The Story Of Hawawk
Category: STORIES OF THE SECOND NIGHT
Source: Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights
And when Dthas Seeven had gotten better he meditated on what had
happened to him, and studied out that Seeollstchewadack-Seeven was
the cause of his trouble, and planned how to get the better of him.
Now the Indians have a game of football in which the ball is not kicked
but lifted and thrown a good ways by the foot, and Dthas Seeven made
such a ball, and sent a young man to play it in the direction of the
city of Seeollstchewadack-Seeven. And the young man did so, and as
he kept the ball going on it came to the feet of a young girl, who,
when she saw the ball, picked it up and hid it under the square of
cloth which Indian girls wear.
And the young man came up and asked her if she had seen the ball,
and she answered no, she had not seen it, and she kept on denying it,
so at last he turned back and said he might as well go home as he no
longer had a ball to play with. But he had not gone far before the
girl called to him: "Are you not coming back to get your ball?" And
he went back to her, and she tried to find the ball, but could not.
But the ball was not lost, but it had bewitched her.
And after a time this girl had a baby, a tall baby, with claws on
its hands and feet like a wild animal.
And the people did not know what this meant, and they asked Toehahvs,
and Toehahvs knew because this had been prophesied of old time. And
Toehahvs said: "She is Haw-awk."
And Hawawk grew and became able to crawl, but people were afraid
of handling her because of the scratching of her claws. Only her
relatives could safely handle her. And as she grew older, still,
she would sometimes see other children and wish to play with them,
but in a short time they would get scratched by her in her gambols
and would run home crying and leave her alone. And it got so that
when the children saw her coming they would tell each other and run
home and she could get none of them to play with her.
She claimed Ee-ee-toy as her uncle, and when he had been rabbit-hunting
and came in with game she would run and call him "uncle!" and try and
get the rabbits away from him; and when he cleaned the rabbits and
threw away the entrails she would run and devour them, and the bones of
the rabbits the people threw away after the feasts she would eat, too.
And when Hawawk grew older she would sometimes complain to Ee-ee-toy
if he came in without game. "Why is it you sometimes come in without
rabbits?" she would say, "And why do you not kill a great many?" And
he would reply: "It is not possible to kill a great many, for they
run very fast and are very hard to shoot with a bow and arrow." "Let
me go with you," she would say, "and I will kill a great many." But
he would tell her: "You are a girl, and it is not your place to go
hunting. If you were a boy it would be, but as it is you cannot go."
And she kept on begging in this way, and he kept on refusing, she
saying that she could kill a great many, and he saying that only a
man or a boy could shoot many rabbits, because they ran so fast.
But as she grew older still she began to follow the hunters, and when
the hunting began she would be in the crowd, but she tried to keep out
of her uncle's way so that he would not see her. And sometimes when she
would thus be following the hunt a rabbit would run in her direction,
and she would run fast and jump on it and kill it, and eat it right
there; and after a while she could do this oftener and caught a good
many; and she would eat all she wanted as she caught them, and the
others she gave to her uncle, Ee-ee-toy, to carry home. And Ee-ee-toy
came to like to have her with him because of the game she could
get. But after a time she did not come home anymore, but staid out
in the bushes, living on the game she could get. But when the hunters
came out, she would still join them and after killing and eating all
she wanted she would give the rest of her kill to her uncle, as before.
And so she contrived to live in the wild places, like a wild-cat,
and in time became able to kill deer, antelopes, and all big game,
and yet being part human she would tan buckskin like a woman and do
all that a woman needs to do.
And she found a cave in the mountain which is called Taht-kum,
where she lived, and that cave can be seen now and is still called
But she had been born near where the ruins of Casa Grande now are
and claimed that vahahkkee for her own. And when she knew a baby had
been born there she would go to the mother and say, "I want to see my
grandchild." But if the mother let her take the baby she would put it
over her shoulder, into her gyih-haw, and run to her cave, and put
the baby into a mortar, and pound it up and eat it. And she got all
the babies she could in this way; and later on she grew bolder and
would find the larger children, where they were at play, and would
carry them off to eat them. And now she let all the rabbits and such
game go, and lived only on the children she caught, for a long time.
