22. A Visit to the Mountain Spirits
This woman [had] a little girl [and] little boy.
This woman was carrying a baby in a cradle.
A bear came toward her.
There were no trees.
It was a plain.
And she was caught by bear.
Then he tore her throat open.
He had killed her.
Then the bear picked up the baby.
The bear took hold of the cradle.
He struck a rock with it.
He had killed it.
He had killed the baby.
Then he had killed them.
And he had done nothing to this boy and girl.
Then a Gray One from the mountains came to them.1
"Come." he said to them.
Then they went back with him to the mountains.
Under a rock wall, a door had been open.
They went in with him [through] four doors.
Then they came out into [country] like this.
There were many people.
They were just like these people.
"Come here!" said many of them to us2
"No." said the Gray One.
"Come on. Follow me." he said to us.
We went with him to where a ceremony was being held.
This was just like the ceremonies here.
"Stay right there inside the wickiup." he said to us.
We stayed right there for four days.
The ceremony was over.
"Sss...! Come on!" said the Gray One to us.
Several little mountains lay there.
"Let's go." he said to us.
The little mountains were open at four sides.
Much food was inside the mountains.
We saw flour, sugar, meat, coffee, [and] much Indian food.
From there, we went again further on.
A bear had been tied up with chains.
We came to him.
"This one did so to you." said the Gray One to us.3
"Because of that, he has been tied here for life." the Gray One said to us.
From there, we went back to the ceremonial grounds with him.
"What do you want to do?" he said to us.
"You may go back [home] or you may remain here." he said to us.
"We would like to go back to our relatives." I said to him.
"I'll go back with you to your country."
Then we started back with him.
From there, we went back to our country with him.
No one was there but one white man.
We went to him.
"Stay right here."he said to us.
"Your relatives will come back right here to you." he said to us.
That happened just so.
Our father [and] our relatives came back there to us.4
When Chiricahua are conducted into the mountain interiors, into the homes of the Mountain
Spirits, it is usually the Gray One or clown who acts as a guide for them.
From here on, the informant tells the story in the first person.
That is, this is the bear who killed the woman, their mother, and her baby.
This incident is supposed to have occurred at the time the Warm Springs band of the Chiricahua Apache were
being removed from their New Mexico home to Arizona. Later they were allowed to return to the vicinity of
Warm Springs once more and these two children were united with their relatives.