Apache: White Mountain Creation

The White Mountain Apache are one of several Western Apache tribes, each of which has a different language, history, and culture despite being related. The account of their legends is the result of anthropological work done in and about 1910, recorded for the American Museum of Natural History, collected by Pliny Earle Goddard in Myths and Tales from the White Mountain Apache. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History Vol. XXIV, Part II

Pliny Earle Goddard (November 24, 1869 – July 12, 1928) was an American linguist and ethnologist noted for his extensive documentation of the languages and cultures of the Athabaskan peoples of western North America. He played a major role in creating the academic infrastructure for American Indian linguistics and anthropology in North America.
— Orly

There were many houses there. A maiden went from the settlement to the top of a high mountain and came where the rays of the rising Sun first strike. She raised her skirt and the “breath” of the Sun entered her. She went up the mountain four mornings, and four times the breath of the Sun penetrated her. This girl who had never been married became pregnant and the people were making remarks about it.

She went up the mountain on four successive days and four days after that, eight days altogether, she gave birth to a child. Four days later, the child stood on its feet. His fingers and toes were webbed and he had neither eyebrows nor eyelashes and the hairs on his head were scattered, one in a place. His ears were round with only the openings. Everyone said he did not look like a man. After four more days he walked well and played with the other children.

His mother went again to the east and lay down under a place where water was dripping. The water fell into her as it dripped from the hanging algæ. She did this four times and became pregnant. After four days they all saw that her abdomen was enlarged and when she had been in that condition four days, eight days in all, she gave birth to another child. When it was four days old it stood up and was able to walk well. Its appearance was like that of the first child. It had webbed hands and feet and was without hair. It had round ears with holes only. The children walked about together, the head of one being higher than that of the other.

The people were asking, “Whose children are these going about?” They wanted to know who would make them like human beings. “Who are the kin of the woman whose children are going about among us?” The mother had a sister who wondered why the people were saying these things, for the boys had a father who lived a long way off.

The boys were eight days old and big enough to run about and were becoming intelligent. They asked their mother where their father was living. “Why do you ask?” she said. “You cannot go to him.” “Why do you say that? Why do you hide our father from us?” the boys asked. “Well, do you really want to go where your father lives?” she asked them. “Why do you suppose we are asking?” the boys replied. “We will go where our father lives.” Their mother told them that they were talking foolishly, that the distance was great, and that they would not be able to go. The boys insisted but were again discouraged by their mother. They finally said that it must be they had no father if they could not go to him. The mother then consented and said they three would go to the top of a great mountain. She cut a supply of meat and after four days, when it was near dawn, they started. They came to the top of the mountain when it was day and stood there facing the Sun. The woman stood between the boys holding them by the hand. When the sun was rising she said: “Look, your father is rising. Observe well. His breath streams out from four sides. Go towards the streaming out of his breath. There are dangerous things living in the east. What have you to go with?” She had a brown fly and she gave it to the boys, that it might sit by their ears. The fly was to show them the way and tell them where the dangerous ones lived.

She told them they were to start at midday. They remained there until the sun reached the sky hole. They then went four times around the trees on top of the mountain. The woman started home and the boys set out on their journey.

The boys went toward the east but the Sun was going in the opposite direction. The boys sat down and cried. A Raven, spreading out his wings, alighted nearby and asked the boys why they were crying. The boys replied that their father lived over there and that they were going to visit him. The Raven asked if they were carrying anything in the way of food with them. They replied that they had some meat. The Raven said they might ride on his back if they would give him some of the meat. The fly told them it would be all right to ride on the Raven, that the Raven could see half the way and that there someone was living who knew the remainder of the way. They were told by the Raven to break up the meat and put the pieces in his mouth, that two of the parcels would sustain him until he finished the journey as far as he knew the way. They were directed to get on the Raven's back. The Raven began by flying near the ground, then went higher and higher, circling around. A hot rain fell but the Raven covered them with his wings. They kept putting the meat into the Raven's mouth. When they had fed the Raven two pieces of the meat they passed through a cloud where the large Eagle lived. The Raven told them that that one (the Eagle) would now take them, that he knew all the places because he saw everything upon the earth; that he himself would go back.

The Eagle asked them where they were going, saying that he lived in a dangerous place. The boys indicated the direction they were going, saying they had been told their father lived there. Eagle said it was true their father lived at that place and asked if they had heard about his house. The boys replied that their mother had told them that the Sun was their father and that he lived over there. Because she had told them this they were on their way to see him. Eagle asked them by what means they intended to go, saying even he was in danger from the Sun. The fly staying by the ear of one of the boys flew away and soon returned with the statement that the dangerous places did exist and that Eagle, with whom they were sitting, was the one who knew and was in control of these dangerous places. Before the house of the Sun was ice, interlocked like fallen timber. Eagle addressed the boys, asking if they had with them anything from the earth, meaning meat. They replied that they had and each of the boys took some from his pocket. Eagle asked for some of it, which when it was given him he ate.

Eagle then said they would set out, for he knew the trail. He requested them to put meat in his mouth as he flew with them, indicating the amount which would be sufficient, for the trail. When they were seated on the Eagle he started down with them, circling around as he flew. A storm of hail fell on them, the hailstones being large with thirty-two points. The eagle protected the boys by covering them with his wings which were rolled back over them. When they had passed through the storm Eagle asked that meat be put in his mouth. When he had been fed he flew away with the boys and went through a hole which was there for him. When he came to the trail he alighted and pointing out the path told them that it led to the house of the Sun. He said that he himself would now turn back home.

