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The Delight Makers


Chapter II excerpt on rainmaking

The rainy season of New Mexico is of course essential to the growth of the chief staple of the Indian, - maize or Indian corn. When, therefore, in July daily showers should occur, the principal shamans of each tribe and the yaya must pray and fast, and m0rtify themselves, in order that those Above may send the needed rain. The Hishtanyi Chayan (rainmaker) scatters powder of white flowers to the winds, meanwhile murmuring incantations. At night he imitates thunder, by whirling a flint knife attached to the end of a long string, and draws brilliant flashed from pebbles which he strikes together in a peculiar manner. For the Indian reasons that since rain is preceded in summer by lightning and thunder, man by imitating those heralds is calling the desired precipitation - beckoning it to come.

This is the time of year when the Koshare perform their chief work. Four days and four nights, sometimes longer, they must fast and pray in order that the crops may obtain moisture indispensable to ripening. The people look upon the Delight Makers with a degree of respect akin to fear at all times, for they are regarded as powerful intermediaries in matters of life and death to the tribe; but during that particular time they are considered as especially precious to the higher powers.

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