Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 219

Next day he saw two men heating rocks and chipping arrow-heads from them. "Let me help you, for hot rocks will not hurt me," he said.

"You would have us to believe you are a spirit, eh?" they questioned, with a jeer.

"No ghost," he answered, "but a better man than you. Hold me on those rocks, and, if I do not burn, you must let me do the same to you."

The men complied, and heating the stones to redness in the fire they placed him against them, but failed to see that by his magic breath he kept a current of air flowing between him and the hot surface. Rising unhurt, he demanded that they also should submit to the torture, and, like true Indians, they did so. When their flesh had been burned half through and they were dead, he sounded his warwhoop and went on.

On the day following he met two women picking berries, and told them to blow the leaves and thorns into his eyes. They did so, as they supposed, but with his magic breath he kept the stuff away from his face.

"You are a ghost!" the women exclaimed.

"No ghost," said he. "Just a common person. Leaves and thorns can do no harm. See, now." And he puffed thorns into their faces and made them blind. "Aha! You are caught with your own chaff I am on my way to kill the Sun. This is good practice." And he slew them, sounded his war-whoop, and went on.

The morning after this affair some women appeared on Hurricane Cliff and the wind brought their words to his ears. They were planning to kill him by rolling rocks upon him as he passed. As he drew near he pretended to eat something with such enjoyment that they asked him what it was. He called out, "It is sweet. Come to the edge and I will throw it up to you." With that he tossed something so nearly within their reach that in bending forward to catch it they crowded too near the brink, lost their balance, fell over, and were killed. "You are victims of your own greed. One should never be so anxious as to kill one's self." This was his only comment, and, sounding the warwhoop, he went on.

A day later he came upon two women making water jugs of willow baskets lined with pitch, and he heard one whisper to the other, "Here comes that bad Ta-Vwots. How shall we destroy him?"

"What were you saying?" asked the hare god.

"We just said, 'Here comes our grandson.'" (A common form of endearment.)

"Is that all? Then let me get into one of these water jugs while you braid the neck."

He jumped in and lay quite still as they wove the neck, and they laughed to think that it was braided so small that he could never escape, when—puff! the jug was shattered and there was Ta-Vwots. They did not know anything about his magic breath. They wondered how he got out.