Navajo creation story – Nihalgai – The Glittering or White World

 The Glittering or White World

The Locust,  was the first to reach the next world. He looked around, and saw that the world was covered with water that  glittered and everything looked white. This is why they call it the Glittering World or White World.
The other beings followed Locust, and everyone came into the White World. The place where they came is called Hajinei. Many people say this place is somewhere in the La Plata Mountains, in Colorado.
Note:(Locust also means grasshopper, cicada)

Navajo Creation Story Painting by Kee Lee

Navajo Creation Story Painting by Kee Lee – Nizhoni Fine Arts Competition – Navajo Nation Fair 2012

Even though they escaped the water in the Third World, the beings were not safe. The water kept rising up after them.

First Man asked the Water Buffalo why she had come and why she had sent the flood. She said nothing. Then the Coyote drew the two babies from his coat and said that it was, perhaps, because of them.

The Turquoise Boy took a basket and filled it with turquoise. On top of the turquoise he placed the blue pollen,  from the blue flowers,and the yellow pollen from the corn; and on top of these he placed the pollen from the water flags,  and again on top of these he placed the crystal, which is river pollen.

This basket he gave to the Coyote who put it between the horns of the Water Buffalo. The Coyote said that with this sacred offering he would give back the male child. He said that the male child would be known as the Black Cloud or Male Rain, and that he would bring the thunder and lightning. The female child he would keep.

She would be known as the Blue, Yellow, and White Clouds or Female Rain. She would be the gentle rain that would moisten the earth and help them to live. So he kept the female child, and he placed the male child on the sacred basket between the horns of the Water Buffalo. And the Water Buffalo disappeared, and the waters with her.

Soon, First Man and First Woman began to make things the way they were supposed to be. The Holy People helped them. Their first job was to rebuild the mountains. They had brought soil from the Yellow World. With this they made mountains in all four directions.

Then, the people made a fire. To start it, they used flint. The flint also was brought from the Yellow World. The fire was started with four kinds of wood: fir, pinyon, spruce and juniper. lt is said that these kinds of wood should be treated with respect, even today. They should not be misused.

The fire made a loud noise. The noise was so loud that some of the beings were afraid. One of them broke a branch from a tree, and stuck the branch in the fire. This made the noise go away. Because of this, a song and a prayer were made for the tree branch. This branch was the first fire poker. To this day, the poker is respected.

When they had fire, the people made a sweatbath. They built a sweathouse. They made songs and prayers for it. First Man was the first to use these things.

1-4a Forth World

Creation Story Poster- Ni’hodilhil First World
Illustrations by Theresa Breznau.
© 2013 Heritage Language Resource Center. All rights reserved
To purchase see bottom of page.

First Man and First Woman wanted a hogan. They wondered where to build it. They looked around, and saw many trails leading to other beings’ homes. But there were no other hogans at Huerfano Mesa. So first Man and First Woman built their home there. Talking God helped to build the first hogan. This was a male hogan. lt was like the forked stick hogan we have today. lt had a doorway facing east. This let in the early morning light. The male hogan was only for ceremonies.

First Man and First Woman still needed a home where they could live. With the help of other beings, they built a female hogan. This hogan was made of mud and logs. lt was shaped like a circle. This was the place where the people lived and worked.

By now First Man and First Woman had become human. They were like us. They lived at Huerfano Mesa. For food, they ate wild plants and animals. The Holy People made a song and prayer to let plants grow. Then the people planted their own food.

After this, there were four seasons. ln the spring, the plants came up from the ground. ln the winter, the plants died and were hidden under the snow. Then in the spring they came up again. The plants grew into crops like corn, beans and squash. But all was not well. There were monsters who hurt people. Horned Monster chased people and killed them with his horns. There was a monster that kicked people off the edge of a cliff. Another monster killed people by staring at them until they were under his spell. Then he ate them.

First Man and First Woman could not stop the monsters. They did not know what to do. Then one day they looked up. They saw a cloud over Gobernador Knob. First Man went to the top to see what the cloud was. ln the cloud was a baby girl.

First Man lifted the baby into his arms. He carried her down to First Woman. The Holy People helped First Man and First Woman raise the baby girl. They named her Changing Woman. ln time, Changing Woman grew to be an adult. She had twin sons. One was named Ghild Born of Water. The other was called Monster Slayer. The twins grew to be tall and strong. One day they went hunting. They looked down, and saw a hole in the ground.

Smoke was coming out of the hole. They looked closer, and heard a voice say, “Come in.” They climbed down into the hole. At the bottom, they found Spider Woman. The Twins always wondered who was their father. They asked Spider Woman about this. “The Sun is your father,” she told them. The Twins decided to meet their father. They left Spider Woman, and went toward the Sun.

It was long, hard trip. Many things tried to keep the boys from their father. Finally, they reached the Sun. They told him about the monsters that were hurting people. The Sun promised to help get rid of the monsters. Before the Twins left, their father gave them weapons and knowledge. “Use these to kill the monsters,” the Sun said.

So the Twins left. Monster Slayer used his new weapons to kill many monsters. His brother helped.

The boys stripped off his helmet and coat-of-mail and put them in his two big baskets, to carry home to their mother. Then the younger brother, Child-of-the-Water, cut off the giant’s scalp, whence his other name, the Cutter. When the twins got back to the Holy Hohrahn, they found their mother making baby-tracks of corn-pollen, as a prayer for the return of her sons. She also had a long piece of turquoise, which she held up to the Sun. When smoke arose from the upper end, it was a sign that the boys were in danger. When drops of blood appeared at the lower end, it was a sign they had killed their enemies.

The next morning the Slayer went out alone and killed the great one-horned monster which had tried to eat him up. The next day he went to Winged Rock, where the harpy which had pursued him dwelt; and so on each day he went out, until the last of the monsters was dead. But when he thought the land was freed of all evil, he spied four ugly strangers. They were Cold and Hunger, Poverty and Death, and straightway he went to destroy them.

Cold was an old woman, freezing and shivering.

‘You may kill me if you wish,’ she said. ‘But if you do, it will always be hot. There will be no snow, and no water in the summer. You will do better to let me live.’

‘You speak wisely, my grandmother,’ he answered; and so we still have the cold.
‘If you kill me,’ said Hunger, ‘the people will all lose their appetites. There will be no more pleasure in feasting and eating.’ So the Slayer let him live.

Poverty was an old man, in filthy garments.

‘Kill me,’ he said, ‘and put me out of my misery. But if you do your old clothes will never wear out, the people will never make new ones. You will all be ragged and dirty, like me.’ So the Slayer spared his life.

Death was old and bent and wrinkled and the Slayer determined to kill her.

‘If you slay me,’ she said, ‘your people will never increase. The worthless old men will not die and give up their places to the young. Let me live and your young men will marry and have children. I am your friend, though you know it not.’

‘I will let you live, my grandmother,’ he said. And so we still have Death.

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More of the Navajo creation story:
Navajo creation story – The First World “Nihodilhil” (Black World)

Navajo creation story – Nihodootlizh – Second World (Blue World)

Navajo creation story – Nihaltsoh -The third World (Yellow World)

Navajo creation story – Nihalgai – The Glittering or White World

The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins – Book

Navajo creation story – the Talking God

Navajo Creation Story – House God

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