The Blue Corn Maiden and the Coming of Winter

OF ALL THE CORN MAIDENS in the Pueblos, Blue Corn Maiden was the most beautiful and most loved by her people. She gave them the blue corn with which to make piiki, blue corn wafer bread, andimg_0886 somiviki, blue corn tamales, and kutuki, parched corn, for their special performances and ceremonies.

The people loved their blue corn plants so much they cared for them as children. They prayed the seedlings would grow strong and confident and not wither.

One day the spirit-being Winter Katsina came to the village, his cold breath blowing a chilling wind, bringing ice and snow to  the mesas and valleys. Blue Corn Maiden went out into the storm to gather dried yucca blades for a fire. Winter Katsina saw her. Struck to the heart by her beauty, he swept her away to his wintery home.

Winter Katsina loved Blue Corn Maiden, but Blue Corn Maiden missed the Pueblos and her people. She felt trapped by the ice and snow that blocked the windows and the doorway of Winter Katsina’s home.

One day, when Winter Katsina left his home to do his duty and blow cold winds and scatter snow over the earth, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway. She walked outside to look for the plants and foods she remembered from the summers on the Pueblo. All she could find were a few blades of yucca. Just enough to start a fire to warm the frozen house.

As the fire blazed, Summer Katsina walked in, carrying an armful of fresh corn and yucca. Before Summer Katsina could reach Blue Corn Maiden, Winter Katsina came roaring in.  Raising an icicle in one hand, he called for war. Summer Katsina raised the yucca leaves.  They burst into flames.

Blue Corn Maiden watched in terror. But when the fiery yucca leaves melted the icicle, Winter Katsina called for peace.

Summer Katsina took Blue Corn Maiden back to the Pueblos. The people rejoiced. The blue corn grew and fed the people. After six months, when summer came to and, Blue Corn Maiden returned to Winter Katsina.

Sometimes Winter Katsina sends snow and cold when it is not the snow time because he misses Blue Corn Maiden. But the people do not worry, because they know that Winter Katsina is only jealous. Blue Corn Maiden loves them and will be with them again.


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