Moving on to part 6 of this neglected epic myth Balladeer’s Blog first presented in 2010:
The next Anaye to be dealt with was the giant antelope stag (or in some versions a giant buffalo) Deelgeth, also spelled Teelgeth, Geelgeth and other ways. This variety of spellings is a common occurrence when dealing with translations of myths from languages whose consonant sounds do not have a true equivalent in our language.
Another example from Navajo mythology is the moon god Tklehanoai, whose name is sometimes spelled Dklehanoai or even Dgklehanoai. Nayanazgeni is sometimes spelled Naganatzani but I use Nayanazgeni because it’s the most common spelling in the many reference books I use. An example from outside the Navajo pantheon would be the Korean god Jumong (child of the sun god Haemosu by the daughter of Habaek, god of the Yalu river) which is also spelled Chumong.
Deelgeth was born at the normal size for an antelope stag (or buffalo) but grew at a rapid rate, feeding on more and more grass to satisfy his expanding appetite. Eventually his ravenous feeding destroyed all grazing land for miles around so he began devouring trees. Soon all the trees were gone, prompting him to begin feeding on other animals and even people who crossed his path. Everything living in Deelgeth’s territory began to flee the area, prompting the now-colossal antelope to begin feeding on the clouds in the sky, since his head was now that high. With Deelgeth devouring any clouds that wandered near him the region now suffered enormous drought as well, forcing the few people and animals left in the area to evacuate.
Nayanazgeni entered the vast wasteland that Deelgeth now ruled over. The two circled each other in combat, with Deelgeth surviving every shot from the war god’s lightning bolt arrows and Nayanazgeni surviving every attack by the enormous antelope with his deadly horns and kicking hooves. As the stalemate continued, Nayanazgeni at length withdrew to the edges of Deelgeth’s wasteland to contemplate a new strategy.
In full combat they were evenly matched. Stealth was out because with all trees gone from the devastated landscape there was nothing to use as cover for a sneaking approach. At length the talking god Yebitsai spoke to Nayanazgeni through a squirrel (or gopher), advising him to burrow under the ground, tunneling his way to directly beneath Deelgeth where his lightning-bolt arrows would be able to penetrate the creature’s tender underside.
Nayanazgeni followed Yebitsai’s instructions, and once directly underneath the giant antelope burst up from the ground and fired a lightning-bolt arrow upward, piercing Deelgeth’s heart. With his death throes, the Anaye devastated even more of the surrounding countryside and even came close to destroying Nayanazgeni in his fury. Deelgeth’s blood was said to spatter on the squirrel that Yebitsai spoke through and on the squirrel’s fellows and this is why some squirrels are red to this day. Nayanazgeni then set Deelgeth’s huge heart in the sky as the Morning Star, his liver in the sky as the Evening Star and his lungs in the sky as the Pleiades. He transformed Deelgeth’s flesh into the smaller, “normal” sized antelopes we have now and kept part of the creature’s blood-filled intestines as a trophy. This trophy would prove vital to Nayanazgeni’s survival against the next Anaye he faced.
CONTINUED NEXT TIME AS NAYANAZGENI STANDS ALONE AGAINST MORE OF THE ANAYE. FOR THE COMPLETE STORY AS WELL AS MORE DETAILS ON ALL THE OTHER NAVAJO GODS MENTIONED IN THIS EPIC CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/navajo-myth-clear/
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