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Part 6— Morning Green Chief and the Witch
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Part 6—
Morning Green Chief and the Witch

Please recall the instances of women giving birth in the previous myths. There are two, or really a negation of women giving birth and an irregular affirmation. The negation is in the flood myth. A woman thwarts her one-night-stand husband and causes him to give birth. The irregularity is the wife of Corn who gives birth normally but after an irregular impregnation, by eating a worm. The whore has no children; parenting is not the point of that story; footlooseness is.

In fact, nowhere in this mythology will there be an account of a birth by a woman nine months after she has made love with a man. Nor, therefore, will there be a single paternity of the normal sort. Men create people by molding them of earth and in other ways. And furthermore, only men do this. The summary for the entire mythology, then, is that women give birth as women normally do, from their wombs through their vaginas, but they do so rarely as far as the narrators are concerned and never following normal lovemaking. Men sometimes make people completely without women, as "creator gods" such as Earth Doctor and Siuuhu; and sometimes they give birth freakishly, like the philanderer; and sometimes they impregnate women abnormally, like Corn.

This does not mean that normal procreation was absent in the times covered by the mythology. It simply means that such procreation is glossed over. Myths, at least these myths, are not about normal procreation.[1] This myth and the next one (part 7) center on abnormal procreation. Here a woman is impregnated by sitting on a ball that has been kicked toward her by a man. In the next part, a man turns into an eagle by drinking a gruel prepared by a woman.


This last is a woman-induced transformation, not the birth or manufacture of creature from scratch.[2]

The witch story is conveniently discussed relative to its core, its preface, and its postscript. The core is the engendering of a monstrous female child, after the child's mother sits on a kickball; the career of that child as a clawed mass stealer and devourer of babies (she was a threat to babies analogous to the threat posed by the philanderer to marriageable girls); and the execution of the monster-witch by first drugging her, then placing her in a cave, and then burning or rather baking her there.

The Smith-Allison text is confined to that core. For comparison I give the Thin Leather version, which has a very similar core and a fairly typical preface and postscript as well. The latter is as follows. After the witch is killed, there is a feast to which a certain old woman and her two grandsons are not invited. Being excluded from the feast, she sends her grandsons to get drops of the blood of the cooked witch (it is not said what was eaten at the feast; presumably, it was not the witch). From this blood she creates parrots. The feasting community wants these parrots so much that they are willing to kill the old woman and her grandsons for them. Therefore, the old woman sends the boys and parrots (the boys' pets) to the east. There the boys release the birds. They return home to find that their grandmother has been killed. They bury her, and tobacco grows from her grave.

Thin Leather's preface also includes parrots, as follows. Morning Green Chief, the ruler of the great-house that Americans call Casa Grande, has a daughter close to whom a lizard falls to earth, apparently from the sky. The fallen lizard becomes turquoise whose mass greatly exceeds the mass of the lizard. These stones are taken up as decorations and adornments by the great-house community. The chief at a neighboring place (not called a great-house, nor was the chief called a sivañ), named Sun Meeter, desires some of the turquoise, so he creates a parrot and sends it to Morning Green's place to swallow as many stones as possible. The parrot returns home filled with turquoise. This loss provokes Morning Green to send rainstorms to douse Sun


Meeter's community. The dousing is not fatal, and the undefeated Sun Meeter sends a young man with a kickball to impregnate Morning Green's daughter, thus ushering in the core of the story.

We have in these two flanking stories two creations of parrots, one of tobacco, and one of turquoise. And we have a rare extra-body creation, of parrots, by a woman, the grandmother.[3] Let us note some resemblances and oppositions among those elements and between them and some other events we have encountered. First, the lizard becoming turquoise resembles the flood myth by virtue of greenness, if we can associate that color with water. In Pima-Papago, blue and green are not distinguished linguistically. Both are s-cehedag ; and, of course, turquoise is blue-green. Second, the turquoise spreads into the ground where the lizard has struck. Let us say that the lizard-turned-to-turquoise is a flood turned to stone, not a dangerous flood but rather a blessing. Specifically, it is a blessing to Morning Green Chief who, as we note in this story and recall from Font, is the master of Casa Grande (now) Ruin and therefore a master of rain.

This chief's opposite is Sun Meeter, a creator of parrots. The parrot eats/drinks the turquoise (ingested them to its fill; the text is explicit on this). Concerning the Font text, I speculated that Siuuhu's name "Drink-it-all-up" is solar, and I take this parrot episode as support of that speculation. The sun "drinks" water; when water (or wetness or dew) evaporates, the sun "drinks" it. The parrot does similarly, with the flood-turned-to-stone. That this parrot is green does not cancel its solarity, I submit. There could be a green sun as a kind of limiting or bridging condition between hot light and rain, and indeed I suspect that this is the meaning of Morning Green's name. He approaches sunness from the side of wetness, and the parrot approaches wetness from the side of the sun.[4]

That the postscript parrot is created from blood is also solar if I was correct earlier to align Pima-Papago mythology with that of the Aztecs (and no doubt others in the New World), which holds that the sun needs to drink warm human blood. Here, then, we seem to have a piece of that


broad system, a solar bird that is formed of at least semi-human (monster, witch) blood. The postscript parrots are also released in the east, the direction of the sunrise.

