Various Insects

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Dragonflies (tani'l'ai') (H) were harmful to man until subdued by Holy Man in the contest with White Weasel. They hover over the water which represents the mountain home of the Buffalo and clear water (Reichard, Shooting Chant ms.; 1939, PI. XXIII, XXIV; Newcomb-Reichard, PI. XXII, XXV, XXVI, XXVIII-XXXIII).

Grasshopper (naxatcagi') (H) appears as a weapon of the Stricken Twins furnished by the gods to help destroy the Awatobi gardens. The Navaho know of no defense against a grasshopper plague (Matthews 1902, p.245; Hill 1938, p.37).

Insects (tcoc) (P, U), the fumbling inhabitants of the lower worlds, are often mentioned as helpers. The Navaho do not believe that they are descended from these creatures but that a gradual transformation was brought about with deific aid. When associated with sorcery, insects are difficult to persuade.

be'yotcidi has been described as a deity in charge of various, especially stinging, insects. He played jokes with them on his fellow-gods, but they were his weapons when he was attacked.

The hero of the Bead Chant overcame bees and other stinging insects, thereby furnishing cures for skin diseases (Goddard, p.127; Reichard 1939, p.32; 1944d, p.47: Matthews 1897, pp.201-2).

Measuring Worm (yosikidi') (H), an old man, was passing the Spreading Stream as The Twins contemplated crossing it on their first visit to Sun. He wore a smooth hat with points and whistled as he walked with his arms folded behind his back. He ferried the boys safely across the stream on his long rainbow; they rewarded him with a song.
In the Hail Chant, Measuring Worm's tail had an attachment something like an icepick with which he pierced the ice shield of Winter Thunder's party. Measuring Worm possessed valuable tobacco stolen by Chipmunk, but when he found Chipmunk's tracks, he stuck his tail points into them (presumably to harm Chipmunk) (Reichard, Shooting Chant ms.; 1944d, pp.34, 139).

Woodbeetle (tsj 'ayahi') (H) was among the insects mentioned in the Hail Chant, a member of the warring party who carried a: jar of hot water, from which zigzag lightnings darted in four directions (Reichard 1944d, pp. 34-5).


Navajo Religion, Vol II; Gladys A. Reichard, 1950

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