In the beginning there was only Tokpella, Endless Space. Nothing stirred because there were no winds, no shadows fell because there was no light, and all was still. Only Tawa, the Sun Spirit, existed, along with some lesser gods. Tawa contemplated on the universe of space without objects or life, and he regretted that it was so barren. He gathered the elements of Endless Space and put some of his own substance into them, and in this way he created the First World. There were no people then, merely insect-like creatures who lived in a dark cave deep in the earth. For a long while Tawa watched them. He was deeply disappointed. He thought, “What I created is imperfect. These creatures do not understand the meaning of life.”
So Tawa called his messenger, Goyeng Sowuhti, Spider Grandmother, and told her to go down and prepare the living creatures for a change. Spider Grandmother went down. She spoke to the insect creatures, saying, “Tawa, the Sun Spirit who made you, is unhappy because you do not understand the meaning of life. He says: ‘The creatures are fighting among themselves. They see but they do not comprehend. Therefore I will change things. I will make a new world, and I will perfect all things that have life in them.’ This message Tawa asked me to bring. Therefore, prepare to leave this place to enter the Second World.” The creatures said, “If that is the way it must be, very well, let us depart from here.”
Spider Grandmother led them on their journey, taking them to another great cave that lay far above the first one. The journey was long, and between the time they began and the time they finished, Tawa changed them into other forms of living things. When at last they emerged into the Second World they looked quite different. They were animals that somewhat resembled dogs, coyotes and bears. There was fur on their bodies, their fingers were webbed, and they had tails. They lived on in the Second World and were happy at first. But because they did not have any understanding they grew bitter and warred upon one another, even eating one another. Tawa saw how the creatures of his Second World were living. He saw that they did not grasp the meaning of life. And so again he sent Spider Grandmother to lead them on another journey.
While they traveled, Tawa created the Third World. He made the atmosphere a little lighter and gave them water to moisten their fields. When the creatures followed Spider Grandmother into the Third World they discovered that their bodies had changed again. Their fur, their webbed fingers and their tails had disappeared. Spider Grandmother said to them: “Now you are no longer merely creatures. You are people. Tawa has given you this place so that you may live in harmony and forget all evil. Do not injure one another. Remember that Tawa created you out of Endless Space, and try to understand the meaning of things.” Then Spider Grandmother left them.
The people made their villages. They planted corn. They lived on. They were in harmony, and they were grateful to the Sun Spirit who had created them and given them a new world to live in. Yet things were not perfect. There was a chill in the air, and the light was only a grayness. Spider Grandmother came and taught the people how to weave blankets and cloth to keep their bodies warm. She taught the women how to make pots out of clay so that they could store water and food. But the pots could not be baked and they broke easily. And the corn did not grow very well because warmth was lacking.
The one day a hummingbird came to where some people were working in their fields. The people asked, “Why are you here?”
The hummingbird answered, “I have been sent by my master.”
They said, “Who is your master?”
The bird replied, “He is Masauwu, Ruler of the Upper World, Caretaker of the Place of the Dead and the Owner of Fire. He has observed how you live here, and he says, ‘The crops do not grow well because the people do not have warmth.’”
The people said, “Yes, it is true. Warmth is lacking.”
The hummingbird said, “I have been sent to teach you the secret of warmth.” And he gave them the secret, showing them how to create fire with a drill. After that he departed.
Now that the people had the knowledge of fire, they gathered grass and wood and made fires around their fields, and the warmth made their corn grow. But once they became careless and the fire spread to a nearby house and consumed it, including everything that was inside. When the ashes were cool the people found that their clay pots had become hard and did not break so easily. Thus they learned the secret of baking pottery. From this time on the people began to cook their meat instead of eating it raw. Those who had received the secret of fire from Masauwu’s messenger became known as the Firewood or Fire People. They said, “Masauwu is our relative.” Now things were better in the Third World.
It was the powakas, or sorcerers, who brought disruption and conflict among the people. They made medicine to injure those whom they envied or disliked. Worse yet, they turned the people’s minds away from virtuous things. The younger people grew disrespectful of the older. Husbands sought other women, and wives sought other men. Instead of caring for their fields, men spent their time in the kivas gambling. And instead of grinding corn, women went into the kivas to join the men. Children wandered about unclean and uncared for, and babies cried for milk. What a man wanted he would take from another instead of fashioning it for himself. Dissension spread everywhere. Instead of seeking understanding the meaning of life, many began to believe that they had created themselves.
