Native American Legends
The Children of Cloud
A Pima Legend
When the Hohokam dwelt on the Gila River and tilled their farms
around the great temple which we call Casa Grande, there was a beautiful
young woman in the pueblo who had two twin sons. Their father was
Cloud, and he lived far away.
One day the boys came to their mother, as she was weaving mats.
"Who is. our father?" they asked. "We have no one
to run to when he returns from the hunt, or from war, to shout to
The mother answered: "In the morning, look toward the sunrise
and you will see a white Cloud standing upright. He is your father."
"Can we visit our father?" they asked.
"Yes," said their mother. You may visit him, but you
must make the journey without stopping. First you will reach Wind,
who is your father's eldest brother. Behind him you will find your
The boys traveled four days and came to the house of Wind.
"Are you our father?" they asked.
"No, I am your Uncle," answered Wind." Your father
lives in the next house. Go on to him."
They traveled on to Cloud. But Cloud drove them away. He said,
"Go to your uncle Wind. He will tell you something." But
Wind sent them back to Cloud again. Thus the boys were driven away
from each house four times.
Then Cloud said to them, "Prove to me you are my sons. If
you are, you can do what I do."
The younger boy sent chain lightning across the sky with sharp,
crackling thunder. The elder boy sent the heat lightning with its
distant rumble of thunder.
"You are my children," said Cloud. "You have power
But again he tested them. He took them to a house near by where
a flood of rain had drowned the people. "If I they are my sons,"
he said, "they will not be harmed."
Then Cloud sent the rain and the storm. The water rose higher and
higher, but the two boys were not harmed. The water could not drown
them. Then Cloud took them to his home and there they stayed a long,
But after a long time, the boys wished to see their mother again.
Then Cloud made them some bows and arrows differing from any they
had ever seen, and sent them to their mother. He told them he would
watch over them as they traveled but they must speak to no one they
met on their way.
So the boys traveled to the setting sun. First they met Raven.
They remembered their father's command and turned aside so as not
to meet him. Then they met Roadrunner, and turned aside to avoid
him. Next came Hawk and Eagle.
Eagle said, "Let's scare those boys." So he swooped down
over their heads until they cried from fright.
"We were just teasing you," said Eagle. "We will
not do you any harm." Then Eagle flew on.
Next they met Coyote. They tried to avoid him, but Coyote ran around
and put himself in their way. Cloud was watching and he sent down
thunder and lightning. And the boys sent out their magic thunder
and lightning also, until Coyote was frightened and ran away.
Now this happened on the mountain top, and one boy was standing
on each side of the trail. After Coyote ran away, they were changed
into mescal - the very largest mescal ever known. The place was
near Tucson. This is the reason why mescal grows on the mountains,
and why thunder and lightning go from place to place - because the
children did. That is why it rains when we gather mescal.
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