Native American Legends
How Hiyónatitiwa defeated the plan of his enemies
A Hopi Legend
Halíksai! In Oraíbi they were living. At the place
where now Hóngsi and Nákwsu live, lived a maiden who
refused all offers of marriage. The young men of the village would
frequently go there and try to win her affections, but without success.
At Achámali (now a shrine a few hundred yards north of the
village) lived a youth by the name of Hiyónatitiwa, with
his grandmother. They were very poor. The young man always went
around with a patched blanket, and his grandmother also did so.
One time he said to the latter: "My grandmother!" "Ha!"
she said. "I am going to go south to that maiden there and
see whether she will not marry me." "O my!" the grandmother
said, "you are so poor, she will certainly not want you, and
you are thinking of it. But at least go there and try it,"
she said to him.
So one time he came to the village. On the Snake and Flute and
other kivas and on some of the houses the young men were still sitting,
as it was twilight. As they saw the youth come they said: "Aha,
somebody is coming here." So he stood and waited. They went
to their supper and then returned, taking their previous places
again. But the young man, not wanting to wait any longer, boldly
passed between them to the house of the maiden. There was an open
window in the upper story of the house, and to this the youth went
up. The young people who saw him smiled. The maiden was grinding
corn, but occasionally stopped. The young people watched the proceedings,
and as they heard that the maiden occasionally stopped grinding,
they concluded and said that the young man must be welcome, and
she must be talking with him sometimes, because she stops grinding
The young man talked to the maiden and asked her to marry him.
She said that if her father and mother were willing, she would marry
him. "Very well," he said, he would return the next evening,
and if they were willing he would fetch her. Hereupon he returned
home. The young men of the village were very unhappy. The youth
said to his grandmother that tomorrow he would fetch the maiden.
She refused to believe it. "Certainly I am going to fetch her,"
he said. And so the day passed and evening came. When it was dark
he again proceeded to the house of the maiden. The young men of
the village were again sitting on the roofs of the kivas and houses
watching him. He went up to the house, and after a little while
brought with him the mána, taking her to his house. The young
men said to him as they passed along: "So you are fetching
her. What do you want with her? But, of course, you are going to
dress her up in patched blankets."
So he brought her to the house of his grandmother and went in.
She took charge of the maiden and the latter remained there. The
next three days she ground corn, and on the morning of the fourth
day the grandmother washed their heads, but there was nobody there
to participate. There was nobody there to make a bridal costume,
for which the maiden was now sorry. Hereupon the bride remained
there and prepared the food for them, but no one prepared a bridal
costume for her. When she had remained there about the time that
brides usually remain at their husband's house before they go home
to their mother's house, the old grandmother said: "Now, you
have been here about that long, we shall see whether we can find
something for you."
That day the young man went hunting and brought home a great deal
of meat. They prepared some nö'okwiwi, some píkami,
etc. Of this they ate in the evening. Early the next morning the
grandmother again washed the head of the bride, and hereupon she
went into a room on the north side and was hunting around there,
knocking things about, but found nothing. Going into another room
on the west side she did the same, but had nothing when she came
out. She repeated this in a room on the south side, but when she
came out of a room on the east side she brought with her a complete
bridal costume--two white robes, a pair of moccasins, a white, knotted,
fringed belt and a reed receptacle. She dressed up the bride, sprinkled
a road of corn-meal for her, and sent her home to her parents. The
people were again sitting on their housetops and kiva roofs, and,
behold! there the young bride came home, dressed as brides usually
are dressed. When she came to her mother's house her mother was
Her husband went on a hunt the next day and brought back with him
a mountain sheep. This he handed to his wife's parents, who were
very happy over it. The inhabitants of the Snake and Náshabe
kivas were very angry at this young man and were planning how they
could kill him. They decided to make a raid on the Navaho. But the
father of the young wife was also one of the inhabitants of the
Snake kiva, and so he found out how matters stood. He told his son-in-law
about it, and the latter informed his grandmother. She said that
the next morning he should send his wife's little sister to the
Snake kiva to call his father-in-law for breakfast. Hereupon the
young man returned.
In the morning the maiden went to the Snake kiva, called her father
for the morning meal, and added that in four days there would be
war, whereupon she ran back. The people in the kiva were surprised,
but laughed. The next day she repeated this, saying that in three
days there would be war, and soon. In the evening of the second
day the father and his son-in-law went over to the old woman at
Achámali, and said: "It is drawing nearer." "Yes,"
she said, "when they will have a race tomorrow you must not
race with them, but you both come here first and start from here."
Whereupon the two returned home. The next morning the little maiden
repeated the same words. The men now began to feel uneasy, saving
that maiden certainly did not say that for nothing. Something must
be about to happen.
On the. morning of the third day she repeated the same words, saying:
"Tomorrow there will be war." That day the men made bows
and arrows all day. On the morning of the fourth day the maiden
again said: "Let us go and eat, but today there will be war,"
whereupon she ran home. It had been noised abroad that some Navaho
were approaching the village and were attacking some men in the
fields, The men who were not killed ran towards the village and
shouted. The men of the village at once got ready and descended
the village to meet the Navaho raiders. Hiyónatitiwa and
his father-in-law each got two quivers full of arrows and a bow,
and then ran over to Achámali to the old woman's house. "Have
you come"' she said. "Yes," they replied. Hereupon
she went to the room on the north and called in: "Come out
here, your grandchildren have come here." At once somebody
came. It was the Puma. She then called into the room on the west
side: "Your grandchildren have come, come out here," and
a Bear came out. She repeated this, calling into the room on the
south side, and a Wildcat came out. Repeating this same act on the
east side, a Wolf came out of the room.
While this was going on at Achámali, the Hopi had met the
Navaho, and the latter were constantly asking where Hiyónatitiwa
was. "He is in the village yet," the Hopi replied. "Go
and get him, he is slow," the Navaho said. By this time the
young man and his father-in-law, accompanied by the four animals
, descended the mesa. The animals at once rushed upon the Navaho,
who were nearly all killed, and also the Hopi that had planned this
raid in order to get Hiyánatitiwa out of the way, and then
steal his wife. When those who remained alive returned to the village
there was a great deal of mourning there. "Somebody has certainly
brought this about that some of our people have now been killed
also," they said. And this way it was prevented that some one
should take away the Young man's wife, and he forever afterwards
lived with her.
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