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The dancing horses of Acoma, and other Acoma…
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The dancing horses of Acoma, and other Acoma Indian stories

by Helen Rushmore, Wolf Robe Hunt

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Ka-sa-wa-te is a well respected man in the Acoma community. He is a single father to a boy, and does a remarkable job being both father and mother to him. Flint Bird is a fierce animal/bird of prey, who, upon clutching his victim, is known to have never let it go. Ka-sa-wa-te lives in constant fear that his son will be killed by Flint Bird. One day Flint Bird does capture his son, and even though no one had ever returned from Flint Birds nest, Ka-sa-wa-te decides he must go and rescue him. He rubs herbs on his body, sings his war song, and off he goes.
He walks and walks, but no matter how far he goes, the mountains where Flint Bird has his nest seemed far away. After some time, he encounters Spider Woman, who invites him in to rest for the night. The next day, Ka-sa-wa-te hunts for food for Spider Woman’s family. Spider Woman is touched by his generosity and tells her son to accompany him to Flint Bird’s nest. Spider boy goes on a scouting mission alone to Flint Bird’s place and takes special notice of his wings and suit of armor. Spider Woman then makes a similar suit for Ka-sa-wa-te, but his is made of wood. Finally they head off and with the new wings, make it to Flint Bird’s nest in no time at all. As Flint Bird sleeps, Ka-sa-wa-te exchanges his wooden wings and armor for Flint Bird’s stone ones.
Flint Bird awakes and tells Ka-sa-wa-te that he can have his son if he passes a test. He then gives Ka-sa-wa-te a series of impossibly difficult and increasingly more difficult tests. Each time Spider Boy gives some kind of essential assistance for him to pass the test. In the end, Flint Bird, enraged that Ka-sa-wa-te continues to pass his tests, suggests that they both sit on a large fire, and whoever does not burn will have the boy. With switched wings, Ka-sa-wa-te survives, as Flint Bird, with the wooden wings, is destroyed by the fire. He finds his imprisoned son along with many other rooms filled with Flint Bird’s past prisoners. They return to Spider Woman’s home, drop off Spider Boy, and go home.
  davetomscholten | Jan 19, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rushmore, Helenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunt, Wolf Robemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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