In the beginning, life in the Third World had been good. But because people succumbed to the evil unleashed by the powakas, things began to change. The cornstalks in the fields withered before the ears were formed. The flowing rivers moved more sluggishly and the springs dried up. Clouds drifted over the fields but did not release their rain. Squash and melon vines stopped growing, and sickness came into many houses.
Now, those who had not forgotten that Tawa was their father worried greatly about the way things were going. Night after night they met in the kivas to discuss the corruption that was spreading in the Third World. They encouraged the lazy to work, admonished women for their promiscuous ways, threatened the powakas with punishment and sought to create order, yet nothing changed. There was evil and chaos all around them.
Tawa saw what was happening to the world he had made. He called Gogyeng Sowuhti, Spider Grandmother, and sent her to the people with a message. Spider Grandmother went down. She entered a kiva where the people were gathered. She said: “Tawa, the Sun Spirit, is displeased with what he has created. The powakas have made you forget what you should have remembered. Therefore all people of good heart should go away from this place and leave the evil ones behind.”
The people said to one another, “Where can we go? Is there another place?” But they did not know of another place anywhere, and they were troubled.
Then an old man said, “Have we not heard footsteps in the sky, as though someone is walking there?”
And other old men replied, “Yes, there has been someone walking above us up there. We have heard it many times when the air was still.”
Other people said, “Let us discover what is there. Let us send a messenger to investigate things.”
So the chiefs called for the medicine men to sit with them and consider things. They filled a pipe with tobacco and lighted it. They smoked, passing the pipe from one to another until their minds were tranquil. Then one of the chiefs said, “We must send someone to the place above the sky to see what it is like. If it is good, our messenger will request permission for us to com there. But who can make such a difficult journey?”
The medicine men pondered, and after a while one of them said, “We shall create a messenger who can perform this task.” The medicine men gathered some clay and shaped a bird out of it. They placed a kwatskiavu cloth, which is a robe made for brides, on the ground and placed they clay bird on it. They covered the clay bird with an ova cloth. They sat in a circle holding the edges of the upper cloth, singing and moving it gently up and down. They placed their hands underneath, doing what no one could see. When at last they removed the cloth there was a living swallow sitting there.
The swallow asked, “Why have you called me?”
The chiefs answered, “We have called you so that you may go up to discover whether there is another world above the sky. If you find someone living in that place, ask if we may come there and begin our lives again.”
The swallow flew up. He circles higher and higher, until the people could no longer see him. His strength began to flow away, but still he went upward. At last he saw an opening in the sky. But he was too tired to go on, and he returned to the place where the chiefs and the medicine men were waiting. He fluttered weakly and settled on the ground. He said, “I went up. I found an opening in the sky. It was as though I were looking up through the entrance of a kiva. But my strength failed and so I had to return.”
The medicine men decided to make a stronger bird. They began again, fashioning a figure out of clay and covering it with the cloth. They sang and made medicine, and this time when they removed the cloth a white dove sat there. The chiefs said, “How can the dove do what the swallow could not do?”
The medicine men answered, “It has great strength. Let it try.”
The white dove spoke, saying, “Why am I here?”
The chiefs said, “We have called you to go above us to see what kind of world is up there. Pass through the opening in the sky and tell us what lies beyond. If anyone inhabits that place, ask if we may come to find new homes for ourselves.”
The dove went up and passed through the opening. He saw a vast land, but no living things, and he returned. He said, “It is true that there is an opening in the sky, and on the other side is a land that spreads in all directions, but I saw nothing that was alive.”
The chiefs and the medicine men discussed the matter, recalling the sounds of the footsteps in the sky. They said, “Surely someone lives in that place. We must know who he is.”
Once more the medicine men fashioned a bird out of clay and brought it to life under the ova cloth. This time it was a hawk. The hawk also went up through the sky and explored the land above but he returned without discovering what the people wanted to know.
