Native American Legends
The revenge of the Katcinas
A Hopi Legend
Halíksai! This place, Kaö'tûkvi, is somewhere
east of the Pueblo Indians, and a long time ago many people lived
there. West of them was a large mountain like the San Francisco
Mountains (near Flagstaff).
In these mountains lived many Katcinas. Those people sometimes
had ceremonies (híhta totók'a yû'ngwa), but
they did not yet know the Katcinas.
One time some of the Katcinas also assembled in their kiva in the
mountains, and dressed up, getting ready for a dance. They then
descended and came to the village in the night, where they commenced
to dance on the plaza. The people were still sleeping, but soon
heard the noise of the dance and arose and came to the Plaza. Here
they saw the Katcinas dance. The latter, however, did not accompany
their dance by singing.
By the side of the line of dancers danced a Katcina Uncle (Katcina
Táha). The people, not knowing what or who the dancers were.
became angry and concluded among themselves that they wanted to
kill them. The Katcinas heard what the people said about wanting
to kill them and ran away. West of the village they Jumped from
a bluff into a large crack. These were the Snow (Nûva) Katcinas,
the Uncle being a Hotóto Katcina. The Katcina Uncle was in
the lead when they jumped in the crack. Here the people who had
followed them set fire to them and burned them up. The Katcina Uncle
who was at the bottom was not burned. Early in the morning he crept
out and returned home to the mountains, singing the following song
as he walked along:
Tanayo, tanayo, tanayo, tanayo
Nahanahay, Hotóto, palaka.
I myself (the) Hotóto emerged.
[The meaning of this line only could be ascertained.]
Shiwana towitowi ahaha (a) cloud.
Towiwikaliyoyokana yaaahihi h- h-; h-
Towiwikaliyoyokanayaaahihi h- h- h-
[The "h," with a rising inflection to imitate sobbing.]
The Katcinas living in the mountains had fields at the foot of
the mountains where they were planting corn and watermelons. Here
the Hehéa was hoeing with a wooden hoe (wík'a), still
used by the Hehéa Katcinas in their dances. It was early
in the morning. All at once he heard somebody singing, raised his
wík'a and listened, but just then the singing stopped. The
Katcina again commenced to hoe, and again heard the singing. Listening
again he heard the singing and the sobbing and behold' somebody
was walking along crying.
When the Hotóto arrived at the Hehéa Katcina the
latter asked: "Why are you walking along saving, something
and crying "Yes,'' the Hotóto replied, "We were
there in the Hopi village dancing, then they came out and threatened
to kill us, so we ran away and jumped into the gulch west of the
village, and there we were piled up, and all were burned up by the
Hopi except myself. I had jumped in first and was not burned and
escaped unharmed. That is the reason why I was moaning as I went
along." The Hehéa Katcina then also commenced to moan
Ochitana, iyawa, iyava
Ochitana! iyava, iyava.
Alas! (This is the only word of which meaning could be obtained.)
Hininiya ihihi io hiiohiio, h- h- h- h-.
Hereupon they both went home into the mountain where there were
a great many Katcinas, men, women, youths, and maidens. "Why
do you come alone?" they asked the Hotóto. The latter
hereupon repeated what he had said to the Hehéa Katcina.
"We shall sometime take revenge," said the chief of the
Katcinas, and ordered the Katcinas to assemble and to dress up.
Hereupon they made it hail for three days.
Early in the morning of the fourth day they caused a cloud to rise
which hovered over the mountains. This was their emblem or standard
(nátsi); it was a very beautiful cloud. Then the Katcinas
ate their morning meal.
The people in the village saw the cloud. They had gone to their
fields early in the morning for they had many fields around the
village. After breakfast many more clouds began to rise above the
mountains, towering upon each other. They soon spread out and during
the afternoon they covered the sky, coming up from all four sides.
The corn of the Hopi had at this time begun to mature and the people
felt very happy over the clouds.
They expected that they would have a good rain now. Towards noon
it began to thunder and to rain in the mountains and the clouds
began to move towards the Hopi village. When they had arrived there
it was thundering and lightning and it rained great hailstones.
All the crops were destroyed, and even the people, although they
left their houses and fled to the kivas, were killed.
Only one man and one woman remained alive. When everything had
been destroyed, the clouds said: "We will stop now and return,"
and then they began to disperse in all directions, some of them
returning to the mountains. The Katcinas were then happy saying,
"Now we have revenged ourselves, let it be thus." The
woman that had been spared again bore children and the village was
by and by again inhabited.
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