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Part 3— New Creation and Corn
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The Story of Corn and Tobacco (Thin Leather)

There was a powerful mahkai [medicine man] who had a daughter, who, though old enough, was unmarried and who grew tired of her single life and asked her father to bury her, saying, we will see then if the men will care for me. And from her grave


grew the plant tobacco, and her father took it and smoked it, and when the people who were gathered together smelled it, they wondered what it was and sent Toehahvs [Coyote] to find out.

Although the tobacco still grew, the woman came back to life and came out of her grave back to her home. One day she played gainskoot [gins, a dice game] with Corn, and Corn beat her and won all she had. But she gave some little things she didn't care for to Corn, and the rest of her debt she did not pay, and they quarreled.

She told Corn to go away, saying, "Nobody cares for you, now, but they care a great deal for me, and the doctors use me to make rain, and when they have moistened the ground is the only time you can come out." And Corn said, "You don't know how much the people like me; the old as well as the young eat me, and I don't think there is a person that does not like me." And Corn told Tobacco to go away herself.

There were people who heard them quarreling, and although Tobacco stayed on, whenever she would be in a house and hear people laughing, she would think they were laughing at her. She became very sad and one day sank down in her house and went westward and came to a house there.

A person who lived there told her where to sleep, saying, "Many people stop here and that is where they sleep." But she said, "I am traveling, and no one


knows where I am, and if anyone follows me and comes here, you tell them that you saw me, that I left very early in the morning and you do not know which way I went." And she told him she did not know herself which way she would go, and at night, when she went to bed, she brought a strong wind. When she wanted to leave, she sank down and went westward, and the wind blew away all her tracks. She came to the Mojaves [Indians along the Colorado River] and lived there in a high mountain, Cheof Toe-ahk,[i] or tall mountain, which was a cliff, very hard to climb, and Tobacco stood up there.

After Tobacco had gone, Corn remained, but when corn-planting time came, none was planted because there was no rain. So it went on all summer, and people began to say, "It is so. When Tobacco was here we had plenty of rain, and now we don't have any, and she must have had wonderful power." The people scolded Corn for sending Tobacco away and told him to go away himself. Then they sent for Tobacco to come back, that they might have rain again.

Corn left, going toward the east, singing all the way, taking Pumpkin with him, who was singing too, saying they were going where there was plenty of moisture.


The next year there was no water, and a powerful doctor, Gee-hee-sop,[j] took the Doctor's Stone [divining quartz crystal] of Light and the Doctor's Square Stone [possibly a flat slate], some soft [down] feathers, some eagle tail feathers, and went to where Tobacco lived, asking her to come back, saying, "We're all suffering for water, and we know you have power to make it rain. Every seed buried in the ground is begging for water and is likely to be burned up, and every tree is suffering, and I want you to come home."

The Tobacco said, "What has become of Corn image He is still with you, and corn is what you ought to eat, and everybody likes it; but nobody cares for me, and I don't want to go back, and I'm not going." But Geeheesop said, "Corn is not here now, he has gone away, and we do not know where he is." And again he asked Tobacco to come back, but she refused. But she gave him four balls of tobacco seed and said to him, "Take these home with you, and take the dirt of the tobacco-worm, and roll it up, and put it in a cane tube and smoke it all around, and you will have rain, and then plant the seed, and in four days it will come up. When you get the leaves, smoke them, and


call on the winds, and you will have clouds and plenty of rain."

So Geeheesop went home with the seed balls and tobacco-worm dirt and did as Tobacco had told him; and the smoking of the dirt brought rain, and the seeds were planted in a secret place and in four days came up and grew for a while but finally were about to die for want of rain. Then Geeheesop got some of the leaves and smoked them, and the wind blew, and rain came, and the plants revived and grew till they were ripe.

When the tobacco was ripe, Geeheesop gathered a lot of the leaves and filled with them one of the gourdlike nests which the woodpecker, koh-daht ,[k] makes in the har-san [hasan[*] ], or giant cactus, and took a few of these and put them in a cane-tube pipe, or watch-Kee [uacki ], and went to where the people gathered in the evening.

The doctor who was the father of Tobacco said, "What's this I smell image There is something new here!" And one [person] said, "Perhaps it is some greens that I ate today that you smell," and he breathed toward him. But the mahkai [doctor] said, "This is not it." And the others breathed toward him, but he could not smell it. Then Geeheesop rolled a coal toward himself and lit up his pipe [not previously lit], and the doctor said, "This is what I smelled!"


