The Story of the Paralyzed Kachina and the Blind Mudhead

"The Hopis have a legend they retell about two Kachina spirits – Tuhavi (Paralyzed Kachina) and the Koyemsi (Blind Mudhead). Many years ago the tribe had to move from where they lived, either because of drought or warfare. With no horses, they were forced to travel on foot. Two members could not make the journey. One was crippled and the other was blind. They were left with some food and a tearful goodbye – as everyone expected them to die.

Instead the crippled man climbed onto the back of the other and directed him where to walk – also he was able to shoot his bow and arrow to hunt. Together, they survived by cooperating despite their individual weaknesses. The Hopis made kachinas spirits in honor of these two and teach their children how we can overcome problems by working together.

The end of the story was only recently told to me by an elder Hopi man. The Blind Mudhead and Crippled Kachina were roasting rabbit over a campfire when they were approached by a huge and scary Ogre Kachina. The two looked at each other thinking, “just when we were going to survive!” The Ogre pulled back an arrow on his bow, first pointing it at them, and then pointing it down at the fire. 

The Ogre let the arrow fly into the fire and ashes went into the eyes of the Blind Kachina. He rubbed his eyes and could suddenly see again. When the sparks flew up from the fire, they also landed on the legs of the Crippled Kachina. He jumped up to escape the burning sparks and found he could stand and walk again. Healed of their afflictions, they set off and eventually caught up to the tribe and had a joyful reunion."

-Dan Garland


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