Native American Legends
Traditions of Wanderings
A Hopi Legend
After the Hopi had been taught to build stone houses, they took
separate ways. My people were the Snake people. They lived in snake
skins, each family occupying a separate snake skin bag.
All were hung on the end of a rainbow which swung around until
the end touched Navajo Mountain. Then the bags dropped from it.
Wherever a bag dropped, there was their house. After they arranged
their bags they came out from them as men and women, and they then
built a stone house which had five sides. Then a brilliant star
arose in the southeast. It would shine for a while and disappear.
The old men said, "'Beneath that star there must be people."
They decided to travel to it. They cut a staff and set it in the
ground and watched until the star reached its top. Then they started
and traveled as long as the star shone. When it disappeared they
halted. But the star did not shine every night. Sometimes many years
passed before it appeared again. When this occurred, the people
built houses during their halt. They built round houses and square
houses, and all the ruins between here and Navajo Mountain mark
the places where our people lived. They waited until the star came
to the top of the staff again, but when they moved on, many people
remained in those houses.
When our people reached Waipho (a spring a few miles from Walpi)
the star vanished. It has never been seen since. They built a house
there, but Masauwu, the God of the Face of the Earth, came and compelled
the people to move about halfway between the East Mesa and the Middle
Mesa and there they stayed many plantings. One time when the old
men were assembled, the god came among them, looking like a horrible
skeleton and rattling his bones. But he could not frighten them.
So he said, "I have lost my wager. All that I have is yours.
Ask for anything you want and I will give it to you."
At that time, our people's house was beside the water course. The
god said, "Why do you sit there in the mud? Go up yonder where
it is dry."
So they went across to the west side of the mesa near the point
and built a house and lived there.
Again when the old men assembled two demons came among them, but
the old men took the great Baho and chased them away.
Other Hopi (Hopituh) came into this country from time to time and
old people said, "Build here," or "Build there,"
and portioned the land among the newcomers.
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