Sacred Texts  Native American  Hopi  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Traditions of the Hopi, by H.R. Voth, [1905], at


Halíksai! In Oraíbi they were living. At the place where now Pongñámana lives, lived a Rooster. Somewhat south of Lâ'nangva, among the peach-trees, lived the Mocking-bird (Yáhpa). In the village at Bakvátovi, a place in the extreme north-west part of the village, lived a beautiful maiden with her father and mother, This mána persistently refused all offers of marriage. The young men of the village would bring presents to her, but no one succeeded in winning her affections. The chief of the north, Bamúyaomongwi, heard about it and so he came to the village trying to win the maiden. He brought with him a bundle of presents, which he was carrying over his shoulders. When he came to the house he left his bundle of presents outside.

The mána was grinding corn-meal. Without stopping the grinding she looked up to the visitor and saw a very handsome youth before her. "Why do you not talk to me?" he said. "Yes," she said, "who are you, going around here?" "Yes," he replied, "I came after you and I have left my bundle outside. Go and get it

p. 177

and look at it." She stopped her grinding, went out and found a yellow reed receptacle (shongóhkaki), which she took into the house. Opening it she found in it two yellow bridal robes (ówa), a pair of yellow moccasins, and a yellow big belt (wokókwâwa). But she did not want it. Wrapping it all up again, she handed it to the youth, and said: "I do not want it. You go down. Very well," he replied, picked up his bundle and left.

When the Rooster heard about this in the evening he went over to the house of the maiden, and found her drying some coarsely ground meal which she was stirring in a pot over the fire. He went into the house, and the maiden saw before her a very handsome youth, dressed in a red shirt which was figured with short black lines all over. He wore turquoise ear pendants and on top of his head a bunch of red feathers. He acted very kindly and gently. He seated himself by the side of the fireplace and busied himself with picking up and setting down and examining the different objects around the fireplace. The mána was pleased with him and began to converse and chat with him. She told him he should remain with her over night and then return in four days, and then she would go over into his house. "Very well," he replied. The following days the mána kept on grinding corn.

On the third day the Mocking-bird, who had heard about the Rooster having been at the maiden's house, also went over and asked her to marry him. He also appeared as a handsome youth, and the mána was pleased with him. She promised that she would marry him, and spoke to her mother about it, telling her that this youth had come after her. "Very well," the mother said, "do not mistrust him." The Rooster, who had been told to come the next day, had seen the Mocking-bird go upon the mesa, and so, without waiting for the appointed time, also went to the house on the third day, and while the mána was still talking to the Mocking-bird he was at the door and knocked, Hereupon he entered and found the Mocking-bird there. "What are you doing here?" he asked the latter. "I came to fetch this maiden," the Mocking-bird replied. "Not so," the Rooster said, "I shall fetch her to-morrow. You are not worth as much as I. I own all these people here; they are mine. When I crow in the morning they all get up." "I am worth as much as you are," the Mockingbird replied. "When I twitter or sing in the morning it gets light." "Very well," the Rooster replied, "let us contend with each other and see who knows most. In three days we shall have a contest. Until then no one shall get the maiden."

Hereupon they both left the house and went to their homes. The

p. 178

Rooster was thinking to whom he should apply for assistance and courage. Early the next morning, after he had had his morning meal, he left the village, descended the mesa, and ran along the trail northwest (the trail that at present leads to Mû'enkapi). Arriving at Bow Mound (Aoátchomo), about thirty-five miles northwest of Oraíbi, he was tired and seated himself on a stone that was near by a báho shrine, where he rested. As he moved somewhat on the stone, an opening appeared in the shrine and somebody said to him, "Come in." So he entered and there found a great many maidens, one of whom prepared a seat for him and told him to be seated. Hereupon she entered another chamber and brought a tray with some shelled corn, which she set before the Rooster, inviting him to eat. He picked and ate it like chickens eat, and when he was satisfied the maiden said, "You were tired. Now you will reach your destination." Hereupon he went out and continued his journey. He now had been somewhat revived and ran fast.

