Long ago, even before the time of the Ancestors, there was a monstrous child born, with a taste for the flesh of babies. After being cast out to wander the land, Ho'ok returns to exact her revenge upon the village. With the help of I'itoi, one of the creator-gods, the villagers try to kill her, but everything they do makes her stronger. Her uncle, the one person who ever cared for her, must make a heartbreaking choice if he is to save his people.
The Hohokam Indians of the Valley of the Sun (now Phoenix), built an irrigation empire in the desert, with hundreds of miles of canals, multistory buildings, and ceremonial mounds the size of our football fields. They smelted metals, developed advanced etching and dyeing processes, and wove cotton into cloth. They traded with peoples hundreds of miles away and even traveled to the ocean far to the west to collect exotic shells, coral, and salt.
For a thousand years they turned the sweltering Valley of Two Rivers into a green oasis. Then they vanished. What happened to these technologically advanced people, so at-home in their cruel environment?
Some say they ruined their fields and farmland and sank into obscurity along the rivers; others think an environmental cataclysm struck and they died off or left; while still others believe they were invaded and conquered.
And indeed, archaeological evidence survives to support each of these theories.
But there is another source from which to learn about this magnificent culture and try to understand the mystery of its collapse.
The Pima Indians who lived in the valley when the first Euro-American explorers and settlers arrived tell stories, known as "witch tales," about the people some called Hohokam (the name means "all used up," or Those Who Are Gone) and others called the Vipiset ("great-grandfathers," the Ancestors).
This is one of those witch tales.
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