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Native American Legends

How Pö'okong killed the Bear

A Hopi Legend

Mishóngnovi they were living, and a bear used to kill the people. At the Skeleton Katcina house lived the Pö'okong with his grandmother, and the bear was killing the people. If some one went to his field he was killed. The chief was unhappy over it and was thinking about it. He was thinking about sending Pö'okong after it, and for this now the time had arrived. And now he made a bow for the Pö'okong of hard wood, and he made arrows and put parrot feathers on the arrows, and on one of the arrows he put blue-bird feathers. He also made a ball that he cut from a buckskin. He sewed it and put cotton into it and then tied it up tightly. He made one of them and rubbed red ochre (cûta) on it, and for the grandmother he made one báho.

When he was done he brought this to the house of the Pö'okong.

The grandmother asked: "What are you doing?" "Yes," he said, "when these, my children, are killed by a bear I am not happy."

"Haó," she said to him, and now the chief said: "Yes, hence I have brought this for you," and then he handed it to the grandmother. She was happy. "Thanks," she said, "thanks." Then he said to the Pö'okong: "With this you kill the bear, because I have made this for you;" whereupon he gave the ball, the bow and arrows, and the ball stick to the Pö'okong. "Thanks, thanks," the Pö'okong said, and was happy. Now he went to hunt the bear. The bear was just going around to hunt for some one, and the Pö'okong was also going about in that way, and sure enough, something came to him, running. Now it stood up, holding up the paws. Now the Pö'okong being seated, aimed. "Haha (very well)," the bear had now about arrived, but when he had not yet quite arrived, the Pö'okong shot and hit him in the throat. When he had shot the bear fell, and now he hit him with the ball stick, and the bear died.

He then skinned him, the legs first, but he did not cut the abdomen. He left the skin in the form of a bag, pulling it over his head like a shirt, but from the feet he cut off the claws. Now he filled it up tightly with dry grass. When he was done he had made something like a bear. Oh! it was like an ugly bear. Now he tied a woollen rope around his neck. Then he tied it to himself and dragging it ran very fast, screaming: "Uhú, a bear is following me," as he ran. Now the people saw it. Sure enough, a bear came following somebody, and he had almost caught him. "Why, he is following the Pö'okong," the people said, and then they ran. Now they told the grandmother, "A bear is following your grandchild." Now alas! the grandmother ran away crying, and went into her kiva.

The Pö'okong ascended to the house and threw the bear to the grandmother. The grandmother now, because she was so seared, died at once. The Pö'okong laughed at the grandmother and kicked her. "Get up," he said to her, and the grandmother woke up. When she sat up she whipped her grandchild hard. "You are naughty, you have scared me," she said to him; but he had been dragging something dead. The chief was very happy because he heard that he had killed him. From that time the bear stopped. After that he killed no more people. So after that it was better.

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