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Native American Legends

How the Gods of the Kâ'kâ counseled the Duck

A Zuni Legend

"Yes, we know him well!" replied the gods. "If our sacred breath breathed his father and his mother when days were new and of us shall they be numbered when time is full. See! therefore because changed violently of his grief and sore hardships while yet but k'yaíyuna he has become hlímna and yet unchanging, since finished so; yes, and unceasing as one of ourselves, thus shall he remain.

This is also true of his brother and sister who dwell with their uncouth offspring in the mountain hard by. Go upward, now, and with your tinkling shells entice these children to the lake shore. They will talk loudly of the marvel as in their wilder moments they always talk of anything new that's happened. And they will give no peace to the old ones until these come down also in order to see you! You will be wearing the sacred shells and strands of K'yäk'lu with which he used to count his talks in other days when days were new to men. When they see these, look! they will become instantly grave and listen to your words, for they will know the things they watched him wear and coveted when they were still little, all in the days that were new to men.

Bid them immediately make a litter of poles alld reeds and bear it away, the father of them all with his children (but not the Sister-mother, to sore hurt the love of a older brother for a youngest sister, which is why he so pitiably mourns even now) to where, in the far plain, K'yäk'lu sits so mourning. And the greet him, and bring him here.

They may not enter, but they may point the way and tell him how, fearlessly, to win into our presence, for he is to become as one even of ourselves; yes, and they are, too, save that they stayed themselves for the ages, midway between the living and the dead, by their own rash acts did they stay themselves so, which is why it is become their office to point the way of the again living to the newly dead forever. Tell the grandchild, your father, K'yäk'ku, to mourn no longer, nor to delay, but to get himself here straightway so that he may learn from us of his people of the meanings of past times, and of how it shall be in times to come."

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