Horned Toad And Giants
: ALONG THE ROCKY RANGE
: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land
The Moquis have a legend that, long ago, when the principal mesa that
they occupy was higher than it is now, and when they owned all the
country from the mountains to the great river, giants came out of the
west and troubled them, going so far as to dine on Moquis. It was hard to
get away, for the monsters could see all over the country from the tops
of the mesas. The king of the tribe offered the handsomest woman in his
country and a thousand horses to any man who would deliver his people
from these giants. This king was eaten like the rest, and the citizens
declined to elect another, because they were beginning to lose faith in
kings. Still, there was one young brave whose single thought was how to
defeat the giants and save his people.
As he was walking down the mesa he saw a lizard, of the kind commonly
known as a horned toad, lying under a rock in pain. He rolled the stone
away and was passing on, when a voice, that seemed to come out of the
earth, but that really came from the toad, asked him if he wished to
destroy the giants. He desired nothing so much. Then take my horned
crest for a helmet.
Lolomi--that was the name of him--did as he was bid, and found that in a
moment the crest had swelled and covered his head so thickly that no club
could break through it.
Now take my breastplate, continued the toad. And though it would not
have covered the Indian's thumb-nail, when he put it on it so increased
in bulk that it corseleted his body and no arrow could pierce it.
Now take the scales from my eyes, commanded the toad, and when he had
done so Lolomi felt as light as a feather.
Go up and wait. When you see a giant, go toward him, looking in his
eyes, and he will walk backward. Walk around him until he has his back to
a precipice, then advance. He will back away until he reaches the edge of
the mesa, when he will fall off and be killed.
Lolomi obeyed these instructions, for presently a giant loomed in the
distance and came striding across the plains half a mile at a step. As he
drew near he flung a spear, but it glanced from the Indian's armor like
hail from a rock. Then an arrow followed, and was turned. At this the
giant lost courage, for he fancied that Lolomi was a spirit. Fearing a
blow if he turned, he kept his face toward Lolomi, who manoeuvred so
skilfully that when he had the giant's back to the edge of a cliff he
sprang at him, and the giant, with a yell of alarm, fell and broke his
bones on the rocks below. So Lolomi killed many giants, because they all
walked back before him, and after they had fallen the people heaped rocks
on their bodies. To this day the place is known as the giants' fall.
Then the tribe made Lolomi king and gave him the most beautiful damsel
for a wife. As he was the best king they ever had, they treasured his
memory after he was dead, and used his name as a term of greeting, so
that Lolomi is a word of welcome, and will be until the giants come