Finally, tobacco. This is a plant whose burning inevitably summons rain. We learned that from the Thin Leather text on Corn and Tobacco. The tobacco woman-god of that text flees to the west, where it is always wet, the opposite of the sun parrots. Thus, one can see a tendency to place moisture in the west and moisture's enemy, the sun, in the east.[5] The problem is why tobacco should originate from a killed and buried woman, young in the story of Corn and Tobacco and old in the Witch story postscript. I praise Thin Leather for stating this origin, but I cannot interpret it.

I cannot explain the female origin of tobacco, but I do see this crop as a step in Pima mythology's progression into the cultural order of things. Thus, we may note that Siba and Morning Green Chief do not need tobacco. In their wet paradise they can have rain whenever they wish. It is only normal people who need tobacco since, as story 4 and its variants say, there came a time when the person Tobacco left humanity, whereafter the plant tobacco was needed.

Seen in this light, it is significant that Morning Green Chief's daughter gives birth to a witch, but the witch is not tobacco. The smoke from the witch's burning does not bring rain, nor does the burned or cooked witch's blood produce tobacco; it produces parrots. Tobacco is produced from the killing (we do not know how, bloodlessly or bloody; I imagine bloodlessly) and burial of an entire woman. In sum, I cannot explain why the plant should come from a buried woman, but one can see how that fact articulates with, and enters an opening in the core of, the Witch story.

My guess on why tobacco comes from a woman is that men admire fertile women's menstrual clocks, and they imagine that if tobacco was sprung from a woman, then the tobacco, when smoked (but why smoked image), will bring rain "like clockwork." I do not offer this as a final analysis and cannot prove it.

An additional text, not about the witch, is appended to this part. It is a text on the life and times of Morning Green Chief, the successor of Siba as the master of Casa Grande


and the grandfather of the witch according to Thin Leather. In this story, the erstwhile commanding chief's women, including his wife, are stolen by a rival chief during a song and dance festival. The text will come as a relief to those impatient with the symbolism just discussed, for this is a story of earthly politics, Hohokam style. As such, it fits nicely with the preliminary part of the Witch story, except where the chiefly politics of that story were over the command of turquoise wealth, here the politics are over women. In my view, women are no less important than the other topics. They are what men boast about together early in the evening, and the "symbols" are what they awaken with in their minds in the dead of the night.

Story 9—
Ho'ok, "Witch"

That's the way the people made their living for years. As time went on, a woman lived west from here [Snaketown or Casa Blanca, Ariz.]. She was a Mojave [and therefore lived about 180 miles west of Snaketown]. She was unmarried. Young men tried to marry her, but she didn't like any of them.

Another man lived [about 15 miles] east from here, at the San Tan mountains. He was called Yellow Buzzard (Huamanui),[6] and he had a son. He knew the woman that was living over there, and he knew she was hard to marry.

He gave his son some kind of ball, so he would play with it and come running over this way. When the


boy got close to the girl, he kicked and threw the ball so it came close to where the girl was working, making a reed mat. The ball came close, and she picked it up and hid it under her clothes. When the boy came to her and asked if she had seen the ball, she said she didn't know anything about it. All this time the boy knew that the woman got his ball, but he pretended not to know and looked for the ball around her. When he didn't find it, he went home.

The ball turned into a baby, and the woman brought out the baby inside of nine months. When the baby came out, it was not like any other baby but had claws on its fingers like a bear.

These Mojave Indians did not know who the baby belonged to. The baby grew up and was learning to crawl along, so these people decided they would meet at a certain place, sit around in a circle, and put the baby in the middle. At that time, the only way they could find out about a baby was because a baby always knew its father. So they sat in a circle, put the baby down, and the baby crawled around in the middle of the people.

Coyote sat with them and called for the baby to come to him, pretending to be its father. The people told this Coyote not to call the baby to him. Among these people was the grandfather of the baby, Yellow Buzzard. The baby crawled to him and climbed on him. Then the Mojaves knew the father of the baby.


The baby was a girl. Four years passed. The child had an uncle who would take her along when he went hunting. When he killed a rabbit, he would give it to her to carry for him. When she got the rabbit, she would tear it to pieces and eat it raw. When the uncle saw this, he was sad because he had never seen people eat rabbits without cooking them.

