Smoothing the ground.

Muñeca navajo

An old storyteller would smooth the ground in front of him with his hand and make two marks in it with his right thumb, two with his left, and a double mark with both thumbs together. Then he would rub his hands, and pass his right hand up his right leg to his waist, and touch his left hand and pass it on up his right leg to his waist, and touch his left hand and pass it on up his right arm to his breast. He did the same thing with his left and right hands going up the other side. Then he touched the marks on the ground with both hands and rubbed them together and passed them over his head and all over his body.

That meant the Creator had made humans beings’ bodies and their limbs as he had made the earth, and that the Creator was witness to what was to be told. They did not tell any of the old or holy stories without that. And it was a good thing. I always trusted them, and I believe they told the truth. (John Stands in Timber, cheyenne).

John Stands in Timber y Margot Liberty, with Robert M. Utley, Cheyenne Memories, Lincoln y London: 1972 [1967], p. 12.
Illustration inspired on the art of the Navajo people in the southwestern United States.
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