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Tiyo - Part 1

Kaiah's worst fears are realized

Kaiah and Manci were just finishing up preparation for dinner. They had fixed a hearty squash soup with hominy corn and the rabbit for their guest, plus the fried bread for the meal. Manci also had a yucca sifter basket filled with kutuki, a Hopi parch corn dish, as a snack during the story telling time. She spread her finest rug on the floor for sitting.

Just then the blanket covering the doorway parted and Kaiah's father, Choovio, entered into their adobe home.

“Daddy” yelled Kaiah as she ran to him and gave him a big hug. “We fixed a meal for you and our guest.” Looking around and only seeing her father asked, “But where is he?”

Choovio smiled and looked at Kaiah, “ Right behind me Kaiah.” with that he drew back the blanket covering the doorway and there stood Kaiah's biggest fear. Omawnakw was their guest tonight! “Please enter Omawnakw,” Choovio asked politely.

Despite his age, Omawnakw was still an impressive looking man. Although he was passed his prime and had added a few pounds, his presences and demeanor demanded respect. All that knew him knew it was wise not to challenge him.

Manci was quick to welcome the tribal elder into her home, “Have you eaten Omawnakw?”

“I can think of nothing I would like better than to have some of this home's cooking,” Omawnakw said as he entered. Looking down at Kaiah, “And how are you Kaiah? My you are getting big.”

“Fine,” was the only word Kaiah could meekly utter.

Manci directed Omawnakw to the spot on the rug closest to the fire so that as their guest could stay warm. Omawnakw slowly eased himself down. As was Hopi custom, all waited for their guest to be seated before sitting down. Choovio sat near him while the women placed fry bread on a platter in the center the blanket. Manci quickly ladled out four bowls of the soup. Giving the first bowl to Omawnakw, the next to her husband, followed by one herself and Kaiah, before sitting down.

“Oh my, it all looks so good,” Omawnakw remarked looking at the soup before him and sniffing at the aroma. He then raised his hand and thanked the spirits for the food and blessed household for their generosity.

The meal went on quietly. Omawnakw is enjoying the every morsel of what Manci and Kaiah had made. At the conclusion, Omawnakw said, “This has been one of the better meals I've had in some time.”

“Thank you Omawnakw, but I seem to think your wife, Hehewuti, would argue that point. She is a better cook than me,” Manci quickly pointed out. “Kaiah help me clear the bowls and platter away while I get the kutuki.”

Kutuki!” exclaimed Omawnakw. “I haven't had kutuki in some time.” Manci leaned over and whispered something into Omawnakw's ear while Kaiah's back was turned. The sound of a slight chuckle was all that was heard as she went to get the kutuki.

“So, what shall it be?” Omawnakw asked. Looking toward Kaiah, who had just sat down again, he asked, “Have you heard the story of Tiyo and the Snake people?”

“No Omawnakw,” was her only reply.

“Would you like me to tell you that story?”

“Yes,” Kaiah meekly answer, but then blurted out, “Is it long?”

“KAIAH!” Manci quickly scolded Kaiah.

“Please forgive Kaiah, Omawnakw,” Choovio tried to appease the elder. “She's only a . . . . “

Choovio was quickly silenced by Omawnakw's raised hand.

“I have learned that some of our younger people sometimes tire of the stories told by an old man,” Omawnakw pointed out smiling. Taking a handful of kutuki and munching on it a bit, he began the story

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Our ancestors lived in this land when the rain had become little and the corn was weak. Tiyo was a young man who loves to sit on the edge of the canyon and wonder where the mighty river below went. He spoke of his question to his father, a chief in the tribe. Being Tiyo was of age, they decided he should journey down the river as his quest.

Tiyo built a canoe, with the help of his friends, from a cottonwood tree. He formed a cover from hides that would enclose the canoe that would keep him dry and protect him. He made a long pole to help push and steer the boat through the water.

When it came time to leave on his quest, his canoe was filled with food and supplies. The tribe's Shaman came to bless the boat and him on his journey. Tiyo was given several prayer sticks with feathers by the Shaman.

Pushing against his pole, Tiyo shoved his boat out into the current. The water quickly took the boat and he began to float down the mighty river.

Drifting along, Tiyo wonder where his quest would take him. Towering cliffs on either side walled in the river as he drifted farther away from his village. He saw all sorts of life along the way. Pronghorns, and sheep on the cliffs grazing on the vegetation. On the banks were lizards, snakes, squirrels among the rocks. Beavers swimming the river.

Tiyo ate the food that he had in the canoe. He also caught fish and drank of its fresh, clean water. All the while the river took him farther and farther downstream. Sometimes the river was calm. Sometimes it raged over rocks and foamed. Tiyo survived all these hazards with his skill using the pole and the Shaman's blessing.

The river and the land slowly began to change. The land became flatter and the river broadened. Soon he could hardly see the land anymore and he knew he had traveled to the river's end. The Big Water where the sun goes to sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Omawnakw paused and looked over to Kaiah, “Is there any kutuki left Kaiah?”

Kaiah handed the yucca sifter basket, now half-filled with kutuki, to Omawnakw. He took a handful, but instead of eating it all, he began to munch each kernel, one at a time. He was savoring the nutty sweetness from each kernel of parched corn.

Kaiah just sat there watching. She was having visions of her becoming a barren old woman with no husband or children if this story doesn't end soon.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright(c) 2013 / 2018 by James W

All rights reserved, except for those permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of James W's publication may be reproduced , distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written consent of

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