Geeheesop, after smoking a few whiffs, passed the pipe around to the others, and all smoked it. When it came back to him he stuck it in the ground.

The next night he came with a new pipe to the place of the meeting, but the father of Tobacco said, "Last night I had a smoke, but I did not feel good after it. The man who had eaten the greens kah-tee-gum[l] the day before said, "He does not mean that he didn't enjoy the smoke, but something else troubled him after it, and I think it was that when we passed the pipe around we didn't say 'My relatives,' 'brother' or 'cousin' or whatever it was but passed it quietly without using any [relationship] names."

And Tobacco's father said, "Yes, that is what I mean." . . . So Geeheesop lit his pipe again and passed it around in the way to satisfy the doctor. The people saved the seeds of that tobacco, and today it is all over the land.[13]

Corn and Pumpkin had gone east, and for many years they lived there, and the people they had left had no corn and no pumpkins. After a while, they returned of themselves, and came first to the moun-


tain Tahtkum[m] and lived there a while and then crossed the [Gila] river and lived near Blackwater, at a place called Toeahk-Comalk,[n] or White Thin Mountain, and from there went to Gahkotekih[o] or, as it is now called, Superstition Mountain.

While they lived at Gahkotekih, there was a woman living near there at a place called Kawt-kee oy-ee-duck[p] who, with her younger brother, went to Gahkotekih to gather and roast white [probably cholla] cactus, and while they were doing this, Corn saw them from the mountain and came down. The boy saw him and said, "I think that is my uncle coming," but his sister said, "It cannot be, for he is too far away. If he were here, the people would not be starving now."

But the boy was right, and it was his uncle, and Corn came to them and stayed while the cactus was baking. After a while, as he sat aside, he would shoot an arrow up into the air, and it would fall whirling where the cooking was, and he would go and pick it up. Finally he said to the woman, "Would you not better uncover the corn and see if it is cooked yet image" She said, "It's not corn, it's cactus."

Again . . . he said, "Would you not better uncover the pumpkin and see if it is cooked yet image" She replied,


"It's not pumpkin we are baking, it's cactus." Finally he said, "Well, uncover it anyway," and she uncovered it and there were corn and pumpkin there, . . . nicely mixed and cut. . . . Then he asked about the Tobacco woman, if she were married yet, and she said, "No, she is not married, but she is back with us again now."

Then he asked her to send the boy ahead to tell the people that Corn was coming to live with them again. First the boy was to go to the . . . father of Tobacco and see if he and his daughter wanted Corn to return. If they did, he would come, and if they did not, he would stay away. He wanted the boy to come right back and tell the answer that he got.

So the little boy went and took some corn with him to the doctor, and said, "Corn sent me, and he wants your daughter, and he wants to know if you want him. If you do, he will return, but if you do not, he will turn back again. He wants me to bring him word what you say."

The doctor said, "I have nothing to say against him. I guess he knows the people want corn. Go and tell him to come."

And Corn said, "Go back and tell the doctor to make a little house . . . and to cover it with mats instead of bushes, and let Tobacco go there . . . until I come. And tell the people to sweep their houses . . . and if anything in their house is broken, such as pots, . . .


to turn them right side up [outside]. For I am coming back openly. There will be no secret about it."

[So it was done and] before sunset the woman [who met Corn] came home with the corn and pumpkins she had cooked at the mountain, but Corn stayed out until evening. When evening came there was a black cloud where Corn stood, and soon it began to rain corn, and every little bit a big pumpkin would come down bump. It rained corn and pumpkins all night, while Corn and his bride were in their house, and in the morning the people went out and gathered the corn from the swept place around their houses.

. . . So Corn lived there with his wife, and after a while Tobacco had a baby. It was a little crooked-neck pumpkin of the sort that Pimas call dog-pumpkin. When the child had grown a little, one day its father and mother went to work in the garden, and they put the little pumpkin baby behind a mat leaning against the wall. Some children . . . found it there and began to play with it for a doll, carrying it on their backs as they do dolls. Finally they dropped it and broke its neck.

