Words And Places native literature from the american southwest
 

The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative
and
Ba'ts'oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle

With Rudolph Kane

Part II Ba' Ts' Oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle

Long ago,
they told about the squirrel,
the pine squirrel.
There was no fire,
no fire.
The squirrel had fire up there.

Ba'ts'oosee,
it's said,
he was walking and running around there.
Ba'ts'oosee.

Ba'ts'oosee,
this is what he was saying,
"heee,
the big boss is sick here.
Bring down the fire from there,
and we'll have a big dance for the boss.
Long ago, I guess,
even then they got sick.
Ba'ts'oosee said that.

They brought the fire down.
They built a fire on the ground and danced together around it.
There were thirty-two circles of people around the fire.
That spark,
when it came out,
they were going like this to it.

Heee,
they just kept on dancing, enjoying themselves.
Ba'ts'oosee started dancing out by himself.
Ba'ts'oosee,
the people were shouting out together for him and dancing.
He stuck his tail in the fire.

Fire,
fire.
"Heee, my tail won't burn,
I can dance away from the fire,
back and forth,"
that's what he said.

Heee,
the people told him his tail was on fire.
That was how he jumped over the people who were standing.
He jumped once,
then he jumped again.
He ran over away from the people.
The fire keepers ran after him.
Ba'ts'oosee,
that's how he ran off with the fire.

Ba'ts'oosee,
there was a big mountain,
he went around it.
Somebody must have helped him.
He started a fire over there.
Heee,
after he ran around he said,
"I ran around the world in one day."

He went around the world in one day,
but he just went around the mountain.

It burned wherever he went.
They got to him,
the fire keepers.
From there
we got the fire.
That is what they said.
Ba'ts'oosee
took off with the fire.
I don't know if that is the truth or not.

There's lots of funny stories about
Ba'ts'oosee.

Ba'ts'oosee was going along.
Like him,
like him,
like this,
he went hunting.

He was one of the hunters.
He was with them,
and they came to the middle of a steep canyon.

There was a bird with long legs.
The bird with the long legs had his long legs across the canyon.
They used them to walk across,
back and forth.
Ba'ts'oosee was one of them.
They spent the night.
The deer's antlers,
they were all greased up,
all greased up.

Ba'ts'oosee came up and said,
"Heee,
I just crunched into a bone."
When they were eating,
that's how the antler turned into a bone, they said.

They started walking again.
He wanted to be the last one,
"Let me fix my bundle up first.
Go ahead,
I'll follow you later."

The other people,
they all went across.
When they got across,
The other people told the crane,
"Move your legs when he is on them."
That's what they said.

Heee,
Ba'ts'oosee was walking.
When he right in the middle
the crane did what he was told.

He fell off.
"Just let my bundle fall,
just let my bundle fall,"
that's what he was saying.
While the bundle was falling,
the bats ate all the meat
before it hit the ground.
The bat (chabane') is the one that flies at night.
Meat, they ate up all of his meat.

"Heee,
I don't know how I'm going to get up there again."
I don't know how he got up there.
Those people up there were just laughing about him.

That's how they tell about
Ba'ts'oosee.
He's no good.
He did all these things.
When they were still like people,
he was one of them.

Keep going,
keep going.
Ba'ts'oosee,
he is still himself.
Keep on going.

It was a bald eagle
who had a nest up there
in the middle,
in the middle.

He was with another man,
"My cousin (shił na' ash),
let me lower you down to the nest.
My cousin,
let me lower you down.
We are going to get the feathers and make arrows,
and we'll go hunting together."
Ba'ts'oosee said this.

He lowered him down with a yucca rope.
Heee,
he just landed right there where the nest was,
right there.

"Heee,
I'm still holding onto the rope.
Heee,"
he called to his cousin,
"The rope slipped out of my hand,"
Ba'ts'oosee, that's what he said.
What he did was throw it over the side of the canyon.
Ba'ts'oosee,
that's what he did.

Heee,
the man was sitting there in the nest
with the baby eagles.
Baby eagles,
the man asked the baby eagles,
"How does your father,
your mother, how do they come?"

"My mother comes back
when it rains softly."
"Tse' biagha' " is when it rains softly.
"My father comes back
when it rains violently."

"Tse' bikaa" is when it rains hard
in the summer.

