Apache / White Mountain - He Releases the Deer
In the old times all the animals acted like men. They all started out to hunt one time. Raven was along with them also. After a while they killed a deer and made a fire to cook some of the meat. But they did not give any meat to Raven; they just ate it themselves. Baven was sore about it. Then they told him, "Go over there where the deer blood has run on the ground. That is good for you to eat. We are not hunting for you." Then Raven got mad because they gave him no meat, and so he went off home.
When Old Man Raven got home, his children asked him where the deer meat was. He told them, "When those people killed a deer, they told me to go away and that is why I came home." Old Man Raven started to think about what they had done to him. "I am smart, I can do smart things as well as the rest," he said. Then he herded all the black-tailed deer together, all over, and drove them down to a place under the earth. There he had made a hole for them. When they were all in, he closed the entrance with a door of jet. Then he herded together all the white-tailed deer and drove them under the earth into another hole. When they were all in, he closed the entrance with a door of turquoise. Next he herded together all the mountain sheep and drove them under the earth. He closed the entrance with red stone. Then he went out and herded all the antelope together and drove them to that place under the earth. He closed the entrance with a door of white shell beads. This was what Old Man Raven did.
Then the other people could not find deer anywhere over the earth, na-ye'nezyane turned himself into a fly, as he could change himself to anything and this way he could go any place. He flew to where Old Man Raven was sitting and lit right on his beak. Pretty soon became back and told the others, "My friends, Old Man Raven's lips smell of deer tallow." Then na-ye'nexyane talked about all this. He said, "I want you all to move this camp to a different place. I will change myself to a little puppy and I think the Raven children will come here after you leave, and pick me up."
Then all the people moved away, and na-ye'nezyane changed himself to a little puppy. Pretty soon the Ravens came to this old camp as they always do come to any camp that has just been abandoned. The Raven children saw the puppy and picked him up and took him home to Old Man Raven's camp. The Raven children said, "My father, we have found a puppy and we want to take it to tse-dadet'aha (rock plugged up)." [Where the animals were confined. A hole in the rock there was plugged with another rock.] Then Old Man Raven got angry at his children and wanted to know where tse-dadet'aha was anyway. About evening their father wanted to see the puppy. They brought him to their father. Old Man Raven took a burning stick and stuck it in the puppy's eyes. Then the puppy ran around yelping. They left for tse-dadet'aha within four days.
When they got there, they all went down into the earth. On one side Old Man Raven took down the jet door and grabbed out the biggest black-tailed deer. On the other side he took down the turquoise door and grabbed out a white-tailed deer. The puppy was right there. Then on the other side Old Man Raven took down the red stone door and grabbed out a mountain sheep and then the white shell door and grabbed out an antelope. These four they killed. They gave the puppy lots of meat to eat. They all had lots of meat. In four days they were back in Raven's camp again. The puppy lay down close to Old Man Raven's face, as he was resting. In a little he reached over and licked Old Man Raven's mouth. "Phew, you just ate a lot of meat!" Old Man Raven said, and he took the puppy and threw him outside. As soon as he was outside, the puppy started back to the other people.
When na-ye'nezyane got to them, he told how Raven had all the deer hidden under the earth; on one side a door of jet, on another side a door of red stone, on another side a door of white shell, and on another, a door of turquoise. Then he said to them, "We had better look for canes to make arrows with." They made their arrows, but put no feathers on them, only the hardwood for-shafts. "Now we will go to that place," na-ye'nezyane said. When they got there he told tour men to stand by the jet door, four men to stand by the turquoise door, four men to stand by the red stone door and four men to stand by the white shell door. When they were all ready they took down the four doors and all the deer, antelope and mountain sheep started to run out. Then it rumbled on the earth like thunder. As the deer ran out the men stood there and shot them It did not matter what part of the body they hit them in ears, legs, tail, anywhere, it killed them. Then Slim Coyote called out itrnamda (wounded, one got away), I will trail it tomorrow " [At this point men listening to the tale not uncommonly comment in disgust and anger on Coyote's misdeed.]
Right then the deer did not die when you hit them any place. You had to shoot them in the heart to kill them. That was the only vital place.
Then Old Man Raven woke up and said to his wife, "I want you to make the deer so they can scent things a long way off." His wife took a part of her clothing from between her legs, and touched the deers noses with it. [This also causes the listeners disgust.] "This way I will help you so you can smell danger a long way off and run away," she said. That is why deer can scent things so far off.
also called: Concerning Raven Old Man and Deer
White Mountain Apache
Told by Palmer Valor
Taken from Myths and Tales of the White Mountain Apache by Grenville Goodwin, 1934