Native American Legends
How the Duck hearing agreed to guide K'yäk'lu
A Zuni Legend
Now, when the Duck heard his cry, see! it was so like her own that
she came closer by than any, answering loudly. And when they were
near to each other, they appeared much related, strange as that
may seem. Forasmuch as he was of all times the listener and speaker,
and therefore the wisest of all men, so was she of all regions the
traveler and searcher, knowing all ways, whether above or below
the waters, whether in the north, the west, the south, or the east,
all therein was the most knowing of all creatures.
Thus the wisdom (yúyananak'ya) of the one comprehended (aíyuhetok'ya)
the knowledge (ánikwanak'ya) of the other, and K'yäk'lu,
in the midst of his lamentations asked counsel and guidance, crying,
Ha-na-ha! Ha-na-ha! A-ha-hua! O, grandmother! Where am I straying
so far from ~ my country and people? All speeches I know of my sitting
In councils of men and the beings. Since first in the depths they
had being! But of far ways, alas! I know nothing! Ha-na-ha! Ha-na-ha!
A-hah-hua! The mountains are white and the valleys; All plains are
like others in whiteness; And even the light of our father The Sun,
as he goes and passes, Makes all ways more hidden of whiteness!
For in brightness my eyes see but darkness - And in darkness all
ways are bewildered! Ha-na-ha! Ha-na-ha! A-hah-hua! In the winds,
see! I hear the directions; But the winds speak the ways of all
regions, Of the north and the west and the southward, Of the east
and of upward and downward, They tell not the way to the Middle!
They tell not the way to my people! Ha-na-ha! Ha-na-ha! A-hah-hua!
"Hold, my child, my father," said the Duck. "do not
think such thoughts. Though you are billed, yet you hear all as
I see all. Give me, therefore, tinkling shells from your girdle
and place them on my neck and in my beak. Thus I may guide you with
my seeing if you by your hearing can grasp and hold firmly my trail.
For look now! I know well your country and the way there, for I
go that way each year leading the wild goose and the crane, who
flee there as winter follows."
And so the K`yäk'lu placed his talking shells on the neck
of the Duck and in her beak placed the singing shells, whichever
in his speakings and listenings K'yäk'lu had been accustomed
to wear at his girdle; and although painfully and lamely, yet he
did follow the sound she made with these shells, perching lightly
on his searching outstretched hand, and did all too slowly follow
her swift flight from place to place where she going forth in flight
would await him and urge him, ducking her head that the shells might
call loudly, and dipping her beak that they might summon his ears
as the hand summons the eyes.
By and by they came to the country of thick rains and mists on
the borders of the Snow World, and passed from water to water, until
at last, see! wider waters lay in their way. In vain the Duck called
and jingled her shells over the midst of them, K'yäk'lu could
not follow. And he was maimed, nor could he swim or fly as could
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