As soon as they sat up,
he was killing them.
This man had a stick,
one that won't break.
It was about this long.
He had it on his side.
When he used it,
they were falling all over,
and he was sitting right there.
Ba'ts'oosee just left him there,
he just ran off.

Heee, I don't know how many days
he was still there,
up there.

Heee,
nats' ili sane,
nats' ili sane,
that is what they call this grandmother.
She was with her grandchildren.
Just like you right now,
you are all my grandchildren.
nats' ili sane is a medicine.
It grows around here.

"Heee,
nats' ili sane,"
he called to her.
When he called to her he said,
"Get me down."

The grandmother and her grandchildren
were just going around the corner of the canyon.
She said,
"Listen,
someone is calling my name."
That's what nats' ili sane said.
"Heee,
someone is saying something somewhere,"
nats' ili sane said.

The man was talking,
"Get me down."
He was sitting up there,
at tse' chinaah.
(Big Rock sticking out)

She said,
"Get your head down,
I'm coming up there."
She was going up the side of the canyon like this.

The grandmother got up there.
When she got up there she said,
"Get in here.
I'm going to carry you down with this."
But the man said,
"Heee,
this strap might break."

She got up
She got up.

A big rock was right there.
She just put it in the burden basket.
She got up with it.
nats' ili sane,
she was an old lady.
Heee,
she had a big rock.
The old lady was standing in one place
and dancing.
It was going
"do, do, do."
It's said
that's what the strap was doing.

Now the old lady said,
"Get in there,
but keep your head down.
When we get down there,
you can pull your head up."

They were going down like this.
I don't know how far they were going down,
but they must have gone half way.
That's when the man raised his head.
The grandmother told him not to.
They both fell at that moment
with the old lady.

Heee,
there were some children there.
The grandmother asked for the nats' ili sane'izee.
The old lady said it.
The old lady said it.

Down there was the man,
just laying there.

The eagle feathers,
he gave to the old lady
to get him down.

Heee,
he put the eagle feathers
in the burden basket for her,
"this will be yours."
Then nats' ili sane went her way
with her grandchildren.

Sunflower,
the man told the grandmother,
"Grandmother,
don't go in the sunflower patch."
Nats' ili sane forgot
because she was tending her grandchildren.
They were coming close to the sunflower patch.
Heee,
she forgot
and followed her grandchildren in.
From the feathers,
all kinds of birds came out of the burden basket.
The feathers all turned into birds.

Heee,
they all flew off.
She turned the basket over and saved a few.
All the rest turned into birds.

Nats' ili sane is an old lady
long time ago.
That's how they tell about her.
There was a man who used to tell this,
but he is gone.
All those old people,
they are dead now.
I've never told anybody,
but tonight I'm telling
because these white men came along.

There are lots of funny stories,
but I don't want to make you laugh.

That is the truth.

I'm telling it to you straight.

Ba'ts'oosee
Heee, it's like that.
There's another one

That's how my yucca bananas hang.
(shi goshk' an dash jaa)
That's what you say if it is the end.

I don't know what I'll talk about.
Everyone's going to fall asleep.

This is how it was told
a long time ago.
Ba'ts'oosee,
he was stealing from that white man's garden.
He steals at night.
Here he comes again at night.
There was tar in the shape of a man
at the gate,
where he comes in.
They put it there for him,
Ba'ts'oosee.
He came in again at night.
He said,
"Get out of my way."

He just went like this . . .
and he never got his hand back.

And this side too . . .

"I can kick to ..."

He got stuck like a ball in it.
Ba'ts'oosee,
he got stuck.

He said, "I can bite too."
He just bit into it.

That's how he got caught.

They put a chain on him.
The white men did this to him.

This is a łe' go cho.

He was still chained up,
still.
That's when they started boiling a lot of water.
The water got very hot.

The idea was to put him in there.
That's why he was chained up.
That's when the other fox came along,
Ba'dotłizhe,
grey fox.
"Ba'dotłizhe" is what they call the one with the long white tail.
That's what they call
"Ba'dotłizhe."

My cousin,
let me tie you up right here.
I'm going to be eating with them soon.
They're going to do it pretty soon.

They're boiling water."

They were going to scald him in the water.

