Native American Legends
The Aholi and other Walpi Katcinas
A Hopi Legend
Alíksai! In Wálpi and Sitcómovi they were
living, but not at the places where the villages now are, but where
they used to be. In Wálpi lived an old man, the Ahö'li
Katcina. He had with him a little maiden who was his sister, the
As he was very old and feeble this maiden would always lead him.
In the other village, Sitcómovi, lived a youth with his old
grandmother, and as she also was very feeble he took care of her
and used to lead her. One time the Ahö'li and the little maiden
went to their field 'south of Wálpi where they wanted to
plant. They carried with them little pouches containing seeds. In
their field was a báho shrine, and when they came to their
field the Katcina first deposited some prayer-offerings in the shrine,
first some corn-meal and then also some nakwákwosis which
he drew forth from his corn-meal bag. This bag he had tied around
In this shrine lived Mû'yingwa and his sister Nayâ'ngap
Wuhti. "Have you come?" Mû'yingwa said. "Yes,
we have come," they replied. "Thanks," Nayâ'ngap
Wuhti said, "thanks, our father, that you have come. You have
remembered us. No one has thought about us for a long time and brought
some offering here, but you have thought about us." And she
began to cry. Hereupon Ahö'li gave to each one a stick upon
which some nakwákwosis were strung, and also some corn-meal.
Hereupon Nayâ'ngap Wuhti was crying still more. "Yes,
we have come here," the Katcina said, "we are pitying
our people because they have not had any crops for a long time,
and now we thought about you here and have brought these prayer-offerings
here. And now you pity them and let it rain now, and when it rains
then a crop will grow again and they will have something to eat,
and they will then be strengthened and revived, because they are
only living a very little now.
Hereupon he took out his little bundles of seed and gave to the
goddess a small quantity of yellow, blue, red, and white corn as
an offering. These he placed before her on the ground. The two deities
then arose. Mû'yingwa had in his left hand a móngkoho,
móngwikuru, and a perfect corn-ear (chóchmingwuu).
These he pointed upwards towards the sky.
The female deity held in her hand a squash, which was filled with
all kinds of seeds, and as Mû'yingwa pointed up the objects
towards the sky she raised the squash with both hands, and then
forcibly threw it on the ground on the seeds which the Ahö'li
had placed there. "There," she said, "in this way
I have now planted for all of your people these seeds and they will
now have crops." Thereupon Mû'yingwa handed the objects
which he held in his hand to the Katcina, saying, "You take
these with you and with them you produce rain and crops for your
children, the people in Wálpi."
So the Ahö'li and the Katcín-maha returned, first going
to their booth, or shelter (kísi), that was near by in the
field. Here they partook of the food which they had brought with
them. "Thanks," the Ahö'li said, "thanks that
our father was willing. We shall not now go back to the village
in vain." "Yes, thanks," the mána also said.
Hereupon they returned to the village. It was now late in the afternoon.
As they passed the top of the mesa upon which Wálpi is now
situated, they heard somebody singing on top of the bluff, but they
went on, and arriving at their kiva they sat down north of the fireplace
and smoked over the objects which they had brought with them. "Thanks
that we have returned," the Ahö'li said, ''that we have
not been too late for our people. We shall now possess our people."
And as they were smoking and thus talking somebody came and entered
the house. It was the youth who lived with his old grandmother in
He came in. "Thanks that you have come," he said, "thanks
that you have come and provided something for our people here,"
whereupon he shook hands with them. "Sit down," Ahö'li
said, "and smoke, too." So the youth filled the pipe with
tobacco that he had brought with him and also smoked over the objects.
He took special pains to blow the smoke in ringlets upon the objects.
After he had done that four times, also praying to the objects,
they became moist so that the water was beginning to flow from them,
indicating that their efforts had been successful and that these
objects would produce rain, which was symbolized by this moisture.
Hereupon the youth prepared to return to his home, but Ahö'li
restrained him and said: "Now, tomorrow when the sun rises
we shall make a prayer- offering and you must do the same, because
when we came we heard somebody sing away up there somewhere."
So early the next morning they dressed up in their costumes, the
Katcina being dressed in a tû'ihi, a kilt, and his mask; his
body also being painted nicely.
In his right band he carried a stick, natö'ngpi, to the middle
of which were tied beads and a bundle of báhos. In his left
hand he carried the objects which he had obtained the previous day.
