Drying of the Earth

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"Then all the five big Winds were sent up and worked four days, and the five Twisted Winds were sent up to harden the Earth for four days, and the five Striped Winds worked four days, and Smooth Winds worked four days more. The World was smaller than it is now, and Badger and Squirrel went up and found some of it hard enough to sustain them; they made footprints near Navajo Mountain."

From Emergence Myth, According to the Upward-Reaching Rite. Recorded by Father Berard Haile, O.F.M: Rewritten by Mary C. Wheelwright, Pg. 41

The Navajos had found temporary safety on one of the sacred mountains, but water from the lower world was still gushing up through the hole which had served them as a passageway to this earth. They tried to close the hole, but were unable to do so. The water continued to pour through in large volume, and threatened to drown them even in this new world. The chiefs were hurriedly called together, but at first not one of them could suggest an effective means to check the flood of water. Finally the oldest Navajo, also known as "First Man", noticed a bulging under the hide of the coyote. He called the coyote to him and asked him what he had under his coat. The coyote attempted to make First Man believe he had nothing there, but was compelled to open his coat and it was then seen that he was concealing the child of the water god. First Man immediately took the child away from the coyote and dropped the infant through the hole to the former world. The moment this was done the waters stopped coming through, and dropped away with a terrific roar to their former level. However, water had been pouring through the hole for such a long time that the whole country, on all sides of the mountain, was flooded as far as the eye could see. This water had to be removed for the Navajos and their animals could not find subsistence for all on that single mountain. Again a council meeting was held, but this time not one of the chiefs could offer a solution. When it became clear that no human being could solve the problem, the animals were consulted. But alas, it seemed as though not one of them would be able to give the relief needed. The eagle, the hawk, the raven, the blue bird, the prairie dog, the badger, the porcupine, the coyote, and even the fox,-all confessed their helplessness. Finally they came to the mountain goat, but no one thought the goat would be smart enough to deliver them. However, the goat said he could made the waters recede. He called three other goats to his side, and told one to swim to the north, another to the east, and the third to the south. He himself then swam to the west. And behold, as each swam away from the mountain, the water separated by their swimming did not come together again, but receded farther and farther until the whole earth was dry. Never the less, the water still exists, and if you will look off across the fields you will note where the earth ends and the blue horizon begins. That blue is the water which once covered the earth and was drawn off through the cleverness of the mountain goat.

From He Who Always Wins, and other Navajo campfire stories; By Dr. Richard H. Pousma,(Pgs. 25,26,27)

First Man again sent the badger to the upper world, and he returned covered with mud, terrible mud. First Man gathered chips of turquoise which he offered to the five Chiefs of the Winds who lived in uppermost world of all. They were pleased with the gift, and they sent down the winds and dried the Fifth World. Pg. 12

The First Chief, Nlchi ntla'ie, the Left Course Wind : the Second Chief, Nlchi lichi, the Red Wind ; the Third Chief, Nlchi shada ji na'laghali, the Wind Turning from the Sun ; the Fourth Chief, Nlchi qa'hashchi, the Wind with Many Points ; the Fifth Chief, Nlchi che do et siedee, the Wind with the Fiery Temper. Pg. 12

The Dine': Origin Myths of the Navajo Indians, 1956; Aileen O'Bryan.

Upon his return to his companions they dispatch naaskidi, Hunch-eye, and tsetqadebe, the Bighorn, to remove the waters and make the earth inhabitable. The former discharges zigzag lightninngs east and west, the latter straight lightnings north and south. The ensuing rush and uproar of waters forces them to a hasty retreat into the opening, which is covered by the webs of the Spider Man and Woman. And when the tumult has finally subsided the Wind People (nlchi dine') were dispatched to dry up the surface of the earth. Thereupon, the exit is made by means of ladders which had been made by First Man for the occasion. The emergence is called hajinai, moving upward. Pg. 352

An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navajo Language; 1910, The Franciscan Fathers.

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