THAT the heroes of "The Magic Hide-and-Seek" were really the Pueblo Castor and Pollux, the twin offspring of the Sun-Father and the Moon-Mother, is more than probable. For some reason which I do not know, these demigods do not figure as clearly in the Tée-wahn myths as among the other Pueblos, the Navajos and the Apaches; but that they are believed in, even in Isleta, there can be no doubt. They were the ones who led mankind forth from its first home in the dark center of the earth. 1 The rainbow is their bow, the lightnings are their arrows. Among the other Pueblos there are countless folk-stories about these Hero Twins; and the following example myth will quickly remind you of the boys who played hide-and-seek. It is told in Isleta, though I have never heard it from the Tée-wahn people there. Ever since the great drouth of a generation ago, about one hundred and fifty Quères, starved out from the pueblos Of Acoma and Laguna, have dwelt in Isleta, and they are now a
permanent part of the village, recognized by representation in the civil and religious government, though speaking an altogether different language. Tée-wahn and Quères cannot understand each other in their own tongues, so they have to communicate in Spanish.
Máw-Sahv and Oó-yah-wee, as the Hero Twins are named in Quères, had the Sun for a father. Their mother died when they were born, and lay lifeless upon the hot plain. But the two wonderful boys, as soon as they were a minute old, were big and strong, and began playing.
There chanced to be in a cliff to the southward a nest of white crows; and presently the young crows said: "Nana, what is that over there? Isn't it two babies?"
"Yes," replied the Mother-Crow, when she had taken a look. "Wait and I will bring them." So she brought the boys safely, and then their dead mother; and, rubbing a magic herb on the body of the latter, soon brought her to life.
By this time Máw-Sahv and Oó-yah-wee were sizable boys, and the mother started homeward with them.
"Now," said she when they reached the edge of the valley and could look across to that wondrous rock whereon stands Acoma, "go to yonder town, my sons, for that is Ah-ko, where live your grandfather and grandmother, my parents; and I will wait here. Go ye in at the west end of the town and stand at the south end of the council-grounds until some one speaks to you; and ask them to take you to the Cacique, for he is your grandfather. [paragraph continues]
You will know his house, for the ladder to it has three uprights instead of two. When you go in and tell your story, he will ask you a question to see if you are really his grandchildren, and will give you four chances to answer what he has in a bag in the corner. No one has ever been able to guess what is in it, but there are birds."
The Twins did as they were bidden, and presently came to Acoma and found the house of the old Cacique. When they entered and told their story, he said: "Now I will try you. What is in yonder bag?"
"A rattlesnake," said the boys.
"No," said the Cacique, "it is not a rattlesnake. Try again."
"Birds," said the boys.
"Yes, they are birds. Now I know that you are truly my grandchildren, for no one else could ever guess." And he welcomed them gladly, and sent them back with new dresses and jewelry to bring their mother.
When she was about to arrive, the Twins ran ahead to the house and told her father, mother, and sister to leave the house until she should enter; but not knowing what was to come, they would not go out. When she had climbed the big ladder to the roof and started down through the trap-door by the room-ladder, her sister cried out with joy at seeing her, and she was so startled that she fell from the ladder and broke her neck, and never could be brought to life again.
Máw-Sahv and Oó-yah-wee grew up to astounding adventures and achievements. While still
very young in years, they did very remarkable things; for they had a miraculously rapid growth, and at an age when other boys were toddling about home, these Hero Twins had already become very famous hunters and warriors. They were very fond of stories of adventure, like less precocious lads; and after the death of their mother they kept their grandmother busy telling them strange tales. She had a great many anecdotes of a certain ogre-giantess who lived in the dark gorges of the mountains to the South, and so much did Máw-Sahv and Oó-yah-wee hear of this wonderful personage--who was the terror of all that country--that their boyish ambition was fired.
One day when their grandmother was busy they stole away from home with their bows and arrows, and walked miles and miles, till they came to a great forest at the foot of the mountain. In the edge of it sat the old Giant-woman, dozing in the sun, with a huge basket beside her. She was so enormous and looked so fierce that the boys' hearts stood still, and they would have hidden, but just then she caught sight of them, and called: "Come, little boys, and get into this basket of mine, and I will take you to my house."
"Very well," said Máw-Sahv, bravely hiding his alarm. "If you will take us through this big forest, which we would like to see, we will go with you."
The Giant-woman promised, and the lads clambered into her basket, which she took upon her back and started off. As she passed through the woods, the boys grabbed lumps of pitch from the
tall pines and smeared it all over her head and back so softly that she did not notice it. Once she sat down to rest, and the boys slyly put a lot of big stones in the basket, set fire to her pitched hair, and hurriedly climbed a tall pine.
Presently the Giant-woman got up and started on toward home; but in a minute or two her head and manta were all of a blaze. With a howl that shook the earth, she dropped the basket and rolled on the ground, grinding her great head into the sand until she at last got the fire extinguished. But she was badly scorched and very angry, and still angrier when she looked in the basket and found only a lot of stones. She retraced her steps until she found the boys hidden in the pine-tree, and said to them: "Come down, children, and get into my basket, that I may take you to my house, for now we are almost there."
The boys, knowing that she could easily break down the tree if they refused, came down. They got into the basket, and soon she brought them to her home in the mountain. She set them down upon the ground and said: "Now, boys, go and bring me a lot of wood, that I may make a fire in the oven and bake you some sweet cakes."
