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The migration of the Water People

A Walpi Legend

In the long ago, the Snake, Horn, and Eagle people lived here (in Tusayan) but their corn grew only a span high and when they sang for rain, the Cloud god sent only a thin mist. My people lived then in the distant Pa-lat Kwa-bi in the South.

There was a very bad old man there. When he met any one he would spit in their faces. He did all manner of evil. Baholihonga got angry at this and turned the world upside down. Water spouted up through the kivas and through the fire places in the houses.

The earth was rent in great chasms, and water covered everything except one narrow ridge of mud. Across this the Serpent-god told all the people to travel. As they journeyed across, the feet of the bad slipped and they fell into the dark water.

The good people, after many days, reached dry land.

While the water was rising around the village, the old people got on top of the houses. They thought they could not struggle across with the younger people. But Baholihonga clothed them with the skins of turkeys.

They spread their wings out and floated in the air just above the surface of the water, and in this way they got across.

There were saved of us, the Water people, the Corn people, the Lizard, Horned-toad, and Sand peoples, two families of Rabbit, and the Tobacco people. The turkey tail dragged in the water.

That is why there is white on the turkey's tail now. This is also the reason why old people use turkey-feathers at the religious ceremonies.

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