When Corn came back, he found his baby broken and was angry, and left his wife, and went east again, and stayed there a while, then bethought him of his pets the blackbirds, which he had left behind, and came back to his wife again. After a while he


went again to the east, taking his pets with him, scattering grains of corn so the blackbirds would follow him. Corn made this speech while he was in the house with Tobacco:

In the east there is the Tonedum Vahahkkee,[q] the Vahahkkee of Light where lives the great doctor, the kingfisher. And I came to Biveschool,[r] the kingfisher, and asked him for power, and he heard me asking, and flew up on his house, and looked toward the west, and breathed light four times, and flew and breathed again four times, and so on—flying four times and breathing after each flight four times, and then he sat over a place in the ground that was cut open.

And in the west there was a Bluebird, and when I asked him for power he flew up on his house and breathed four times, then flew toward the east, and he and Biveschool met at the middle of the earth.

And Biveschool asked the Bluebird to do some great thing to show his power, and the Bluebird took the blue grains of corn from his breast and


then planted them, and they grew into beautiful tall corn, so tall that its tops reached the sky and its leaves bowed over and scratched the ground in the wind.

And Biveschool took white seeds from his breast and planted them, and they came up and were beautiful to be seen and came to bear fruit that lay one after another on the vine—these were pumpkins.

And the beautiful boys ran among these plants and learned to shout and learned to whistle, and the beautiful girls ran around these plants and learned to whistle.

And the relatives heard of these good years and the plenty to eat, and there came a relative leading her child by the hand, who said, "We will go right on, for our relatives must have plenty to eat, and we shall not always suffer with hunger." So these came, but did not eat it all, but returned. So my relatives, think of this, and we shall not suffer with hunger always.

And Corn made another speech at that time to Tobacco's father:

Doctor! Doctor! Have you seen that this earth that you made is burning image The mountains are crumbling, and all kinds of trees are burning down. And the people over the land, which you


have made run around, have forgotten how to shout, and have forgotten how to walk, since the ground is so hot and burning. And the birds, which you have made, have forgotten how to fly, have forgotten how to sing.

And when you found this out you held up the long pinion feathers, mah-cheev-a-duck,[s] toward the east, and there came the long clouds one after the other.

There in those clouds there were low thunderings, and they spread over the earth and watered all the plants and the roots of all the trees; and everything was different from what it had been.

Every low place and every valley was crooked, but the force of the waters straightened them out, and there was driftwood on all the shores: and after it was over every low place and every valley had foam in its mouth.

And in the mouth stood the Doctor, and [he] took the grains from his breast and planted them, and the corn grew and was beautiful. And he went on further, to another low valley,


and planted other seeds, and the pumpkin grew and was beautiful.

And its vine to the west was black and zigzag in form, and to the south was blue and zigzag in form, and to the east was white and zigzag in form, and to the north was yellow and zigzag in form.

So everything came up, and there was plenty to eat, and the people gathered it up, and the young boys and girls ate and were happy, and the old men and the old women ate and lengthened even their few days. So think of this, my relatives, and know that we are not to suffer with hunger always.

And the Dog-Pumpkin Baby lay there broken, after Corn went away, but after a while [the baby] sank down and went to Gahkotekih and grew up there and became the Harsan, or Giant Cactus.

The mother and grandfather could not find the Dog-Pumpkin Baby and called the people together, and Toehahvs [Coyote] was asked to find it, and he smelled around where it had been and went around in circles.

And he came to where the Giant Cactus was and thought it was the baby but was not sure, and so he came back and told them he could not find it. They wanted Nooee [Buzzard] to go, and Toehahvs said to


Nooee, "I did see something, but I was not quite sure, but I want you to examine that Giant Cactus."

So Nooee flew around and around and examined the Giant Cactus and came back, and when the people questioned him he said, "I have found it and it is already full-grown, and I tell you I think something good will happen because of it."

When the cactus had fruit the people gathered it and made tis-win [local Spanish name for cactus wine and other kinds of homebrew] and took the seeds and spread them out in the sun. And Badger stole these seeds, and when the people knew it they sent Toehahvs after the thief.

Toehahvs went and saw Badger ahead of him in the road, and he saw him go out and around and come into the road again and come toward him. When they met, Toehahvs asked him what he had in his hand, and Badger said, "I have something, but I'm not going to show you." Then Toehahvs said, "If you'll only just open your hand so I can see, I'll be satisfied." Badger opened his hand and Toehahvs hit it with a slap from below and knocked the seeds all around, and that is why the giant cactus is so scattered. (Lloyd 1911: 217–230)


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