Origin Of The Raven And The Macaw

(Totems of summer and winter)

Zuni (New Mexico)

The priest who was named Yanauluha carried ever in his hand a staff

which now in the daylight was plumed and covered with feathers - yellow,

blue-green, red, white, black, and varied. Attached to it were shells,

which made a song-like tinkle. The people when they saw it stretched out

their hands and asked many questions.

Then the priest balanced it in his hand, and struck with it a hard

place, and blew upon it. Amid the plumes appeared four round things-mere

eggs they were. Two were blue like the sky and two dun-red like the

flesh of the Earth-mother.

Then the people asked many questions.,

"These," said the priests, "are the seed of living beings. Choose which

ye will follow. From two eggs shall come beings of beautiful plumage,

colored like the grass and fruits of summer. Where they fly and ye

follow, shall always be summer. Without toil, fields of food shall

flourish. And from the other two eggs shall come evil beings, piebald,

with white, without colors. And where these two shall fly and ye shall

follow, winter strives with summer. Only by labor shall the fields yield

fruit, and your children and theirs shall strive for the fruits. Which

do ye choose?"

"The blue! The blue!" cried the people, and those who were strongest

carried off the blue eggs, leaving the red eggs to those who waited.

They laid the blue eggs with much gentleness in soft sand on the sunny

side of a hill, watching day by day. They were precious of color; surely

they would be the precious birds of the Summer-land. Then the eggs

cracked and the birds came out, with open eyes and pin feathers under

their skins.

"We chose wisely," said the people. "Yellow and blue, red and green, are

their dresses, even seen through their skins." So they fed them freely

of all the foods which men favor. Thus they taught them to eat all

desirable food. But when the feathers appeared, they were black with

white bandings. They were ravens. And they flew away croaking hoarse

laughs and mocking our fathers.

But the other eggs became beautiful macaws, and were wafted by a toss of

the priest's wand to the faraway Summer-land.

So those who had chosen the raven, became the Raven People. They were

the Winter People and they were many and strong. But those who had

chosen the macaw, became the Macaw People. They were the Summer People,

and few in number, and less strong, but they were wiser because they

were more deliberate. The priest Yanauluha, being wise, became their

father, even as the Sun-father is among the little moons of the sky. He

and his sisters were the ancestors of the priest-keepers of things.

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