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THE CHILD WHO TURNED INTO AN OWL


AlÝksai! They were living in Shupa˙lavi, and one time a child was crying bitterly. Its mother did not pity it and beat it. "You are crying," she said: "I am going to throw you out doors. I am going to throw you out to the Owl." Hereupon she dragged the child out of the house. A large Owl had been close by and had heard the moaning of the child. He came to the child and when he saw the latter still crying he put him on his back and carried him off. He lived in a little cave at the side of the bluff on which the village of Bay˙pki was situated. To this cave he took the child. The Owl had little children in the cave that were living there nicely.

When the mother of the child no longer heard the crying, she came out of the house and looked for her child, but it was gone. "Where has that child gone now?" she said. ''It seems somebody came and got it," whereupon she went through the houses and inquired everywhere, but no one had it. In the morning she again went through the houses hunting her child, but could not find it, "Where may that child be?" she said. So she was without children.

Sometime after some men went after wood north of the village, some of them passing the cave where the Owl lived. They heard some one in a moaning voice sing the following song:

Chavayo chavayo,
Chavayo piva, chavayo piva,
A hmhm, a hmhm.


Looking up they saw a child in the cave, which had already feathers, and the white spots of the Owl began to appear all over the body. The eyes of the child also began to become yellow. "Oh!" the men said, "whose child may that be?" One of the men then suggested that it might be the child that had disappeared, so when they returned to the village they said: "There in the cave of an owl, at Bay˙pki, is a child. It already has feathers and spots all over, and its eyes are already yellow. It is turning into an owl. Whose child may that be?" "It must be the child of that woman," the people said right away, so they told them about it. "Now, bestir yourself, bestir yourself, because that child is turning into an owl." So they hurried up and the mother and father and the men who had found the child then proceeded to the place.

When they arrived there the men who had found the child climbed up to the cave. In the back part of the latter was the Owl and his children. The little owl child was sitting alone. The men took it, brought it down and handed it to its father. The mother also took hold of it. The Owl did not come out, but said: "You take the child with you, but when you get to your village you put the child into a room and keep it locked up there for four days. On the fourth day when the sun rises you open the door and let the child come out. It will then be a Hopi again. If you do not do that and open the door before that, the child will remain an Owl and come back again."

So they took the child to the village, put it into a room, placed some food in it and locked the door. The father watched in front of the door, keeping watch there during the four days. He heard his
child move about in the room. After the first day the mother was anxious to open the door, but the father forbid her, saying that they were not to do that, because the Owl had forbidden it. So she waited and on the third day she was very anxious for her child and could hardly await the third day. During the night also, and it seemed to her as if the morning was very slow coming. Finally when it became light she went to the door, which, like the old Hopi doors, that were not made very well, had cracks. "It is light already," she said, "let us open the door." Hereupon she shaded her eyes and looked through one of the cracks. She saw her child walking up and down, but also noticed that it began to change into an owl again. "Let us open the door," she urged, "it is already light." Her husband protested, saying, that the sun had not yet risen, but she opened the door, and out rushed an Owl which immediately rose up and flew towards Bay˙pki to the place where it had come from. "Well, now," the man said, "there you looked in before the sun had risen, and yet the Owl had told us not to do so. You have done this, now you have done it and we have no children now. We were just getting our child back again, and now you looked in and it has turned into an Owl, and it will now remain an Owl."


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