Turtle & Frog
appears in four versions of the attack on the Pueblo. It precedes the story of
the main attack or constitutes this attack. The scalps which they obtain are,
however, not the object of the suitor test. Frog and turtle kill the enemy or
their young women. They have hidden in the "walled up water supply"
which is drawn off to reveal them. When discovered by the enemy they are subjected
to trials: Heated pit, chopping, fire in pit, boiling pot and tossing from cliff.
They escape unharmed; in each case one or the other is able magically to avert
destruction and protect them both. When put into heated pit or fire pit, turtle
is mortally afraid but frog urinates, forming a pool of water or steam into they
they can retreat. When put into a pot in the fire or attacked with an ax, frog
is afraid, but turtle breaks the pot with his shell or blows glance off of his
shell, under which frog has taken cover, and injure only the attackers. When the
attempt is made to toss them off the cliff, the person holding them falls instead
and they slip out of his hand. The Taos people realize that these are " not
the ordinary kind" of people. They are finally thrown into the river and
swim away, displaying the scalps they have taken, to the anguish and weeping of
their attackers. Pgs. 214, 215: Enemy Way.
Chantway Myths, 1957; Katherine Spencer.
also was a man made of stone who lay stretched out on a hill beside the river
just west of the Aztec Ruins. When anyone walked past he would kick them into
the San Juan River, and when they were drowned, he would feed them to his two
children. He was called Tseh-ed-ah-eh-delkithly, which means Kicking Rock. His
children lived in the river and ate the drowned people. Pgs. 70,71
Next day after breakfast, having found out from his mother where he should go,
he started off to Tseh-ed-ah-eh-delkithly (the Rock-that-Kicks-People-into-the-River).
He saw a man lying on his back with his head on a bluff and his feet near the
river, and he was pulling the whiskers out of his chin. When Nayenezgani tried
to pass, he kicked at him, and Nayenezgani said: "What is the matter, Sechai
(Grandfather) ?" The Rock Man said : "My leg was cramped, and I had
to kick to straighten it out." Four times he was questioned and he answered
four times. After that Nayenezgani took his stone knife and hit the Rock Man
on the head, and cut through his breast, hips and legs, chopping him into four
pieces and then scalping him.
The Rock Man's children lived in the river and Nayenezgani threw the pieces
of the Rock Man down to them, and heard them quarreling for the pieces of meat,
saying: "That is my piece," not knowing that they were eating their
own father. Then Nayenezgani went down into the river and killed all the children
except two. One was called Kahtsen (Alligator) and Nayenezgani said to him:
"You must never hurt anyone again, will you promise this?" And the alligator
answered "I am not sure." Nayenezgani asked this four times but the Alligator
would not promise. The other child who was spared was called Siss-'Tyel (Turtle),
and was told to be good in the future, as he would be used for medicine by men,
and his shell would be used to drink out of and also to make medicine in, and
the turtle agreed to this and said that he would always be good. So Nayenezgani
went home on the rainbow and they danced and celebrated his return as before.
Creation Myth; The Story of the Emergence: By Hosteen Klah, recorded by Mary
C. Wheelwright (Navajo Religion Series, Volume 1).
valued for beads made from its shell. The shells of turtles are used as medicine
cups. Pg. 157
Dictionary of the Navajo Language, 1929; The Franciscan Fathers.