The boys went forward until they crossed a shallow valley beyond which was the house, which had projections running out in four directions. When they walked with their eyes closed the house went out of sight, but when they opened their eyes the house settled down again. It did this four times and then it stood firmly. The two boys walked on and coming to the house, stood in front of the entrance. An old woman who was the wife of the Sun sat there.

She advised them to go on wherever they were intending to go, since a person of mean disposition was soon to arrive. The woman who spoke to them was really handsome but she sat there in the form of an old woman. The boys replied that they had been told that their father lived there, and that they had started to come that morning. The woman replied that she did not know who their father was. The boys said that the Sun was their father and they had come to visit him. The woman then asked who had told them that the Sun was their father. They said their mother had told them so. The woman told them that their father would soon return and asked them to be seated on a chair she indicated. When they were seated, the chair kept whirling around with them. When the chair would lift up the woman would make it come down again. When the woman saw the chair come down again she announced herself as nearly convinced they had spoken the truth.

Saying that the Sun was now coming close, she took four silk blankets of different colors which had been sewed together projecting in four directions and rolled the boys up in them. She put them into an inside room. They heard the Sun come back and heard him speak. “Old woman, where are the two men who came here?” he asked. The woman replied: “I have not seen anyone. No one has been here.” “You say there is no one. They must have come, for here are their tracks,” the Sun replied. “You must have been cohabiting with someone else. You say you travel over this broad earth and that you do not visit anyone. You must have been deceiving me about it for two men came in from that trail saying they are your children,” his wife said. The Sun asked that they be brought in, and the woman opened the door, brought in the roll of blankets, and threw it down. The Sun shook the blankets and two men stood up. The Sun spoke: “Hesh, do you consider these to be my children? They do not look like me.” He stood by them and repeated his question, calling attention to their webbed hands and feet and their round ears. “Are you really my children?” he asked them. “Who is called the Sun, I wonder?” the youngest of the boys said, and water fell from his eyes. “Well, maybe you are my children. Sit here and wait,” the Sun said. Their fly looked around and reported that the man was their father. After examining the room everywhere, the inner corners, the windows, and door, the fly told them that ordeals were being prepared for them. He said that soon a blazing sky would be arranged, into which they would be thrown. The fly looked around for downy feathers which he gave the boys.

When the Sun had finished eating he asked that those who said they were the Sun's children should be brought in. He threw them into the place of danger. He pushed them in with lightning which had sharp spines. They turned into downy feathers and stood in front of him again. “It is true,” the Sun said. He threw them in four times, pushing them down. Each time they turned into feathers and came back in front of the Sun as before. The Sun then said he was convinced that they were his children. His wife said: “They told you they were your children, but you have treated them badly.” The Sun replied: “They certainly are my children but I did not believe it before.” The Sun asked his wife to prepare a sweat lodge as soon as they had eaten.

She made a sweatlodge covered with a blue blanket on one side, a black one on another side, a white one on another side, and a yellow one on another side. His wife had the stones heated red hot, like red hot iron. They three went right in, but the Sun only came out again. When the bath had been heated the fourth time the boys were as if they had been boiled. He pushed back the skin which was between their fingers and toes. He fixed for them their lower leg muscles, their knees, their thighs, their biceps, their elbows, and their lower arms. He made the hair of their heads come to their hips, twisting it off at that length. He made their ears, their eyelashes, and their eyebrows, their noses, their mouths, and their faces. He fixed every part of their bodies as it should be. The Sun went out of the bath with the boys and sat with them on the seat where his wife usually sat. They were just like men. When the wife of the Sun came and stood in front of them she looked at them closely, but could not distinguish one from the other. “Move, husband,” she said. The one sitting in the middle moved himself. “You told me you had not been with any woman but you fooled me. These are your children. You must have a wife. Go home with them,” the woman said.

The Sun spoke to his wife, saying that these were his children but that if he went away with them to the earth she would be lonesome. Only today there was a good sunset. “Just now when you said 'no' your eye winked,” he said to her. “I am jealous of what is far away,” she said. The Sun said he would not go, but would talk to his children.

“My boys, shall I give you names?” “Yes, it is not well to be without names,” they replied. Then the Sun said he would name them. He told the older his name would be Naiyenezgani and that he must behave well.  He told the other one that he would be named Tobatc'istcini. “When you are upon the earth you will be called so and you will tell them that your father named you that. You shall say, 'He made my name Naiyenezgani.' But you, 'Tobatc'istcini he made my name,' you must tell them.”

The Sun then asked them for what they had come. They told him they had come for his horse, his saddle, his bridle, his halter, his rope, and his saddle blanket. The Sun asked who had told them he had such property. The older one replied that their mother had told them what property he had and had told them that she would be happy if they brought it back to the earth. She said that he (the Sun) would also be happy. The Sun replied that he had no property, no horse, saddle, bridle, halter, rope, or saddle blanket. The fly had told them that the Sun had these, but he looked around again and reported that the Sun had them close by.

“Let us go over there,” one of them proposed. They went to a fenced enclosure and entered through a gate. The yard was so full of black bears that the mass of their moving backs occupied the entire space. “Which of those are my horses?” the Sun asked. “They are fearful animals,” the boys replied. “These are my horses,” the Sun insisted and mounted one of them and rode around on it. The fly informed the boys that they were being deceived. The Sun proposed that they should go in another direction to another enclosure. Inside this yard were white-tail deer, mule deer, elk, and mountain-sheep. The Sun announced that these were his horses and told the boys to choose any one they liked and catch it. “Which is the largest?” he asked them. “These are not horses,” the boys replied, “they are named deer. We asked you for horses.” The Sun insisted they were his horses and that he rode them great distances. “Well, you have outwitted me. I thought I would succeed in outwitting you, but you have won.” The younger brother asked the Sun what he was concealing from them, saying he could find them. The Sun asked them not to say that and proposed that they look in another place where he had a few horses confined. They went to the place indicated and found the place filled with antelope, sheep, goats, and pigs. “Catch any one of these you want,” the Sun said. “You tend to them here alone,” the boys replied and walked out leaving the Sun who followed behind.

