Montezuma and the Great Flood

Montezuma and the Great FloodMontezuma and the Great Flood

Papago

The Great Mystery Power created the Earth and created a big hole. He created a shape out of clay and dropped it into the hole. Out of the hole came Montezuma, followed by all the Indian tribes. Montezuma taught them the things that they should know, how to make baskets and so forth. The Earth was good. There was no winter and not a lot of anything bad to speak of.

Coyote told Montezuma that there would be a flood and that he should make a canoe for when it happened. The flood did happen, and luckily, Montezuma had made his canoe and so did Coyote. They found a piece of land sticking up and both went to it. They looked in the west, the east, and the south, only to find no dry land anywhere, but they found some in the north. The Great Mystery Power began to make people again, as they had died, and put Montezuma in charge of them all.

After a time, Montezuma decided he was a divine power himself. He should rule everything. Coyote was not his equal, but below him. Montezuma said he was the great creator power and that there was no Great Mystery Power. He commanded the people to build a tall tower for him. It went up and up and up.

Things started to change. Good turned to evil. The sun was pushed further away as a warning to Montezuma from the Great Mystery Power and now there was winter. The grand house rose higher and higher, but the Great Mystery Power made the Earth tremble and the house collapsed. When the tower fell, no one could understand each other or the animals. Montezuma vowed that he would tell the people not to worship the Great Mystery Power or to make sacrifices to it. The Great Mystery Power sent men over from a strange land to take over the land of Montezuma. These men came with metal and they were hairy and that was the end of Montezuma’s reign.

Observations

This is a mythical Montezuma, not the actual Montezuma you read about in history books, that Montezuma was probably a namesake of this one.

Fun fact, according to the Book of Mormon used by Mormons and other Mormon sects, a group of people came over from the middle-east after the tower of Babel fell. Another fun-fact, there is also a scripture in the Book of Mormon that supposedly foretells the white men coming to the Americas.

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.

15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

You can find this in 1 Nephi 13: 12-15

Interesting? Right? The passage definitely has some truth to it, whether it’s divine revelation or written by a fourteen-year old boy.

This is clearly a tower of Babel type story. Did the Papago get it from Christians who came over? Did they have it before? Did they have their own Tower of Babel story, just as they had their own flood story?

Themes

Ultimately, when you try to defy your divine power, whatever you may consider that, you get burned. You can’t go around saying, “I’m God,” because, surely, something will happen to you for saying so. The people in the Bible, at the tower of Babel, got what they got because they were trying to defy God. Then look what happened. Their tower fell and their languages were confounded.

It really doesn’t matter if you believe in a so-called divine power or not, you know that there are certain rules of the universe/science/whatever that, if you try to defy them, it doesn’t turn out well. If you jump off a ten story building, gravity will surely come up to meet you fairly fast. You can’t just make a decision and say that gravity doesn’t work on you. Gravity works on everyone.

Overall

Don’t build tall towers?

Weigh In

Do you think any divine power would be pleased with a tall tower?

Is there truth to the world’s languages being confounded?

 

 

The Gnawing

The GnawingThe Gnawing

Cheyenne

Somewhere there is a great pole. A beaver gnaws on it. It’s about half-way through right now. The entire universe stands on this great pole. When the beaver is angry, he gnaws faster. It is said that when the beaver gnaws all the way through the pole, the universe will end. So the Cheyenne people do their best not to anger the beaver. They do not eat beaver meat, not hunt him. They want the world to last just a little longer.

Observations

There are multiple stories saying that our Earth, or our country is on the back of some great animal. Or it’s held up by someone, Atlas, for example. In an episode of Doctor Who, England is on the back of a large whale, that can inexplicably survive in space. This is another story about how our Earth is held up besides something other than gravity and an orbit around the sun.

Themes

How will the world end? Surely, it has to, at some point, whether it’s billions of years from now, the world has to end. The sun will explode, or grow and consume all the planets. Maybe another planet will collide with the Earth. Maybe we’ll mine all the insides out of our Earth and it will just implode. Maybe we’ll accidentally set off powerful nuclear weapons inside the Earth’s core. Who knows? No one can predict how the Earth will end, but most of know that it must. A beaver gnawing at a pole that holds the Earth is as good of a reason as any for the Earth to end. It also serves as a reason for the Cheyenne not to eat beaver meat.

There’s nothing wrong with eating beaver. Other tribes eat beaver. Trappers traps beaver. What’s the big deal? There isn’t a big deal; it’s just a cultural preference. It probably started because someone didn’t like the taste of beaver, or they thought it looked like something else, or who knows, really? This story probably came along as a result of people not eating beaver, whereas, people not eating beaver did not come along because of this story, most likely.

Don’t eat beaver, eat beaver–whatever, but if you think the world is going to end because of your actions, you’re right to curb any actions that may result in the end of the world.

Overall

Don’t make him angry.

Weigh In

In your view of things, if the Earth was held up by anything other than what we know to be scientifically accurate, what animal would hold up the Earth?

Is it safer to believe in a superstition just in case the world might end or not?

#684 Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil GaimanFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Mom is gone and dad is left to care for the children and the house. He remembers about violin practice. He remembers about orchestra practice. He remembers about the frozen meals in the freezer, not before burning one and going out for curry though. He remembers everything, except the milk. There’s nothing to put on the cereal and there’s nothing to put in the tea, so Dad goes out to the nearby shop for milk.

Dad is gone a long time. The two children ponder that Dad might have met somebody he knew and started talking. Dad finally comes back and he has the milk. The children figured Dad had talked to someone, which Dad had, but Dad also had a story for why he was so late getting back with the milk.