And Ee-ee-toy told the people what to do in this great trouble. He
told them to roast a big lot of pumpkin seeds and to go into their
houses and keep still. And when the people had roasted the pumpkin
seeds and gone into their houses, Ee-ee-toy came around and stopped
up the door of every house with bushes, and plastered clay over the
bushes as the Awawtam still do when they go away from home.
After a time Hawawk came around, and stood near the houses, and
listened, and heard the people cracking the pumpkin seeds inside.
And she said: "Where are all my grandchildren? They must have been
gone for a long time, for I do not see any tracks, nor hear any voices,
and I hear only the rats eating the seeds in the empty houses."
And she came several times and saw no one, and really believed the
people had gone entirely away. And for a while she did not come any
more, but after a time she was one day running by the village and
she saw some children playing. And she caught two and ran with them
to her cave. And from that day she went on stealing children as before.
And Ee-ee-toy made him a rattle, out of a wild gourd, and went and lay
on the trail on which Hawawk usually came, and changed himself into
the little animal called "Kaw-awts." And when Hawawk came along she
poked him with a stick of her gyih-haw and said: "Here is a little
kaw-awts. He must be my pet." And then Ee-ee-toy jumped up and shook
his rattle at her, and frightened her so that she ran home. And then
Ee-ee-toy made rattles for all the children in that place and when
they saw Hawawk coming they would shake their rattles at her and
scare her back again.
But after a while Hawawk became used to the rattles and ceased to
fear them, and even while they were shaking she would run and carry
some of the children off.
And one day two little boys were hunting doves after the manner of
the country. They had a little kee of willows, and a hole inside in
the sand where they sat, and outside a stick stuck up for the doves to
light on. And when the doves came they would shoot them with their bows
and arrows. And while they were doing this they saw Hawawk coming. And
they said: "What shall we do! Hawawk is coming and will eat us up."
And they lay down in the hole in the sand and covered themselves
with the dove's feathers. And Hawawk came and said: "Where are my
grandchildren! Some of them have been here very lately." And she went
all around and looked for their tracks, but could find none leading
away from the place. And she came back again to the kee, and while
she was looking in a wind came and swept away all the dove-feathers,
and she sprang in and caught up the two boys and put them in her
gyih-haw and started off.
And as she went along the boys said: "Grandmother, we like flat stones
to play with. Won't you give us all the flat stones you can find?" And
Hawawk picked up all the flat stones she came to and put them one by
one over her shoulder into the basket.
And the boys said, again, after the basket began to get heavy,
"Grandmother, we like to go under limbs of trees. Go under all the
low limbs of trees you can to please us." And Hawawk went under a low
tree, and one of the boys caught hold of the limb and hung there till
she had gone on. And Hawawk went under another tree, and the other boy
caught hold of a limb and staid there. But because of the flat stones
she kept putting into her gyih-haw Hawawk did not notice this. And when
she got to her cave and emptied her basket there were no boys there.
And when Hawawk saw this she turned back and found the tracks of the
boys, and ran, following after them, and caught up with them just
before they got to their village. And she would have caught them
there, and carried them off again, but the boys had gathered some of
the fine thorns of a cactus, and when Hawawk came near they held them
up and let them blow with the wind into her face.
And they stuck in her eyes, and hurt them, and she began to rub her
eyes, which made them hurt worse so that she could not see them,
and then the boys ran home and thus saved their lives.
After that she went to another place called Vahf-kee-wohlt-kih,
or the Notched Cliffs, and staid around there and ate the children,
and then she moved to another place, the old name of which is now
forgotten, but it is called, now, Stchew-a-dack Vah-veeuh, or the
Green Well. And there, too, she killed the children.
And the people called on Ee-ee-toy to help them, and Ee-ee-toy said,
"I will kill her at once!"
And Ee-ee-toy, being her relative, went to her home and said: "Your
grandchildren want some amusement and are going to have dances now
every night and would like you to come."
And she replied: "You know very well I do not care for such things. I
do not care to come."
And Ee-ee-toy returned and told the people she did not care to come
to their dances, tho he had invited her, but he would think of some
other way to get her to come where they were, that they might kill her.
