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The hero waits outside while his wives try to persuade their father to receive their earth surface husband; their mother finally felieves their petition and offers to depart, thus instituting the mother-in-law taboo as a means of showing respect. Pg. 206, Flint Way.

Navajo Chantway Myths, 1957; Katherine Spencer.

The three sons-in-law were in a particular class for they could not, like Tuli, Dezba's son, communicate with her directly, but had to learn her wished through their wives, or through Silversmith, their father-in-law. This was because from time immemorial Navajo women have had the custom of avoiding their son-in-law. They must not "see each other, although each always holds himself in readiness to help the other. The avoidance and helpfulness build up a special kind of respect which is incredibly effective, although the means by which this respect is established often create awkward and amusing situations. However, if any of her sons-in-law had failed to cooperate in the avoidance, of if one had been bold enough to address her of look at her, Dezba would not only have felt deeply hurt, but she would have feared that either she or her insulting son-in-law would become ill or even insane. Pgs. 5-6

Dezba: Woman of the Desert; 1939, Gladys A. Reichard.

And they have no interference form their mother-in-laws, called do-yo-ini or she-may-not-be-seen. according to Navajo tradition, if a mother-in-law speaks directly to her son-in-law, she will become blind. she must convey her messages or desires to him through a third party. If it becomes absolutely necessary for her to speak to him, they will have to sit back to back, far apart, with a third person who stands midway between the two and relays the messages back and forth. She may, however, visit he daughter occasionally when her son-in-law is absent from home. Pgs. 1179-180

Navajos, Gods, Tom-toms; By S.H. Babington, 1950.

Similarly, the two Na'hookos, the Male and Female Ones Who Revolve (the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia), represented a married couple that encircled Polaris, the fire in the center of their hogan; these two constellations, along with Polaris, represented laws against two couples living in the same hogan or doing their cooking over the same fire, as well as the mother-in-law avoidance law to be followed by her son-in-law.

Earth is my Mother, Sky is my Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting; 1992, Trudy Griffen-Pierce.

What would happen if a man looked at his mother-in-law, the invarialble answer is; "He wouldn't feel good. He would go crazy and act like a moth at the fire."

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