Finally he arrived at Mû'enkapi, passed it, and ran on until he came to a steep bluff. There was a ladder standing at the bluff, which he descended. He then proceeded westward and finally came to a large rock where there was an opening. Here he crowed repeatedly, when a door was opened and a voice called out that he should come in. He entered and found a great many men, women, youths, and maidens, who were all Roosters and Hens. They seemed to be happy that he had come. "Thanks," they said, "that you have come." They offered him a seat and again fed him some shelled corn. When he had satisfied his hunger, they asked him what he had come for. "Yes," he said, "there in Oraíbi we are contending over a maiden, and we are going to contend about our knowledge of light. and now I have come here to see what you can do for me." "Very well," they said, "very well, we shall at least try. The Mocking-bird is also very something. He understands a great deal and he has the assistance of the Kwátokwuu, but we shall at least try."

When it was evening they assembled and sang all night. When they had sung four long songs the Roosters all crowed. Hereupon they sang four more long songs and then crowed again. After singing three more songs they crowed a third time. The yellow dawn had by this time appeared, and after singing two more songs, the sun was rising. "We have accomplished it right," the chief said, "so you go home now without fear, and think that you will accomplish your end." So the Rooster returned, running very fast. When he arrived at the Bow Mound he was again tired, so that he had not been running very fast for some time. He again entered and was fed there

p. 179

as before. "I am very tired," he said to the maidens, "I shall not get home." They laughed at him, saying: "Of course you will get home. We shall dress you up and then you will get home all right." So they took some dry corn-husks, tied them together, and then fastened a number of them to his tail, He then left, and as he was running these corn-husks rattled; he became scared and ran very fast. Arriving at his house he entered and removed the corn-husks. He now felt strong.

So he rested all night, and the next day he was walking through the village. In the evening he went over to the Mocking-bird and notified him that he should come over that night and watch him, whereupon he returned. The Mocking-bird notified the Kwátokwuu, saying that the time had now come, and that he should go with him and assist him. "Very well," the latter said. So in the evening the Mocking-bird went over to the Rooster's house and the Kwátokwuu entered the Mocking-bird's house, where he stayed during the night. The Rooster was singing all night, the Mocking-bird watching him. When the Rooster was nearly done and the dawn was about to appear, the Mocking-bird slipped away and notified the Kwátokwuu. The latter at once left the house and spread his large wings across the eastern sky, completely covering up the dawn. The Rooster crowed after singing the first four songs, the second four songs, the third four songs, and finally after singing the last two songs, but it would not become light; the sun did not hear him and would not rise. So he failed.

The Mocking-bird left his house, flew away, and after awhile the sun rose. The Rooster had been defeated.

During the day the Rooster again went around in the village, and in the evening the Mocking-bird invited him to come over to his house and watch him also. So in the evening the Mocking-bird was singing all night. After he had sung four songs he whistled, which he repeated after having sung another four songs, and after he had sung an additional three songs he again whistled, and the dawn began to appear. He then sang his-last two songs, whereupon the sun rose. "You see, I know much," the Mocking-bird said in a triumphant way. "Yes," the Rooster admitted, "yes, you understand a great deal. You know about making it light. You shall have the maiden, and I shall be behind you."

So the maiden married the Mocking-bird. By and by she bore two children, one a boy and one a girl. The boy was the child of the Rooster, and the little girl the child of the Mocking-bird. So the women of the village are ever since that time said to be the children

p. 180

of the Mocking-bird, and that is the reason why they talk and jabber so much, because the Mocking-bird is a great talker. The men of the village have ever since been considered to be the children of the Rooster, and that is the reason why they are so gentle and docile. If all the people had been the children of the Rooster they would all be gentle and kind and not talk so much.


176:1 Told by Kiwánhongva (Oraíbi).

Next: 56. The Toad and the Snow Katcínas