One Who Kicks People Over the Cliff

Encyclopedia Article


According to the Navajo Creation Myth, in the process of emerging from the underworlds and settling on their land, the People (Diné) faced many dangers from the natural environment and its harsh conditions, as well as from spiritual beings. These threats figure in the legends as monsters that take the shape of humans, birds, animals, and rocks. The heroic figures of the twin warrior brothers Born of Water (Tobadzîschíni) and Monster Slayer (Nayé̆nĕzganĭ) were engaged in a series of battles with the various monsters, and, as the legends tell it, destroyed them one by one.

One Who Kicks People Over the Cliff (Tséh-ed-áh-eh-delkíthly) is also known as Kicking Rock or Rock that Kicks People into the River. As most accounts tell it, this rock monster lived on the San Juan River in Northern New Mexico, with his head in the bluffs and his feet at the river bank. This rock used to push people over the cliff and into the river. Monster Slayer killed this rock monster by hitting him on the head and cutting off his limbs. Sparing the monster's children, he then proceeded to tame them, turning them into an alligator and a turtle.

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"Bluffs at a crossing of the San Juan River, July 4, 2010" by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA.

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