Encyclopedia Article


A giant creature from Zuni mythology that ate people, dead souls and thunderclouds beckoning rain. In the mythology, this monster devoured all the clouds that passed by and caused a drought. As the Zuni were farmers, this lack of rain was detrimental. In order to defeat Cloud-Swallower, the hero twins, Ahayuta and Matsilema, joined forces with Grandmother Spider. Grandmother Spider wove a web around the Cloud-Swallower’s eyes, which blinded the monster. This allowed the hero twins to sneak up and slay the monster.

In The Boy Who Made Dragonfly, the people of the Zuni village feared and despised Cloud-Swallower because whenever he saw a cloud pass overhead, he reached up and caught it and squeezed all the moisture into his mouth.

Photo Credit: 

"Arizona monsoon, July 27, 2009" by Kevin Dooley is licensed under CC BY.

Term Type: