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| 209 27. The Man on the Ledge (first version)1 a number of people were gathering wild sile’e seeds on the plateau. One man said, “The eagle’s nest is halfway down the white cliff, but the cliff is smooth and there is no way down. Get yucca leaves, mash them, and tie them together to form a long rope. Tie the rope around me and lower me so I can get an eaglet. We can keep it up here, and when it is big, we can take feathers from its wings for our arrows.” They tied the rope around his body and let him down. When he reached the eagle’s nest, the people above asked him, “Did you reach there?” He answered, “Yes, I got down here all right.” Then those above threw the rope down. The man stayed right there and sang to himself, “What is the matter, that they leave me down here? I was going to get an eaglet, and then they were to pull me up again. Perhaps they do not like me. Now I will have to stay here all the time and perhaps I will die. I did not say anything to those people up there to make them angry. I do not know why they are angry that they should drop the rope. I will have to stay here. I have nothing to eat and no water to drink; only my adult eagles give me something to eat. My feces are white (from eating the same food as the eagles),” he sang. So he sang, “I have two wives. One could grind sile’e, or she could fill a little water basket and lower it. She does not do this. I am watching, but no one does this. I did not do anything to them. I thought all was right between us. I think they do not like me and will not help me.” The man stayed there perhaps for a year or a winter. He just lay there all the time. He was sitting on the edge of the ledge and looking directly down at the bottom; there he saw Gila Monster walking along. He sang to him, “I have been here a very long time. I am 210 | part ii nearly dead. You are my mother’s brother. Look at me up here. I am in a pretty bad way. You know how to get around on this rock. You tell me what to do. I want you to climb up and fetch me down.” Gila Monster looked up and said, “How did you get up there? There is no good way up. How did you get there?” That is all he said and then he went home. There he got out his own big pipe and filled it with some tobacco. Then he returned with it, directly below the man on the ledge. The white cliff was smooth. He drew in a big puff and blew it out against the rock. He did this three times but the rock did not crack at all. The fourth time a crack appeared in the wall leading straight to the ledge. Then Gila Monster started to climb up the crack. When he was nearly to the man the crack was so narrow that he got wedged in tight and died. The man up there waited for the Gila Monster, thinking he would arrive, but he did not come. The man continued to sit in one place on the edge of the ledge. He was seated there when he saw another man walking along down at the base of the cliff. He knew that man; he was related to him. He sang, “My mother’s father, Bat, I am talking to you. I want you to come and fetch me down. I have been up here a very long time.” Bat said to him, “How did you get up there, where you are talking to me? It is a very high steep wall. How did you get up there? Nobody else can climb up there; how did you climb?” Then he went home to get his pipe and tobacco and his burden basket. Then he returned directly below the man. He flew around, going off this way and returning, flying way up and then down again, but all the time rising higher and higher. After a long time he reached the ledge where the man was sitting right on the edge...


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