to the hole which would win the game. Naiyenezgani gave the gopher something for a bride so he helped him instead of Gołilisi. He won those which were bet. Again they bet. He made three dice sticks with which he came to play. Gołilisi offered to bet as many as Naiyenezgani had won. The one which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him that the kingbird helped him win the game. Naiyenezgani gave the kingbird something he had to help him win. In that way he won all those which were wagered.
Then they played with many dice sticks. The stakes were again doubled, Naiyenezgani bet all the people he had so far won. He won at this game also.
Each man had his hair tied up at the back of his neck. Gołilisi offered to bet as many people as Naiyenezgani had won and that Naiyenezgani’s wife should this time be among the number. The contestants were to start on a ridge and see whose hair would reach the greater distance. They bantered each other to see who should first let down his hair. That which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear had told him that he must not let down his hair first, but make Gołilisi be the first. After Naiyenezgani refused the fourth time to be first, Gołilisi let his hair down. His hair reached down the ridge and across the canyon. He claimed to have won. Naiyenezgani let down his hair and it went across the canyon and halfway up the opposite side. Gołilisi had reached only to the foot of the opposite ridge. Naiyenezgani won from him again and Gołilisi exclaimed as on former occasions.
Naiyenezgani had won all that were bet.
Next Gołilisi suggested a horse race. The course was to be around the border of the earth. Gołilisi had a horse but Naiyenezgani had none. The one which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him to go to his father, the Sun, and borrow his horse. He started to his father. When he came there he asked his father to loan him a horse. The one which sat by his ear told him his father had four horses but not all of these were his very own horses. The horse the Sun used to go across the sky was a black horse with a small white spot on his forehead. That was the horse the Sun goes everywhere with.
The Sun said that none of his horses looked good. He went into his camp and led out a white horse. “Here is my horse, I guess you mean this one,” he said. The one which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him that was not the one. Naiyenezgani said, “No. I meant your own horse.” The Sun led that one back and brought back a red horse. Again Naiyenezgani was prompted to ask for the Sun’s own horse. He led that one back and led out a yellow (sorrel) one. Again Naiyenezgani refused it and asked for the Sun’s own horse. He led it back and came out again with a blue (gray) horse. Again being prompted Naiyenezgani refused it saying he wanted the horse his father used when he traveled. That was the one he had been asking for. The Sun led this horse inside and led out the black one that had a small white spot on its forehead. The one which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him that was the horse the Sun used himself: He told his father that was the one he wanted.
He rode it back where Gołilisi was waiting for him. Each side had a company of followers all of whom were provided with horses. They rode in company to the edge of the world where the race was to be. When they came there each tried to get the other to go first. The one which sat by Naiyenezgani’s ear told him not to go first. When each had told the other to go first four times Gołilisi rode off first. When he had ridden a little way and was no longer in sight Naiyenezgani saw the horse he was riding again. Then Naiyenezgani rode after him. Gołilisi had a flute and with that he was blown with the horse he was riding. Naiyenezgani also had a flute. When he saw him riding there he went in front of him without being seen. He landed way over there with his flute. Naiyenezgani too landed way over there with his flute. He looked in front again but he could not see him. He went with his flute again and landed far over. Naiyenezgani did the same. He could not see him in front. This made three times they had gone forward so. Each went forward again. This made four times and this time when he looked ahead he saw him. He was riding far ahead. He made his horse run to overtake him. With his flute he landed beyond in front of Gołilisi. He rode his horse over there where there was a ridge. Gołilisi was riding behind him. All of Gołilisi’s followers were lined up on the nearer side and Naiyenezgani’s followers on the other side. They saw one ride up on the ridge. They said, “There is Gołilisi.” There were crowds in each party. As he rode nearer his own followers said it was Naiyenezgani. When he rode up to them they found it was Naiyenezgani. Gołilisi tried in vain to overtake him. He trotted in behind. “Well, you beat me,” he said. He won again.
Then he said he would bet just once more with him. They were to run a footrace around the border of the earth. Each came together with his followers. When they had come to the place each tried to get the other to go first. Naiyenezgani was warned not to go first. When Naiyenezgani had refused the last time Gołilisi started ahead. Naiyenezgani waited until his opponent was out of sight and only could be seen occasionally and then he started. Each had a flute with which he traveled. Naiyenezgani saw Gołilisi land far away with his flute and then blew his own flute and landed at the same place. Thus they traveled, each blowing his flute four times. When Naiyenezgani looked ahead he saw Gołilisi running some distance ahead. Naiyenezgani running in the same way was closing upon him. Then he blew on his flute and landed in front of Gołilisi. Naiyenezgani ran along and Gołilisi tried in vain to overtake him. Naiyenezgani ran up on a ridge and could see the people standing in two companies in the distance. When those in Gołilisi’s company saw someone run upon the ridge they said, “Gołilisi is running up to the top of the ridge.” As he ran down the ridge toward them the men in Naiyenezgani’s company said, “No, that is not Gołilisi, it is Naiyenezgani.” The other party insisted it was Gołilisi. When he came very close Naiyenezgani’s partisans insisted that it was Naiyenezgani. He ran between the two lines of men. It proved to be Naiyenezgani. Gołilisi was way behind, just coming up the ridge. Gołilisi’s people felt badly, but Naiyenezgani’s company were happy. He won the footrace from Gołilisi.
He won against all the bad ones there were on the earth. That was all. He won his wife and went home with her. The daughters, sons, and wives which had been lost he won back and the people were happy and said, “Thanks to you, wherever you come from.” Naiyenezgani went back with his wife to his grandmother Ests’unnadlehi.

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About Mohammad Daeizadeh

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