In the late 1920s, an elderly Navaho leader, anxious to preserve the myths of his people before they were lost in the tide of modern civilization, asked Aileen O'Bryan to record the tales he told her and to publish them in a book. The storyteller was Sandoval, Hastin Tlo'tsi hee (or Old Man Buffalo Grass), the first of the four chiefs of the Navaho People. Ms. O'Bryan, then living in Mesa Verde National Park, wrote down the old man's stories — as well as many chants — for the most part just as he told them. This book is the result — a unique compilation of authentic age-old Navaho origin and creation myth, from which many Navaho tribal ceremonies eventually evolved. Besides their value as mythologic literature, these tales are also intriguing for their revelation of Navaho knowledge of climatic and astronomical phenomena: seasonal changes, the equinox, the moon's effect on the earth and tides and more.
Among the myths retold here are: The Creation of the Sun and Moon, The People of the Stone Houses, The Making of the Headdress, The Maiden who Became a Bear, The White Bead Maiden's Marriage with the Sun, The Story of the Rain Ceremony and Its Hogan, The Story of the Two Boys and the Coming of the Horses, The Story of the Navaho and the Apache Peoples, and many others. Over 20 illustrations enhance the text, which will be welcomed by students of Native American culture, anthropologists, folklorists, and anyone intrigued by the myths evolved by the earth's peoples to give meaning to the world and their lives.