The hare ran as fast as his legs would carry him. However, his pursuers were much faster, and it wasn’t long before they were almost upon him.
The hare thought fast. Just as they were about to grab him, he gave the ball of fire a hard kick with his hind legs, breaking it in two unequal parts. With a second kick, he sent the smaller part flying high into the air until it reached the heavens.
And there, it became the gentle Moon.
“She’s called the wild woman of the woods. In some legends, she’s a giant. But she catches little children and puts them in a basket on her back, and then she takes them home and eats them.
“But she’s very slow and dull-witted, and her eyes are cast downward to symbolize this slowness of wit. So they usually get away.”
Her lips are pursed to make the “huuu-huuu” sounds that are characteristic of her. The sound is like the wind blowing, and when children hear that they will clutch at their parents’ legs so that they don’t get carried away by Tsonokwa,”
“But if you can find her house, you would come away with untold riches. For them, that consisted of furs, walrus ivory, dried fish, dried meats, and especially copper. Copper to them was like gold is to us.”
The well-stocked house of Tsonokwa means that she is a symbol of wealth. So when a chief dispenses his inheritance to his successor, she appears in a male form and presides over the ceremony. The figure representing the male form, Geekumal, wears a mask with a beard and mustache.
Retold by Anthony H. Taylor, a retired art teacher who spent a lifetime building his great ethnographic collection, and then upon passing donated it to the University of Utah.
…and who taught me everything I know about art.