American Indian Stories - The Wanderings

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Native American Navaho

Go to: The Wanderings - Navaho Index

Then the time came for the White Bead Woman to depart. Before her stood two persons, one was Niha oni gay hasjelti, and the other was Niha oni gay hasjohon. There were also 12 male beings, the De'n'yeinaki zatana queye hahoni'gay denae e, the Four Rain Clouds, and all the flowers, and another 12 persons, female beings, and with them were the Four Vapors. The White Bead Woman spoke to these people. She said that it was her plan to have all tribes, other than her own people, move beyond the sacred mountains. She said that she wanted her children to live on the land within these sacred mountains. Then she rose up in the clouds and went to a place called Ta'delth hilth tzes taan Ta'dottliztzes taan, and with her went all her power, and there was no more of her power left on the earth. Now people have to work in order to live; they know hardship.

After that time the White Bead Woman's home was called the Floating White Bead House, also, the Floating Turquoise House. Around her home is flat country called the White Bead Plain. To the East of her home is the Most High Power to whom she goes and becomes young again, and by whose power she knows all things. In the four directions from her house she undergoes a change. She comes out of her house an old woman with a white bead walking stick. She walks towards the East and returns middle aged; and she carries no walking stick. To the South she walks and she returns a young woman. She walks to the West and comes back a maiden. She goes North and returns a young girl. She is called the White Bead Woman, Yol'gai esdzan. She has three names, and the second is the Changeable Woman, Atsan a'layee. The third is Yol'gai atate, the White Bead girl. She has these three names, that is her power. Only one person knows the origin of her power, he is the Most High Power Whose Ways Are Beautiful.

note: Esdza na'dle, Changing Woman; Yol gai'esdzan, White Shell Woman; Esdza na'dle esdzan, the Changing Woman, the wife of the Sun. The White Bead Woman went West to the Great Water; she vent to dwell in her floating house beyond the shore.

This was the next plan: four coyote chiefs stood in the four directions. The White Bead Coyote fetish stood in the East; the Turquoise Coyote fetish stood in the South; the White Shell Coyote fetish stood in the West; and the Black Jet Coyote fetish stood in the North. When the Coyote called from the home of the First Man and First Woman the White Bead Woman knew what he called for.

Then there were the Four Sacred Mountains. The first mountain was called Yol gay dzil, White Shell Mountain, and the Changeable Wind called Nlchi de zos was placed inside it. Dotl'ish dzil, the Turquoise or Blue Mountain, was the second mountain, and Nlchi'dotl'ish, the Blue Wind was put inside it. The third mountain was De'chili dzil, the White Shell Mountain, and the Yellow Wind, Nlchi litso, was placed inside it. The fourth mountain, called Baa chini dzil, Black Jet Mountain, had Nlchi'dilqil, the Black Wind, placed inside it.

When the first wind, the Changeable Wind, shakes the mountain all the sleeping plants and animals awaken from their winter's sleep. When the Blue Wind shakes the mountain the leaves come out. When the Yellow Wind shakes the mountain all plants become greener and all animals come out of hiding. When the Dark Wind shakes the mountain all the animals are slick and shed their winter coats. This applies to the snakes and lizards.

Inside the home of the White Bead Woman, on a shelf running east to West on the South side, were four water jars. The first was the Black Water Jar which contained the Black Cloud and the Male Rain. The second was the Blue Water Jar which contained the Blue Cloud and the Male Rain. The third was the Yellow Water Jar which contained the Yellow Cloud and the Male Rain. The fourth was the White Water Jar which contained the White Cloud and the Male Rain. On the north side of the home was a shelf running west to east, and on it were also four jars. The first was a Black Water Jar which contained the Black Vapor and the Female Rain. The second, the Blue Water Jar, contained the Blue Vapor and the Female Rain. The third, the Yellow Water Jar, contained the Yellow Vapor and the Female Rain. And last, the White Water Jar, which contained the White Vapor and the Female Rain. Also, there were jars filled with the seeds of plants and all the beautiful flowers.

note: Coyotes were as the telephone is today.

note: The ceremonial names of the four sacred mountains: Pelado Peak, Sisnajini, Yolgai'dzil (East); Mt. Taylor, Tsodzil, Yo dotl'izh'i dzil (South); San Francisco Mountains, Dookoslid, Dichi'li dzil (West); San Juan Mountains, Debentsa, Bash zhini dzil (North).

The White Bead woman can use only one kind of seeds during a season for the people's use. These are the seeds used for food. It would cause her sorrow if the people did not eat the ripened seeds of plants whose seeds she planted for them. She has all the seeds of all the plants with her. She has great power over the people.

There stand around her house a white bead walking stick to the East, a turquoise walking stick to the South, a white shell walking stick to the West, and a black jet walking stick to the North. Then all the white beads, turquoise, white shell, and black jet are placed under the water, and from them she gathers corn.

The White Bead Woman sent four persons back to the center of the earth to see how her people were getting along, and how the mountains were standing. The Four who went back were Niha onigai hasjelti and Niha onigai hasjohon and two from the same people. They were to travel around the mountaintops and chant as they went. They went first to the top of the mountain called Yol gay dzil. The chant begins there.

1. The First Mountain rises in sight.
The Mountain Sis na jin rises in sight.
The Chief of the Mountain rises in sight,
Like the Most High Power it rises in sight.
Like the Most High Power Whose Ways Are Beautiful it rises in sight.

Each of the six sacred mountains with their stones are covered in this chant.

2. The First Mountain near you is beautiful as it rises up. . . .
3. The First Mountain near you is a sacred mountain as it rises up. . . .
4. The First Mountain to which we travel etc. . . ..
5. The First Mountain we near. . . .
6. The First Mountain we reach. . . .
7. The First Mountain we climb. . . .
8. The First Mountain we travel over. . . .
9. The First Mountain where we stand on the summit. . . .
10. The First Mountain we camp on. . . .
11. (Just here the first person dreamed a bad dream, and in the morning he had to chant another chant, which comes in here. It is called My Dream Must not Happen or Come into Being.)
12. From the First Mountain we are starting home. . . .
13. From the First Mountain we are going home. . . .
14. From the First Mountain we are approaching home. . . .
15. From the First Mountain we are sitting down. . . .

note: This explains why, in this country, each year, there is an abundance of one special plant or flower.

note: These were the first two persons who stood before the White Bead woman.

note This chant is called Tsun bey dzil gaye a'desdai, the Chant used to travel safely over the mountains.

The four persons reported that all the mountains were just as they were originally. They were beautiful and all the growing plants were beautiful. The whole country was beautiful. People were living peacefully. They had rain.

Go to: The Wanderings - Navaho Index

American Indian Myths Stories
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