Myths and Tales from the San Carlos Apache
The Sisters are lured by a Flute (Second Version)
Long ago there were two sisters living at a certain camp. They went for wood, and as they were returning the older said, “Sister, some one is singing nicely; let us go there.”
They started away and came to Woodrat’s house. He asked them why they had come. They replied that having heard nice singing, they had come there. “Was it you we heard?” they asked. Woodrat said he was not the person they had heard.
They went on and a little way from there came to Ground Squirrel. They told him why they had come and asked him if he was the one they had heard. He said he was not the one.
They went on again and came to a dove sitting on a tree. The girls said they had come there because they had heard someone singing nicely. They asked Dove if he were the one who had sung. Dove said he was the one. “Let us hear you sing,” the girls asked of him. He sang, “Hou wu hu.” The older girl said that was nearly like what she had heard, but suggested they should go still further.
They went on and soon came where a red bird was sitting on a tree. This bird asked the girls why they had come. They replied that they had heard a pleasing song. The bird said that it was his song they had heard. They asked to hear him sing and he sang, “Chit chit chit” [tcit]. “No,” they said. As they climbed to the top of the hill they heard him again. As they went down they heard a flute playing. “Sister, that is the one,” the older girl said. The sound they heard was like, “Hi i, hi i hi i hi i hi i hi i.”
The boys who played flute were living there with their grandmother. She was away then after wood. The girls came up on the hillside. They came to the grandmother and ground corn for her and then they hid themselves. The boys who were away hunting asked on their return who had come to visit them. The grandmother said no one had been there. The boys then called attention to the marks on the ground made by the buckskin dresses of the girls. The grandmother said that she had been sitting there and made the imprints on the ground. The old woman went for wood. When she came back she was angry. “Why are you angry?” they asked her. She struck the boys and knocked them down.
The girls started to return to their homes. The younger of the two girls was pregnant and gave birth to a boy by the roadside. They two returned to their mother’s house. When the boy had grown to some size he went out to hunt. He shot a quail and broke its leg. His father had come to see them with his brother. The quail to the boy, “I will tell you something if you will restore my leg for me.” The boy came to the quail and fastened its leg in place with some clay and made it good again. When he had done this the quail told him that those at the boys’ home had eaten his father and flew off. The boy threw away his bow and ran home, crying. He found out at his home that his father had been eaten. He lay down and covered himself with a blanket. His mother said, “Here is your father’s hand,” and hit him.
Then a gopher came up under him. He put a flat stone over the hole so it could not be seen. After the boy had gone down the hole the blanket was crying, “?u,” it said.
The woman pulled the blanket away and the boy was gone. She hunted over the ground with her hand and found a hole in the ground. The three of them, his mother, his aunt, and his grandmother went down the hole after him. The boy was running along his way beyond. Then the ones whose child it was said, “Look back at me just once.”
The boy came to a river where a duck was making pottery. The boy said, “Over there are those who kill people. They are running after me.” The old woman put her leg across the stream and the boy crossed on it. He told the old woman when those who came behind were halfway across she should say her leg was breaking and drop them in the river. She did that as they were crossing on her leg. His mother fell in the river. He saw some clothes floating on the water. Three times he saw something floating down.