And he went a second time, and told her the people were going to sing
the Hwah-guff-san-nuh-kotch Nyuee, or Basket Drumming Song, and wanted
her to come. But she said: "I have heard of that song, but I do not
care to hear it. I care nothing for such things, and I will not come."
So Ee-ee-toy returned and told of his second failure, but promised
he would try again. And in the morning he went to her and said: "Your
grandchildren are going to sing the song Haw-hawf-kuh Nyuee or Dance of
the Bone-trimmed Dresses Song and they want you to come." But she said:
"I do not care for this song, either, and I will not come."
And Ee-ee-toy told of his third failure, but promised the people he
would try once more, and when the morning came he went to Hawawk
and said: "Your grandchildren are going to dance tonight to the
song which is called See-coll-cod-dha-kotch Nyuee," (which is a
sort of ring dance with the dancers in a circle with joined hands)
"and they want you to come."
And she said: "That is what I like. I will come to that. When is it
going to be?"
And he said: "It will be this very night."
And he went and told the people she was coming and they must be ready
Hawawk got ready in the early evening and dressed herself in a
skirt of soft buckskin. And over this she placed an overskirt of
deerskin, fringed with long cut fringes with deer-hoofs at the ends
to rattle. And then she ran to the dancing place; and the people
could hear her a long way off, rattling, as she came. And they were
already dancing when she arrived there, and she went and joined hands
And Hawawk was a great smoker, and Ee-ee-toy made cigarettes for her
that had something in them that would make folks sleep. And he smoked
these himself, a little, to assure her, but cautiously and moderately,
not inhaling the smoke, but she inhaled the smoke, and before the four
nights were up she was so sleepy that the people were dragging her
around as they danced, and then she got so fast asleep that Ee-ee-toy
carried her on his shoulder.
And all the time they were dancing they were moving across country,
and getting nearer the cave where she lived, and other people at the
same time were ahead of them carrying lots of wood to her cave. And
when they arrived at her cave in the mountain of Tahtkum they laid her
sleeping body down inside, and placed the wood in the cave between
her and the door, filling it all to the entrance, which they closed
with four hurdles, such as the people fasten their doors with, so
that she could not run out.
And then they set the wood on fire, and it burned fiercely, and when
the fire reached Hawawk she waked and cried out. "My grandchildren,
what have I done that you should treat me this way!"
And the fire hurt her so that she jumped up and down with pain, and
her head struck the ceiling of the cave and split the rock. And when
the people saw it they called to Ee-ee-toy, and he went and put his
foot over the crack, and sealed it up, and you may see the track of
his foot there to this day.
But Ee-ee-toy was not quick enough, and her soul escaped through
And then for a while the people had peace, but in time her soul
turned into a green hawk, and this hawk killed the people, but did
not eat them.
And this made the people great trouble, but one day a woman was making
pottery and she had just taken one pot out of the fire and left another
one in the furnace, on its side, when this hawk saw her and came
swooping down from high in the air to kill her, but missed her, and
went into the hot pot in the fire, and so was burned up and destroyed.
And one day they boiled greens in that pot, the greens called
choo-hook-yuh, and the greens boiled so hard that they boiled over,
and splashed around and killed people. And they boiled all day and
stopped at night, and at daybreak began again to boil, and this they
did for a long time; boiling by day and stopping at night.
And the people sent for Toehahvs who lived in the east, and Gee-ah-duk
Seeven, or Strong Bow Chief, who lived where is now the ruin of
Aw-awt-kum Vah-ahk-kee, to kill the pot for them.
And when they arrived Geeahduk Seeven enquired if the pot slept. And
the people said: "Yes, it sleeps all night." Then said Geeahduk Seeven,
"We will get up very early, before the pot wakes, and then we will
But Toehahvs said; "That is not right, to go and kill it at night. I
am not like a jealous woman who goes and fights her rival in the
darkness. I am not a woman, I am a man!"
And Toehahvs said to Geeahduk Seeven: "I will go in the morning to
attack the pot and I want you to go on the other side, and if the pot
throws its fluid at me, so that I cannot conquer it, then do you run
up on the other side and smash it."