They went to the house and ate a meal. Their fly told them that the Sun's horses were in the enclosure that had four doors. When they had finished eating they went to this enclosure which was a house with a roof having holes in it. It had spikes like irons, sticking up from it. It was closed and completely dark. “There are horses in there,” the fly told them. The Sun said, “I told you it was useless.” One of the boys asked that they might look in. There was a door there which he opened. A little beyond it was another door, a little beyond another, and a little beyond that another, and still beyond that another. They now came to horses in the enclosure but could not enter. By standing on something they could see through a hole in the roof. They could not get in between the horses until they were caused to separate and to open up a passage. The Sun then told them to catch the horse that they thought was his. The fly sitting by one of their ears told them they were to catch the horse with a rope which they should induce the Sun to give them. When the Sun again urged them to catch the horse without delay, they asked whether they should lead the horse by the mane or carry him out in their hands. The Sun, with spotted ropes in his hand, went right through the door which he opened. He gave one of the ropes to each of the boys, telling them to catch the horses which were his. The animals were milling around in the enclosure. In the center was one which was not moving, a sorrel with a small white spot on its forehead. Its mane reached the ground. When it raised its head one of the boys started toward it, the horses separating. He threw the rope and caught the horse which he led back. The Sun then told the other boy to catch a horse, wanting to know who had told him which horse to catch. There was a stallion running around the outside of the herd. Its mane reached the ground; he was acting wild but the fly told them that although he acted as if he were mean he was really gentle. He directed them to take both these horses from the Sun. When the other boy started with his rope toward the stallion he was running around the outside of the herd and coming toward the boy. When he came close and saw the boy he stopped and then wheeled back. The boy lassoed it and immediately the horse trotted up to him, nosing his arm. He led the stallion up beside the sorrel horse which was a mare. The Sun said: “There they are, ride them, take them with you to the earth.”

The boys then asked for the horse trappings for which they had also come. The Sun said he did not know what they meant by horse trappings. The younger boy said, “Well, if you do not know what horse trappings are, do not again put them on these horses in the corral.” The Sun asked who it was who had made them as smart as he was himself. They replied that he, the Sun, had made them smart and had made them speak wisely. They then asked by name for bridle, halter, saddle blanket, and saddle. Turning his back to the boys he walked away and opened a door, bidding the boys enter. They went in and saw saddles lying there with bridles hanging on the saddle horns. The blankets were lying beneath. Before they went in the fly flew in and selected two out of all the saddles. One was lying at the east and the other at the west. The first was blue and the other yellow. The fly had returned to one of their ears by the time the Sun said: “There are those saddles, take the ones you want.” The fly told the boys that the saddles which looked good really were not, but that they should choose the blue and yellow ones, indicating them, and the blankets, halters, bridles, and ropes of similar colors lying by them. These were the Sun's own particular set of trappings. When the Sun urged them to hurry up each boy stepped toward the saddle he had chosen. When they did so the saddles moved of themselves with the blankets and bridles. There was a sound “gij” of the moving leather and “tsil” as they came to rest.

The Sun turned his face away and took a black silk handkerchief which had two white stripes around the border from his pocket. With this he wiped his eyes. “I raised you for just this purpose,” he said. The Sun started to walk toward the horses. Their fly had told them not to touch the saddles, that the Sun himself would fix them. “They belong to you,” the fly said. “Everything is alive; the rope on the horse moves about of itself. The saddle will jump on of itself.” The fly told them this. The halter was gone, the bridle and saddle blanket which had been lying on the saddle were gone. The halter, bridle, and saddle blanket that had been with the blue saddle were also gone. The Sun called them to come where he was standing. They both went out again and the doors of the saddle room and of the stable were shut.

They went to the Sun, who was standing between the two horses so that their heads projected as he held the bridles. They started away, the boys walking in front of the Sun as he directed them to do. They passed through the four doors to a post standing in front of the Sun's house. He led the horses to the post where they stood without being tied. There were four chairs standing inside the Sun's house; and one by itself for the woman. His children sat on the chairs and his wife sat on the one which was hers. The Sun addressed them as follows:—

“My boys, I will instruct you about the dangerous places you will come to. The horses know the dangerous places on the way back. My wife is pleased with you and treats you well. That is why you are to have these horses, one of which is hers. The other is mine and so is the saddle, bridle, halter, and saddle blanket. They are all mine. You will go back to your kindred. When you are near, hurry. I will give you something.”

The Sun got up and reached inside to a shelf from which he took up an iron knife like a sword. Turning around he took up a bow and arrows having iron heads. There were two of the arrows. “I give these to you,” he said. “You are giving us these! Our mother did not know about them. Why does she not give us something?” the boys said. The Sun's wife said she would speak a few words to them. “You shall be my nephews. Your mother shall be my sister. She shall be like me. Because of this I have treated you well. She shall be the same as I. I become an old woman and at other times I am as if I were two years old. She shall be the same way. You shall tell her this before the Sun travels far. I am the one telling you; he did not tell you. I will name my sister. Your father will give you names.” The Sun picked something up and was still holding it. “Wait, I will tell you something and after that he will give you a name. I name her Nigostsanbikayo. Every one will call her that. She will come to me. You, too, will come to me. I give a name to your mother. She will be called Ests'unnadlehi and she will help you. I make a name for her, Ests'unnadlehi, and with that she will help you. When she has children again they will be two girls. These girls will belong to the people for there will be people.  She will help them. I, too, will help them when they come to me. He, too, will help his children. That is why I am telling you and you must remember it well. I have finished. Your father will tell you about the objects he is about to give you.”

