American Indian Stories Order of Things, Age of Animal Heroes

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Native American Navaho

Go to: Animal Heroes - Navaho Index

After the hogan was finished everyone rested.

The dwelling was occupied by Atse'hastqin, First Man, and Atse'esdza, First Woman. All their belongings were piled inside. The woman lay with her feet to the West, and the man lay with his feet to the East. Their heads crossed and their thoughts mingled, and these thoughts were sacred.

Now in the hogan there were also two other persons: Atse'ashki, First boy, and Atse'ataed, First Girl. They were not the children of First Man and First Woman, but the Turquoise Boy and the White Shell Girl who had come with the others from the underworld. Now First Boy lay to the south side of the hogan, and First Girl to the north. They lay down when they saw the period of darkness descending, and they listened. First Man and First Woman whispered together, but First Boy could not distinguish the words one from another. Each time the Dark Cloud covered them the four lay down, and First Man and First Woman whispered.

This happened four times, then First Boy stood and said: "What is this secret thing that you plan? We have lost our sleep through four dark spaces."

"It is not an unwise thing that we plan," said First Man. "We plan for the time which is to come, how we shall live, and how the people will live upon this earth. It is nothing but that, my child." And First Woman repeated what her husband had said. When First Boy heard this he agreed that it was better that the two should continue their planning.

First Man and First Woman whispered together during many nights. They planned with the help of the All-Wise-Coyote-Who-Was-Formed-in-the-Water. The three devised a scheme that would meet the problems that would later come to pass. They planned that there should be a sun, and day and night." They said that the Coyote, called First Angry, had brought unhappiness and spoiled their life down below, and that he was not the proper person to have with them with this time. He should be kept away.

note: The hogan faces the East. Hebrews of antiquity fronted their edifices to the East.

They spread a beautiful buckskin on the ground. This was the skin of a deer not killed by a weapon. On the buckskin they placed a perfect turquoise, round like the sun. It was as large as the height of an average man if he stretched his arm upward. They stood 12 tail feathers from the eagle around it, and also 12 tail feathers from the flicker. On the great turquoise they marked a mouth and nose and eyes. They made a yellow streak below the mouth on top of the chin.

Now, although they had stationed four guards to he on the lookout for the Coyote, Atse'hashke', he came and asked them what they were doing. They told him: "Nothing whatsoever". He said: "So I see," and went away.

After that they visited the different places where there was fire under the earth. In one of these places they found Hashche'zhini, the Black Yei, who is also called the Fire God. He was asked to use his fire to heat the great turquoise which they had planned to use as their sun.

They placed a perfect white shell on the buckskin below the turquoise that was to become the sun. This great, perfect, white shell was to become the moon. First Man planned to heat it with the first crystal that he had used for his fire.

By this time they had posted two circles of guards around the place where they were planning; but even with this precaution the Coyote came to them. He appeared in their midst and said: "This must be something that you are planning." But they assured him that he saw nothing; they said that they were just sitting there. And again the Coyote left them. First Man called the guards together and asked them why they had let the one whose name was Atse'hashke' pass. They said that they had not seen the Coyote. First Man then placed three circles of guards around the sacred buckskin.

The Holy Ones asked the Turquoise Boy to enter the great, perfect turquoise that was to become the sun; and they asked the White Shell Girl to enter the great, perfect, white shell that was to become the moon. The Turquoise Boy was to carry a whistle made from the Male Reed. This whistle had 12 holes in it, and each time that the Turquoise Boy would blow on his whistle the earth would move one month in time. The White Shell Girl was also to carry a whistle. It was made from the Female Reed, and with it she should move the tides of the sea.

Just as this was planned the Coyote came among them and said: "well, my cousins, there is something that you are planning. What is it?"

First Man answered: "We are planning nothing at all. We are just sitting here."

"Very well," said the Coyote, "I wanted to know, that was all." And he went away.

After he had gone they planned the 12 months of the year.

Go to: Animal Heroes - Navaho Index

Native American Indian Stories Myths
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