Mouse Warrior Carving, c. 1980 by Ted Secatero, Navajo
cottonwood, leather, feathers, pigment 15" tall x 7" wide x 4" deep $700
According to legend, avillage was being threatened by a bothersome old hawk. He was eating all the village chickens. Everyone knew he must be killed but no one knew how.
Late one night, a little mouse sat smoking in his kiva and he felt bad for the people and decided that he would kill the hawk. So that night he went to the home of the Village Chief. The chief invited him in, he ate and smoked, and the chief smoked, and the mouse told him why he had come. He was going to kill the hawk. At first the chief was amused, and then he was concerned, but he accepted the offer anyway.
When the villagers heard about the mouse’s plans, they shook their head and questioned the village leader. Most were in doubt but some thought maybe the mouse had special powers, so they prepared anyway. A date was set and preparations took place. People came from all the other villages to see their friends and relatives, to talk and joke, and of course to eat. They came to see the mouse that was to kill the hawk.
The mouse had also prepared. He had sharpened the end of a greasewood stick and dug a long tunnel from his kiva into the plaza. There, he dug another hole reaching to the surface. He smoked all night before the day of the warrior's dance. He dressed himself in war paint and feathers and took his club and bow.
He set the warrior’s standard on the ladder of his kiva, and when it was time he emerged dancing and singing his little warrior song: “The hawk kills chickens, and the hawk kills rabbits, but the hawk will not kill the warrior mouse!”
The people all watched in amazement, and some in doubt, as the hawk sat watching from far away. He was angry with this mouse and flew off to eat him, but the mouse danced close to the opening of his kiva and ducked inside each time the hawk came close.
Then finally he went into the tunnel he had dug and drove the sharp spear up through the ground next to the opening in the earth, and he went back out singing and dancing. This time he went far away from his kiva and all the people thought the hawk would get him for sure. It was just then that the hawk swooped down low to snatch up the pesky mouse, but the mouse dropped down into the hole he had dug, and the hawk, who did not see the spear in the ground, impaled himself, and rolled over dead.
The villagers were amazed, and the little mouse was honored as a hero and they celebrated. That is how the mouse defeated the hawk and earned his name “Warrior Mouse.”