Dolii says that any day the wind may send a large rolling weed her way. (She thinks you may call this a tumble weed.) And when one comes rolling along it is the signal for a race. Dolii waits until the rolling weed is even with her. Then she runs as fast as she can, trying to outrun the wind-blown weed. When the wind is strong the weed rolls far ahead of her and it appears to be a losing race. But sometimes the wind stills for a moment. Then the rolling weed loses momentum and Dolii catches it. She wins!
Ashkii says that often when he is out digging Yucca root to be used for soap a whirlwind blows into sight. He stops his digging and runs to meet it. With eyes tightly shut and mouth closed he jumps right into the center of the whirlwind, trying to turn as it turns. The trick is to guess the direction it will take. Sometimes it goes straight ahead. At other times it veers sharply right or left. Often it zig-zags. Always it whirls. It is no small achievement to outguess a whirlwind. Ashkii has tried many times but always, after a few turns, the whirlwind whirls away and leaves him grinning and rubbing the sand from his eyes.
Dolii and Ashkii play Shinny with other children, too. But they agree that their best game is Sticks and Stones. Nearly all Dine' play it. Almost any number can play in a single game. First, they find a flat, round stone about seven inches in diameter. They place this on the ground and draw a large circle around it. The circle is then divided into quadrants. On the arc of each quadrant twelve pebbles are evenly spaced. At each quadrant line there is left a gap of about three inches.
The players, in turn, curl one hand around three sticks about four inches long. These sticks are half rounds with the flat side painted black. Holding the sticks directly over the flat center stone the player hits them with the palm of his hand, knocking them through to the center stone. He gets one point for every flat, or black, side of a stick that has turned upward.
Every player has a small stick for a maker. This marker is moved to the spaces between the pebbles, one space for each point. When a marker lands in a gap on the quadrant line the player gets an extra turn. But if a marker lands in a space already occupied by another marker then the player who lands there last must return to start.
The boys go around the circle clockwise, the girls counter-clockwise. The winner is the first one to complete the circle.
Sometimes the children play a version of the Moccasin Game. Ashkii and Dolii prefer Sticks and Stones but they want to tell you the legend of the Moccasin Game."
DINEH BADAHANI (Dine' Stories) By Winifred Fields Walters; Illustrated by Wilson S. Etcitty, 1967. Printed by the Navajo Tribal Printing Department; Window Rock, Arizona.