bow and arrows of lightning were returned to the Sun, Hasjelti and Hasjohon came
to First Man and First Woman and asked them what they thought about all that had
happened. "What will take place now will be your plan," they said. "Yes,"
answered First Man and First Woman, "Now it must be our plan. We will think
about it." The Sun brought a turquoise man fetish and gave it to Yol gai
esdzan, the White Bead Woman. She ground white beads into a powder and made a
paste with which she molded a fetish like the one the sun had given her, but it
was a woman. When it was finished they laid the two side by side. Then they took
the white corn which was brought up from the Dark World where the First Man was
formed and they laid it beside the Turquoise man fetish. And the yellow corn from
the Dark World, which was formed with First Woman, was laid by the side of the
White Bead Woman fetish. Here the chanting begins. 6 It covers the two fetishes
and the two ears of corn and the four clouds and the four vapors. There are many
chants sung here. They were sung before the fetishes could move. Then the two
fetishes, the Turquoise Man and the White Bead Woman, and also, the two ears of
corn, white and yellow, moved. 7 When they began to move the Coyote came. He jumped
on the bodies and put something first up one nostril and then up the other nostril.
He said to the first nostril: "You shall be saved by this." To the second
nostril he said: "This shall be your shield." The first turned out to
be the trickery of men; the second, the lies that they tell. But once in a while
they are saved by their own lies. That was what the Coyote had in mind. The fetishes
and the ears of corn moved but they were not able to rise. So word was sent to
all the Holy Beings and to the Upper World where the Five Chiefs of the Wind dwelt.
Gifts were offered to the Winds and they accepted them. they sent the Little Breeze
down, and it entered the bodies of the two fetishes and the two ears of corn.
Little, fine hairs appeared over the bodies, for it is through these that air
comes out of the body. It was after that, that the four, the two fetishes and
the two ears of corn. became human beings.
6- Informant's note: A ceremony called na tdan'y analia took place so that the
people would multiply. The subject being:how to increase human beings upon the
earth after the monsters had been destroyed.
7- Informant's note: Rarely is much white or yellow corn planted at one time because
it is the most sacred. Pg. 103
Origin Myths of the Navajo Indians, 1956; Aileen O'Bryan.
the gods, they repeated their visit four days in a row. But on the fourth day,
Bits' iis lizhin the Black Body remained after the other three departed. And
when he was alone with the onlookers, he spoke to them in their own language.
This is what he said:
"You do not seem to understand the Holy People," he said.
"So I will explain what they want you to know."
"They want more people to be created in this world. But they want intelligent
people, created in their likeness, not in yours." "You have bodies
like theirs, true enough." "But you have the teeth of beasts! You
have the mouths of beasts! You have the feet of beasts! You have the claws of
"The new creatures are to have hands like ours. They are to have feet like
ours. They are to have mouths like ours and teeth like ours. They must learn
to think ahead, as we do." "What is more, you are unclean!" "You
smell bad." "So you are instructed to cleanse yourselves before we
return twelve days from now."
That is what Bits' iis lizhin the Black Body said to the insect people who had
emerged from the first world to the second, from the second world to the third,
and from the third world to the fourth world where they now lived. Accordingly,
on the morning of the twelfth day the people bathed carefully. The women dried
themselves with yellow corn meal. The men dried themselves with white corn meal.
Soon after they had bathed, they again heard the distant voice coming from the
east. They listened and waited as before, listened and waited. Until soon they
heard the voice as before, nearer and louder this time. They continued to listen
and wait, listen and wait, until they heard the voice a third time as before,
all the nearer and all the louder. Continuing to listen as before, they heard
the voice again, even louder than the last time, and so close now that it seemed
directly upon them, exactly as it had seemed before. And as before they found
themselves standing among the same four Haashch eeh dine'e, or Holy People as
Bilagaana the White Man might wish to call them. Bits' iis dootl izh the Blue
Body and Bits iis lizhin the Black Body each carried a sacred buckskin. Bits
iis ligaii the White Body carried two ears of corn. One ear of corn was yellow.
