The Pookonghoyas and the Cannibal Monster
A Hopi Legend
A very long time ago a large monster, whom our forefathers called Shíta, lived somewhere in the west, and used to come to the village of Oraíbi and wherever it would find children it would devour them.
Often also grown people were eaten by the monster. The people became very much alarmed over the matter, and especially the village chief was very much worried over it. Finally he concluded to ask the Pöokónghoyas for assistance. These latter, namely Pöokónghoya and his younger brother Balö'ngahoya, lived north of and close to the village of Oraíbi. When the village chief asked them to rid them of this monster they told him to make an arrow for each one of them. He did so, using for the shaft feathers, the wing feathers of the bluebird. These arrows he brought to the little War Gods mentioned.
They said to each other: "Now let us go and see whether such a monster exists and whether we can find it." So they first went to Oraíbi and kept on the watch around the village. One time, when they were on the east side of the village at the edge of the mesa, they noticed something approaching from the west side. They at once went there and saw that it was the monster that they were to destroy. When the monster met the two brothers it said to them: "I eat you" (Shíta). Both brothers objected.
The monster at once swallowed the older one and then the other one. They found that it was not dark inside of the monster, in fact, they found themselves on a path which the younger brother, who had been swallowed last, followed, soon overtaking his older brother. The two brothers laughed and said to each other: ''So this is the way we find it here. We are not going to die here."
They found that the path on which they were going was the esophagus of the monster, which led into its stomach. In the latter they found a great many people of different nationalities which the monster had devoured in different parts of the earth; in fact, they found the stomach to be a little world in itself, with grass, trees, rock, etc.
Before the two brothers had left their home on their expedition to kill the monster, if possible, their grandmother had told them that in case the monster should swallow them too, to try to find its heart; if they could shoot into the heart the monster would die. So they concluded that they would now go in search of the heart of the monster.
They finally found the path which led out of the stomach, and after following that path quite a distance they saw way above them hanging something which they at once concluded must be the heart of the monster. Pöokónghoya at once shot an arrow at it, but failed to reach it, the arrow dropping back. Hereupon his younger brother tried it and his arrow pierced the heart, whereupon the older brother also shot his arrow into the heart. Then it became dark and, the people noticed that the monster was dying.
The two brothers called all the people together and said to them: "Now let us get out." They led them along the path to the mouth of the monster, but found that they could not get out because the teeth of the monster had set firmly in death. They tried in vain to open the mouth but finally discovered a passage leading up into the nose. Through this they then emerged.
It was found that a great many people assembled there north of the village. The village chief had cried out that a great many people had arrived north of the village and asked his people to assemble there too. They did so and many found their children and relatives that had been carried off by the monster, and were very glad to have them back again.
The two brothers then said to the others that they should now move on and try to find their own homes where they had come from, which they did, settling down temporarily at different places, which accounts for the many small ruins scattered throughout the country The old people say that this monster was really a world or a country, as some call it, similar to the world that we are living in.
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