The Sun gave the elder boy a weapon saying, “This will be called a 'blue sword.' You will use it against the monsters on the earth. Because of that I gave you the name, Naiyenezgani.” He gave the weapon to him saying, “That is all for you.” Addressing the younger, he said, “Now I give this to you, Tobatc'istcini. You will use this which I give you against those who prey upon people. You are to help each other. I shall be near you watching you. Whatever you do will be known to me. It will be well if you kill these evil ones. The people will live everywhere.” He gave him the bow with the injunction that he should draw the bow three times without releasing the arrow and then he should shoot the dangerous beings and they would fly apart. Having said this, he proposed they should eat something. The Sun's wife was still sitting in her accustomed seat. The men went to the table, well loaded with food prepared by some unknown agency, and began to eat. The Sun's wife gave the elder one a spotted belt with a yellow fringe hanging from its border.

When they had finished the meal, the Sun said he did not know how the visitors were to return. They went where the horses stood and the Sun said, “Children, this stallion will go well in the lead. Now mount the horses.” He held the stirrup and saddle horn and told the boys to get on. They did so and rode away from the Sun's house where towards the east a post stands up with white hair which reaches to the ground and turns up again. The rain falls on it. They rode their horses around this post four times and came back where they were standing before, as the Sun directed them to do.

When they had finished, the Sun's wife came up to them and told her husband to count for his sons the two saddle blankets, two halters, two bridles, two ropes, and two saddles. The Sun told them to start home; that he was well acquainted with them. He charged them to take good care of the saddle blankets and directed that the gray horse should go in the lead because he knew the trail to the place midway between the earth and the sky. From that point the sorrel horse was to lead because that one knew the way from there on. When they returned where their mother lived he told them to stake the horses out for four nights. The sorrel was to be staked toward the east and the gray to the west. Having ridden the horses among the people they were to unsaddle them in some good place. A white saddle blanket was to be placed toward the east, a black one to the south, a yellow one to the west, and a blue one to the north. The bridles, halters, ropes, and saddles were to be brought to the camp. He charged them to keep in mind what he was telling, for he was telling them this that they might be good men. He divided his property between his boys. He told them after the horses had been running loose four days to go to them early in the morning. This might be in any good place where canyons meet, making a flat. When they came to them they were to hold out their hands, palms upward, towards the horses. They were to catch the horses while they were licking their hands. They were to consider what he told them and when they should go for the horses after four days, the four canyons coming together would be full of horses. When their horses had been caught by holding out their hands, the saddle blankets, one on the other, were to be put on them and the horses were to be saddled. They were to ride the horses all day until sunset when they were to be turned out again. Having turned them out, they were told they might go the next day to see what was happening. Having finished his speech he dismissed the boys.

They went with the Sun until they came to the top of the ridge, where they stopped. The Sun felt the horses all over. He felt of their legs, their feet, their faces, their ears, their manes, their backs, petting them. “Goodbye, my horses,” he said, “travel well for my boys down to the earth. There is food for you on the earth the same as here.” He addressed the gray horse, telling him to be the leader on the way toward the earth since he knew the way. He told the boys not to look at the horses' feet nor to look behind them, but to keep their eyes fixed on the tips of their ears.

They started; before they knew it the horses had changed places, and the sorrel was leading. They thought the earth was far off but they soon found the horses were trotting along on the earth. Now the horses were running with them toward their camp. They rode up slowly where the people were walking about. They rode to the camp side by side, and the people all ran out to look at them. Their mother was standing outside watching them and they rode up one on each side of her. “Mother, Ests'unnadlehi, unsaddle our horses,” they said to her.

The people all came up to them. The woman, laughing, ran her hand over the horses saying, “Your father gave you large horses.” When the people had all come there, the boys told them to call their mother Ests'unnadlehi. They all called her by that name. The older boy said they were to call him Naiyenezgani. The younger one said they were to call him Tobatc'istcini. They addressed them saying, “When we were here before you used to laugh at us because we were poor. We used to walk because we were poor. We have visited our father where he lives. The Sun's wife named our mother. Call me Naiyenezgani. That one was given the name, Tobatc'istcini. These will be our names and be careful to call them correctly. Do not come near these horses. We will stake one out here and the other one there. They will remain tied out four days. You may go.”

Before sundown on the fourth day the horses whinnied. They went to their horses and saddled them. They rode around among the camps until sundown and then rode them to a flat where four canyons came together. They hung a white saddle blanket toward the east, a black one to the south, a yellow one to the west, and a blue one to the north. Their fly told them to hang the blankets in four places, making an enclosure of them. After four days they were to come and would find conditions different. He charged the boys not to miss doing just as their father had told them. They went back to the camp carrying the saddles, bridles, halters, and ropes. After two days had passed their fly flew away. He returned, reporting that there were many horses filling the place where the four canyons came together. The next day he reported that the horses were so thick one could walk on their backs. The next day (the fourth), about sunrise, the two boys went there with their ropes in their hands. When they came to the eastern canyon it was full of white horses, the southern one was full of black horses, the western was full of yellow horses, and the northern canyon with blue (gray) horses.

They took down all the saddle blankets and piled them together. With valleys in four directions full of horses they did not know their former horses from the others. They considered how they might distinguish them. The horses were milling around near where a blanket hung. They were all mingled together with the colors mixed. The men approached the horses but they stopped before they got to them. They extended their hands with pollen on the palms and the horses whinneyed. Then two horses trotted up to them and licked the pollen from the hands of their owners who caught them while they did it. They led these horses back to the camp where the saddles, etc., were lying.

