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The Navajo - Dine

Dine' Stories, Legends & Spirituality.

The Stories and Beliefs of the Navajo are interesting and offer us an insite into the current and ancient world of the Navajo. Some of these tales are sacred, some are for fun, and some are to teach the children moral lessons. Before telling Navajo myths, it is important to remember that these stories are only told in winter, between the first frost and the first thaw, when the snakes are hibernating and cannot be disturbed by the stories.

While reading these, please remember that you are looking into the hearts and soul of an ancient peoples and their spiritual beliefs. Treat these stories with the reverance it deserves. Thank you!

"Shi cheii, My Grandfather, where did the Anasazi people go?"
"Shi' tsoi, My Grandson, the Anasazi had to leave the land long before Dinéh, the Navajo people, came into the Fourth World."
"But Grandfather, their villages are still here. Please tell me the story of the people who disappeared."
"Yes, My Grandson, those ancient ones were blessed in many ways. They were taught by the spirits ways to live productive and holy lives. They lived and enjoyed the blessings. They built great cities, they made beautiful pottery, they had fields of golden corn. They needed nothing beyond that. But they became lazy. This offended the spirits."
"They chose to live easy lives instead of living by the rules they were taught to maintain holiness."
"What were those rules?"
"They were to recognize the gods. To pay them homage. To observe ceremonies. To celebrate seasons. To celebrate births and other stages of life. Special healers were appointed and given power to remove illness and restore harmony. But the healers decided to perform this ceremony for everyone, regardless of their health and age. Four times they were warned not to abuse the ceremony. Four times, they chose not to listen."
"And . . . ?"
"On the fifth day, the great wind rose out of the canyon walls and roared throughout the land. People were lifted out of their homes, out of their villages, out of the canyons and valleys. They were scattered throughout this land never to come together again. The buildings were left standing to remind us for all time what will happen if we choose to forget our history, our stories, and above all, our relation to our mother, the earth."
-- from Navajo Visions and Voices Across the Mesa, Shonto Begay,
Scholastic Inc., New York: 1995

There is an ancient Navajo legend about a man that changes into a butterfly to convince two beautiful sisters to marry him. Later, while he is out, they are visited by a white butterfly whom they mistake as their husband who leads them away to his home. While rescuing his wives, the man goes through four competitions or ordeals to prove his worthiness. Ultimately he is forced to kill the white butterfly and as he does, butterflies of many colors and designs are released. According to Navajo belief, this explains why there are so many beautiful butterflies in the world today.

Navajo Stories:

Coyote and the Giant

Story of First Woman's Twins

The First Light Story - Navajo