First People :: American Indian Legends : C
Cookies | Privacy Policy

Arrow Youth

A Cochiti Legend

Arrow Boy was hunting. He met two Eagle Girls. "Hello," he said. "Hello," they answered, "are you hunting?" They invited him to come to their house up on a high cliff. They said to each other, "How can we take him up?" The elder said, "You take him on your back." The younger said, "You take him up, you are the elder. You might be stronger than I." "All right. I will carry him on my back." She tried many times to fly up. She was able to go a little way, and then had to give up. At last she got him up. She brought him to their house. They told him to sit down and gave him a stool all of turquoise. Their father and mother were not at home, but were out hunting. They were all alone. At last they heard their parents coming. They did not know what to do with Arrow Boy and they hid him under the blankets.

Their father and mother came near, and flew around the top of the house. They were bringing a buffalo that they had killed. The two girls came out to get the buffalo and flew up to meet their father and mother. They brought it in. Their father and mother sat down to rest, and the girls began to set out the food to eat. The elder sister went "Kem-kem (clearing her throat), kem-kem." Her father said, "What have you done? Anything wrong?" "My sister has done it." Again she went "Kem-kem - My sister....." Her sister poked her with her elbow to stop her. The father said, "What have, you done?" The younger sister answered, "My sister brought Arrow Boy up to our house." The mother cried, "Ahimi! (exclamation of fright). How did she ever bring him up? Where is he? I wonder you did not drop him!" "My sister hid him." They went where he was and threw the blanket off and brought him out. The mother said to Arrow Boy, "You are here?" "Yes." "How did these two girls bring you up here?" They gave him the two girls to be his wives.

The girls invited Arrow Boy to go out with them. Arrow Bow asked, "Where shall we go?"

"We shall go up through the sky." The father said to Arrow Boy, "Are you going with my two daughters, my son? As you go through the sky the doors will open; just at the door there is a great rock where every eagle stops." He said to the elder daughter, "You are the one to carry Arrow Boy on your back. Be strong and carry him carefully." "I am strong," she answered. She put him on her back. She tried, and she fluttered back. She was not strong enough. Finally she carried him up. They went up, and they came through the sky. There were two rocks, one on each side. They rested there. Their father had told the Eagle Girls, "Arrow Boy must pick downy feathers from under each of your tails. With these he will be able to travel by himself." When he took the feathers, the girls said, "Go north, that is where they need you." He came to the house of Grandmother Spider. She said, "Have you come to bring up the war captains (i. e., Twin Brothers)? Take this root, use it when you are in danger.

You will come to a house, and in it there will be two persons (the Twin Brothers); they will pretend that they can not hear you. Call loudly and they will answer."

He reached there. Those two were playing inside. He called loudly. They said, "Nobody is calling." He repeated his call, and they answered, "What? Who are you?" "It is Arrow Boy." They came running to the ladder; they looked up and saw Arrow Boy looking in. Arrow Boy came in and they gave him a stool of turquoise. They said, "This is why the Eagle Girls brought you up here. The people are troubled because they have had no rain in many years. For four years the Shiwana. have been shut up. Wind Maker Old Woman has imprisoned them."

The Twins said to Arrow Boy, "Are you ready? Yes; it is almost time for the midday meal." The Twins brought a big bowl and set it in the center of the floor. In it they put a little white cornmeal, and they poured water upon it. Ma's'ewa jumped in first, and his brother followed. They went down into another room below, and from this room the Twins came up again, all dressed in buckskin with bows and arrows. They were tall and handsome now.