Four more years passed. The man took the child hunting. She lay down on a rock. He couldn't lift her up. He went home crying and sang a song.

The child got up and came east. She settled and grew up south of here somewhere in Papago country. From then, whenever she found that there was a baby at some place, she would go there and play very kindly with it, take the baby home, and eat it up. All the people were afraid, so they let her take their babies.

She kept doing this and killed a lot of children, so the people asked Siuuhu to do something to get rid of her. One man went to Siuuhu's house—at that time he was near here at Mo-ha-duk (South Mountain).[b]

When the man got to Siuuhu's home, he asked if he knew that this thing was going on, that something was eating the babies and destroying a lot of chil-


dren, and he told Siuuhu that the people wanted him to kill this thing. Siuuhu said, "Yes, I know, it's ho'ok (some kind of evil witch).[c] Tell them to gather a lot of wood, and when the fourth day is up I will come over there.

When the fourth day was up, and the sun went down, he came. He told them to send one man to this evil person's home and tell her that Siuuhu was going to sing some songs. The man went to her house and told her what Siuuhu said, and she said that she doesn't like that kind of singing. The man went back and told Siuuhu that she would not come.

This man went over there three times and told her to come, but she would not come. The fourth time he went there, the woman said that she will come. This mean woman was very glad to go. She picked up her dress made from human bones and put it on.

When the man came back to Siuuhu, he told him that she was coming. Siuuhu went to work and made four cigarettes. One of them was called chunasuk .[d]


Another [cigarette] was called heo-ko-tatk ,[e] some kind of root to make her weak. The third was some kind of tobacco that is dope for sleeping; and the fourth was a weed that grows in damp places, roots of jimsonweed. He told the people that, when the woman came, he would light one of the cigarettes, smoke it for a while, and then give it to the woman to smoke. Then he sang.

The mean woman came. The first thing she did was to go and stand beside Siuuhu and begin to dance. Siuuhu lit the first cigarette, smoke it a little, and gave it to the old woman who smoked it, breathed it in her breast, rubbed her breast with her hands, and said, "I'll never get tired, I'll dance all night."

They passed this first cigarette around. The people, knowing what was in it, pretended to smoke it but were not smoking it at all. Siuuhu sang:

On top of this mountain (Mo-ha-duk)[8]
I am singing

The old woman was getting weaker all the time. She would open her eyes and then close them again. Then Siuuhu sang the fourth song:

Old woman went to some singing
And fell asleep.
And this old woman was sound asleep


When she was sound asleep they took her to a cave, laid her on her back, and pulled wood into the door of the cave. They set fire to the wood and burned her to death. From then on the children grew up and the people lived happily for many years.

The Story of Ho'ok (Thin Leather)


At the time Elder Brother [Siuuhu] transformed Vantre [the Gambler—story 10] into an eagle, strange things happened to the people of Casa Grande [great-house]. There is a game called takal [toka ] played by the women. One day the women were playing takal, and among them was the daughter of Sial Tcu-utak Sivan [Si'al Cehedag Sivañ, 'Morning Green Chief']. Suddenly a strange little green lizard dropped in front of her while she was standing among the other women. The earth about the spot became like the green part of the rainbow. They dug there and found some green stones (stcuuttuk hatai ),[f] which became very useful for necklaces and ear pendants.


There were people living at some tanks [ponds] on the east side of the mountains [Ta-atukam][g] north of Picacho [a town in Ariz.], and among them was a man named Tarsnamkam,[h] Meet the Sun. He saw the beautiful stones used at Casa Grande and wished to get some of them; but how was he to do it image He made a fine green bird, stu-utuk o-ofik,[i] parrot, and sent it to Casa Grande, telling it to swallow all the green stones it could find about the houses.

The parrot went to Casa Grande and was found one day by the daughter of Sial Tcu-utak Sivan. The bird was kept for several days, but it would not eat, so it was turned loose. It went about until it found a piece of turquoise, which it swallowed. The daughter of Sial Tcu-utak Sivan saw this and told her father, who directed her to give the bird all the turquoise she could find in the house. The people gathered to see the bird that ate stones, but as soon as it had eaten until it was full to the mouth, it flew away. Tarsnamkam was glad to see it come safely home. The parrot vomited the stones, which its owner gave to the people to use, and there was plenty for all.

