Children Of The Cloud

: Indian Legends Retold

There was sorrow on the Casa Grande (the Great Pueblo), for the

prettiest woman in the village would accept no man for her husband.

Her suitors were many and impatient, but her black glossy locks were

still wound above her ears in the manner of virgins, and she steadily

refused to allow them to hang down in the matron's coils.

One day a great Cloud came out of the east, looked down upon the

maiden and wis
ed to marry her, for she was very beautiful. A second

time and a third he floated silently overhead, and at last he found

her tired out with work and lying asleep at her mat-weaving. He let

fall a single drop of rain upon her, and by and by twin boys were


Now when the boys were about ten years old, they began to notice that

other boys had fathers whom they welcomed home from war and the chase.

"Mother," said they, "who shall we call our father?"

"In the morning look to the east," their mother answered, "and you

will see a stately white cloud towering heavenward. That cloud is your


Then they begged to go visit their father, and she refused, for she

was afraid; but when the boys grew large and strong she could no

longer keep them, since they were determined to go. She told them to

journey four full days to the eastward and not to stop once on the


Her sons followed her instructions, and in four days they came to the

house of the Wind. "Are you our father?" asked they.

"No," replied Wind, "I am your uncle. Your father lives in the next

house; go and find him."

They did so, but Cloud sent them back to Wind, telling them that he

was really the one whom they sought. Again Wind sent them to Cloud.

Four times they went back and forth, and the fourth time Cloud saw

that they were persistent and he said to them: "You say that you are

my sons. Prove it!"

Instantly the younger son sent forked lightning leaping across the

heavens, while the elder caused the heat lightning to flash in the

distance. The skies opened and rain came down in torrents, enough to

drown a mere mortal, but the boys only laughed at the roar and rush of

the tempest. Then Cloud saw that they were in truth his children, and

he took them to his house.

After they had been there a long time, they began to miss their mother

sorely, and finally they wished to return to earth. Their father gave

each a magic bow and arrows, strictly charging them to avoid any whom

they might meet on the homeward path.

First the Eagle on mighty wing swooped toward them, and they turned

aside. Then came the Hawk, and afterward the Raven, but the boys

managed to elude all of these. Last the Coyote sought to intercept

them, and whichever way they turned, he was always before them. So

they stepped out of the road and stood one on either side to allow him

to pass. But when Coyote came opposite to them, each was changed into

a plant of the mescal, the sacred agave, which is both food and drink

to the Indian.