The medicine men tried again, and this time they created a catbird. When the catbird asked, “Why am I here?” the chiefs replied, “You have been called because the swallow and the dove and the hawk have not been able to discover who it is that walks in the land above us. You, catbird, go up, discover who makes the sound of walking up there. Speak to him. Tell him the people of good heart wish to leave this place. Ask for his permission to enter his land. Go and return. Let us know how things are.”
So the catbird flew up and passed through the opening in the sky. He passed the place where the hawk had turned back. He went on. He came to a place of sand and mesas. He saw large fires burning alongside gardens of squash, melons and corn. Beyond the gardens was a single house made of stone. A person was sitting there, his head down, sleeping. The catbird alighted nearby and waited. The person awoke and raised his head, and his face was seared by burns and encrusted with dried blood. Across the bridge of his nose and his cheekbones two black lines were painted. Around his neck were two heavy necklaces, one made of four strands of turquoise, the other of bones. The catbird recognized him. He was Masauwu, Spirit of Death, the Owner of Fire and Master of the Upper World, assigned to this place by Tawa because he had no other place for him.
Masauwu looked at the catbird, saying, “You, why are you here?”
The catbird said, “I was sent from down below to see whose footsteps are heard in the sky.”
Masauwu said, “Yes, now you know that the footsteps are mine. Are you afraid?”
“No,” the catbird answered, “for I am only a bird fashioned out of clay just recently. I don’t know enough yet to fear anything. I came because the Lower World is infested with evil, and there are many good people who would like to come here to live. Down below, the rain does not fall, the springs do not flow, the corn dries up in the fields, and there are numerous persons who do not respect the virtues of life. The people of good heart ask your permission to enter the Upper World and build their villages here.”
Masauwu said, “You see how it is in this place. There is no light, only a grayness here. There is no warmth, and I must build fires to make my crops grow. But there is land and water. If the people wish to come, let them come.”
The catbird left Masauwu and returned to the opening through which he had passed. He went down to where the chiefs and the medicine men were waiting. They asked him, “Did you arrive there and find the one who walks in the sky?”
The catbird answered, “Yes, I found the person who lives there. He is Masauwu, Spirit of Death, Owner of Fire and Master of the Upper World. His face is terrifying to see. But I spoke with him. He said: ‘You see how it is. There is no light here and no warmth. But there is plenty of land and water, so if the people want to come, let them come.”
Hearing this, the chief of the Fire People spoke. He said, “Masauwu is our spirit. We are the ones to whom he sent the secret of fire. He is our relative. Therefore we are willing to go.” Others said, “Yes, let all of us who wish to escape from evil go there. The Fire People can lead us and speak for us to Masauwu. Let us prepare for the journey.”
It was agreed, then, but the chiefs and medicine men looked upward, saying, “How shall we ever reach the sipapuni, the doorway in the sky?”
While they were thinking about this problem, Gogyeng Sowuhti, Spider Grandmother, appeared in the plaza with her young grandsons, the warrior gods Pokanghoya and Polongahoya. She said, “We are here. we will help you pass through the sipapuni.” She sent the young warrior gods to find chipmunk, the planter. Soon they returned bringing the chipmunk with them. Spider Grandmother said to the chipmunk, “It is you who have been chosen to make a path for the people into the sky. For this you will always be remembered.” And she explained what had to be done.
The chipmunk planted a sunflower seed in the center of the plaza. By the power of singing the people made it grow. If they stopped to catch their breath, the sunflower stopped growing, and Spider Grandmother called out, “Sing! Sing!” As soon as they started to sing again, the sunflower continued growing. In time the sunflower stalk reached toward the sky, but just as it was about to pass through the sipapuni it bent from the weight of its blossom.
Spider Grandmother said, “Let us try again.” This time the chipmunk planted a spruce seed and gave the people a song to sing. They sang the spruce tree into the sky, but when it had finished growing it was not tall enough. So now the chipmunk planted a pine seed, and by the power of singing they made it grow tall. But the pine, also, failed to reach the sipapuni. Once more the chipmunk planted. This time it was bamboo. The people sang hard and made the bamboo grow straight and tall. Each time they stopped to catch their breath the growing stopped and a joint formed on the bamboo stalk. And when they resumed singing the bamboo grew again. Spider Grandmother went back and forth exhorting the people to sing the bamboo into the sky. Thus it went on. The people began to fear that they did not have breath enough to do what was required of them. But finally Spider Grandmother called out, “It is done! The bamboo has passed through the sipapuni!”