Then Toehahvs took his shield and his club, in the morning, and went to
attack the pot. But the pot saw him, and, altho he held up his shield,
it boiled over, and threw the boiling choohookyuh so high and far
that some of it fell on Toehahvs' back and scalded it. And Toehahvs
had to give back a little. But at that moment Geeahduk Seeven ran in
on the other side and smashed the pot.
And there was an old man with an orphan grandson, living near there,
and when the pot was smashed these came to the spot and ate up the
choohookyuh. And at once they were turned into bears, the old man
into a black bear, the boy into a brown bear.
And these bears also killed people, and tho the people tried to kill
them, for a long time they could not do so. When they shot arrows at
the bears, the bears would catch them and break them up. And so the
people had to study out other ways to get the better of them. There
is a kind of palm-tree, called o-nook, which has balls where the
branches come out, and the people burned the trees to get these
balls, and threw them at the bears. And the bears caught the balls,
and fought and wrestled with them, and while their attention was
taken by these balls the people shot arrows at them and killed them.
And thus ended forever the evil power of Hawawk.
NOTES ON THE STORY OF HAWAWK
The Story of Hawawk opens with an interesting reference to the favorite
Pima game of football. The ball was about two and one half inches in
diameter, merely a heavy pebble coated thick with black greasewood
gum. Sometimes it was decorated with little inlays of shell. It was
thrown by the lifting of the naked or sandaled foot, rather than
kicked. Astonishing tales are told of the running power and endurance
of the older Indians. White and red men agree in the testimony.
Emory says of the Maricopa interpreter, Thirsty Hawk, before alluded
to, that he came running into their camp on foot and "appeared to
keep pace with the fleetest horse." Whittemore, the missionary, says:
"Some young women could travel from forty to fifty miles in sixteen
hours, and there were warriors who ran twenty miles, keeping a horse
on a canter following them." G. W. Mardis, the trader at Phoenix,
told me he had known Indians to run all day, and my interpreter told
me of Pimas running forty to seventy miles in a day, hunting horses on
the mountains. Others ran races with horses and with a little handicap
and for moderate distance often beat them. On these long runs after
horses the men took their footballs and kept them going, saying it
made the journey amusing and less tiresome. And undoubtedly it was,
in the practice of this sport, that their powers were developed. Beside
the usual foot-races, in which all Indians delight, it often happened
that two champions would, on a set day, start in different directions
and chase their footballs far out on the desert, perhaps ten miles
and then return. The one who came in first was winner. The whole
tribe, in two parties, on horseback as far as they could get mounts,
followed the champions, as judges, assistants, critics and friends
and there was profuse betting and picturesque excitement and display.
But the fine old athletic games seem to have all died out now.
Stories of miraculous conception are not uncommon in Indian tradition,
and this story of the bewitching of the young girl into motherhood
thru the agency of the football is an instance.
This gruesome and graphic tale is full of insight into Indian thought
and fancy. In reading it we are reminded of many familiar old nursery
tales of kidnapped child, pig or fowl ("the little red hin" of Irish
legend for instance) and of Were-Wolf and Loup-Garou.
And here reappears the old myth of some god's or hero's footstep
printed in solid rock.
Here is a hint, too, of transmigration in the various adventures of
the soul of Hawawk.
My Indian hosts cooked me a pot of choohookyuh greens, and I found
them very palatable.
The reference to the pottery making reminds me of Pima arts. Today the
Maricopas have almost a monopoly of pottery making, tho the Quohatas
make some good pottery too. It is shaped by the hands (no potters
wheel being known) and smoothed and polished by stones, painted red
with a mineral and black with mezquite gum and baked in a common
fire. It is often very artistic in a rude way, in form and decoration.
The Papagoes do most of the horse-hair work, chiefly bridles, halters
and lariat ropes, and make mats and fans from rushes.
The Pimas make the famous black and white, watertight baskets, which
are too well known to need description. The black in these is shreds
of the dead-black seed pod of the devil-claw and not some fibre dyed
black, as some suppose.
There seems to have been no original bead work among Pima Indians.
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