Native American Tales

The Serpent of the Sea

The Serpent of the SeaThe Serpent of the Sea

Zuni

There was once a girl who could not bear to have a speck of dirt on her or her person, so she spent a great amount of time washing herself at a spring near her house. The problem was the spring was sacred. The spring belonged to Kolowissi the sea serpent and he was not happy about the girl getting his water dirty. He turned into a baby one day, as he could and sat by the spring.

The girl came and thought that it was a terrible mother would leave her baby at the spring, so she took the baby back with her. She had her own private room in her house, because she couldn’t stand the mess of others. When she went to sleep, the baby turned back into a sea serpent and coiled around and around the room. The family knew she had the baby and also knew something was suspicious about the baby, but they did not know that it was a sea serpent.

When her family discovered that it was a sea serpent they were terrified. They told Kolowissi he could have her daughter, if only he let her come back to them once. The girl was able to get out and made to do a bit of penance and they had to go with the sea serpent, who put its head on her shoulder as she walked away. The sea serpent was long and it was not until they were some ways from the house that the last of the sea serpent came down the stairs.

During the walk, the serpent turned into a young handsome man. The girl did not feel the burden lift from her shoulders. She was very weak to be carrying such a burden. The young man asked if she would like someone to walk beside her, but she did not look up. When she finally looked up the sea serpent told her that he was the serpent and he loved her. The girl became happier and went to live with Kolowissi as his wife.

Observations

You know, I don’t hold with the idea of men who say they love you right off the bat. It’s actually a sign of a manipulator/abuser. They want to draw you in quickly, so they’ll say they love you right off the bat. Kolowissi had never met this girl before his baby form, but yet, he was all like, “I love you.” Yeah, really? Do you even know this girl? He’s a snake who is taking a girl away from her family to live. Sounds like a mental abuser to me, but who knows, maybe he’s nice.

Themes

Don’t trust a baby? This was like a Trojan Horse baby, sort of. The baby was just a way to get into the girl’s house. Sometimes you can’t trust someone who is cute.

Getting to the meatier part of this story, I think it’s about defiling the sacred. This spring was a sacred, but the girl used it to clean herself, daily, multiple times a day. It’s nice that she wants to be clean, kind of sounds as if she has OCD, but even so, she can’t go around cleaning herself with holy water. You can’t go up to a Catholic church and take a bath in their holy water. It’s not a thing.

It’s about respect for the beliefs of others. If someone you know worships a jar of jelly, you should not use that jelly to make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It doesn’t matter if you think the idea is stupid, or weird, or gross, it’s a personal religious belief of that person, so you respect it, weird jelly and all.

The entire reason this girl got into trouble was because she was not respecting the sacredness of this spring.

I would like to point out that her behavior seems like OCD, so there is the off-chance that she just couldn’t help herself. She has to be clean if there’s water and Sheldon has to knock on doors three times, same deal.

Overall

Be careful of random babies.

Weigh In

Would you take the baby home?

Would you wash in a sacred spring?

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