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Origin of Raven and Macaw - Zuni

He who was named Yanáuluha always carried in his hand a staff which now in the daylight appeared plumed and covered with feathers of beautuiful colors—yellow, blue-green, and red, white, black, and varied. Attached to it were shells and other potent contents of the under-world. When the people saw all these things and the beautiful baton, and heard the song-like tinkle of the sacred shells, they stretched forth their hands like little children and cried out, asking many questions.

Yanáuluha and other priests (shiwanáteuna) having been made wise by teaching of the masters of life (god-beings) with self-magic-knowing (yam tsépan ánikwanan), replied: "It is a staff of extension, with which to test the hearts and understandings of children." Then he balanced it in his hand and struck with it a hard place and blew upon it. Amid the plumes appeared four round things, seeds of moving beings, just mere eggs, two of them blue like the sky or turquoise; two of them a dull red like the flesh of the Earth-mother.

Again the people cried out with wonder and ecstasy, and again they asked many questions.

"These are," said he who was named Yanáuluha, "the seed of living things; both the cherishers and annoyancers, of summer time; you should selflessly choose which you wish to follow! For from one pair shall issue beings of beautiful plumage, colored like the flowers and fruits of summer; and wherever they fly, you shall follow, and in that place there shall be everlastingly summer, and without toil, which you haven't yet experienced, fertile fields full of food shall flourish there. And from the other pair shall issue evil beings, uncolored, black, piebald with white; and wherever these two shall fly, you shall follow, and in that place winter and summer shall strive with each other; fields furnished only by labor such as you have no knowledge of shall you find there, and there will be constant contention for the food and fruit between their offspring and yours."

"The blue! the blue!" cried the people, and those who were most hasty and strongest strove for the blue eggs, leaving the other eggs for those who had waited. " See," said they as they carried them with much gentleness and laid them, as one would the new-born, in soft sand on the sunny side of a cliff, watching them day by day, "precious of color are these; surely they, of precious things they must be the seed!" And "Indeed!" they said when the eggs cracked and worms issued, presently becoming birds with open eyes and with pinfeathers under their skins, "indeed we chose with understanding, for see! their dresses are yellow and blue, red and green as you can see even through their skins!"

So they fed the pair freely of the food that men favor—but tragically they accustomed their appetites for food of all kinds! And when their feathers appeared they were black with white bandings, for they were ravens! And they flew away mocking our fathers and croaking coarse laughs!

And the other eggs held by those who had waited and by their father Yanáuluha, became gorgeous macaws and were wafted by him with a toss of his wand to the far southward summer-land. As father, yet child of the macaw, he chose as the symbol and name of himself and as father of these his more deliberate children—those who had waited—the macaw and the kindred of the macaw, the Múla-kwe; while those who had chosen the ravens became the Raven-people, or the Kâ'ka-kwe.

Thus our nation was first divided into the People of Winter and the People of Summer. Of the Winter those who chose the raven, who were many and strong; and of the Summer those who cherished the macaw, who were fewer and less powerful, yet of perfect understanding because more they were more deliberate. Hence, Yanáulaha their father, being wise, easily saw the light and ways of the Sun-father and shared his breath, and so became among men as the Sun-father is among tbe little moons of the sky; and he spoke to and he spoke of the Sun-father; and he was keeper and giver of precious things and commandments, Pékwi Shíwani Éhkona (and Earliest Priest of the Sun). He and his sisters became also the seed of all priests who pertain to the midmost clan-line of the priest-fathers of the people themselves "masters of the house of houses." By him also, and his seed, were established and made good the priests-keepers of things.

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