Native American Legends
How the Circle Katcina and his wife became Stars
A Hopi Legend
Halíksai! In Oraíbi the people were living in the
north-western part of the village was at that time a kiva called
Hâmís-kiva. Somewhat south of this kiva close to the
present site of the, Hanó-kiva lived a maiden.
She persistently refused to marry any young man in the village.
At Red Sand (Palánvisa), a place north-east of the village,
some maidens were playing the game "jumping over the trays."
The maiden mentioned above never played with the other maidens,
but one time she went out intending to play with the maidens. When
she came to the edge of the mesa she sat down and watched the other
maidens play. A young man dressed in a blue Hopi blanket came by
and asked her why she did not play with the other maidens. "Yes,"
she said, "I never play with them." Hereupon he sat down
beside her and they talked together a little while, then the maiden
returned to her home.
In the evening she was grinding corn. While she was grinding a
Katcina came to the village, danced first near the Coyote (Ish)
kiva, then at the Singer (Táo) kiva, then at the Public plaza
(Kíconvee), then at the Wrinkle (Wíkolapi) kiva, and
finally at the Hâmís-kiva. Hereupon he left the village.
The next morning the mána again proceeded to the place at
the edge of the mesa where she had been sitting the previous day,
and again the youth joined her. This time he asked her if she would
marry him if her father and mother were willing. She consented.
He told her that if they were willing he would come and get her
the next day. He then told her that he was the Katcina who was dancing
in the village, saying that he would again dance at the same places
as usual, and then after he would be through she should come and
meet him at "The Place- Where-Scalps-are-Dressed" (Yóvutzrhrokwanpi).
Hereupon they parted.
In the evening she was again grinding corn and the Katcina again
went through the village dancing at the places mentioned, and singing
the following song while he was dancing, singing the same song at
Palainaiya ---------------- --aya.
The mána had in the meanwhile obtained the permission of
her parents to marry the youth. The mother filled a tray with meal
for her, with which the mana proceeded to the place named by the
Katcina. Here she was met by the Katcina after he had made his round
through the village. From here they proceeded to the place called
Kocántûika, a bluff named after a certain plant, kocána.
When they arrived here they saw a kiva and a light in it. A voice
called out from the kiva inviting them to come in. They entered
and found here a great many different Katcinas. The youth was the
Circle (Póngo) Katcina. Hereupon the youth handed the mána
some píki made of fresh roasting ears, and also some watermelon
slices, which she ate.
They then remained in this kiva, the mána preparing the
food for the Katcinas, and the latter preparing the bridal costume
for the mána. Every night the Póngo Katcina would
go to the village and dance, as already explained. When the bridal
costume was finished the mána went home in the same manner
in which brides go home today. Her husband followed her, so they
lived in the house of her parents after that. Her parents now found
out that the husband of their daughter was a Katcina.
By and by she bore two children, which were also Circle Katcinas.
One time the young mother was drying corn-meal, stirring it in a
pot over the fire. When she was done with this she left her house
and went to the edge of the mesa outside of the village. Her husband
had gone to visit the Katcinas at the Katcina kiva mentioned before.
While the woman was outside of the village some one approached her.
It was the Hotóto Katcina.
He told her that she should go with him, to which she consented.
They descended the mesa south of the village and went southward
to Shongópavi. When the Circle Katcina returned to the house
he found his wife gone. Following her tracks, he found that she
had gone away with some one, and soon heard who it was that had
taken her away. He returned to the house, took his two children
and went with them to the Katcina house already mentioned. Here
they remained. The two little Katcinas learned the Katcina songs
After a while the father and his two children concluded to try
to find the mother of the two youths. So the people cooked some
roasting ears and other food for them, whereupon they proceeded
to the village, taking the food with them. Here they danced at Pisávi,
a place a short distance east of the Pongóvi kiva. While
they danced they sang the following song:
When they were through singing, the father asked the women among
the spectators whether some one would not nurse the children for
these roasting ears that they had brought with them, but no one
was willing. They went to the plaza, repeated their dancing and
singing, whereupon the father again asked the women that some one
nurse his children for the roasting ears, but no one was willing.
They then proceeded to the Coyote kiva, where the same thing was
No one being willing to nurse the two children, they left the village
and when they came to the last row of houses, where the Katcinas
often rest when they have dances now, a woman approached them declaring
that she was willing to nurse the children. After she had nursed
them and they had given her the roasting ears, they left the village
along the trail leading south-eastward. Here they traced the mother
to Sik'ákvu, a bluff on top of the mesa about three miles
southeast of Oraíbi.
Here they found a kiva where they heard some one singing the following
Ha, ha, ha!
It was the Haháii Wuhti, who was opening comíviki
as she was singing. When they heard the song they looked into the
kiva and were noticed by the Haháii Wuhti. "Oh!"
she said, "here I am meeting you with this song. Recently somebody
was fetching your mother by here." The three went into the
kiva and were invited to remain over night. They were fed by the
Haháii Wuhti the comíviki. When they had eaten they
danced, singing the following song:
In the morning they proceeded eastward. In the evening of the next
day they arrived at a place called Owl Spring (Móngkba).
