The Revenge of Blue Corn Ear Maiden
Blue Corn Ear Maiden and Yellow Corn Ear Maiden were once friends, but that ended when both of them fell in love with the same man. Yellow Corn Ear Maiden determined that she would destroy Blue Corn Ear Maiden, which wasn’t that far-fetched because Yellow Corn Ear Maiden had supernatural powers.
One day both of the women were out getting water and Yellow Corn Ear Maiden suggested that they play catch. Blue Corn Ear Maiden went down the hill a little ways and Yellow Corn Ear Maiden tossed something to her. It seemed to be all colors, but when it got to Blue Corn Ear Maiden, she turned into a coyote. Yellow Corn Ear Maiden then shooed the coyote away.
The coyote sat down and cried until evening. She then tried to go into the village, but she could not get in. She was a coyote not a person. The only way she was able to find food was by stealing it from hunters. She did this until she found some particularly delicious food belonging to two Kachina hunters. The coyote decided to stay in the hut for a time since the Kachinas were out hunting. They came back and saw that a coyote was in their hut and that it had eaten some of their food. They determined not to kill it, but take it to Grandmother Spider. The heard the coyote crying along the way there.
They told Grandmother that they had found this coyote and that it had been crying. Grandmother Spider looked at it and saw that it was not a coyote at all. She told the Kachinas it was a good thing that they had not killed it. She asked them to go out and get some tomoala plant and bring it back. She put a tomoala pod on the coyote’s neck and the coyote’s neck and then put it in hot water. She took two hooks and pulled the skin on the coyote, which came off and there was Blue Corn Ear Maiden.
Blue Corn Ear Maiden told Grandmother Spider what had happened and Grandmother told her that she would have her revenge. Blue Corn Ear Maiden was tended to and dressed in finery. She was given specific instructions. Her father was to make prayer sticks for the Kachinas, who would return her to her village. Blue Corn Ear Maiden was also given instructions for getting her revenge on Yellow Corn Ear Maiden.
The Kachinas started to dance near the village. People soon found out and told everyone that the Kachinas were dancing and had brought a woman with them, which some recognized as Blue Corn Ear Maiden. Her parents were glad to see her, but the Kachinas must be given their prayer sticks first, which happened. Blue Corn Ear Maiden then went home with her family to rest. Yellow Corn Ear Maiden had heard about all of this and couldn’t really believe that Blue Corn Ear Maiden was back. She decided to act as if nothing had happened.
She met Blue Corn Ear Maiden at the spring where they had gotten their water before. Blue Corn Ear Maiden was using a cup that seemed to shine with different colors to dip water out of the stream. Yellow Corn Ear Maiden was very interested in this cup and asked to drink out of it. Blue Corn Ear Maiden went on about how wonderful the water out of the cup tasted. When Yellow Corn Ear Maiden took a drink she turned into a bull snake.
It was not easy for the bull snake to get food, as she was slow. She went back to the home of her parents, who killed her because they did not know that their daughter was a snake. After that, her soul was free to go to skeleton house.
Some sorcerers also take the form of a bull snake after they die, and if the snake is killed, they’re free to go to the skeleton house as well.
I was not familiar with bull snakes, so I looked them up. It turns out that they do actually move very slowly. They’re one of the biggest snakes in the United States. Because of the coloring they are sometimes mistaken for rattlesnakes and can even imitate rattlesnake posture and sounds, turns out they’re talented, even if they’re slow.
From all the Native American stories I’ve read, it didn’t make sense for the parents to kill the snake. It didn’t seem as if natives went around killing snakes just because they were snakes. There had to be a reason for the parents to kill this snake and the reason was that they thought it was a rattlesnake. The Hopi don’t have the same type of reverence to snakes as other tribes have, at least not as far as rattlesnakes are concerned it seems. This looked like a dangerous rattlesnake to the parents, so they killed it.
This is a story of revenge. Sometimes, in our Christian mentality, we don’t consider revenge to be a worthy endeavor. We’ve read scriptures about turning the other cheek and vengeance being the Lord’s, but not all cultures think like that. In some cultures, revenge is almost a matter of honor. You do something to someone and someone else is coming after you. It’s the hole “defending our honor” sort of argument. Why do you have to go out and kill these people? We’re defending our honor. We’re counting coup on our enemies. I’m sure there are more responses.
Part of me thinks that revenge is not good. Part of me wants to use the saying, “You’re not on their level.” On the other hand, part of me wonders if people expected revenge, would as much happen? Would someone do something awful to you, knowing you were going to come after them in their sleep if they did?
Yellow Corn Ear Maiden knew about revenge, I’m sure, but she thought she could do the thing to Blue Corn Ear Maiden and get away with it. Here’s the thing, how often do you actually get away with something bad? That person, that person’s family, the law, karma, God, or your own conscious are going to come after you. One of those things, at least, will get to you. Maybe it’s never anything physical. Maybe no one ever shows up at your door with a shotgun because you did this bad thing. Maybe the universe seems to punish you and because of your guilt, you associate it with that action.
Yellow Corn Ear Maiden got some actual revenge. She got turned into a snake. She thought she could get away with it. How about if you do something bad, know that there is always a chance you’ll get caught, no matter how good you think you are. Be prepared for retaliation.
Why did all of this happen in the first place? Go get your own men, good Lord.
Would you have gotten revenge on Yellow Corn Ear Maiden? Why or why not?
Do you think revenge is a good policy?