The Traditions of the Hopi by H. R. Voth
Index Previous Next
47. THE CROW AS A SPIRIT OF EVIL. 1
A Crow was living on the high mesa southeast of Oraíbi where the sun shrines are located. He would be walking up and down on the edge of the mesa watching the people as they were planting their corn in the valley. "Thank you," he would say, "that you are planting for me." Occasionally he would fly over and around the village of Oraíbi watching the people. He also would watch well who planted his corn first, and when the corn began to have ears he would say: "This field was planted first, so I am going to eat there," which he did. The Hopi were very unhappy over it. This high Crow also impersonated sickness. Wherever any body in the village was bad he would, in some way or other, secretly and unobserved, influence and charm him and he would get sick; some of them would even die. just how he did it the Hopi do not know. It was done in an invisible way, just the same, the Hopi say, as he would eat their corn after they had left their fields, and did not see him do it. The Crow, or Sickness, would also despoil people in other ways, some into whom he had breathed his bad influence would, for instance, begin to steal. They would be very sorry over it afterwards, and say: "What is it that makes me so bad, I did not use to do it before." Good people, whose heart, however, was not very strong, would thus be turned into bad people by the harmful charm of the Crow. They say that in that condition they would ''kanánapunangwa yéshe," that means, be sitting or living with a disobedient heart. But as the
Crow is constantly trying to influence the Hopi to do bad things, to infuse sickness into their bodies, there is some one else that is trying to counteract the doings of the Crow, but who this unseen being is the Hopi do not know. They do not know where he lives; they have no regular name for him; they speak of him as The-One-that-Does-Good-for-them-All. and wants to make them good, or as the One-with-the-Good-Heart, and so on. The ideas about this being seem to be vague. It is not quite clear whether the Hopi consider it to be a personality or simply a power, or influence, but they believe that whatever this may be, it is not so strong as the Crow, although the two forces constantly wrangle over the individual Hopi, the one trying to exert a bad influence over him and the other one to counteract this bad influence. The Hopi say that sometimes, when they are under the influence of the Crow, this other power will in some mysterious way make itself felt, so that they sometimes feel a sudden shock; so that, as they sometimes put it, they even sometimes hit their foot against an object that may be close by. By this, they say, they realize that that "Good Thing," or Being, is trying to exert its influence over them and to save them from some bad influence of the Crow.
156:1 Told by Qöyáwaima (Oraíbi).
Next: 48. The Maiden and the Coyote