The road to the Upper World was finished, and the people rested. Spider Grandmother spoke, telling of things to come. She said: “The journey will be long and difficult. When we reach the Upper World, that will be only a beginning. Things there are not like things here. You will discover new ways of doing things. During the journey you must try to discover the meaning of life and learn to distinguish between good and evil. Tawa did not intend for you to live in the midst of chaos and dissension. Only those of good heart may depart from the Third World. The powakas and all who perform wicked deeds must stay behind. As we go up the bamboo to the Upper World, see that no one carries evil medicine in his belt. See that no powakas go with us. Leave you pots and grinding stone behind. Up above you will make more of these things. Carry nothing that has to be held in your hands, for you will need you hands for climbing. When they had arrived in the Upper World I will tell you more about what is expected of you. Meanwhile, remember this: In the Upper World you must learn to be true humans.” Then Spider Grandmother sent the people home to prepare for the journey, which would begin in four days.
The people prepared, and on the fourth day they gathered at the foot of the bamboo. The chiefs stood in front--the village chief, the crier chief, the singer chief and the war chief. Behind them the people stood waiting for the journey to begin. Spider Grandmother arrived with the boy warrior gods, Pokanghoya and Polongahoya. Pokanghoya, the elder, carried lightning arrows in his right hand and a thunderboard in his left. Polongahoya, the younger, carried a buckskin ball in his left hand, and in his right hand he held a nahoydadatsia playing stick. Spider Grandmother went up the bamboo first, followed by the boy warrior gods. The people moved toward the bamboo to begin their climb. But now the chief of the Fire People protested, saying, “Wait. We are the ones who are entitled to go first, for Masauwu is our special benefactor. We shall take the lead.” The others deferred to the Fire People. After the Fire People began their ascent, whoever could get to the bamboo, calling out, “Pashumayani! Pashumayani! Be careful! Be Careful!” This is the way the people departed from the Lower World. They moved slowly upward, and in time the entire bamboo stalk was covered with human bodies.
As the first climbers emerged through the sipapuni and stepped into the Upper World, Yawpa the mockingbird stood at Spider Grandmother’s side and sorted them out. “You shall be a Hopi and speak the Hopi language,” he said to one. “You shall be a Navajo and speak the Navajo language,” he said to another. “You shall be an Apache and speak the Apache language,” he said to a third. He assigned every person to a tribe and a language, and to each tribe he gave a direction to go in its migrations. He named the Paiutes, the Zunis, the Supais, the Pimas, the Utes, the Comanches, the Sioux, and the White Men. The people began to make camp near the sipapuni. There were a great many of them. The chiefs discussed things and said, “Surely all the people of good heart have now arrived.” But more were still coming up. The chiefs said, “All those who chose to depart from evil are here. Therefore let no more come through the sipapuni.” The village chief went to the opening and called down, “You who are still climbing, turn and go back. It is because of you that we chose to leave and come to the Upper World. Do not follow us. You are not wanted here.”
But the climbers persisted, saying that they also wanted to be in the Upper World. So the warrior gods, Pokanghoya and Polongahoya, grasped the bamboo stalk and pulled its roots from the ground. They shook it and all those clinging to it fell back onto the Lower World like seeds falling from ripe grass. The chiefs said, “Now we are secure from the evil ones. Let us make camp.” The people camped near the sipapuni and rested.
Pokanghoya and Polongahoya looked around at the vast Upper World. Pokanghoya said, “Everything has a sameness. Something needs to be done.” Polongahoya answered, “Yes, see how it is out there. The ground is soft. It is nothing but mud.” So they took their buckskin ball and their playing sticks and began to play nahoydadatsia, following the ball wherever it went, running all the time. Wherever their feet touched the soft earth it became hard. They gathered the mud into great mounds and turned them into mountains. Wherever they passed, grass and trees came into being. They raced far to the north, and in an instant they created Tokonave, meaning Black Mountain, which in later times the White Men called Navajo Mountain. From there they ran to the south, chasing their ball all the while, and created Neuvatikyao, which the White Men later named San Francisco Peaks. They went eastward then, making hills, mountains and mesas everywhere. They arrived at Muyovi, which the White Men now call the Rio Grande, and near where the Zunis now live created salt beds, and they also made salt beds in other places. When at last they had done enough things of this kind they returned to the sipapuni.