Here they found another Haháii Wuhti in a kiva, who was also
engaged in opening comíviki. She was singing the same song
that the other Haháii Wuhti had been singing. When the three
arrived they looked into the kiva. When the woman noticed them she
said, "Utí! here you some one is going about and I am
meeting you with this song. Recently some one fetched your mother
They went in and were fed by the Haháii Wuhti, whereupon
they again danced and sang the same song which they sang at the
place of the other Haháii Wuhti. They stayed over night at
this kiva., and during the night the Haháii Wuhti went to
Kí'shiwuu, where many different kinds of Katcinas had a dance.
When one party had danced and gone away, another party would come
and perform their dance and leave. Then another party, and so on.
When all had danced, Haháii Wuhti returned to her home and
told the three Circle Katcinas about the dance. She told them about
it; then they also went and performed a dance at Kí'shiwuu,
which, it seems, was not far away. When they were through they again
returned to Móngkba. Here they remained until it became morning.
In the morning Haháii Wuhti again went to Kí'shiwuu
to be present at another dance, the three Circle Katcinas remaining
behind. When they had all danced Haháii Wuhti again Invited
the three Katcinas. The people who had seen them in the last dance
during the night and had not observed them during the day were waiting
for them, thinking that they probably would come. They went over
and also performed their dance.
Before they went over Haháii Wuhti told them that their
mother was at Kí'shiwuu and that she would see them dance
and she would certainly be anxious to return with them. They performed
their dance on the public plaza, singing the same song that they
had sung at the places of the two Haháii Wuhtis, When they
were through they again returned and soon met their mother, who
had recognized them and had gone before them. So they took their
mother back with them.
Before they reached Móngkba night befell them, so they stopped.
The father said to the two children they should go ahead to their
grandmother, the Haháii Wuhti, which they did. He then took
a pointed stick and killed his wife with it by thrusting it into
her throat. Leaving the body at the place, he followed his two sons,
but before he reached the place where they were the skeleton of
his wife followed him.
The two boys had safely gotten into the house of their grandmother,
but their father ran away, being followed by the skeleton. He finally
arrived at the First Mesa, rushed into the village of Háno
and there into a kiva where a number of women were making jugs.
He begged them to hide him as something was pursuing him. Hereupon
one of the women hid him under a pile of clay which they were using
for making their pottery.
The skeleton then arrived, saving, "Havá! Did my husband
not come here?" she asked. "No," they replied. "Yes,"
the skeleton said, "because his tracks end here," and
hereupon she entered the kiva. She threw aside all the piles of
clay and material that was lying there, and finally came to the
pile under which the man was hidden.
When he noticed that she was close by he jumped up, ran up the
ladder and westward towards Wálpi, being pursued by the skeleton
of his wife. In Wálpi he again entered a kiva. Here they
were practicing a war dance. "Hide me quickly," he said,
"some one is following me." "Come here," they
said, and handed him a drum. So he beat the drum. The skeleton soon
arrived and entered the kiva after having spoken the same words
as in Háno. She shoved the dancers aside, but when she came
to the one who was beating the drum, he threw aside the drum and
rushed out, running to Mishóngnovi.
Here he again rushed into a kiva where they were assembled for
the Lagón ceremony. The women were making trays. He again
asked to be hidden as he was being pursued by some one. One of the
women told him to be seated in her lap, which he did. She covered
him with a tray that she was working on and continued her work.
Soon the skeleton arrived, asked the same questions, and was again
answered in the negative.
She came in, looked around, driving the women from one place of
the kiva into another, until she arrived at the one who had her
husband. When he saw that he could not remain hidden he rushed out
and ran towards Shongópavi. Here they also were assembled
for the Lagón ceremony and the same thing was repeated that
took place in Mishóngnovi.
From here he ran towards Matö'vi (about fifteen miles south
of Shongópavi). At this place the Flute society had a ceremony.
They were assembled at the spring when he arrived, He again repeated
the same request to be hidden, as he was being pursued. They told
him to go into the spring to a certain sunflower stalk that was
growing in the spring.
This he should mount and hide in its top. He did so. When the skeleton
arrived and asked whether her husband was not there the Flute priest
told her, "Yes, he has entered the spring." So she went
to the edge of that spring and entered it. Looking into the water
she saw the sunflower stalk reflected in the water and on top of
it her husband. Thinking that he was in the water she dived in and
The pursued man came down and joined the Flute players. On the
fourth day they heard somebody pound yucca roots in the water. When
the sun rose the woman came out of the water, dressed in a bridal
costume, and carrying in her arms a reed receptacle which contained
another bridal robe and the white belt.
She appeared in exactly the same manner as the newly married bride
appears on the morning when she returns from the home of her husband
to that of her own mother. When she came out the two priests called
the two together, placed them back to back, made a road with sacred
meal for each one; the one road southward, and the other northward.
The priests told them to proceed four steps, each one in the direction
they were facing.
Then they should turn and meet again. But the man returned when
he had taken three steps instead of four. The Flute priests were
very angry and called at the woman to run. She started, and her
husband started after her. "You shall always follow each other
this way," the Flute priests said. They both ran westward,
and are still running in that way. The two stars, Nangö'sohu
pursue each other because one constantly follows the other, sometimes
overtaking it and then again remaining behind, are these two personages.
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