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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 215

There was a tuna cactus growing at their feet, and they ate of its red fruit greedily, but all around them was naught but water. When night came on they retired to the ark and slept—a night, a month, a year, perhaps a century, for when they awoke the water was gone, the vales were filled with verdure, and bird-songs rang through the woods. The delighted couple descended the Superstition Mountains, on which the ark had rested, and went into its valleys, where they lived for a thousand years, and became the parents of a great tribe.

But the evil was not all gone. There was one Hauk, a devil of the mountains, who stole their daughters and slew their sons. One day, while the women were spinning flax and cactus fibre and the men were gathering maize, Hauk descended into the settlement and stole another of Suha's daughters. The patriarch, whose patience had been taxed to its limit, then made a vow to slay the devil. He watched to see by what way he entered the valley. He silently followed him into the Superstition Mountains; he drugged the cactus wine that his daughter was to serve to him; then, when he had drunk it, Suha emerged from his place of hiding and beat out the brains of the stupefied fiend.

Some of the devil's brains were scattered and became seed for other evil, but there was less wickedness in the world after Hauk had been disposed of than there had been before. Suha taught his people to build adobe houses, to dig with shovels, to irrigate their land, to weave cloth, and avoid wars. But on his death-bed he foretold to them that they would grow arrogant with wealth, covetous of the lands of others, and would wage wars for gain. When that time came there would be another flood and not one should be saved—the bad should vanish and the good would leave the earth and live in the sun. So firmly do the Pimas rely on this prophecy that they will not cross Superstition Mountains, for there sits Cherwit Make—awaiting the culmination of their wickedness to let loose on the earth a mighty sea that lies dammed behind the range.





THE PALE FACED LIGHTNING

Twenty miles from the capital of Arizona stands Mount Superstition—the scene of many traditions, the object of many fears. Two centuries ago a tribe of Pueblo dwarfs arrived near it and tilled the soil and tended their flocks about the settlements that grew along their line of march. They were little people, four feet high, but they were a thousand strong and clever. They were peaceful, like all intelligent people, and the mystery surrounding their incantations and sun-worship was more potent than a show of arms to frighten away those natural assassins, the Apaches.

After they had lived near the mountain for five years the "little people" learned that the Zunis were advancing from the south and made preparations for defence. Their sheep were concealed in obscure valleys; provisions, tools, and arms were carried up the mountain; piles of stone were placed along the edges of cliffs commanding the passes. This work was superintended by a woman with a white face, fair hair, and commanding form, who was held in reverence by the dwarfs; and she it was—the Helen of a New-World Troy—who was causing this trouble, for the Zunis claimed her on the ground that they had brought her from the waters of the rising sun, and that it was only to escape an honorable marriage with their chief that she had fled to the dwarfs.


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