When they led these two horses all the others followed. Their fly told them all about the two horses, what they had done, and that they had made many horses for them. Four days from now it would come about that the broad earth would be covered with horses. Their fly flew to the Sun's camp and the Sun instructed him. “Drive the horses over this way and put a halter on top of that mountain; put a rope on the top of this mountain to the south; put a halter on the top of the mountain to the west; and put a rope on the mountain to the north. Your father says this,” the fly told them.

The older of the brothers told the people that they should ride the horses and not think they were wild. “Catch any of them and saddle them. When you have ridden your horses, then do not go near them for four days. Keep away from the horses which are inside where the halters and ropes are lying. Turn the horses loose in the space enclosed by the ropes and the halter. If they see you they may stampede. These horses will be of great value to you.”

The brothers rode the two horses and the others all followed. When the two horses whinneyed, the others all answered. They took off the ropes and went back to camp. They asked their mother to put up two posts and to put a smooth pole across their tops. She was asked to put the saddles on this pole with their horns toward the east. The bridles were to be hung on the saddle horns and the saddle blankets spread over the saddles. They asked her to think about the saddles where they were lying during the night.

She kept her mind on the saddles during the night and in the early morning she went out to them. There were four saddles on the pole where there had been only two. She still kept her mind on the saddles and the next morning there were six lying there. “My child,” she said, “you spoke the truth. I kept my mind on the saddles and six are now lying there.” Tobatc'istcini said, “Very well, keep thinking about them all night and go to them early in the morning.” When she went out, there were eight saddles on the pole.

Naiyenezgani said he was going yonder and would be back by sunset. He went to the mountain top where the halter lay. The Sun was standing there. “It must be my father,” he said. “I did not know you. I am glad you came down to me.” “Well, my son,” the Sun replied, “let us go around the horses.” “What time will it be when we get around them?” the son asked. Leaving the place where the halters were lying they went where the ropes were. The space was level full of horses. “Fine, my son,” the Sun said to Naiyenezgani, “with ropes and halters you made a fence so the horses cannot get out. You have this broad world for a corral.”

They went on and came where the halters were piled up. “These halters will round up the wild horses for you and you will put them on their heads.” They went on and came where the rope hung. “These ropes will drive the horses together for you. They will drive the wild horses close to camp for you.” They started back and came where Naiyenezgani had met the Sun. “I have done everything for you,” the Sun said. “Now I am going back and leave you. You too will go home. Tomorrow it will be finished. You will give your people two horses apiece. Give each of them one stallion and one mare. Distribute them from noon until sunset. These horses are mares and stallions in equal numbers. Tonight two saddles are to be placed on the pole you put up. You shall keep three saddles and give away seven. When you give away the horses give away seven saddles. Now my son, we separate. Shake hands. Others will do as we do.” They said njo to each other and separated. It was not long before he was back and stood there as the sun set. He was happy and laughing. “Where have you been, my son?” his mother asked. “You must have been in a good place or you would not be laughing.” “What did you say, mother?” he replied. “I am happy; when I came over there where the halter lay I met my father. I walked with him all day. As we walked around the horses he told me about everything. I am happy.”

He said that none of them should go out tomorrow, but that he himself would go out early. When he went out there in front of the yellow saddle lay a white saddle. Behind that was a blue one. Between them was a yellow saddle. The pole was full. There were ten saddles in a row. “I told you to put up a long pole, and you put up a short one,” he said to his mother. “You said dig one hole here and another there, my son,” she replied. “Just these may well be our saddles,” he said. He called Tobatc'istcini, saying they would go to catch the horses. “You go to the rope over there. I, too, will go to the other rope. Hurry, we will catch the horses,” he said to him. He ran where one rope was, and the other one went where the other rope was. When they came to the two ropes, they circled around, driving the horses all towards each other. They could not find their own horses, the Sun's horses. They went into the enclosure and walked around. Even when they went around that way they could not find the horses. They looked for them again, going around among the other horses, but they could not find them. The horses touched each other, they were so thick.

Then Tobatc'istcini said, “Naiyenezgani, why do you act so? Is your mind gone? You say you met your father yesterday and that you spent the day going around the horses. He took them out of the herd, and away from you.”

Naiyenezgani caught a black stallion and the other brother a sorrel gelding. When they led them to the camp their mother asked Tobatc'istcini why he had caught a sorrel and told him to turn him loose and catch a white gelding. She said the gray and sorrel horses were made for them and that they were well trained the day before. She told them to hurry and drive the horses in. Tobatc'istcini rode the sorrel horse back and unsaddled it. He then caught a white horse and drove the gray horses back to the camp.

“Let us go,” he said to his brother. They mounted the horses and rode along. Their mother spoke to them, “My boys, take off that yellow saddle and put on a white one.” When they came riding back where their mother was, a horse whinneyed. It sounded like the voice of the gray stallion that used to be his horse. Another horse whinneyed in this direction and the voice was like that of the sorrel mare. They knew their horses when they whinneyed and one said to the other, “Brother, those are our horses whinneying but we cannot do anything about it.” “Let us hurry,” the other said. They rode toward the herd of horses but the horses started to run and the herd broke up. While they were looking they ran where their horses whinneyed. Their fly told them that the horses had already run into the enclosure and that the four doors were shut. They heard them whinneying far away. Their fly said the horses were already in their stable, but they still whinneyed. They drove the other horses near the camp. The older brother told the people to form in a line around the horses. He said they were going to stake out horses for them. The people replied that they had no ropes, that only the two brothers had them. They asked the brothers to make ropes for them. They were told to wait while they returned where the horses used to be. They told them that they would have ropes the next day. The brothers went in different directions, calling to each other. They met and sent their fly to the Sun because the people were without ropes. He told his brother to go back where he had been staying. He directed him also to take the bridle off and to leave the rope as it was, tied to the saddle. “When the Sun is in the middle of the sky we will drive the horses back. Although it is late the Sun will be in the same place. He (the Sun) may give us something,” he said.

