The Coming Of The Navajos





Many fantastic accounts of the origin of man are found among the red

tribes. The Onondagas say that the Indians are made from red earth and

the white men from sea-foam. Flesh-making clay is seen in the precipitous

bank in the ravine west of Onondaga Valley, where at night the fairies

little fellows sport and slide. Among others, the Noah legend finds a

parallel. Several tribes claim to have emerged from the interior of the

earth. The Oneidas point to a hill near the falls of Oswego River, New

York, as their birthplace; the Wichitas rose from the rocks about Red

River; the Creeks from a knoll in the valley of Big Black River in the

Natchez country, where dwelt the Master of Breath; the Aztecs were one of

seven tribes that came out from the seven caverns of Aztlan, or Place of

the Heron; and the Navajos believe that they emerged at a place known to

them in the Navajo Mountains.



In the under world the Navajos were happy, for they had everything that

they could wish: there was no excess of heat or cold, trees and flowers

grew everywhere, and the day was marked by a bright cloud that arose in

the east, while a black cloud that came out of the west made the night.

Here they lived for centuries, and might have been there to this day had

not one of the tribe found an opening in the earth that led to some place

unknown. He told of it to the whole tribe. They set off up the passage to

see where it led, and after long and weary climbing the surface was

reached. Pleased with the novelty of their surroundings, they settled

here, but on the fourth day after their arrival their queen disappeared.



Their search for her was unavailing until some of the men came to the

mouth of the tunnel by which they had reached the upper land, when,

looking down, they saw their queen combing her long, black locks. She

told them that she was dead and that her people could go to her only

after death, but that they would be happy in their old home. With that

the earth shut together and the place has never since been open to the

eye of mortals. Soon came the cannibal giants who ravaged the desert

lands and destroyed all of the tribe but four families, these having

found a refuge in a deep canon of the Navajo Mountains. From their

retreat they could see a beam of light shining from one of the hills

above them, and on ascending to the place they found a beautiful girl

babe.



This child grew to womanhood under their care, and her charms attracted

the great manitou that rides on a white horse and carries the sun for a

shield. He wooed and married her, and their children slew the giants that

had destroyed the Navajos. After a time the manitou carried his wife to

his floating palace in the western water, which has since been her home.

To her the prayers of the people are addressed, and twelve immortals bear

their petitions to her throne.





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