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Hardening of the World - Zuni

When the tremblings grew stilled for a time, the people were asked to gather and pause at tbe First of Sitting-places, which was named K'éyatiwankwi (Place of upturning or elevation). Yet the children of men were still poor and defenseless and unskilled, and the world they lived in was still moist and unstable. Also, great demons and monsters of prey still fled violently out of the earth in times of earthquake (ánukwa&iactue;k'yanak'ya ) and menaced all wanderers and timid creatures. Therefore the Beloved Twins took counsel one with the other and with the Sun-father, and instructed by him, the elder said to the younger, "Brother, look!

That the earth be made safer for men, and more stable,
Let us shelter the land where our children are resting,
Indeed! the depths and the valleys beyond shall be sheltered
By the shade of our cloudshield! Let us lay to its circle
Our firebolts of thunder, aimed to all the four regions,
Then smite with our arrows of lightening from under.
The earth shall heave upward and downward with thunder!
Fire shall belch outward and burn the world over,
And floods of hot water shall seethe quickly before it!
Smoke of earth-stenches shall blacken the daylight
And deaden the senses of those escaping
And lessen the number of fierce preying monsters!
That the earth be made safer for men, and more stable."

"It would be good," said the younger, always eager, and immediately they made ready as they had devised between themselves. Then the elder said to the younger,

"Will you stand to the right, or shall I, younger brother?"
"I will stand to the right!" said the younger, and stood there.
To the left stood the elder and when all was ready,
'Hluáa they let fly at the firebolts, their arrows!
Deep bellowed the earth, heaving upward and downward.
"It is done," said the elder. "It is well," said the younger.

The din and stir were dreadful. The heights staggered and the mountains reeled, the plains boomed and crackled under the floods and fires, and the high hollow-places, hugged by men and the creatures, were black and awful, so that these grew crazed with panic and strove each with the other to escape or to hide more deeply. But meanwhile they grew deafened and deadened, forgetful and asleep! A tree lighted of lightening burns not long! Presently thick rain fell, quenching the fires; and waters washed the face of the world, cutting deep trails from the heights downward, and scattering abroad the wrecks and corpses of stricken things and beings, or burying them deeply. See! they are seen in the mountains to this day; and in the trails of those fierce waters cool rivers now run, and where monsters perished lime of their bones (áluwe —calcareous nodules in malpais or volcanic tuff) we find, and use in our food! They were gigantic, for tbeir forms little and great were often burned or shriveled and contorted into stone. Seen are these, also, along the depths of the world. Where they huddled together and were blasted, their blood gushed forth and flowed deeply, here in rivers, there in floods; but it was charred and blistered and blackened by the fires, into the black rocks of the lower mesas (ápkwina —lava or malpais). There were vast plains of dust, ashes and cinders, reddened as is the mud of a hearth-place. There were great banks of clay and soil burned to hardness—as clay is when baked in the kiln-mound—blackened, bleached or stained yellow, gray, red, or white, streaked and banded, bended or twisted. Worn and broken by the heavings of the under-world and by the waters and breaths of the ages, they are the mountain-terraces of the Earth-mother, "dividing country from country!" Yet there were many places behind and between theseÑdark canyons, deep valleys, sunken plains—unharmed by the fires, where they swerved or rolled higher—as, close to the track of a forest-fire, trees and grasses grow green, and even flowers continue to bloom. Therein, and in the land sheltered by the shield, the people rested, awakened, as from fearful dreams. The world was now more dry stable and less fearsome its lonely places; since, so many monsters of prey were changed to rock (some shriveled to the size of insects; made precious as amulets for the hunter and warrior, as told in other talks of our ancient speech).

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