The fly returned and reported: “Your horse was standing behind him. He sat watching where the stallions were fighting each other. He kept looking at them and then he went a little way.”

The Sun's disk was yellow as at sunset. He looked down four times. The yellow beams struck under his raised knees. From the other side they also streamed toward him. Nothing happened, and he got up and went to his horse. When he put his foot in the stirrup and mounted, ropes were tied in four places to the saddle strings where there had been no ropes before. Both saddles were that way. They both mounted together and their horses pawed the ground and snorted. He rode back to the camp, loping, and the other horses strung out behind him. The other brother was running his horse on the other side. They stopped near the camp. The horses were all lined up facing him. He called to the one on horseback, “Come here.” He rode up to him and he asked how many ropes there were. The other replied he did not know for he had not counted them, and inquired of the other how many ropes he had. The first speaker replied that he did not know. Then the younger brother said the other should catch the horses for them and lead them out while he remained on his horse where he was. The other brother then rode among the horses and caught a mare. He led the horse out and gave the rope to one of the men. He rode back among the horses and caught a stallion. When he had caught six horses, the ropes were all gone. He beckoned with his hand and his brother rode up to him. “Had you only six ropes?” he asked. “Yes, I only had six and I have caught six horses. Now, take your turn and I will remain here on horseback.” The second brother caught the horses and reported that he had chosen the better horses. The horses were all good but some of them looked to be small.

They told the people there were only seven saddles and that so many of the men might have saddles, but that the others must ride around bareback for the present. He told them that some time they might have saddles because the Sun knew of their need and he himself knew it. He instructed them to tie out their horses close by. He said if they heard the horses nickering they would know that the stallions were covering the mares. They would also know the colts when they were foaled. If they turned their horses loose they might not know them. The ropes he said would guard their horses for them. They would now drive back the other horses while those who had received horses staked theirs out.

He drove the horses away and hung his bridle up. The other one he laid in another direction. He took the saddle and everything else back to the camp. They came back to the camp in the middle of the night but they did not know it was night because the Sun had not moved.

When two days had passed two men came. There were many horses where they had passed. They reported that something was running around the other side of this large mountain. They did not know what it was, nor to whom it belonged. They wondered what was meant and sent their fly to find out. He flew away and came back almost immediately. He said it was true. On the ridge beyond the mountain he saw horse tracks and a trail with dust as fine as flour.

One of the brothers asked his mother to cook for the men quickly. It was while they were eating that the fly reported. “Fly back there,” he directed him. He told the visitors to remain, for they were no doubt tired. They went back where the bridle was lying. They took off the rope and hung it toward the east. They spoke to the bridle asking that the horses, wherever they went, should come back together during the night.

The visitors were as the two brothers had been. They had no eyelashes or eyebrows. Their ears were round and their heads were smooth. There were webs between their fingers and toes. When they were asked whence they came they replied that they had assumed there were people living somewhere. Their own people had been killed off by something until only the two were left. They saved themselves at night by digging a trench and covering it with a large rock. When they started away, one of the brothers asked where they were going. They replied that they did not know where they were going but preferred not to stay where they were. They said they did not like to be with many peoples. They preferred staying there with their present hosts. Naiyenezgani asked them to tell their story during the night.

When night came, he called four men to come and listen to what the visitors were about to tell. He asked each of the four men to question the guests. “What is the country called where you live and what kind of thing is killing your people?” he asked. “Tell us about it.”

“The place where we live is called danagogai, plain. Something has been killing our kinsfolk. It has been killing people everywhere on the earth. We do not know what to do,” one of them replied. Naiyenezgani told another of the men to question them. He asked if it were really true that they had been living in that place, saying he did not believe what the other had said. One of the guests replied that it was true. He said they did not know how to tell untruths and that it was not right to do so. “While we are here in camp it will kill someone.” He added, “I have finished.” The second questioner said, “Why did you tell us this? We are uneasy about it.” They replied that they were afraid of it and therefore came there where they intended to live with them.

Naiyenezgani called upon a third man to question them. “Why did you leave a trail for them?” he inquired. “When your kinsfolk were all killed, why did you come to us leaving a trail?” The same man spoke again. He directed that the next day a sweatbath should be prepared that they should take a bath with the two visitors.

“You said the horses had gone far away. I presume they have already come together again,” he said. “These some-kind-of-things you said were going away we call horses. That is all I have to say.” “These two will speak to you,” one of the company said.

“I cannot promise that I will kill that thing which has been killing your people. Hurry to build the sweatlodge he mentioned,” Tobatc'istcini said. “Make the sweatbath: we are going for the horses,” he added.

During the night the horses had come together. One bridle was lying at the east and the other at the west. They told the horses they must all stay there together. When the brothers returned the sweatlodge was built and the stones were on the fire. Tobatc'istcini directed that the men should stand in line while four of them should go into the bath four times. He said that when they had come out the fourth time the visitors would be like themselves. “You built this sweatbath, but it belongs to the Sun,” he told them. When he (Naiyenezgani) went in with them the fourth time he asked them where the thing was living which was killing them. The visitors replied that he lived down this way, pointing toward the west. “The one that has killed all of our people has something long for a weapon,” he added. Naiyenezgani said, “Well, he has been killing you.” When they came out the fourth time they all looked alike. They ate and after the meal the brothers told them all to remain there while they went to yonder white mountain ridge to look beyond. He looked at the Sun.

