Hasjelti and Hostjoghon

by Katharine Berry Judson

Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest

 

Navajo (New Mexico)

Hasjelti was the son of the white corn, and Hostjoghon the son of the yellow corn. They were born on the mountains where the fogs meet. These two became the great song-makers of the world.

To the mountain where they were born (Henry Mountain, Utah), they gave two songs and two prayers. Then they went to Sierra Blanca (Colorado) and made two songs and prayers and dressed the mountain in clothing of white shell with two eagle plumes upon its head. They visited San Mateo Mountain (New Mexico) and gave to it two songs and prayers, and dressed it in turquoise, even to leggings and moccasins, and placed two eagle plumes upon its head. Then they went to San Francisco Mountain (Arizona) and made two songs and prayers and dressed that mountain in abalone shells with two eagle plumes upon its head. They then visited Ute Mountain and gave to it two songs and prayers and dressed it in black beads. Then they returned to their own mountain where the fogs meet and said, "We two have made all these songs."

Other brothers were born of the white corn and yellow corn, and two brothers were placed on each mountain. They are the spirits of the mountains and to them the clouds come first. All the brothers together made game, the deer and elk and buffalo, and so game was created.

Navajos pray for rain and snow to Hasjelti and Hostjoghon. They stand upon the mountain tops and call the clouds to gather around them. Hasjelti prays to the sun, for the Navajos.

"Father, give me the light of your mind that my mind may be strong. Give me your strength, that my arm may be strong. Give me your rays, that corn and other vegetation may grow."

The most important prayers are addressed to Hasjelti and the most valuable gifts made to him. He talks to the Navajos through the birds, and for this reason the choicest feathers and plumes are placed in the cigarettes and attached to the prayer sticks offered to him.