The boys gathered a big pile of wood, with which she built a roaring fire in the adobe oven outside the house. Then she took them and washed them very carefully, and taking them by the necks, thrust them into the glowing oven and sealed the door with a great, flat rock, and left them there to be roasted.
But the Trues were friends of the Hero Twins,
and did not let the heat harm them at all. When the old Giant-woman had gone into the house, Máw-Sahv and Oó-yah-wee broke the smaller stone that closed the smoke-hole of the oven, and crawled out from their fiery prison unsinged. They ran around and caught snakes and toads and gathered up dirt and dropped them down into the oven through the smoke-hole; and then, watching when the Giant-woman's back was turned, they sneaked into the house and hid in a huge olla on the shelf.
Very early in the morning the Giant-woman's baby began to cry for some boy-meat. "Wait till it is well cooked," said the mother; and hushed the child till the sun was well up. Then she went out and unsealed the oven, and brought in the sad mess the boys had put there. "They have cooked away to almost nothing," she said; and she and the Giant-baby sat down to eat. "Isn't this nice?" said the baby; and Máw-Sahv could not help saying, "You nasty things, to like that!"
"Eh? Who is that?" cried the Giant-woman, looking around till she found the boys hidden in the olla. So she told them to come down, and gave them some sweet cakes, and then sent them out to bring her some more wood.
It was evening when they returned with a big load of wood, which Máw-Sahv had taken pains to get green. He had also picked up in the mountains a long, sharp splinter of quartz. 1 The evening was cool, and they built a big fire in the fireplace. But immediately, as the boys had planned,
the green wood began to smoke at a dreadful rate, and soon the room was so dense with it that they all began to cough and strangle. The Giant-woman got up and opened the window and put her head out for a breath of fresh air; and Máw-Sahv, pulling out the white-hot splinter of quartz from the fire, stabbed her in the back so that she died. Then they killed the Giant-baby, and at last felt that they were safe.
Now the Giant-woman's house was a very large one, and ran far back into the very heart of the mountain. Having got rid of their enemies, the Hero Twins decided to explore the house; and, taking their bows and arrows, started boldly down into the deep, dark rooms. After traveling a long way in the dark, they came to a huge room in which corn and melons and pumpkins were growing abundantly. On and on they went, till at last they heard the growl of distant thunder. Following the sound, they came presently to a room in the solid rock, wherein the lightning was stored. Going in, they took the lightning and played with it awhile, throwing it from one to the other, and at last started home, carrying their strange toy with them.
When they reached Acoma and told their grand, mother of their wonderful adventures, she held up her withered old hands in amazement. And she was nearly scared to death when they began to play with the lightning, throwing it around the house as though it had been a harmless ball, while the thunder rumbled till it shook the great rock of Acoma. They had the blue lightning which belongs in the West; and the yellow lightning of the [paragraph continues]
North; and the red lightning of the East; and the white lightning of the South; and with all these they played merrily.
But it was not very long till Shée-wo-nah, the Storm-King, had occasion to use the lightning; and when he looked in the room where he was wont to keep it, and found it gone, his wrath knew no bounds. He started out to find who had stolen it; and passing by Acoma he heard the thunder as the Hero Twins were playing ball with the lightning. He pounded on the door and ordered them to give him his lightning, but the boys refused. Then he summoned the storm, and it began to rain and blow fearfully outside; while within the boys rattled their thunder in loud defiance, regardless of their grandmother's entreaties to give the Storm-King his lightning.
It kept raining violently, however, and the water came pouring down the chimney until the room was nearly full, and they were in great danger of drowning. But luckily for them, the Trues were still mindful of them; and just in the nick of time sent their servant, Tee-oh-pee, the Badger, who is the best of diggers, to dig a hole up through the floor; all the water ran out, and they were saved. And so the Hero Twins outwitted the Storm-King.
South of Acoma, in the pine-clad gorges and mesas, the world was full of Bears. There was one old She-Bear in particular, so huge and fierce that all men feared her; and not even the boldest hunter dared go to the south--for there she had her home with her two sons.
Máw-sahv and Oó-yah-wee were famous hunters, and always wished to go south; but their grandmother always forbade them. One day, however, they stole away from the house, and got into the cañon. At last they came to the She-Bear's house; and there was old Quée-ah asleep in front of the door. Máw-sahv crept up very carefully and threw in her face a lot of ground chile, 1 and ran. At that the She-Bear began to sneeze, ah-hútch! ah-hútch! She could not stop, and kept making ah-hútch until she sneezed herself to death.
Then the Twins took their thunder-knives and skinned her. They stuffed the great hide with grass, so that it looked like a Bear again, and tied a buckskin rope around its neck.
"Now," said Máw-sahv, "We will give our grandma a trick!"
So, taking hold of the rope, they ran toward Acoma, and the Bear came behind them as if leaping. Their grandmother was going for water; and from the top of the cliff she saw them running so in the valley, and the Bear jumping behind them. She ran to her house and painted one side of her face black with charcoal, and the other side red with the blood of an animal; 2 and, taking a bag of ashes, ran down the cliff and out at the Bear, to make it leave the boys and come after her.
But when she saw the trick, she reproved the boys for their rashness--but in her heart she was very proud of them.
206:1 They are represented in the sacred dances by the Káh-pee-óo-nin, "the Dying-of-Cold" (because they are always naked except for the breech-clout).
211:1 A thunder-knife.
214:1 The fiery red-pepper of the Southwest.
214:2 Ancient tokens of mourning.