The Traditions of the Hopi by H. R. Voth
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42. THE BLIND MAN AND THE LAME MAN. 1
A long time ago there was an earthquake at Oraíbi. It was a very nice day; people had eaten their breakfast as usual, and were happy. Then towards noon the earth and the houses began to move and to tremble, and very soon there was a great noise like thunder, but nothing could be seen and the people did not know where it came from. They ran to their houses and everywhere to see what was the matter. Sometime in the afternoon the earth trembled very much, and a large piece of ground sank down at Skeleton gulch (Másvövee), so called because at one time a great many slain people were thrown there. This is situated about half a mile northeast of Oraíbi; the piece that sank down reached nearly to the village of Oraíbi. There was also a very large crack right on the public square or plaza of the village.
By this time the people got frightened very much, and all left the village, running toward the north. In the village there lived in one of the houses a blind man, and in another house a cripple who could not walk. When these noticed that some serious disturbance was taking place, they got very much frightened, and the blind man called over to the cripple asking for information. The latter answered that the earth had been trembling and the village had been in motion, and that all the people had left the village. The cripple then asked the blind man to come over to his house. The blind man asked the cripple to come over to his house, but after a while the cripple prevailed, and the blind man, taking a stick and feeling his way before himself, tried to reach the house of the cripple, the latter directing him which way to go. When he had arrived at the house the cripple said: "Let us also flee. You carry me on your back, and I shall show you the way." This they did, the cripple turning the head of the blind man in the direction in which he wanted him to turn and to go. Thus they left the village, also in a northerly direction, following the others.
A short distance north of the village a large elk met them, coming from the north. "O my! what is that?" the cripple said, on the back of the blind man. ''What is it?" the latter asked. "Something very large. It is nearly black, and yet it is not quite black." The blind man, who had been a great hunter in his youth, when he still had his eyesight, at once suspected what it might be, and asked for details, and soon concluded that it must be an elk. Before leaving the village
the blind man had suggested that they take a bow and arrows along so that, in case they needed some food, they could kill some game. When they had come opposite the elk the cripple suggested that the blind man shoot the elk, as his own hands were also somewhat crippled, and he was unable to handle a bow. He put an arrow on the bow, and the blind man got the bow ready, the cripple doing the aiming for him. The elk was now standing west of them, and at the proper time the cripple told the blind man to shoot. He shot and killed the elk.
They were now very anxious to roast some of the meat, but had nothing to skin the animal or cut the meat with; so they went there and with one of their arrows they dug out the eyes of the elk. The blind man then, being directed by the lame man, gathered some sticks of wood and they built a fire, starting the fire by rubbing wood and fire sticks together. They placed the two eyes on the fire and waited. When the eyes got very hot they burst with a great report. "Hihiyá!" the men exclaimed, and both jumped up, the lame man finding that he could walk, and the blind man finding his eyes opened. "Ishutí," the blind man said. "What is it (hintí)?" "My eyes are open." "Yes, and I can walk," the other man replied. By this time it had become evening. "Now let us remain awake all night," the man who had been blind said, "because if we go to sleep my eyes might stick together again." "Yes, if I lie down I might find that I cannot walk again in the morning," the other one replied. So the first one handed the other a small twig of ö'cvi (Ephedra), saving to him, "If you see that I go to sleep, you prick my eyes so that I awake." The other one handed the blind man, as we shall call him for brevity's sake, also some prickly weed, saying "If you see me sit down you prick my body so that I remain standing." Thus they remained awake all night watching each other.
Early in the morning they concluded that they would follow the tracks of the inhabitants of the village who had fled. They, finally found them in a timber quite a distance to the north. "What has happened to you?" they said. "Why, you were blind and lame, and now you can see and walk." "Yes, they said , "something has happened to us: and now let us go back again to the village. There is nothing the matter there any more." So the people all returned to the village, these two taking the lead, and that is the reason why Oraíbi is again inhabited. If these two had not brought the people back they would never have returned.
151:1 Told by Qöyáwaima (Oraíbi).
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