You see, Dad got abducted by aliens. Dad did not want to be abducted by aliens and pushed the button that opened the time-space continuum. He then found himself on a pirate ship, where the pirates were more than happy to make him walk the plank, but Dad knew that if you walked the plank, you always got rescued at the last-minute. Dad was rescued by a scientist stegosaurus in a hot air balloon, that also happened to be a time machine. He tells Dad that all the dinosaurs left Earth for the far reaches of the universe.

The two soon end up in a bit of trouble with a native island tribe. The tribe was told to let the people take a big green stone thing from the volcano god, but when they do, bad things happen, but this means that Dr. Steg can fix his time machine, which he does, but he also ends up near some vampires, who are more than happy to munch on Dad. Ultimately, everyone ends up back on the alien ship. Which is ultimately where they find out whether touching the same object from the past to the same object in the future destroys the universe or causes dwarfs with flowerpots on their heads to appear and dance.

What I liked

This is funny, Neil. Dad’s full of crap, obviously, but Dad sure has an imagination. I love all the absurdity of this book. Why wouldn’t there be a time-traveling stegosaurus in a hot air balloon? Why not? It’s great.

What I didn’t like

Besides Dad being full of crap in the way that all dads are full of crap, this book is pretty great. Your kids know when you’re full of crap by the way, they just humor you.

Overall

Why did it take you so long to get the milk?

Weigh In

Could you have made up a story anywhere near this if it took you a long time to get the milk?

Do you think the children would have been less irritated because of this story.

The Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee

The Ghost Dance at Wounded KneeThe Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee

Brule Sioux

An old man remembers what his uncle told him about the Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee. All the people had been rounded up and placed on reservations. Times were tough. Relatives were dead. A wise man from one tribe visited another tribe. There was a dance; it was new. It would help give strength to the people, give them hope, maybe even bring back some dead relatives.

The people began to dance this dance, but the soldiers thought it was a war dance. They fired on the dancing people, not simply with guns, but with canons. Two-hundred and fifty people were killed, many of them women and children, all because of a dance. They’re buried in a mass grave there still. The old man’s mother let him see. So he would remember what had happened to all of those people. The man remembered a baby wearing a cap with an embroidered American flag on it, at its mother’s breast, both dead.

Observations

This really happened and it’s as a despicable mass murder as any other.

Themes

This is so sad. These people were killed while performing a dance of hope. This is like being killed because you were praying. This is a sad chapter of American History, one that should have never happened. Ignorance is a heck of a lot more dangerous than almost anything else.

Overall

So sad.

Weigh In

Is there ever a situation in which something like this is warranted?

The Death of Head Chief and Young Mule

The Death of Head Chief and Young MuleThe Death of Head Chief and Young Mule

Northern Cheyenne

In 1890 all the Cheyenne had been put on reservations. There was no more buffalo and there was very little food. Head Chief decided that he had to get some food for his people. A young man, named Young Mule, always followed the chief around. The chief was teaching him how to be a man. The two set out to find food for the people, but there was no more game on the reservation. The two decided to go off of the reservation to find food, after all, hadn’t the land from horizon to horizon belonged to the tribe before?

They found one lone cow, which belonged to a white man. The chief shot it. A man came running out, having seen that the chief shot the cow, the chief shot him too. He was buried and the cow was butchered. It did not take long for people to realize that the man was missing and it was soon found out that the chief had shot him. The chief was to stand trial for his crimes, but he didn’t want to die like a white man; he wanted to die like an Indian.

He asked that the police be lined up. He would come at them, as if to count coup, but they would shoot him down. He would die a warrior’s death. The officers weren’t so sure of allowing this to happen, but it was reasoned with them that if it didn’t, the others might have to rise up and defend their chief, so the officer allowed it. Many people came out to watch the head chief count his last coup. They came to watch the execution of the chief who had fed his people. He did not show up alone. Young Mule was there as well. The chief did not want him there, but Young Mule knew it was as good a time to die as any, after all the chief had taught him much. What there a better way than to die than by his side?

The whole thing commenced. There were shots from the white men, but the old chief was counting coup, almost right and left, so was Young Mule. It took some time for both the chief and Young Mule to go down. When they did, one of the chief’s feathers was tied to a rock that was in the spot where he finally hit the ground. It stayed there for a long time. The feather has gone since then, but the rock will be there forever.

Observations

This happened. Maybe it’s a little embellished, but this actually happened. A man named Hugh Boyle was really killed by two Cheyenne when he discovered them butchering a family cow. It seems the two really put up a fight when the authorities came to get them. All I can say is, “Rest in peace.”

Themes

This is so sad. The laws and the world changed. The world was dragged right out from underneath the feet of the Native Americans on the Americas. They were hungry, but had no food. If they went out to get food, they were killed, because that cow belonged to somebody. I get that a cow belongs to somebody–what I don’t get is not supplying people with enough food. If you’re going to round-up a bunch of people and keep them in such a manner that they cannot provide for themselves, you better give them food.

I’m glad that these two men were able to die in a manner that gave a legacy to their culture. It’s sad that they were so hungry that they had to break a law to get food. Feeding yourself and your family isn’t a crime. It shouldn’t ever be. This incident is a travesty in American History.

Overall

There are probably many people who can say they’re alive today because of the actions of these two men.

Weigh In

Is there ever a case were persecuting someone for feeding their family is morally permissible?

Should anyone have been prosecuted over this incident?