Children Of The Cloud
: PIMA TALES
: 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.