They landed far away on the mountain ridge. Beyond that mountain they went to another. There was a plain on which a mountain was standing. They landed next on that mountain. Tobatc'istcini said, “Brother, is the dangerous thing feared by you? If you are afraid, I am afraid. If you are not afraid neither am I afraid. You are the elder, I am the younger.”

A man was walking in a valley without brush. He was the one who kills people. They sent their fly to look over the body of their enemy, to examine his ears, his eyes, and his mouth. The fly flew to the man and alighted on his ear. When he alighted on his nose the man said, “It is not just you. You smell like a man.”

The fly reported that they could not come up to the man, for while he walked in one direction he could see behind because he had eyes in the back of his head. He had no eyes in front. “He has something long in his hand with which he kills people. When I sat on his nose he told me I smelled like people,” the fly reported. “He is the same sort of a person that you are.” The fly told them to go around to a certain gap in the ridge, where the monster was accustomed to pass, and stand side by side. He promised to let them know when the enemy approached. When the monster walked along, the fly came back where the brothers were standing side by side and said, “He is coming up here very close. If he stops here you must cut his head off. Now, you shoot him,” he said. “If he sees anyone he makes a sweep with his long weapon and kills the person even a long way off.”

The man came close to them and stopped. One of them shot him and the other cut his head off. He stood just as he was before. They shot again and cut his head off again. The head fell but came back on again. One of them shot at him the third time and the other cut his neck off again. Then one of them ran around in front of him and shot him in the heart. This time his flesh flew apart and was scattered over considerable space. The flesh was quivering. That which they killed was called Naiye'. “That is why he named you Naiyenezgani,” their fly said. “Because you and Tobatc'istcini both will kill dangerous beings your father named you that.” “You did this in his presence. He was looking at you and prevented the monster's making any move against you. He gave you the weapons with which you killed him. He did it for the good of mankind. Turn the head over and look at its face,” their fly told them. They turned him over and looked at his face. His face was like anyone's but he also had eyes in the back of his head. No one could attack him from in front, and he had eyes to see behind himself also. His knife was sharp and the handle was good. “Let us take the knife to convince the people. If we do not have the knife, they will not believe us if we claim we have killed the Naiye' which used to kill people,” one of them said.

On their return they landed on the white mountain ridge and returned to the camp. When they had returned, Naiyenezgani directed that all the people, including the children, should come together. He asked his mother, because the people were assembling, to spread down a buckskin and to place on it the arrows, his own weapon, and that of the slain Naiye'. He asked the people to gather around it. He called the two visitors, asking them to come to a designated spot. He told his brother to stand in a certain position and said that he himself would stand in another place. He said that he would address the people and told his brother to do the same. “I am telling you this because you are seeing what you have not seen before. You see today what our father gave us. Now you speak to them,” he said to his brother.

Tobatc'istcini spoke as follows, “My name is Tobatc'istcini. Our father gave us these things lying here. A being called Naiye' was using that weapon over there to kill people. He had killed all the people except the two who are sitting over there. We killed him.” “You, Naiyenezgani, speak to them again,” he said to his brother.

“We started from here and we went up to the top of yonder mountain. We went on to the top of a mountain standing beyond that. A small mountain stands beyond that and we went up to its top. There we saw a man walking in a valley. He went to him for us and returned. 'When he walks he is blind, but he has eyes in the back of his head,' he reported to us. 'He kills the people who are slipping up behind him.' Now he will not kill anyone. We shall live safely.” He took up what used to be his knife and carried it around for the people to see. The man's blood was on it, and it was fearful to look at. “There is no place to take hold of it. I will take hold of it here,” he said. “Do not look at this which used to belong to Naiye'. It is dangerous. Have a meal and then go home. Look after our horses well.”

Their mother asked why the two who had come to them should not accompany them where the horses were. They went with them where the horses were. “Catch the sorrel gelding when you want to. You can tell it by the white spot on its shoulder,” he told one of them. To the other he said, “You may catch this black one with a white spot on its forehead. If we are away anywhere saddle them and ride them around among the horses and through the camp. The horses look as if they were mean, as if they had never had a rope on them, but they will not misbehave, they are not mean and will not shy.” They started back and when they came to the camp again they ate.

Two days after they had killed the Naiye' they said they were going in a certain direction and that it might be late when they returned. They went up to the top of a small sharp-topped mountain. They looked at the Sun and, when it came up, yellow beams streamed out from the Sun's disk. His breath took the shape of a rainbow. The sunbeams fell to the ground over them. “It must be there,” he said. They started and landed on a mountain top. From there they went to another and from that one to a projecting ridge. Beyond that was a plain on which stood a blue mountain. They landed on that. It seems that those who were killing the people lived at a distance from each other and the people were living in the center of the world. The killers of the people were working towards each other.

The two brothers stood on the mountain side by side. They were made like their father. You could hardly see their bodies. They were killing out the Naiye'. “Fly over the country and hunt him up. He is living somewhere,” one of them said to the fly. It flew off and went around them in a circle. The next time it went around in a smaller circle. He (the monster) was coming behind them. He had eyes looking both ways, four eyes. He held something crooked. He stopped and looked carefully behind himself. He did not look in front. He could look straight up and could see people down below. The fly looked him all over, at his eyes, his ears, his nose, and his face. “You are a burr,” he said to the fly. The fly thought he said he was going to catch him. He flew between the man's legs and returned where the brothers were sitting. “Did you say Naiye'? You have come to a dangerous place,” the fly said to them. “As he walks along he looks carefully behind himself. When he stops he looks up and he can see the people who are below. He carries a long, crooked object with which he makes a sweep at people he sees in the distance and catches them with his hook.”