Sial Tcu-utak Sivan was angry when he learned that the bird had been sent to steal his turquoise. He sent the rain for four periods, or sixteen days, to destroy


Tarsnamkam, but the latter also possessed magic power and was not injured. At the end of the sixteen days Tarsnamkam sent a man with a fine football (rsonyikvol ),[j] directing him to give it to Sial Tcu-utak Sivan's daughter, whose name was Pia Konitam Ofi.[k]


The messenger went near the woman's house as she was at work and kicked the ball so that it rolled close to her. She took it up and hid it under her dress and told the man there had been no ball there when he came to inquire about it. He declared that it stopped close by her, but she again said no, she had seen no football. When he came back she searched for the ball, but it could not be found. It had gone into her womb and become a child. When this child was born it was a strange-looking creature. The people wanted to destroy it, but the mother said it was her child and she wished to care for it.

The people wished to destroy the child because it had long claws instead of fingers and toes; its teeth were long and sharp like those of a dog. They gave it the name Ha-ak, meaning something dreadful or ferocious. This female child grew to maturity in three or four years' time. She ate everything she could get her hands on, either raw or cooked food. The people tried to kill her, because she killed and


ate their children. She went to the mountain Taatukam[l] and lived there for a while in a cave. Then she went to Baboquivari[9] for a time and then to Poso Verde,[10] where she was killed by Elder Brother.

As Elder Brother and the people were preparing to overcome the magic power of the Ha-ak they sang together [20 lines of song, comprising five songs or stanzas].


When Elder Brother killed Ha-ak a great feast was made, just as when Eagle was killed [story 10], and to this day the cave remains where Ha-ak was killed. . . . After Ha-ak was killed the people were invited to come and partake of the feast which had been cooked there. One old woman and her two grandsons were not invited to come. When the feast was over she told her grandsons to go and see if they could find any of Ha-ak's blood and if so to bring it to her. After the boys had brought a few drops of blood which they found among the rocks, she put it into a dish and told them to look at it after four more days. When they looked they saw two little birds, at which their grandmother told them to look again at the end of four days. When they came to look they found two very beautiful birds. After four days the people came and tried to destroy the grandmother and the boys in order to get the birds. The old


woman told her grandsons that after another four days the people would come and take their birds away. So they must take them at night to a distant land and set them free there. She said that when they returned they would find her dead, as the people would have killed her.

After the people had killed Ha-ak they followed the tracks of the boys, who had gone toward the east with their parrots. The pursuers raised a cloud of dust as they went along, which betrayed their presence on the trail to the boys, who exclaimed, "What shall we do!" At length they set free the parrots, which flew up into the mountains, where they concealed themselves in the forest. Following their example, the boys hastened to the same place, where they successfully eluded the pursuers.

After the people had abandoned the search, the boys went back to their former home and found that their grandmother had been killed. She had left directions which they carried out. They gave the body proper burial in the sand. At the end of four-day periods she had told them to visit her grave until they saw a plant growing out of it; four days after it appeared they were to gather the leaves, and in time they would learn what was to be done with them. The boys obeyed her commands and obtained tobacco, which they learned to use through the instruction of Elder Brother. (Russell 1908: 221–224)


How a Chief from Another "Great House"[en11] Enticed the Women from Casa Grande (Thin Leather)Supplement—
How a Chief from Another "Great House"[11] Enticed the Women from Casa Grande (Thin Leather)

Morning Green, chief of Casa Grande, invited Chief Tcernatsing[m] and his women to visit him. Tcernatsing lived in a great house situated by Gila Crossing, which is so far away [40 miles downstream] from Casa Grande that he found it necessary to camp one night en route at the settlement on the Gila River opposite Sacaton [present-day Gila River Reservation headquarters]. When the visitors arrived at Casa Grande a dance was held in the open space north of Compound A, somewhere between it and the circular wall enclosing a reservoir or "well."[12] Here the women who accompanied Tcernatsing danced with those of Casa Grande, singing the song:

Ta sai nu wu wu[13]
Sun shade sing with me
My body will become a hummingbird.

When Tcernatsing came and witnessed the women dancing, he shook his rattle and sang a magic song, which enticed the women of Casa Grande to follow him to another dance place, nearer the Gila. Morning Green, who also sang a magic song, found it powerless to prevent the departure of the women, and he


went back to his house for a more powerful "medicine," after which he returned to the dance and ordered his women back to their dwellings; but they were so bewitched by the songs of Tcernatsing that they could not, or would not, obey him. Farther and farther from their home Tcernatsing enticed the women, dancing first in one place and then in another until they came to his compound. Among the women who abandoned their home was the wife of Morning Green, who refused to return even after he sent a special messenger to her.

The sequel of the legend is that Tcernatsing married Natci,[n] a daughter of Morning Green, making him so angry that he sent a spider to bite his own grandson, offspring of the union. When the boy was sick unto death, Tcernatsing invited Morning Green to visit his grandson before the boy died. Morning Green relented and sent his daughter an herb (the name of which is now lost) powerful enough to cure the spider's bite, and thus the child's life was spared. (Fewkes 1912: 45–46)


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