Whirling Logs


The Whirling Log or Tsil-ol-ni story occurs in both the Night and the Feather or Plume Way. The hero of the story sets out on a long journey. At first the gods try to persuade him against going, but seeing his determination, help him hollow out a log in which he will travel down the river.
Along the way he has many misadventures which ultimately result in his gaining important ceremonial knowledge. In one such instance he and his craft are captured by the Water People who carry him down beneath the waters to the home of Water Monster. Black God threatens to set fire to Water Monster's home and the hero is released, but not before being taught by Frog how to cure the illnesses caused by the Water People.
When he finally reaches the lake that is his destination, the gods catch his log and help him to shore. Wandering about on land the hero comes upon a whirling cross with two yeis seated on each end. From them he learns the knowledge of farming and is given seeds. He then returns home to share these gifts with his people.  Figures in Navajo sandpaintings generally proceed sunrise or clockwise.