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Native American Legends

How the Beetles produced pain

A Hopi Legend

In Oraíbi they were living, and at the Hohóyaw village lived the Hohóyawtu (certain black Beetles). It was always hot and the wind was blowing, and it did not rain. As these Beetles drink rain-water they became very thirsty. Some became so thirsty that they died. So their chief said one time: "Let us have a dance and perhaps if we dance it will rain, because if it does not rain we shall all die!" "Very well, we shall have a dance," they said, "and maybe it will rain then. and we shall not die." So one evening they assembled to practice for the dance and their chief made a little song for them. This they were practicing. They practiced a while in the evening, and then they went to sleep.

The next day they were going to have their dance. Early in the morning they got up and their chief made four nakwákwosis for them. He deposited the nakwákwosis west of their little village, and spoke to the clouds in the San Francisco mountains saying: "We are thirsty here, so you come quickly this way and bring us some water that we may drink and not die." So he returned to their village and they dressed up for the dance. They painted their bodies black, and then they danced. They were in a hurry because they were thirsty.

Their chief began to pray to the clouds in the San Francisco Mountains. "Come this way quickly and bring us water." So they were formed in a line now and one of them acted as leader. By this
time a cloud was forming in the mountains. They now sang the following song:

Yoookwaa yoookwahayaha, Rain, rain.

Ihi, aha, ihi.

As they were singing, the clouds came nearer and it began to rain and thunder, and the water began to fall so that they could now drink. When they had quenched their thirst they were very happy and ran about because they were no longer thirsty.

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