The Traditions of the Hopi by H. R. Voth
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84. THE SNAKES AND THE LOCUSTS. 2
Alíksai! At Hóyapi the people were living. There they were living. At a little distance to the north of this place is a small bluff,
and close to the bluff is a place called Tcuákpi. Here the Rattlesnakes were living and had a kiva. During the summer they would run about as rattlesnakes, but in the winter they were in their kivas and were Hopi, their snake skins hanging on pegs on the wall all around the kiva.
One winter it was snowing very heavily, there being about four or five feet of snow on the ground. About midway between Tcuákpi and Shongópavi is Tû'vanashavi where there is a deep opening in the earth. Here the Locusts (Mámahtu, Sing, Máhu) were living. There are two kinds of Locusts one Dumámahu (white earth or kaolin Máhu), the other kind 'being simply called Máhu. Both kinds, however, lived together there. Around the house of the Locust there was no snow, but every-where else there was very deep snow, such as the Hopi had never seen before. As it remained on the ground a long time many of the Hopi froze to death. So the Snake chief thought over the matter and spoke to his people. "Ishiohí!" he said, "this cannot he this way. We are tired and exhausted and our children are dying. It cannot remain this way. Some one go over to our fathers at Tû'vanashavi and see what they have to say about this. It shall not be this way." So he called upon the Sand Rattlesnake (Tuwá-tcua) and said, "You are strong, you go over there." So the Sand Rattlesnake entered the snow and tried to make its way through the snow, but he had not yet reached the place when he became cold and tired and returned.
Hereupon the Bull-snake (Lölö'okong ) was called on. "You are brave," the chief said, "you try it." So the Bull-snake put on his snake costume and made his way through the snow, but he had not nearly reached the place yet when he became very tired and began to shiver with cold; so he returned also. The chief then called upon the Racer (Táho), saying, ''You are not very heavy, you are swift, so you try it. Where there is a bare place, not covered with snow, you rest awhile, and then maybe you can get there." So the Racer put on his snake costume and started. He also made his way through the snow, and whenever he would be cold he would shoot upward to the top and if he saw any wood or trees or grass protruding from the snow he would go there and warm himself in the sunshine. Thus he finally reached the place where he was going and found that for quite a distance around Tû'vanashavi there was no-snow. It was warm there, so that even grass and many flowers grew. Here he could run swiftly and finally came upon the kiva in which the Locusts lived.
The ladder was protruding from the kiva. The Racer at once descended the ladder and entered the kiva. "Sit down, sit down,"
the Locusts said, showing themselves very kind. They fed the Racer on peaches and watermelon and píki, made of fresh roasting ears. The Locusts sometimes play flutes in a ceremony and that was the reason why it was so nice and warm there. So, while the rest of the people were freezing to death, the Locusts had the finest things to eat. "Now then," the Locust chief said, "you certainly have come here for some reason." "Yes," he said, "yes." "It has snowed very heavily and we are wood-poor, and our children are dying on account of the cold, and we have tried to reach you and they finally sent me to see whether I could not reach you, and now I have got here. You have pity on us and come and assemble with us, but come quickly." So they at once began to prepare to dress and paint up and told the Racer that in four days they would come over and assemble with them. One of the Locusts took a flute, went out of the kiva and blew the flute along the tracks of the Racer, towards the Snake house. Returning to the kiva the Locust said, to the Racer: "Now you can go home and you will not be troubled by the snow. You will find a nice road and you need not be afraid." So the Racer left the kiva and found a nice path back to the Snake house. He now did not get cold, and arrived there in a short time.
When he had entered the kiva, they asked the Racer: "Did you get there?" "Yes," the Racer replied, "I got there and they told me that in four days they would be with us. We should then wait for them." "Thanks, thanks, we are happy." And now they waited for the Locusts. On the fourth day in the evening they came. "Come in, come in," said the Snakes, who, however, had now the form of Hopi, the Locusts having the same form. One after another the Locusts came in with a chirping noise. They were dressed in costumes made of rabbit skin blankets, still used by the Hopi, which were very woolly and warm, and as one after the other of the Locusts entered the kiva it became warmer and warmer in the kiva. The Snake people finally began to perspire because it had become hot in the kiva.
Immediately upon leaving their own kiva the Locusts had begun to chirp through their flutes, and immediately the snow had begun to melt and to disappear. By the time they had reached the Snake kiva it had all disappeared. As soon as they had entered the kiva they lined up and sang the following song, dancing while they were singing and shaking small rattles:
Haaaaaaaow Inamu, Haaaaaaaow Ingumu!
Hao, my fathers, hao my mothers!
Drab Flutes, Blue Flutes.
Inamu, conwak katcita
My fathers, beautiful living
(In) summer will begin for us.
Aaaaahaay aahaahaay aaahahahay.
Talaow ciwawayina, taalaow ciwaywaytimanii.
(In) summer blossoms wave, (in) summer blossoms will sway.
Aaaahaayahay ahaayaaahaaayaay aaahayaaha aaaha.
Hâpi mâ kwangwa-mahu, dûma-mahu tiyotu
New then (the) good locust, (the) white earth locust youths.
Conwak katcita talaowyahinani itamuhuhui.
Beautiful living (in) summer for us (they) will begin.
Aaaaahaayaay ahaay aahaayaay
Taalaow shiwawayina, taalaow shiwawaytimanii.
(In) summer blossoms wave, in summer blossoms will sway.
Aaaaahaayaaay ahaay aaahaaayaay aaaahay aaaha.
When they were through with their dancing, they immediately left the kiva, the Snakes thanking them profusely. During the same night they went back to their home. It was very hot in the Snake house, so that the people were bathed in perspiration and they slept well that night. In the morning, when the sun rose, they went out and there was no snow, but the ground was covered with water from the melting snow. After that they were not cold any more. They sat in the sunshine and enjoyed seeing the grass coming up. The Locusts bring warm weather, that is the reason why the priests often, when they make báhos in winter, throw pieces of a locust on the fireplace and burn it because the smoke and odor bring warm weather.
217:1 The Hopi claim that they have repeatedly observed the exerting of such a charm over mice, little rabbits' etc., on the part of bull-snakes. One told me that he had watched a snake charm a large mouse for quite a while. The snake when inhaling and exhaling produced a loud whizzing sound. The mouse would be drawn towards the snake, apparently against its will, and being in great terror when the snake inhaled, but would run to a rock while it was exhaling. When finally the snake had drawn its victim close to itself, it wound itself around the mouse in such a manner that nothing could be seen of the latter.
Others have watched the same procedure between a snake and a rabbit. The Hopi say that sometimes they take pity on the victim, and with a stick or some other object cut through the line of the charm upon which the victim is at once set free and escapes.
217:2 Told by Lomávântiwa (Shupaúlavi).
Next: 85. The Squirrel and the Chipmunk