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Rain Boy and Butterfly Boy~>

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  • FrenchIndian@webtv.net
    Navajo Ceremonial Tales; 1993, Gerald Hausman.   Rain Boy and Butterfly Boy: There is a great arch of colored stone in Navajo Country, and it is called
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2003
      Navajo Ceremonial Tales; 1993, Gerald Hausman.
      Rain Boy and Butterfly Boy: There is a great arch of colored stone in
      Navajo Country, and it is called Rainbow Bridge. In order to reach it
      you must ride horseback for days through desert and bare rock land and
      through great red rock canyons. Not many people go there. In ancient
      times it was the home of Rain Boy, a powerful god, whose weapon was
      lightning and who traveled as fast as the wind on his rainbow.
      One day long ago he had to go on a journey. He left his wife and
      daughter at home at Rainbow Bridge and told them that no matter what
      happened they were not to go out into the sunlight.
      "We will obey you, Rain Boy," said the two women, and when he had gone
      they sat by the open door and took up their weaving. They were both fine
      weavers. When they needed a new design they would look out of the door
      until they saw something beautiful. One day, it was the design of a
      leaf; another day, a bird feather suited their needs. But today they
      could not see anything that pleased them.
      As it happened, White Butterfly Boy had flown into their part of the
      country from his home in Chaco Canyon, where the ruins of the dead
      people lie. Butterfly Boy looked just like a Navajo except that he had
      wings. He possessed one other great power. He could change himself at
      will into a white butterfly. Today when he came to Rainbow Bridge he saw
      the beautiful wife and daughter of Rain Boy looking out of the door of
      their hogan.
      "They are beautiful. I should like to talk to them," he said to himself,
      but he had heard that Rain Boy wouldn't let them talk to strangers and
      forbade them to leave the hogan when he was away. So Butterfly Boy
      planned a trick; he changed himself into a white butterfly and flew down
      onto the door sill.
      "Oh, what a beautiful creature," cried the mother. "What a splendid
      design he will make for our weaving."
      "Let us catch him," said the daughter.
      But when they reached out with their hands, White Butterfly Boy spread
      his wings and flew to a milkweed blossom some distance from the hogan.
      The women forgot their promise to Rain Boy and ran out of the house into
      the sunlight where they chased the sparkling white butterfly; each time
      they got near enough to catch him, away he flew, farther from the hogan.
      Four times he flew, and the fourth time he lit on a tassel of corn silk
      in Rain Boy's garden. Great yellow pumpkins coiled their arms between
      the corn stalks, and when the women ran into the garden the pumpkins
      caught them, so they could not take another step. Then Butterfly Boy
      turned himself into a man with wings.
      "There," he said. "I have you. Now you will come live with me in Chaco
      He took them far off over the desert and canyon until they came to the
      land of deserted hogans. Here, long ago, people had lived, but now
      nothing but the dead remained, and they were buried deep under the blown
      Now, Rain Boy returned from his journey, and finding the hogan empty, he
      searched outside for tracks. In the sands by the hogan he saw footprints
      of his wife and daughter, which led into the garden and among the
      pumpkin vines where they disappeared. It was here that White Butterfly
      Boy had turned into a man with wings, and with Rain Boy's wife on one
      arm and the daughter on the other, he had flown back to his home in
      Chaco Canyon. After looking carefully among the corn stalks, Rain Boy
      sent out a streak of lightning to point the direction they had taken.
      The lightning struck near Chaco Canyon. Rain Boy mounted his rainbow and
      rode over the sky to the home of White Butterfly Boy. There he found his
      wife and daughter, who were prisoners in the hogans of the ancient
      people. Rain Boy was very angry with them for disobeying him, but he was
      even more angry with White Butterfly Boy for his treachery.
      When White Butterfly Boy came flying home at night, Rain Boy said, "I
      challenge you to a race. If you win, you may keep my wife and daughter.
      If you lose, you die."
      "I agree," said White Butterfly Boy."We shall race to Mount Taylor,"
      said Rain Boy. "Get ready. When I send out my lightning we shall start."
      Now Butterfly Boy had nothing in the world to race upon but his own
      wings, so he spread them out proudly and waited with his only weapon
      which was a magic axe that could kill whoever held it, at a puff of
      Rain Boy took off on his bolt of lightning and was gone instantly.
      Butterfly Boy beat his wings as fast as he could, but it was going to
      take him a long time to reach Mount Taylor. On the way, he saw Humming
      Bird poised in the air before a flower.
      There is nothing in the world that Butterfly Boy liked more than to have
      fun. About his throat hung a tiny silver bell. He wanted to hear how the
      bell would sound on the throat of Humming Bird as he darted from blossom
      to blossom, so he took the bell from his own throat and threw it into
      the air. It dropped with a tinkle onto Humming Bird's neck; this is the
      noise you hear today when Humming Bird rushes in upon a flower.
      Soon after his delay with Humming Bird, Butterfly Boy reached Mount
      Taylor. There sat Rain Boy on the end of a streak of lightning.
      "I win," cried Rain Boy. "Now we will race back again."
      "All right," said Butterfly Boy tiredly. By now he was already
      exhausted, but he was cheerful and did not give up. Again he spread his
      beautiful wings.
      "Ready?" shouted Rain Boy, and this time he rode up over the sky on a
      great rainbow. Butterfly Boy strained himself to fly, but it was a long
      time before he reached his home in Chaco Canyon. There sat Rain Boy on
      the end of the rainbow, and his wife and daughter were waiting beside
      "I win again," Rain Boy said, and raising his head he proclaimed: "now
      you will die!"
      "Wait," said Butterfly Boy. "Won't you please kill me with my own axe?
      It would make me happy to die by the blade I have carried on my
      But Rain Boy knew that Butterfly Boy's axe was a magic axe. At a puff of
      breath from its master it would fly back and kill the man who held it.
      "No," he said, "I will kill you with my own axe." And again he raised it
      above his head. But Butterfly Boy begged four times, and the fourth time
      Rain Boy stuck his own axe in his belt and took the magic axe in his
      hand. But he was not to be tricked. He had a scheme in mind."Now," said
      clever Rain Boy, "close your eyes."
      As soon as Butterfly Boy had shut his lids Rain Boy changed axes, and
      grasping his own trusty weapon he hit Butterfly Boy a deadly blow on the
      head. The skull cracked, Butterfly Boy was killed at one stroke, and out
      of the crack in the skull came a net of butterflies, all bright-winged
      and lovely. Away they flew to scatter over the sky; and that is how the
      beautiful butterflies of this world came to be born.
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