Goddess Of Salt

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Between Zuni and Pescado is a steep mesa, or table-land, with fantastic

rocks weathered into tower and roof-like prominences on its sides, while

near it is a high natural monument of stone. Say the Zunis: The goddess

of salt was so troubled by the people who lived near her domain on the

sea-shore, and who took away her snowy treasures without offering any

sacrifice in return, that she forsook the ocean and went to live in the

mountains far away. Whenever she stopped beside a pool to rest she made

it salt, and she wandered so long about the great basins of the West that

much of the water in them is bitter, and the yield of salt from the

larger lake near Zuni brings into the Zuni treasury large tolls from

other tribes that draw from it.

Here she met the turquoise god, who fell in love with her at sight, and

wooed so warmly that she accepted and married him. For a time they lived

happily, but when the people learned that the goddess had concealed

herself among the mountains of New Mexico they followed her to that land

and troubled her again until she declared that she would leave their view

forever. She entered this mesa, breaking her way through a high wall of

sandstone as she did so. The arched portal through which she passed is

plainly visible. As she went through, one of her plumes was broken off,

and falling into the valley it tipped upon its stem and became the

monument that is seen there. The god of turquoise followed his wife, and

his footsteps may be traced in outcrops of pale-blue stone.