Spider Grandmother asked them, “Where have you boys been?”
They said, “We have been playing. We have made the Upper World good to look at. See what we have done.”
But the light in the Upper World was a grayness and it was not possible to see very far, so what they had done was not clearly visible.
Pokanghoya said, “We need light in this place.”
Polongahoya said, “Yes, and we need warmth also.”
Spider Grandmother agreed, saying, “It is true, light and warmth are needed.”
She assembled the chiefs and the medicine men. She said, “Let us do something now to bring light and warmth to this place.” She told the people what to do. They brought out many things that they had carried from the Lower World. They took a piece of buckskin and cut it in the shape of a disk, which they fastened over a large wooden ring. They painted it with white clay and speckled it with black. When they were finished, they laid the buckskin disk on a kwatskiavu cloth and sang, as Spider Grandmother instructed them. Four chiefs took hold of the kwatskiavu cloth at the corners, and with a fast movement they lifted it and sent the disk soaring into the sky. By the power of singing they kept it moving upward until it disappeared from sight. But after a while they saw a light on the eastern horizon, and the buckskin disk rose from beyond the edge of things and moved slowly overhead.
Now the people could see a little better, but it was not yet light enough, and the earth still was not warm enough to grow corn. Spider Grandmother said, “Let us try again.” They made another disk in the same way, but it was larger, and this time they painted it with egg yolks and sprinkled it with golden-colored pollen. They painted a face on the golden disk in black and red, and all around its edges they fastened corn silk. They attached an abalone shell to the forehead, and their work was finished. As before, the disk was placed on the kwatskiavu cloth. Four strong men grasped the corners, and with a quick lifting motion they sent the disk sailing into the sky. The people sang the disk upward until it disappeared. But after a while there was a bright glow on the horizon in the east, and a moment later the disk appeared there, shining brightly and making the whole land visible. Now the people could see the mountains and the other things created by the boy warrior gods. The disk also cast warmth on the earth. The people were glad, for now they had a moon and a sun.
The sun moved across the sky toward the west, rays of light and warmth spreading from its corn silk edges. When the sun went down over the horizon the light faded, but the moon arose about this time and so there was not total darkness while the sun slept. The people were tired from their efforts and they rested now, but they forgot to put away all the things they ad brought out to make their two sky disks. In the still of the night, Coyote came prowling among these things, examining them and turning them over out of curiosity. He discovered nothing that was edible or in any way useful to him, and in irritation he took a handful of small objects and hurled them into the air. These object soon began to sparkle in the sky. And so the people now had many stars as well as their sun and moon. Coyote also picked up the paint pots, whose colors had been used to decorate the sun and moon, and threw them in all directions. The paint spattered against the rocks and buttes, marking them with the colors they have had ever since. These things the Coyote did, and the people acknowledged that Coyote was responsible.
At the end of four days the people were ready to leave the place of the sipapuni and begin the next stage of their journey. Then, suddenly, the son of the kikmongwi, or village chief, fell sick and died. They buried him not far from the sipapuni and put stone over his grave. The kikmongwi grieved. He said, “There must be a sorcerer among us.” And he instructed the people to find the one with the evil heart who had killed his son. The people looked about them. They examined each other’s faces. They looked for the small black spot on the end of the nose that would identify a sorcerer, but found nothing. The kikmongwi said, “Look closely to see if anyone brought medicine from done below in his belt.” But they could not find anyone with medicine in his belt. The kikmongwi said, “Nevertheless, we shall discover the one with the evil heart.” He made a ball of cornmeal and threw it into the air, saying, “May this ball of meal fall on the evil one.” It fell on the head of a young woman, the very last person who had come through the sipapuni. The chief said, “Ah, then it is you.”
