The Story Of Wayhohm Toehahvs And Tottai
Category: STORIES OF THE SECOND NIGHT
Source: Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights
And Seeollstchewadack Seeven wondered what this action of the bird
meant, and he studied about it till he found out who it was that had
sent the bird and for what purpose.
And he sent a cold rain upon the home of Dthas Seeven. And it rained
a heavy rain for three days and three nights, so hard that it put
out all the fires in the city of Dthas Seeven, and Dthas Seeven was
dying with cold.
And the people came about him to witness his dying, and they said:
"Let us send some one to get the fire!" And they sent Toehahvs.
And Toehahvs went, and at last came to a house where he heard the
fire roaring within. And he looked in, and there was a big fire. And
he sat in the doorway holding out his paws toward the heat.
And the owner of the house, whose name was Way-hohm, or the
Lightning, sat working within with his face to the fire and his back
to Toehahvs. And Toehahvs wanted to dash in and steal some fire,
but he did not dare, and he went back and told the people he had seen
the fire but he could not get it.
On the fourth day it was still raining, and they sent another
person. And this time they sent Tot-tai, or the Road Runner, for they
said he could run almost as fast as Toehahvs.
And Tottai came to the same house, and heard the fire, and peeped
in the door to warm himself. And there sat the owner of the fire,
Wayhohm, working with his face to the fire and his back to Tottai. And
Tottai dashed in and caught hold of a stick with fire at one end and
ran out with it.
And Wayhohm caught up his bow, the Bow-of-the-Lightning,
Way-hohm-a-Gaht, and fired at Road Runner, and struck him on the side
of his head, and that is why the side of Tottai's head is still bare;
and Tottai ran on, and Wayhohm shot at him again and struck the other
side of his head.
And Tottai whirled around then so that the sparks flew every way,
and got into all kinds of wood, and that is why there is fire in all
kinds of sticks even now, and the Indian can get it out by rubbing
them together to this day.
But Tottai kept on, and got to the house of Dthas Seeven all right,
and they made a fire, and Dthas Seeven got better again.
NOTES ON THE STORY OF WAYHOHM
There is a suggestion of Thor in the Story of Wayhohm, and also of
Prometheus. Wayhohm's house must have been the hall of the clouds.
How true to nature, here, is the touch describing the Coyote-person,
Toehahvs. The excessive caution of the coyote, making it impossible for
him, however eager, to force himself into any position he suspects,
here stands out before us, contrasted in the most dramatic way with
the dashing boldness of the road-runner.
When we reached the end of this story Comalk Hawk-Kih took two
pieces of wood to rub them together to make fire. But he was old and
breathless, and "Sparkling-Soft-Feather," the mother of my interpreter,
took them and made the fire for me. I have the implements yet.
There were two parts to the apparatus. Gee-uh-toe-dah, the socket
stick was of a soft dry piece of giant cactus rib, and a notch was
whittled in one side of this with a small socket at the apex, that
is on the upper side.
This was placed flat on the ground, with a bit of corn husk under the
notch, and held firmly in position by the bare feet. The twirling
stick, eev-a-dah-kote, was a hard arrow weed, very dry and scraped
smooth. The end of this was engaged in the little socket, at the
top of the cactus rib, and then, held perpendicularly, was twirled
between the two hands till the friction rubbed off a powder which
crowded out of the socket, and fell down the notch at its side to
the corn-husk. This little increasing pile of powder was the tinder,
and, as the twirling continued, grew black, smelled like burned wood,
smoked and finally glowed like punk. It was now picked up on the corn
husk and placed in dry horse dung, a bunch of dry grass, or some such
inflammable material, and blown into flame.
It looked very simple, and took little time, but I never could do it.
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