Traditions of Wanderings
by Katharine Berry Judson
Myths and Legends of California and the Old
After the Hopi had been taught to build stone houses, they took separate
ways. My people were the Snake people. They lived in snake skins, each
family occupying a separate snake skin bag. All were hung on the end of a
rainbow which swung around until the end touched Navajo Mountain. Then the
bags dropped from it. Wherever a bag dropped, there was their house. After
they arranged their bags they came out from them as men and women, and
they then built a stone house which had five sides. Then a brilliant star
arose in the southeast. It would shine for a while and disappear.
The old men said, "'Beneath that star there must be people." They decided
to travel to it. They cut a staff and set it in the ground and watched
until the star reached its top. Then they started and travelled as long as
the star shone. When it disappeared they halted. But the star did not
shine every night. Sometimes many years passed before it appeared again.
When this occurred, the people built houses during their halt. They built
round houses and square houses, and all the ruins between here and Navajo
Mountain mark the places where our people lived. They waited until the
star came to the top of the staff again, but when they moved on, many
people remained in those houses.
When our people reached Waipho (a spring a few miles from Walpi) the star
vanished. It has never been seen since. They built a house there, but
Masauwu, the God of the Face of the Earth, came and compelled the people
to move about halfway between the East Mesa and the Middle Mesa and there
they stayed many plantings. One time when the old men were assembled, the
god came among them, looking like a horrible skeleton and rattling his
bones. But he could not frighten them. So he said, "I have lost my wager.
All that I have is yours. Ask for anything you want and I will give it to
At that time, our people's house was beside the water course. The god
said, "Why do you sit there in the mud? Go up yonder where it is dry."
So they went across to the west side of the mesa near the point and built
a house and lived there.
Again when the old men assembled two demons came among them, but the old
men took the great Baho and chased them away.
Other Hopi (Hopituh) came into this country from time to time and old
people said, "Build here," or "Build there," and portioned the land among