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Native American Legends

Bloody Hand-Print Katcina

A Cochiti Legend

They were dancing a masked dance (bocat katsena). They danced during the morning and at noon the dancers retired and the people ate their dinners. A boy lived on the west side of the plaza in the houses on the second tier. He had just washed his hair and it was very long and hung down his back.

When the people had finished eating this boy stood on the roof of his house and watched the katcina come in for the afternoon dance. There was another masked dancer with them and on his mask was the print of a bloody hand. No one had ever seen him before. He came in with the others and danced with them.

When the dance was over he made signs and said, "I want to run a race with one of the men of this Pueblo." The chief men sent two of the koshare to be messengers for him and he said to them, again, "I want to run a race." Four times the koshare went to the chief men but they did not want to agree.

Again the Bloody Hand Katcina pointed to the east, meaning, "I want to run a race in that direction." He motioned to the boy who lived on the west side of the plaza and who had been watching the katcina's come in for the dance. He called him to come down and race with him.

The koshare brought the boy down from the roof top. They took him to the northeast to the big corral (the starting point of the race) and the boy and the katcina raced with one another.

They had not gone very far when the boy took the lead. Bloody Hand was angry. He took his thunder knife and threw it at the boy so that he died. He came up and pulled the scalp from his head and ran off to his own house.

The people cried and cried. Masewa told his people to take their horses and ride him down, but he escaped. He reached the river and ran into the cave at Koash'ke. He escaped with the scalp and since then everyone has been afraid of this katcina.

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