Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Kind of Story

The following brief legend comes from Tony Hillerman’s The Waiting Wind. The speaker is Joe Leaphorn, retired Lieutenant of the Navajo Tribal Police. He is talking to Bernadette Manuelito, a young policewoman in the same organization. Herewith the legend:

         Leaphorn nodded. “I know,” he said. “When I was a lot younger, an old Zuñi told me their legend… Two of their young hunters rescued a dragonfly stuck in the mud. It gave them the usual wishes you get in these stories. One wished to be the smartest man in the world. The dragonfly said, ‘So you shall be.’ But the second hunter wanted to be smarter than the smartest man in the world.”
         On this Leaphorn paused, partly for effect, partly to see if Bernie had already heard a version of this, and partly to see if she had cheered up enough to be listening. She was listening.
          “So dragonfly converted the second hunter into a woman,” Bernie said, laughing and nodding at Leaphorn.