When Apaches emerged from the underworld, they travelled
southward for four days. They had no other food than two kinds of
seeds, which they ground between two stones.
Near where they camped on the fourth night, one tepee stood apart
from the others. While the owner and his wife were absent for a
short time, a Raven brought a quiver of arrows and a bow, hanging
them on the lodge pole. When the children came out of the lodge,
they took down the quiver and found some meat inside. They ate it
and instantly became very fat.
Upon her return, the mother noticed grease on the hands and faces
of her children, who told her what had happened. The woman
hurried to tell her husband the tale. All the tribe marvelled at
the wonderful food that made the children so fat. How they hoped
the Raven might soon return with more of his good food.
When Raven discovered that his meat had been stolen, he flew
eastward to his mountain home beyond the normal range of man. A
bat followed Raven and later informed the Apaches where Raven
lived. That night the Apache Chief called a council meeting. They
decided to send a delegation to try and obtain some of Raven's
special kind of meat.
In four days the Apache delegation reached the camp of the
ravens, but could not obtain the information they desired. They
discovered, however, a great circle of ashes where the ravens ate
their meals. The Apaches decided to spy upon the ravens. That
night the Medicine Man changed an Apache boy into a puppy to spy
from a nearby bush. The main delegation broke camp and started
homeward, leaving behind the puppy.
Next morning the ravens examined the abandoned camp of the
Apaches. One of the young ravens found the puppy and was so
pleased, he asked for permission to keep it under his blanket.
Toward sunset, the puppy peaked out and saw an old raven brush
aside some ashes from the fireplace. He then removed a large flat
stone. Beneath was an opening through which the old raven
disappeared. But when he returned he led a buffalo, which was
then killed and eaten by all the ravens.
For four days the puppy spied upon the ravens, and each evening a
buffalo was brought up from the depths and devoured. Now that he
was certain where the ravens obtained their good food, the puppy
resumed his normal shape.
Early on the fifth morning, with a white feather in one hand and
a black one in the other, he descended through the opening
beneath the fireplace.
In the underworld, he saw four buffaloes and placed the white
feather in the mouth of the nearest one. He commanded it to
follow him. But the first buffalo told him to take the feather to
the last buffalo. This he did, but the fourth buffalo sent him
again to the first one, into whose mouth the boy thrust the white
"You are now the King of the Animals," declared the boy.
Upon returning to the above-world, the boy was followed by all
the animals present upon the earth at that time. As the large
herd passed through the opening, one of the ravens awoke,
hurrying to close the lid. Upon seeing that all the animals
willingly followed the Apache boy, the raven exclaimed, "When you
kill any of the animals, remember to save the eyes for me."
For four days the boy followed the tracks of the Apaches and
overtook them with his giant herd of animals. Soon they all
returned to the camp of the Apaches, where the Chief slew the
first buffalo for a feast that followed. The boy remembered and
saved the eyes for the ravens.
One old grandmother who lived in a brush lodge was annoyed with
one of the deer that ate some of her lodge covering. Snatching a
stick from the fire, she struck the deer's nose and the white ash
stuck there leaving a white mark that can still be seen on the
descendants of that deer.
"Hereafter, you shall avoid mankind," she pronounced. "Your nose
will tell you when you are too close to them."
Thus ended the short period of harmony between man and the
animals. Each day the animals wandered farther and farther from
the tribes. Apaches prayed that the animals would return so they
could enjoy the good meat again. It is mostly at night when the
deer appear, but not too close, because the old grandmother told
them to be guided by their noses!
Apaches developed skill in using the bows and arrows to hunt the
good animal meat they liked so much, especially the buffalo.
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Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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