Cave of the White Cliffs

Encyclopedia Article


The White Cliffs are a central reference point in Zuni mythology regarding the food fight and wasteful frolic at Ha'-wi-k'uh. There was enough corn piled about to stuff all the hollow trees, caves and crannies of the White Cliffs yet none was spared for the Corn Maidens who came dressed as beggarly elderly women. The A'shiwi, or Zuni, were not just squandering their abundance but lacking in generosity of spirit as well. The tale "The Origin of the Dragonfly and of the Corn Priests, or Guardians of the Seed" is recounted by Frank Hamilton Cushing in the late 1800s and later written as the children's story The Boy Who Made Dragonfly by Tony Hillerman.

Photo Credit: 

"Zuni houses with cliffs in background" by Lewis H. Morgan is licensed under Public Domain.

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