The Bad Little Girl of Acoma (Native American Folk Tale)

Once upon a time there lived in Acoma a very bad little girl. Her mother sent her out one day to mind the turkeys while they grazed; but she played around and did not watch the turkeys at all. That evening when she came home one turkey hen was missing.

“Go and find that other turkey,” said her mother, “and bring her home before a coyote gets her.”

But the bad little girl did not obey her mother. She went outside, took off her belt, her top black dress, her kerchief and her moccasins and slept all night under the ladder. Early the next morning she went out to find the turkey. The turkey hen was keeping an egg warm on her nest in the hole of a big rock. When the bad little girl found her, she grabbed her up by the neck; and then with the turkey hen under her arm and the egg in her hand, she started across the prairie singing:

“I am going East to jump in water, water.”

“Toe, toe, toe, toe,” said the turkey.

“Shut up, you ugly old thing,” said the bad little girl, slapping the poor turkey”s head at the same time. “You caused me to get a scolding last night, so I am going to drown you and this egg of yours in the water.”

Then the little girl sang again and slapped the turkey whenever she cried, “Toe, toe, toe, toe.” An old man with a load of wood on his back passed them.

“Why are you going into the water, little girl,” asked the old man.

“So that I can be sure to drown this hateful old turkey,” replied the bad little girl.

“Don”t be foolish, Child,” said the old man, “Come go home with me!”

“No,” replied the bad little girl, “you leave me alone. I am going into the water, I tell you, to drown myself with this old turkey that caused me to get a scolding; and make my mother unhappy for scolding me.”

So on went the little girl still singing and slapping the turkey.

The old man dropped his wood and went as fast as he could to tell the little girl”s mother what he had seen and heard. The mother picked up the little girl”s clothes and hurried after her; but before she reached the water, she saw the bad little girl throw the turkey”s egg into the water, then the turkey and, last of all, jump in herself. The water swallowed the little girl up before her mother could reach her.

“Oh, Water God,” cried the mother, “give me back my little girl!”

But the little girl did not come back. The mother threw the girl”s dress into the water, hoping to bring her back, but it turned into a deer and ran away. She threw the moccasins in and they turned immediately into two bears. Then she threw in the kerchief. It turned into green slime on top of the water. Finally she threw in the belt and it changed into a water snake. Nothing could bring the bad little girl back, for she was far too mean to live.

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