She said, “Yes, I am the one.”
The people said, “Why have you come? For all the powakas were instructed to stay below.”
She answered, “That is so. But I did not wish to stay there any more. I want to be in the Upper World.”
The kikmongwi took hold of her to throw her back through the opening into the Lower World, but the woman said, “Wait, do not throw me back. Your son is not dead. He lives on.”
The kikmongwi replied, “No, the spirit has gone from his body, which is buried under the stones.”
The woman said, “Yes, the body is under the stones, but even so he is not truly dead, for he lives on down below.”
The kikmongwi answered, “How can such a thing be? For his body is cold.”
The woman said, “Look through the sipapuni and see for yourself.”
The kikmongwi looked down. He saw his son playing nahoydadatsia with other children in the village in the Lower World. He said, “Yes, I see it is so. I see him there. My son lives on. Nevertheless there is no place in the Upper World for a powaka. You must return to the Lower World.”
The woman pleaded, saying, “Let me stay here. Should things ever go badly I will use my powers to help the people.”
There was a discussion. People argued about the matter. At last they decided. One of the old men said, “Let her stay in the Upper World. It is true that she is a powaka. But she has already contaminated the place with her presence. Good and evil are everywhere. From the beginning to the end of time good and evil must struggle against each other. So let the woman stay. But she may not go with us. After we have gone on she may go wherever she wishes.”
So that was the way it was settled.
he time was drawing near for the people to leave the sipapuni behind. Yawpa the mockingbird said, “There is something still to be done--the selection of the corn.” The people gathered around while the mockingbird placed many ears of corn on the ground. One ear was yellow, one was white, one was red, one was gray, some were speckled, one was a stubby ear with blue kernels, and one was not quite corn but was merely kwakwi grass with seeds at the top. The mockingbird said, “Each of these ears brings with it a way of life. The one who chooses the yellow ear will have a life full of enjoyment and prosperity, but his span of life will be small. The short ear with the blue kernels will bring a life full of work and hardship, but the years will be many.” The mockingbird described the life that went with each ear, and then he told the people to choose. Even while he was talking the people were deciding. The leader of the Navajos reached quickly and took the yellow ear that would bring a short life but much enjoyment and prosperity. The Sioux took the white corn. The Supais chose the ear speckled with yellow, the Comanches took the red, and the Utes took the flint corn. The leader of the Apaches, seeing only two kinds of corn remaining, chose the longest. It was the kwakwi grass with the seeds on top. Only the Hopis had not chosen. The ear that was left was the stubby ear of blue corn. So the leader of the Hopis picked it up saying, “We were slow in choosing. Therefore we must take the smallest ear of all. We shall have a life of hardship, but it will be a long-lasting life. Other tribes may perish, but we, the Hopis, will survive all adversities.” Thus the Hopis became the people of the short blue corn.
Gogyeng Sowuhti, Spider Grandmother, said, “There is still one more thing to be done.” She went to the sipapuni and covered it with water, so that it resembled an ordinary pond. To see it, one would not know it to be the place through which the people had emerged from the world below. Spider Grandmother said, “Here at the sipapuni the tribes will separate. We are ready to begin our journeys. When the sun rises tomorrow we shall leave.”
The people slept, and when the next glow of the rising sun became visible the exodus began. Those who called themselves Paiutes, Apaches and Navajos departed, each taking the direction assigned them by the mockingbird. Then the Zunis, the Supais, the Pimas, the Utes went out. There remained only the Bahanas, or White People, and the Hopis. As the Bahanas gathered their possessions and prepared to go, the leader of the Hopis saw that the sorceress was still there in camp. He said to her, “Why do you remain here? Go somewhere, find your own way, for we intend to leave all evil behind.”
The chief of the Bahanas said, “Let the powaka come with us. Even though she is evil she has great knowledge. We do not fear her. Her knowledge will be useful to the people.” Then the Bahanas trailed out of the camping place and went toward the south, the powaka following them.
