THE CLAN CALLED TQO YAH HA'TLINE
From the Navaho, The Wanderings
There was a certain man named Tse bit la'kal, the Man with the Rock Shirt, who lived near the mountain called Chol'i'i. There is a canyon near this mountain and the place is called Tsen chet dzil. This man was tall, a good hunter, and swift on his feet.
On a certain hunting trip he became thirsty about noon and went to the river to drink. It was at the place where two rivers empty into the San Juan, a place called Tqo yah ha'tline. As he was nearing the river he saw a baby swimming in the water, back and forth it swam. The baby would float on its back, and be stood there for a long time watching it. Then he returned to his trail and out of sight of the river. Later he went down to the river at a different place, drank, and returned to his home.
This man wondered what the baby was and whether it was there in the river every noon. About noon on the second day he went back to the place by the river where he had seen the baby, and the baby was there in the water swimming around. On the third day he went again to the river bank, and again he saw the baby in the water just at noon time. Then he noticed that there was tall grass on the shore to the very edge of the water where the baby swam back and forth. He made a plan. On the fourth day he went to the place early in the day and hid himself in the grass by the water's edge. Just at noon the baby rose to the surface of the water. And when the baby approached the bank the man jumped out, and lifting it out of the water ran, just as fast as he could, away from the river. There was a hill not far from the river which he climbed. When he reached the top he looked back and he saw the water standing high up and falling his way. When the water hit the ground he was over the hill.
When he arrived at his home with the baby he noticed that it was a baby girl. Now his wife, who was from the clan Tse na'jini, Black Streak of Wood Clan, cared for the baby and she grew rapidly. They called her their daughter and she called them her father and mother. When she was 13 years of age she made her first cake and the First Maiden Ceremony was held over her. But after this her foster parents noticed that she neither drank nor ate. She said: "Mother, Father, I long to look on my own country." They were greatly surprised, for they had thought that she did not know where she had been found. The man said: "You are right, my daughter, I found you in the water. If it is your wish to return to the place where I found you, it shall be our wish also."
Early the following morning she left them, and she returned that night. She told them that, as she was nearing the river, she heard someone chopping wood, but when she reached the top of the hill the sound of the chopping was heard no more. She said that she had walked all around but there was no sign of a track, nor could she see where wood had been cut. She went out again on the second day. This time she was near the river before the sound of chopping ceased. Again she looked all about but she found no sign of any living being. She went out again on the third day, and she was quite near the river before the sound of chopping stopped. On the fourth morning her father gave her a white shell basket and filled it with all the mixed chips of stone, white beads, turquoise, white shell, black jet, and red stone, and over the stones in the basket he sprinkled a shining mineral called deschee. Still over that he sprinkled blue pollen, tqadidin, and yellow pollen, also called tqadidin; then the pollen from the cattails, tgel tqadidin, water flags they call them, and the crystals found along the shore, which are called tqo bit ech'chee'. These last they sprinkled on the very top of the basket.
The girl took the basket and started out for the place by the river, and again she heard the chopping when she neared it. She arrived at the foot of the hill near the water when she thought that she saw someone move. She went to the spot and she found a blue ax standing against some wood. She was standing there looking at the wood when she saw the river water open, like lifting a blanket. Then she saw a young man step out and stand on the bank. He was a handsome young man. He said: "What are you doing here? Do you know that this is not the place for the earth people?" She said: "Yes, but I have longed to come to this place." Then be asked: "Are you the baby who went to the earth people?" And she answered, "Yes, I am that person." Then the young man said: "Very well, come with me." He rolled the river back like a blanket, and there before them was a path into the river, down which they went. The maiden noticed that there was a track in the sand going the same way that they were going; it was the track of a water horse. She thought that this water horse had the hoofs and the horns of a cow, but the mane and the tail of a horse--in fact it was like a horse except for the hoofs and the horns.
The young man took the maiden to the home of the Water Buffalo. Then the maiden presented the basket to the Holy Being. She motioned with the basket as the sun travels and set it at the feet of the Water Buffalo. The Water Buffalo was pleased with the gift and said: "This is what I wanted when I sent for you." And he continued: "There is something that I wish to give you before you return to the earth and become one of the earth people." Then he took the dung of the Water Buffalo and the hair from all the parts of his body where it curled, and the mud from under the water, and he spat on the three and put the four rains and the four vapors on it, and he tied it in a little medicine bag and said: "This will be your medicine. It must be used when the earth people want rain. Your clan will be called Tqo yah ha'tline. Your descendants will be known by that name, and they will be a sacred people. No snakes or lightning will harm them. But I will reclaim two members of your family later. They will return here in your place. Now you must go back to earth, but first I will show you just how a hogan should be built." He told her of his plan of the hogan. This is a special hogan, and inside it a special ceremony must take place.