The other ear was white. Each ear was completely covered at the end with grains,
just as sacred ears of corn are covered in our own world now. Proceeding silently,
the gods laid one buckskin on the ground, careful that its head faced the west.
Upon this skin they placed the two ears of corn, being just as careful that
the tips of each pointed east. Over the corn they spread the other buckskin,
making sure that its head faced east. Under the white ear they put the feather
of a white eagle. And under the yellow ear they put the feather of a yellow
eagle. Then they told the onlooking people to stand at a distance. So that the
wind could enter. Then from the east Nilch' i ligai the White Wind blew between
the buckskins. And while the wind thus blew, each of the Holy People came and
walked four times around the objects they had placed so carefully on the ground.
As they walked, the eagle feathers, whose tips protruded slightly from between
the two buckskins, moved slightly. Just slightly. So that only those who watched
carefully were able to notice. And when the Holy People had finished walking,
they lifted the topmost buckskin. And lo! The ears of corn had disappeared.
In their place there lay man and there lay a woman. The white ear of corn had
been transformed into our most ancient male ancestor. And the yellow ear of
corn had been transformed into our most ancient female ancestor. It was the
wind that had given them life: the very wind that gives us our breath as we
go about our daily affairs here in the world we ourselves live in! When this
wind ceases to blow inside of us, we become speechless. Then we die. In the
skin at the tips of our fingers we can see the trail of that life - giving wind.
Look carefully at your own fingertips. There you will see where the wind blew
when it created your most ancient ancestors out of two ears of corn, it is said.
Pg. 49, 50, 51
Bahane' , The Navajo Creation Story: 1984; Paul G. Zolbrod.
of man was explained by A as follows. The plant kingdom (representing the soil)
plus wind equals life and the three together equals man. At death man (the symbol
but not the body) returns to the three elements mentioned, in human form, to
the underworld. DS elaborated this as follows. First he told how Changing Woman
scraped cuticle from various parts of her body and wetting it with saliva and
an infusion of four plants fashioned the image of a man, with prayer and song.
Then she put Wind People into him to make him move, telling each Wind how it
should work in the body. In the spirals on the ends of the thumb and fingers
are located the Winds which move the legs and feet, black Wind on the thumb,
blue on the forefinger, yellow on the middle finger, white on the third, spotted
on the little finger. These Winds stay in the body directing its movements until
death and then emerge through the spirals. Then there is one big Wind which
goes through the body and comes out through the hair whorl on the back of the
head (or goes in through the hair whorl and comes out of the mouth). This one
governs speech. This is the good part of a person, it is part of the sun or
dawn and looks like light, and goes back to the sun, etc. (v.s.) at death. It
has two names be' i' na' ni (by means of which there is life) and be' nahidi'
dzhi (by means of which one breaths). This life principle plus the breath factor
makes man. Pg. 14-15
Breath is the manisfestation of life, "life and breath are one and the
same." When good people die their breath goes to a good place where our
holy people go. Pg. 14
Every person (at least from childhood until old age, v.i.) releases a ghost
at death, no matter how good he has been throughout life, for some evil must
have become attached to him through thoughts or unintentional or unknown breach
of restriction, if not through deeds. Navajos, therefore, abhor the grave of
a benevolent and beloved relative as much as that of an admitted scoundrel.
Aged people, however, who have been respected throughout life and who die a
natural death may not be feared when deceased. Four informants suggested that
the ghost of a good person might be less dangerous than that of a bad one, and
DS said that a good man's ghost might not return to earth. "Good people's
thoughts turn into whirlwinds (na' oldisi) and have a separate place to live
up north, northeast of the bad people's place." Numerous denials of this,
however, are in our field notes and DS admitted the the Navajos are "all
mixed up" about it. Pgs. 12-13
It is the breath or "wind" which leaves the body and goes to the afterworld.
Breath is a manifestation of life. Pg. 14
of New Mexico Bulletin, Navajo Eschatology: 1942; Leland C. Wyman, W.W. Hill
and Iva Osnai