Long long ago, a woman in Zuni gave birth to a baby unlike any
other. She loved and treated it like a human child, but in truth,
it was a water jar that talked like a person and walked like a turtle.
When other little boys went hunting, her child crept and rolled
along, but he could never catch or kill anything. One day, the
Eagle saw him and thought, "Poor little thing! How can he
possibly hunt? I shall kill for him." So the Eagle killed several
rabbits, and dropped them off in front of the water jar.
From then on, whenever he went hunting with his friends, the
Eagle would make sure that he had some meat to take home
to his mother.
When spring arrived and the snows melted, he followed his
friends to the river and watched them swim among the fish.
One day, he could no longer resist the temptation, and threw
himself into the river. Unfortunately, he hit a rock and broke
into a dozen pieces.
His friends collected all the broken pieces and brought them
to his mother. She lined the pieces beside the fireplace, and
sang to them as if they were a human child.
One day, she heard a voice, "Mama."
She said, "My child, are you whole now?"
He said, "Don't worry, mama, I'm fine. But if you want to see
me every day, take my mouth and my handles, and throw
them to the east at dawn."
The mother did as her child had instructed. She threw his
mouth and his handles to the east at dawn, and they became
the Morning Star.
(Santa Fe, NewMexico, U.S.A.)
Popular Zuni tale retold.