The Story Of Sohahnee Mahkai And Kawkoinpuh
Category: STORIES OF THE THIRD NIGHT
Source: Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights
Now when the bands were going thru this country they had selected
the places for their homes, expecting to return, and each band, as
it selected its place, drove down short sticks so as to know it again.
And after returning across the Rio Colorado the bands went again to
these places which they had selected and settled there.
Only the Toehawnawh Awawtam (the Papagoes) did not at first go to
their selected place, but went on beyond Awn-kee Ack-kee-mull, the
Salt River, to where is now Lehi.
And there was one doctor among them named So-hah-nee Mahkai, and he
had no child, but he had found one of the children belonging to the
country, which had been left alive, and he had adopted it for his
own. And he went on and lived by himself at the place then called
Vah-kah-kum, but now named Stcheu-a-dack-a-Vahf, or Green Cliff.
And the Aw-up, or Apaches, were a part of the original people of
this country, and this child which Sohahnee Mahkai had adopted was
And when he had grown up to be quite a large boy the Apaches planned
to capture Sohahnee Mahkai; but Sohahnee Mahkai knew of this and told
the boy to go to a place where he had been clearing up a farm and to
find the stick there with which he had been cutting down bushes, and
to dig a hole there under the bushes, and then to come back home and
eat his supper. And after he had eaten his supper he was to return to
the place where the stick was, and hide in the hole under the bushes
which were there.
And the boy's name was Kaw-koin-puh, and he dug the hole under the
bushes, as he was directed, and returned for his supper.
And then Sohahnee Mahkai said to him: "Now to-night the Apaches will
come to kill me, but here is a basket-box which I want you to have
after I am dead. And when you are safe in your hole you will hear
when they come to kill me. But don't you come out till they are far
enuf away. Then come and find my body, no matter whether h is here or
dragged away. And when you find it, do not mind how stained and bloody
it is, but fall upon it, and put your mouth to mine, and inhale, and
thus you will inherit my power. And when you leave my body, do not
attempt to follow after the Apaches, for they would surely kill you,
for tho you are one of them they would not know that, because you do
not speak their language. But I want you to return to where we left
some people at the place called Vik-kuh-svan-kee."
So the boy took the little basket-box, and went to his hole, and
early in the evening the Apaches came and surrounded the house,
and staid there till near morning, and then began the attack. And
the boy could hear the fighting, and could hear Sohahnee Mahkai yell
every time his arrow killed anyone; and he could hear the old woman,
his wife, shout out in her exultation, too. And it was after the sun
was up that the old woman was killed; and then Sohahnee Mahkai ran
out and the Apaches chased him and killed him, and said: "Now let us
cut him open and find what it is that made him so brave, and enabled
him to kill so many of us." And they cut him open and found under
his heart a feather of the chicken hawk.
And the Apaches took that feather, and that is how they are so brave
and even if there are only two of them will often attack their enemies
and kill some of them.
And after the Apaches were far away the boy came out of his hole and
found the old woman, and from there tracked till he found the old man;
and he fell over him, as he had been told, and inhaled four times;
and then he went to Vikkuhsvankee, but he got there at night, and
did not attempt to go into any house, but staid outside all night in
And in the morning a girl came and found the boy, and went back and
told the people there was some one outside who was a stranger there,
some one with short hair. And they came and stood around him, and
teased him, and threw dirt at him, until finally he cried out: "Don't
you remember me, who I am? My name is Kawkoinpuh and I was here once,
but went away with the doctor, Sohahnee Mahkai. And now the Apaches
have killed him and the old woman, his wife, and I am left alone."
And when he said this the people remembered him, and took him by
the hand, and led him to a doctor named Gawk-siss Seev-a-lick, who
adopted him, and he was treated nicely because he was a good hunter
and used to keep the doctor in plenty of game.
And the doctor had a daughter, and when she was old enuf he gave
her to Kawkoinpuh for his wife. And Kawkoinpuh staid with his wife's
people; and his wife expected a child, and wanted different things to
eat. So Kawkoinpuh left home and went to the mountain called Vahpkee,
and there got her a lot of the greens called choohookyuh. And after
a while he wanted to go again, but she said: "Do not go now, for
the weather is bad. Wait till it is more pleasant." But he said,
"I am going now," and he went.
And this time he was hunting wood rats instead of greens, and he had
killed three and was trying to scare out the fourth one, where he could
shoot it, when the Apaches came and surrounded him a good ways off.
He saw them and ran for home, but there were many Apaches in front
of him, and they headed him off.
But he jumped up and down and sideways, as Sohahnee Mahkai had done,
shooting and killing so many that finally he broke thru their ring,
and started for home. But he kept turning back and shooting at them
as he ran. And one of them came near and was about to kill him, but
he shot first and killed the Apache. And then another came near and
this time the Apache shot first, and so Kawkoinpuh was killed.
And when evening came, Gawksiss Seevalick came out, and called aloud,
and invited the people to his house, and asked them if any had seen
his son, Kawkoinpuh; who had seen him last; for he knew something had
happened to him, as he always came home after his hunt, because he
loved his home. But nobody had seen anything of Kawkoinpuh, because
no one had been out, the weather being bad.
But Gawksiss Seevalick knew the boy was killed, because he was a
doctor, and there is a being above, called Vee-ips-chool, who is
always sad and who makes people sad when anything bad has happened.
So they went out the next morning, and tracked the boy, and came to
where he had killed the wood-rats, and then they found the tracks of
the Apaches, and then found a great many Apaches whom he had killed,
and finally they found his body.
The Apaches had cut him open, and taken out his bowels and wound
them around bushes, and cut off his arms and legs and hung them on
trees. And one of the men, there, told them to get wood and to gather
up these parts of Kawkoinpuh's body and burn them. And some of the
people remained behind and did this, and then all went home.
And in the evening Gawksiss Seevalick again called the people together
and sang them a song to express his grief.
And the next morning he went with his daughter to where Kawkoinpuh had
been burned, and there they found some blood still remaining and buried
it. And that evening again he called the people together, and said:
"You see what has happened; we have lost one of our number. We ought
not to stay here, but to return to the place we first selected." And
the people took his advice and got their things ready and started.
And they went slow because they were on foot, and it took them four
nights to get to the place where they wanted to go. And the first
night there was no singing, but the second night there was a doctor
named Geo-goot-a-nom-kum who sang a song for them; and the third night
there was a doctor named Geo-deck-why-nom-kum who sang a song for them;
and on the fourth night there was a doctor named Mahn-a-vanch-kih
who sang for them a song.
NOTES ON THE STORY OF SOHAHNEE MAHKAI
In this we are given a most graphic and pathetic glimpse of Indian
Notice the bushes are "cut down" (broken off more likely) by a stick. A
glimpse of the rude old tools.
Very poetic is the conception of Veeipschool, "the being above who is
always sad, and makes people sad when anything bad has happened." A
personification of premonition.
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