PART FOUR – THE EYELESS ONE – With the evil medicine man Hodiadatgon overcome the god of magic Hodadeion continued his quest toward the north to find the cannibal wizards who had depopulated so many villages.
At length he came upon a longhouse lodge in a clearing. Creeping closer, Hodadeion looked within and saw an elderly man with no eyes sitting on the floor of the lodge. The old man was surrounded by furs and meat while the walls of his lodge were filled with the severed heads of men, both young and old. Seeing nothing inside that concerned him Hodadeion decided to move on, only to come out of thick woods to find the exact same clearing with the exact same lodge. Even the old man with no eyes and his macabre trophies lining the walls dwelt inside.
No matter which direction Hodadeion traveled or how long he ventured through the thick forest he always emerged on the clearing where the eyeless old man’s lodge stood. This time while he was standing outside the door the man with no eyes called out to Hodadeion, welcoming him to come in.
The god of magic entered, and the blind man informed him that he was an elderly medicine man skilled in the manipulation of “otgon”, negative life-energy or Dark Magic. Hodadeion announced that he was skilled in manipulating “orenda”, positive life-energy or White Magic. The eyeless man had no name and stated he had traded away his name and his eyes in return for mastery of the magic of gambling with dice. (Gambling plays an important part in many Native American belief systems. Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember my examination of Nohoilpi, the Navajo god of gambling.)
The Eyeless One challenged Hodadeion to a game of dice, which everyone who tried to pass his lodge had to play with him to win right of transit. The Eyeless One said he always won and the stakes were always the same. If Hodadeion won he could resume his journey, but if he lost the nameless man would get all his possessions and would get to cut off his head as a trophy. The god of magic had no choice but to accept.
Hodadeion sat down on the floor of the lodge opposite the old man. The Eyeless One then produced his six “dice” – owl’s eyes. The nameless man shook the six eyes in a cup, calling upon all his power to make them all come out pupil-side up when he rolled them. Hodadeion simultaneously called upon all his power to make them come out white side up. The eyes were rolled and Hodadeion’s magic proved stronger, since five eyes landed with the white side up and just one with the pupil side up.
Hodadeion now reached into his pouch to produce his own pair of makeshift dice – six woodpecker’s eyes. The god of magic shook the eyes in the cup, calling upon all his power to make them all come out pupil-side up when he rolled them. The nameless old man simultaneously called upon all his power to make them come out white side up. The eyes were rolled and Hodadeion’s magic again proved stronger, with the eyes all landing pupil side up.
The Eyeless One had lost, and Hodadeion collected his “winnings” by beheading the old man who had foolishly devoted his life to the ways of otgon rather than the ways of orenda. Hodadeion then resumed his journey to the north.
FOR PART FIVE CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/06/02/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion-part-five/
FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/03/17/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion/
For my original list of Iroquois deities click here: https://glitternight.com/2013/01/28/the-top-fifteen-deities-in-iroquois-mythology/
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