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The Broad House

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By Charles M. Skinner in 1896



Chaco Canyon RuinsDown in the canon of Chaco, New Mexico, stands a building evidently of about the same age as those of the cliff dwellers, that is still in good preservation and is called the Broad House. When Noqoilpi, the gambling god, came on earth he strayed into this canon, and, finding the Moquis a prosperous people, he envied them and resolved to win their property. To do that he laid off a race-track at the bottom of the ravine and challenged them to meet him there in games of chance and strength and skill. They accepted his challenge, and, as he could turn luck to his own side, he soon won not their property alone, but their women and children, and, finally, some of the men themselves.


When the contest in tree-pulling took place the wind god pulled up a large tree while Noqoilpi was unable to stir a smaller one. That was because the beavers had cut the roots of the larger.

In the ball contest Noqoilpi drove the ball nearly to the bounds, but the wind god sent his far beyond, for wrapped loosely in it was a bird that freed itself before touching the ground and flew away. In brief, Noqoilpi was beaten at every point and the remaining captives left him, with jeers, and returned to their people.

The gambler cursed and raged until the wind god seized him, fitted him to a bow, like an arrow, and shot him into the sky. He flew far out of sight, and presently came to the long row of stone houses where the man lives who carries the moon. He pitied the gambler and made new animals and people for him and let him down to the earth in old Mexico, the moon people becoming Mexicans. He returned to his old haunts and came northward, building towns alon g the Rio Grande until he had passed the site of Santa Fe, when his people urged him to go back, and after his return they made him their god--Nakai Cigini.


Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February, 2017.    


Also See: 


Chaco Culture National Historical Park -   Home of Ancestral Puebloans




About the Author:  Charles M. Skinner (1852-1907) authored the complete nine volume set of Myths and Legends of Our Own Land in 1896.  This tale is excerpted from these excellent works, which are now in the public domain.




Old West Mercantile



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