They started off. "Do your best," they said to Arrow Boy, "we will watch you." As they went they said to him, "Have you your downy feathers?" "Yes." Ma's'ewa shot his arrow and when they had traveled the distance of that arrow, O'yoyewa shot his. Then Arrow Boy shot his. So they went, each shooting his arrow in turn and traveling on their arrows. They came near to where Wind Maker Old Woman lived. They told Arrow Boy, "There is a big pine, and on top there is always a watcher to guard Wind Maker Old Woman who sits under the tree. She is mending things, always mending." When they came to the pine tree Arrow Bow raised his bow and shot his arrow at the watchman. It went through his body and he fell down just where the old woman was sitting. She was frightened. She cried, "Whoever has done this? Nobody ever did this before. They have killed my watchman." They came close to the old woman and called, "Hello." She answered, "Are you the, ones who killed my watchman?" She invited them to come in, but they knew all about her already. She said, "Sit down, grandchildren, I will give you something to eat." She went in and brought out a skull. "This tastes very nice," she said, "do you like this?" They all three said, "No, we don't like that. We never ate that. We have brought our food." When they had finished eating she said, "Come on, boys, and let us play hide and seek." They were to hide four times. They bet their lives on not being found.

Arrow Boy hid first. When he was ready Wind Maker Old Woman looked for him. She called, "Arrow Boy, as you went up the ladder you hid behind the door. Come out!" But he was not there; she had made a mistake. He was on top of the roof. So he won the first hiding. She said, "What a brave boy you are. Nobody has ever beaten me before as you have done now." But Arrow Boy had used the root which Grandmother Spider gave him. It was her turn. When she was ready, Arrow Boy called, "Gotcadutcka, you went up and hid in the rafters. Come out!" She came out. Arrow Boy had won the first round.

It was Arrow Boy's turn again. The Twins were sitting there with a white manta around them. He hid under this. Wind Maker Old Woman called, "Arrow Boy, come out. You are behind the ladder." But he did not come out, for he was not behind the ladder. So she lost again; now it was her turn. She went to hide under the white manta. Arrow Boy called, "Come out, for you are under the white manta." "What a smart boy you are, you always find me!" It was Arrow Boy's turn. He hid to the east where the sun comes up, where there are many deer. He went into the anus of the last deer and came into the very front of his antlers. Wind Maker Old Woman called, "There you go, Arrow Boy. You went up the ladder and hid behind the door." But nobody came out, for he was not there. "What a smart boy you are," she cried. "Nobody ever did such harm as you. Come out, wherever you are." He came out. This was the fourth time that he had won. It was her turn. She went up to the sky and to the sun. She hid there. When Arrow Boy called, he said, "As you went that way, Wind Maker Old Woman, you went to the sky and to the sun. There you are hiding. Come down!" She came down. She said, "What a smart boy you are." Then the sun began to shine again. Then she said, "In this contest Arrow Boy has beaten me. Let me eat my skull first (i. e., before I die)." Arrow Boy answered, "All right." She ate it, and he killed her. When he opened her heart, inside there was nothing but splinters and cactus spines. They made her a turquoise heart so that she would not be dangerous any more.

When she was alive again, she went into the north room. In this room she had hidden the Shiwana. They were starving. She went into the west room and she released all the katcina. that were there. She released all those in the south room and in the east. She had shut them there for four years. Arrow Boy and the Twin Brothers went home. When the katcina were all free, it began to thunder and lighten. The clouds spread out; there was rain.

When the two Eagle Girls saw the lightning they knew that Arrow Boy had overcome Wind Maker Old Woman. They were both glad. Every once in a while they shook their bodies in the rain ("like all birds, glad for rain"). Arrow Boy and the Twins came down to the earth. When they were getting near to Arrow Boy's home, they came to Grandmother Spider and she said, "Are you coming back, Arrow Boy?" "Yes." "I am very pleased with you and very glad. I have seen good clouds, thunder, and lightning. Thank you for it very much. For your sake we are to have rain."

They came to Eagle's house. As they were climbing up, Arrow Boy saw his two Eagle wives. They were shaking their bodies because they were glad to see the pretty clouds spreading out. They greeted each other. They were very thin from fasting (to aid Arrow Boy), for they were suffering as he suffered (i. e., under the same taboos). The twins went home, and Arrow Boy came back to this village.

Return to Cochiti Legends
top of page.