The leader of the Hopis said, “Because the powaka has gone with the Bahanas, they will grow strong. They will learn evil as well as good, and they will have secrets that are not known to us. Therefore, whenever we meet with the Bahanas let us listen with caution to what they say. Let us stand apart from their ways. However, it is said that in some distant time a certain Bahana whose name is not yet known will arrive among us from the direction of the rising sun, bringing friendship, harmony and good fortune to our people. When the time comes, he will appear. Let us watch for him. Let the dead be buried with their faces toward the east so that they will meet him when he approaches.”
One of the elders of the Fire People said, “When such a person arrives, how shall we know for certain that he is the one we are expecting? What if a powaka comes, saying, ‘I am the one you are waiting for’? He will take advantage of us and abuse us. He will destroy our way of life and give us cruelty instead of harmony.”
Thereupon he took a small flat piece of stone and carved a picture of a man on it. Around the figure he made designs. And when he had finished carving this tablet he broke it into two two parts. The part containing the head of the figure he handed to the chief of the Fire People, saying, “Let the Bahanas carry this piece. Let them hold it in trust for the White Brother who will come to us.”
So the chief of the Fire People sent the fragment of the stone tablet to the Bahanas, who were still moving slowly southward. The messenger gave it to the leader of the Bahanas, saying, “On a certain day, at a certain place, a Bahana whose name is not yet known will come to us from the east, bringing harmony and good fortune to the Hopis. We must be certain of his identity. When the special Bahana comes, let him bring this fragment of stone with him. We will match it with the their portion. If the two parts fit together and the broken tablet become whole again, then we will recognize him as the person we are expecting.”
The leader of the Bahanas accepted the fragment of the stone tablet, and the messenger returned to the sipapuni, saying, “It is done.”
Now, when the Fire People claimed the right to leave the Lower World first, the others had deferred to them. The migrations were about to begin, and the Hopis addressed themselves to the Fire People this way: “We are going to the place where our destiny awaits us. Because you are Masauwu’s relatives, and because it is he who granted permission for us to come here, it is you who will take the lead and guide us. Direct us to do what is necessary and we shall follow.”
But the Fire People did not accept. Their chief said, “No, we also are strangers here. If we take you some place that is not good you will blame us. If the journey seems to long you will say, ‘The Fire People don’t know what they are doing.’ If we are attacked by enemies you will say, ‘The Fire People were careless. See what they have done to us.’ If the corn dries up in the fields you will say that we are at fault. Therefore we don’t care to lead. Choose whomever you wish for your leaders. We shall be responsible only for ourselves.”
And so the Hopis selected other persons to lead them on the journey.
Gogyeng Sowuhti, Spider Grandmother, spoke. She said, “Remember the sipapuni, for you will not see it again. You will go on long migrations. You will build villages and abandon them for new migrations. Wherever you stop to rest, leave your marks on the rocks and cliffs so that others will know who was there before them. Tawa, the Sun Spirit, will watch over you. Do not forget him. There are other gods here as well. There is Masauwu, the Spirit of Death, who sent fire to the Lower World. This is his land, and so people must always be in the presence of death. If you see Masauwu’s face you will recognize him though you have never seen him before. If you see a flame of fire moving in the night, that is Masauwu’s breath. Speak well of him but avoid him. If he touches you the breath of life will depart from your body and go down to Maski, the Land of the Dead, from which it can never return. There is also Muyingwa, the spirit who germinates and makes things fertile. When you see him you will recognize him, for his body is made entirely of maize. There is Huruing Wuhti, the Hard-Substances Woman who owns all shells, corals and metals. Also living here is the Balolokong, the Great Water Serpent Who controls the springs and brings rain. All such things you have to know. You will learn about the forces of nature in your travels. the stars, the sun, the clouds and fires in the night will show you which directions to take. But the short blue corn that you chose at the sipapuni also will be your guide. If you reach a certain place and your corn does not grow, or if it grows and does not mature, you will know that you have gone too far. Return the way you came, build another village and begin again. In time you will find the land that is meant for you. But never forget that you came from the Lower World for a purpose. When you build your kivas, place a small sipapuni there in the floor to remind you where you come from and what you are looking for. Compose songs to sing in your ceremonies that will remind you how the sun and moon were made, and how the people parted from one another. Only those who forget why they came to this world will lose their way. They will disappear in the wilderness and be forgotten.”