The fly was sent again to find out from which point the monster could be attacked with the best chances for success. They saw him walking in the distance and then they saw him standing where he was accustomed to come up the ridge. The fly reported that was a good place for the attack. The brothers addressed each other. “What is the matter with you, Tobatc'istcini?” Naiyenezgani asked. “You are the leader and should speak first,” Tobatc'istcini replied. “Very well, you did not answer me. We will attack him. I will cause large hail with thirty-two points to fall on him. What are you going to do?” Naiyenezgani asked. “I will cause hot rain to fall on him,” was the reply.

They went to him where he was walking. The sky made a noise and it began to rain. The two brothers came toward him behind this rain. He put his hand to the top of his head. It was hot rain which was falling. They could see him, but he could not see them. “Let him walk between you,” the fly directed. He was already exhausted with the hot rain and the hail. Naiyenezgani stood here and Tobatc'istcini there. The monster walked here saying, “It is a bad time. I, too, where I am, it is a bad place.” As he walked one of the brothers raised his bow and brought it down again, shooting. His companion cut off the monster's head. It came back immediately as it was before. They shot and cut his head off again. He fell three ways. They did the same thing to him the fourth time and he spread out like water. “There shall not be those who kill,” Naiyenezgani said. “This is the way I do to Naiye'. Just let him float here in his blood. The people will live happily on the earth. I have done well by them. Get ready, brother, we will go back. We will take the weapon with which he has been killing people.” He rolled this weapon up into a coil and put it in his blanket. “Come, we will go back,” he said.

They came back in the manner they went, landing on the successive mountains until they reached the camp. They danced a war dance near the camp. They danced, holding up the weapon they had taken. “Mother, we are hungry, hurry and cook for us,” they said to her. When they had eaten they asked their mother to assemble the people and to ask the visitors also to come. She told the people to assemble, saying that her sons must have seen something during the day they had been away which they would tell them about. When the people had come together the weapon they had brought back was lying there, not as yet untangled.

“We killed one like the other one. We both did it, but I could have done it by myself, if I had been alone. If he had been alone he too could have done it by himself,” Naiyenezgani said. “We both attacked him because we could do it quickly. We killed him quickly because our father helped us. If it had been one of you, you could have done nothing with this one that we call Naiye'. He would have killed you right away and eaten you up. He had killed all the people who lived with these two men, and just now he was coming for you. Before we had known it, he would have killed us all. There are no people living on the edges of the earth. We are all that are left. He killed people this way. Suppose that person should come on you, he would kill you this way.” He threw the weapon to a distant bush. It went around the tree and it was as if it had been cut off. “He was killing people thus. Now we will live well and no one will bother us. A man is going around the earth in one day and he will tell us about it.” Tobatc'istcini started away and his mother spoke to him. “My son, put on this belt,” she said, offering him the one the Sun's wife had given her. “I am going around from here but today it is late, I will go tomorrow,” he said. They went to bed. “Take good care of things and do not be afraid of anything,” Tobatc'istcini said.

When it was daylight their mother prepared a meal for them and they ate. “Come back safely, my son, as the people said to you,” the mother said. “I am going, but I do not know when I shall come back,” Tobatc'istcini replied. He started, telling them to watch for him on a certain mountain point. “I will be back about noon.”

He started away, traveling with a blue flute which had wings.  He went with this from place to place and was back home before long. He went entirely around the border of the world on which people were living. The belt was a blue flute. He thought with it four ways and looked into it four ways. Before noon a light rain fell on the projecting mountain. That cleared off and then he came laughing. “It was not far, only so large,” he said, joining the tips of his forefinger and his thumb. “Have you your property ready?” he asked. “Have you collected everything that is ours? Tomorrow we will give out the horses, one apiece to each of you. We shall not give out horses again. Bring the horses near to the camp.”

They brought the saddles, the bridles, the halters, the ropes, and the blankets. They two went where the horses were. They caught some of the horses and saddled them, and drove the other horses near the camp where they herded them. They called the people to assemble and when they came caught horses for them. He gave away ten horses in all. “I will give you no more horses,” he said. “Tomorrow we will go different ways.” He drove the horses back where they stayed. “Stake out our horses nearby and leave the saddles on them all night,” he said. “This is all. You may go in any direction you like.” “This way,” pointing to the east; “this way,” south; “this way,” west; or “this way,” north. “We are going over here where the end of the world is,” some of them said. Others said they were going to the end of the world in this direction. In this manner, each party chose a location.

When they had finished, they asked the brothers which way they were going. They replied that they were going to drive their horses to the top of yonder mountain (bitsanldai). “Take good care of your horses. Look after them for twelve days and then they will be accustomed to you. Now you may go. We are going also.” He drove his horses away saying, “None of you are going with us. I thought some of you would go with us. You are only giving us back our mother. Go on, mother, let your horse lead.”

His mother inquired which way she should lead them. “Go on, go on, I tell you,” he replied. She rode towards the east. Soon a little light was to be seen under the horse. They went higher and higher until they came to the mountain he spoke of. They rode their horses beside hers. “Wait, mother,” he said and rode back. “Keep on down this mountain. It is good country in this basin. We will live here,” he said. They talked together. “You unsaddle over there, you over there, and you over there. We will watch the horses.”

“You may have my yucca fruit which lies on the face of Turnbull Mountain.”

FINIS

Ojibwe: Shawondasee

Algonquin: Rabbit and the Indian Chief