The mána was dressed as the Katcín-manas are yet dressed
today. She carried in her left arm a tray (póta), containing
different kinds of seeds. They proceeded to a báho shrine
west of the present village of Wálpi, half-way down the mesa.
Here they sprinkled a little meal to the sun and on the shrine,
this little rite being called kúivato. As they were performing
this rite they again heard the same voice singing on top of the
mesa, which they had heard before.
There were then no villages on top of the mesa, but the shrine
of Taláwhtoika was there already, and at this shrine some
one was singing. When looking up they say that it was the Big-Horn
(Wopákal) Katcina. Hereupon they returned to their house,
but immediately started up on the mesa to look for and meet the
one that they had heard singing. So they went up and reached the
top of the mesa somewhat west of the bahóki. Here they noticed
some one dressed in a white mask with very small openings for the
mouth and eyes. His body was also white and he wore a thin bandoleer
with blue yarn over his shoulder. He was standing by the side of
the shrine shaking a rattle of bones slowly up and down.
After having shaken the rattle four times he started off. "Wait,"
the Ahö'li Katcina said, "wait, we have heard some singing
up here and want to see who it is." "Yes," the other
Katcina, which was the Â'ototo, replied, "yes, I am not
singing, but we are two of us here, and the other one was singing."
By this time the Big-Horn Katcina came from the west end of the
mesa holding in his left hand a bow, and having a quiver strung
over his right shoulder. He had a green mask with a big horn on
the right side and an ear on the left. He wore a nice kilt, nice
ankle bands, and his body was painted up nicely.
When he arrived at the shrine he asked the Â'ototo: "Why
do you tarry here?" "Yes," the Â'ototo replied,
"these are detaining me." "Why?" the Big-Horn
Katcina asked. "We heard somebody singing here," the Ahö'li
replied, "and we came up here to see who it was, and so it
is you. Now, what do you think," he continued, "let us
go down all together and then we shall possess the people,"
and he told the Katcinas about what they had obtained and were going
to do. So the two Katcinas were willing and they prepared to go
The Â'ototo took the lead and was followed by the Ahö'li
Katcina, and the mána, the Big-Horn Katcina coming last.
This way they went down a part of the way at a place west of the
present village of Háno. Here they made a báho shrine
(bahóki), erecting some stones as a mark between the villages
of Háno and Sitcómovi. This shrine is still there.
They then went farther down to the present gap north of Háno
to the large shrine with the twisted stone which is still there,
Here they met somebody coming out of that shrine and then going
up and down there. It was somebody dangerous (núkpana), who
had large protruding eyes and a big mouth in his mask, and many
rattles around his body and along the front part of his legs.
His arms were painted white, his body red. Around his shoulders
he had a small blanket of rabbit skin. On his feet he had old, torn,
black moccasins. In his right hand he had a large knife, in his
left hand a crook, to which a number of mósililis were attached.
It was the Cóoyoko, who used to kill and devour children
there. When the Katcinas saw him they said to him: "Do not
trouble us, we are going to possess these people here. We are going
home now. You can destroy the bad ones, since you are bad anyway,
but do not trouble us.
Hereupon they descended and went to their home. When they arrived
at the house of the Ahö'li, which was a very beautiful house,
the Ahö'li said: "Now, here we are, and you stay with
us. It is not good down here it does not rain, but up there where
you are it is better. When it will rain here you can go back, but
we want to help the people first. So tomorrow morning we shall go
to the fields and plant for the people."
During the night they did not sleep but they were singing all night,
on their masks, which they had standing in a row in the north side
of the room. When the yellow dawn was appearing before sunrise it
commenced to rain, and it rained hard. Towards noon the Katcinas
dressed up, putting on their masks, went out, crossed the mesa,
came to the fields south of the mesa, and there they beheld large
fields of corn, patches filled with melons, watermelons, and squashes.
Everything was growing beautifully.
Having looked around a little while they turned around, taking
with them a watermelon, an ear of fresh corn, and a melon. It was
still raining so that their feet sank deep into the ground.
When they arrived close to the mesa somebody met them. It was Big-Skeleton
(Wokómásauwuu), who owns the earth and the fields.
He lived about half-way down the mesa near the mesa point. He told
the Katcinas that they should go up the mesa and prepare a house
there and live there, and from there they should perform their rites.
So they went up on top of the mesa and have lived there ever since.
Soon after that the Wálpi also commenced to move up the
mesa and build the new village, where it is at the present time
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