The Blessing Way (1970)

The Blessing Way (1970)

The Blessing Way, Copy of Draft, p.1-150.

This manuscript is actually a carbon copy of a typed manuscript draft of The Blessing Way. It is possible that this was a backup copy of a draft that was sent to Hillerman's publisher, as the original typed copy of the draft is not in the Hillerman Collection.

The Blessing Way, Draft, p.1-108.

This is an early typed draft of 108 pages that shows a moderate amount of editing and correction by the author. The draft shows a variety of major organizational changes as well as many minor alterations.

The Blessing Way, Draft, p.1-168.

This is the initial draft of The Blessing Way; this version has been heavily edited by the author, including many corrections, and revisions. It appears that many editing marks were made with a soft lead black pencil. Hillerman also used a variety of different types of paper in this draft, including UNM letterhead paper.

Note: The interactive manuscript is only partially complete, with hyperlink content only through page 5 of the document. The remaining interactive content will be completed in late 2014.

New York: Armchair Detective Library

New York: Armchair Detective Library


Something used to distract attention away from something or someone else.

The Blessing Way, Edited Manuscript.

This final version of the manuscript includes written notes and comments from the editor as well as Hillerman's responses. Written well before the popularization of email, it is apparent that this manuscript was exchanged several times between the author and the editor via regular mail, as there are initial editorial comments, then responses from the editor, and then further responses from the author all throughout the text.


An amphibious creature surprisingly populous in the arid west, found in ephemeral waterways and during the summer monsoons. In the Navajo tradition, Frog (or First Frog) is the deity who can make floodwaters recede, spread water over fire, and who plays a role in fertility. The Navajo believe that when the First People came to the present world, Frog volunteered to release the black rain from one of his coats to put out the fire started by Coyote when he stole it from Fire Man. Crane volunteered to fly and carry frog over the fire to accomplish this task.

Also found in some versions of the Navajo tradition, it is taboo to kill a frog, or any other amphibian, due to their strong association with the curative and destructive powers of water. It is believed that to take the life of a frog would result in devastating floods and ruined crops, and the frog killer would require a healing ceremony. Another Navajo taboo associated with frogs is watching a frog eat, which would result in difficulty swallowing and other throat conditions.


In contemporary scholarship, the Anasazi are also referred to as Ancient or Ancestral Pueblo peoples. Neither Navajo nor modern Pueblo society condone the use of the word Anasazi, which is a Navajo word meaning "Ancient Enemy." Ancestral Pueblo culture was concentrated in the Four Corners area of the Southwest, including the present day states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, and is known for the range of structures it left behind, especially its cliff dwellings, many of which are found in Many Ruins Canyon (Canyon de Chelly). These ancient Puebloans are also remembered for their extensive use of irrigated agriculture, especially maize (corn), and their intricate pottery designs.

Both prehistoric and modern Puebloans are noted for their masonry structures, known as pueblos. These structures are built in room blocks, generally with a central plaza. These room blocks are stacked upon one another as individual apartments and storage facilities and are accessed from the roof via ladders. In addition to storage and living quarters, within the pueblo complex there are also subterranean ceremonial structures known as kivas.


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