Traditions Of Wanderings

: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest

Hopi (Arizona)

After the Hopi had been taught to build stone houses, they took

separate ways. My people were the Snake people. They lived in snake

skins, each family occupying a separate snake skin bag. All were hung on

the end of a rainbow which swung around until the end touched Navajo

Mountain. Then the bags dropped from it. Wherever a bag dropped, there

was their house. After they arranged their bags
hey came out from them

as men and women, and they then built a stone house which had five

sides. Then a brilliant star arose in the southeast. It would shine for

a while and disappear.

The old men said, "'Beneath that star there must be people." They

decided to travel to it. They cut a staff and set it in the ground and

watched until the star reached its top. Then they started and travelled

as long as the star shone. When it disappeared they halted. But the star

did not shine every night. Sometimes many years passed before it

appeared again. When this occurred, the people built houses during their

halt. They built round houses and square houses, and all the ruins

between here and Navajo Mountain mark the places where our people lived.

They waited until the star came to the top of the staff again, but when

they moved on, many people remained in those houses.

When our people reached Waipho (a spring a few miles from Walpi) the

star vanished. It has never been seen since. They built a house there,

but Masauwu, the God of the Face of the Earth, came and compelled the

people to move about halfway between the East Mesa and the Middle Mesa

and there they stayed many plantings. One time when the old men were

assembled, the god came among them, looking like a horrible skeleton and

rattling his bones. But he could not frighten them. So he said, "I have

lost my wager. All that I have is yours. Ask for anything you want and I

will give it to you."

At that time, our people's house was beside the water course. The god

said, "Why do you sit there in the mud? Go up yonder where it is dry."

So they went across to the west side of the mesa near the point and

built a house and lived there.

Again when the old men assembled two demons came among them, but the old

men took the great Baho and chased them away.

Other Hopi (Hopituh) came into this country from time to time and old

people said, "Build here," or "Build there," and portioned the land

among the newcomers.