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Part 6— Morning Green Chief and the Witch
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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)


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