He tied the other one up,
and he ran off.
Now,
Ba'ts'oosee ran off.

He tied the other one up,
and he ran off.

Now,
Ba'ts'oosee ran off.

Now,
a group of people came up.
They said,
"that's not him."
Some of them said,
"that's the same one."
Others said,
"he looks different."
They knew him.

So they shoved him in the boiling water.
Ba'dotłizhe,
they put him in.
Heee,
it all came off,
his fur.

The one who took off returned.
"why did they do that to you, my cousin?"
that's what he said.

Ba'ts'oosee.
Keep on going.
They came to where there was water,
where water runs.
Ba'ts'oosee
and the other one,
the other one.

"My cousin,
there's ba'dos in there.
It's mine.

It's bread.
It's bread that goes in the ashes.
It's Apache bread.
The Ba' calls it "tsibe'dz."
Ba'ts'oosee.

This down here is the reflection of the moon,
way down under.
That's why he tells his friend to drink all the water
Ba'ts'oosee,
that's what he said.

They started drinking it.
Ba'ts'oosee
just had his mouth on the water.
The other one was really drinking it.
Heee,
his stomach was big.
The other one had his mouth on the water.
He pretended he was drinking it.
That's how he lies.

The other one was just like a ball.
He was full
from water.
It was like that.
That's how they told it,
true or not.
That's how it was a long time ago.

These old men up here,
(Gestures to pictures on wall.)
Some of those up there must have told this story too.
Long time ago,
that's the way Ba'ts'oosee was.
He steals.

"I'm working for the big boss,"
he said,
the same one again,
Ba'ts'oosee was.
He steals.

"I'm working for the big boss,"
he said,
the same one again,
Ba'ts'oosee.

Heee,
where the ant lives,
he is there.
He was going around saying,
"hoo, hoo, hoo."
He went around where the ant lives.
"I'm going to drive (inisoog) the ants.
I'm still working for the big boss."

Heee,
it's still going.
We're looking for him again.

That's how his hat was.
(Puts his hat on the floor.)

Right here,
he poops,
he poops.
He had it under his hat,
He had it covered with his hat.

Ba'ts'oosee,
he was sitting down.
Somebody said, "they are looking for you."
"It couldn't be me they're looking for.
They all look like me,"
that's what he said.
"I'm sitting here watching over the gold.
In here,
gold."

He was just barely tipping his hat.

"I'm watching over the gold,"
that's what he said.

(To unruly boy: "Don't do that! Ta. . . .")

I guess the people were kind of crazy then,
even the white men,
I guess they bought it from him.

"Just wait until I get over there,
and then you can pick it up,"
that's what he said.

He just followed a ridge and
kept on walking.

Then they picked it up.

That's how he took off.
He was tricky that way.
Heee,
long time ago,
that's how it's told.
The story was told a long time ago.
It's still going tonight,
but nobody talks about it anymore.

Ba'ts'oosee,
he is tricky.

Again,
Ba'ts'oosee

A tree.

They were all going out like this.

Money,
he put there:
25¢, 50¢, $1, all different coins.

"heee,
this money can grow,"
he said.
I don't know what he was doing.

He threw something out.
When it hit the tree,
money dropped.
It all fell down from there.
When he was doing that,
all the money fell off to him.

"Buy this from me."

He sold it.
I don't know how much he sold it for.
He sold the tree with nothing on it.

He was telling the people
money grows on the tree.
He was crazy.

This story, that's how they made it.
Even the white men,
they call it a funny book.
When you look at a funny book,
you like it.
That's how this story is about Ba'ts'oosee.
It's like that.
Ba'ts'oosee,
He was going again.
wherever he goes they know him.

That's how my yucca bananas hang,
(shi goshk' an dash jaa.)

Ba'ts'oosee's poop might be under
here. (As he picks up his hat.)

Return to the contents page for
The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative and Ba'ts'oosee:
An Apache Trickster Cycle

By This Song I Walk: Navajo Songs | Seyewailo: The Flower World Yaqui Deer Songs | The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative and Ba'ts'oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle | Iisaw: Hopi Coyote Stories & Hopi Songs | Natwaniwa: A Hopi Philosophical Statement | Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems | Songs of My Hunter Heart: Laguna Songs and Poems | A Conversation with Vine Deloria, Jr. | Home