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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 214

Their search for her was unavailing until some of the men came to the mouth of the tunnel by which they had reached the upper land, when, looking down, they saw their queen combing her long, black locks. She told them that she was dead and that her people could go to her only after death, but that they would be happy in their old home. With that the earth shut together and the place has never since been open to the eye of mortals. Soon came the cannibal giants who ravaged the desert lands and destroyed all of the tribe but four families, these having found a refuge in a deep canon of the Navajo Mountains. From their retreat they could see a beam of light shining from one of the hills above them, and on ascending to the place they found a beautiful girl babe.

This child grew to womanhood under their care, and her charms attracted the great manitou that rides on a white horse and carries the sun for a shield. He wooed and married her, and their children slew the giants that had destroyed the Navajos. After a time the manitou carried his wife to his floating palace in the western water, which has since been her home. To her the prayers of the people are addressed, and twelve immortals bear their petitions to her throne.





THE ARK ON SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS

The Pima Indians of Arizona say that the father of all men and animals was the butterfly, Cherwit Make (earth-maker), who fluttered down from the clouds to the Blue Cliffs at the junction of the Verde and Salt Rivers, and from his own sweat made men. As the people multiplied they grew selfish and quarrelsome, so that Cherwit Make was disgusted with his handiwork and resolved to drown them all. But first he told them, in the voice of the north wind, to be honest and to live at peace. The prophet Suha, who interpreted this voice, was called a fool for listening to the wind, but next night came the east wind and repeated the command, with an added threat that the ruler of heaven would destroy them all if they did not reform.

Again they scoffed, and on the next night the west wind cautioned them. But this third warning was equally futile. On the fourth night came the south wind. It breathed into Suha's ear that he alone had been good and should be saved, and bade him make a hollow ball of spruce gum in which he might float while the deluge lasted. Suha and his wife immediately set out to gather the gum, that they melted and shaped until they had made a large, rounded ark, which they ballasted with jars of nuts, acorn-meal and water, and meat of bear and venison.

On the day assigned Suha and his wife were looking regretfully down into the green valleys from the ledge where the ark rested, listening to the song of the harvesters, and sighing to think that so much beauty would presently be laid waste, when a hand of fire was thrust from a cloud and it smote the Blue Cliffs with a thunder-clang. It was the signal. Swift came the clouds from all directions, and down poured the rain. Withdrawing into their waxen ball, Suha and his wife closed the portal. Then for some days they were rolled and tossed on an ever-deepening sea. Their stores had almost given out when the ark stopped, and breaking a hole in its side its occupants stepped forth.


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