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The Story Of The Children Of Cloud


Source: Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights

There was a woman who lived in the mountains, who was very beautiful,
and had many suitors, but she never married anyone.

And one day she was making mats of cane; and she fell asleep and a
rain came and a drop fell on her navel.

And she had twin babies, and all the men claimed them, but when the
babies were old enuf to crawl she told all the claimants to get in
a circle, and she would put the babies in the middle, and if they
crawled up to any man he would be the father.

But the babies climbed upon nobody, and she never married.

And when these twin boys were old enuf their mother showed them a
cloud in the east, and said: "That is your father, and his name is
Cloud, and the Wind is your uncle, your father's older brother."

But the children paid little attention, but when they got older they
asked their mother if they could go and see their father. And their
mother let them go.

And they went, and came to a house, and the man who lived there asked
them where they were going, and they said they were looking for their
father, whose name was Cloud.

And the man pointed to the next house, and said: "That man, there,
is your father."

And they went to that man, but he said: "It is not so. He is your
father. He is Cloud," and sent them back again.

But the first man sent them back once more to the second, who was
really Cloud.

And Cloud said, that time; "I wonder if it is so that you are my

And the boys said: "That is what they say."

And Cloud said: "I want you to do something to prove it."

Then the oldest boy thundered loud and lightened, and the other
lightened a little, and Cloud said, "It is true, you are my children!"

And before night Cloud fed them, and then went into his kee and shut
it up and left them outside all night. And it rained and snowed all
night, but they staid outside.

And in the morning Cloud came out, and said: "It is really so, that
you are my children."

And the next night he took them to a pond, where there was ice, and
left them there all night. And the next day, when he came there and
found they had staid in the water all night he said: "It is really
so--you are my children."

So Cloud acknowledged them for his children and took them into his
kee. And after awhile the boys wanted to go back to their mother,
and Cloud said: "You may go, but you must not speak to anybody on
the way. And I will be with you on the journey."

So the boys started, and cloud was over them, in the sky, shadowing

And after a while they saw a man coming, and the younger boy said:
"We must ask him how our mother is."

But the older brother said: "Don't you remember that our father told
us not to speak to anyone?"

The younger said: "Yes, I remember, but it would not be right not
ask how our mother is."

So when the man came the boy asked: "How is everybody at home, and
how is the old woman, our mother?"

And then the cloud above them lightened and thundered, and they were
both turned into century plants.


In Emory's report, before alluded to, also in Captain Johnston's,
we find variants of The Story of the Children of Cloud. Thristy Hawk,
the Maricopa, told Emory "that in bygone days a woman of surpassing
beauty resided in a green spot in the mountains, near where we were
encamped. All the men admired and paid court to her. She received
the tributes of their devotion, grain, skins, etc., but gave no love
or other favor in return. Her virtue and her determination to remain
unmarried were equally firm. There came a drought which threatened
the world with famine. In their distress, people applied to her, and
she gave corn from her stock, and the supply seemed endless.... One
day as she was lying asleep with her body exposed, a drop of rain
fell on her stomach, which produced conception. A son was the issue,
who was the founder of a new race which built all these houses"
(ruins, vahahkkees).

Johnston has it: "The general asked a Pima who made the house I had
seen. 'It is the Caza de Montezuma,' said he, 'it was built by the
son of the most beautiful woman, who once dwelt in yon mountain; she
was fair, and all the handsome men came to court her, but in vain;
when they came, they paid tribute, and out of this small store she
fed all the people in time of distress, and it did not diminish;
at last, as she lay asleep, a drop of rain fell upon her navel, and
she became pregnant, and brought forth a boy, who was the builder of
all these houses."

The seeneeyawkum gives her twins but knew nothing of any story of
their children or of these buildings, the vahahkkees.

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