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Navajo Indians--Mythology; Psychoanalytic interpretation


THE MYTH. Changing Woman (or Turquoise Woman) gives birth to twins, the Sun being their father. The older boy was Nayenesgani the Slayer, and the younger was called Child of Water. The Sun warned his wife Changing Woman to hide her sons from the giant Yeitso. She dug a hole in the floor, and every time she heard Yeitso coming she put them in it and covered the hole with a flat stone. The great giant came often for he was in love with her and jealous of the Sun, but she kept the little ones hidden. The children grow up quickly and go to seek their father, the Sun. He had a wonderful palace in the east where White Shell Woman was his wife. When they arrive he cruelly attempts to kill his own offspring. Finally, when he fails to kill them. the Sun gives them the straight lightning and the crooked lightning. Then they kill Yeitso, the Giant, who was the Sun's eldest child. The gigantic stature of Yeitso and the diminutive size of his antagonists are emphasized. But it is really the Sun who kills the giant and when the elder brother rushes in, he does so with his father's stone sword . . . When they had killed the big giant Yeitso, they carried his scalp as a trophy and hung it on a tree, reporting to their mother. While relating the encounter to her, they swooned and lay unconscious whereupon she prepared a concoction of herbs struck by lightning, sprinkled them with it, and shot a spruce and pine arrow over their bodies, thus reviving them (Roheim 1950:321, 319).

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