Laszlo Kubinyi's precise and delicate drawings indicate the tone of this Zuni legend of a boy whose virtues inspire the guardian Corn Maidens to name him the father of his people. In a time of plenty when the others of his tribe are being ostentatiously extravagant, the boy and his baby sister are the only ones to offer food to the Corn Maidens, who visit the village disguised as beggar women. Later the two children are left behind in a time of drought when the tribe abandons the village to beg from neighboring Hopi. The boy makes a dragonfly out of cornstalks to please his hungry, unhappy sister, and in gratitude the dragonfly, who comes to life, intercedes for the children with the Corn Maidens, who feed them through the winter and appoint the boy a priest-leader to the returning Zuni. Thus vested with authority the boy becomes less sympathetic from our point of view: "No longer may the people live according to their own wills, but rather as children, whom a father and his brother must guide, counsel, and command. I am their father for I have tasted of the flesh of the Corn Maidens and thus it will be until the days of our people are spent." Yet the lesson of waste is one that we are just learning, and the spirit of Zuni mythology, documented in the author's appended notes, pervades.
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