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The Strange Tale of Turtle and Salt Woman


Turtle heard that Salt Woman was on the road again, and he was 
wanting a taste of her. Some miles from Cochiti, he stopped 
for directions at a Speedway gas station.
The dwarf who ran the garage could not speak, but Turtle
using the language of Sandhill cranes put a spell on him,
making him dance directions. The dwarf’s jerky movements
became more fluid as Turtle urged him to relate more of the 
Salt Woman.

In these parts, Salt Woman had a rep. She traveled
with a wooden puppet that she called her grandson.
When she came to a pueblo she would ask for food for 
the boy. Some villages offered her food from the communal 
storehouse, and she would bless their store with her tears,
while her grandson grew green leaves on the top of his wooden 
head, but in some pueblos the mayor would refuse to offer 
anything. Salt women would then turn the children of the village
into chaparral jays.

Turtle figured that the garage dwarf was just a fool, but he knew 
that a salty woman was worth finding, and so he drove on following 
her trail. Sure enough he found her in a bar in the Acoma 
settlement known as Sky City. 

Her grandson was with her. Turtle took a good look at Salt Woman.
She was not young, her face was lined, but her hips were as round 
as fat babies, her belly dimpled, rosy, and delectable. The wooden 
child’s eyes opened wide as he watched Turtle walk up to the bar. 
Turtle was looking fine in his rhinestone studded jeans, his tan ruby
 fringed shirt and his white, eagle-feathered Stetson.

Ordering tequila, he turned to the woman.
"Will you give me one of your tears, mother"? He asked.
"I have a thirst that can only be cured by a greater thirst".
Salt Woman looked at Turtle:
"And what will you give me in return"?
"I will share my salt with you," turtle replied honestly.
"The same as any man then," she said with a curling lip.
"Yes mother, but my salt will make you younger,' turtle lied.
Turtle will promise anything for sex, in this he is no better
than most men.

Salt Woman laughed out loud, yet a teardrop of sadness fell into 
Turtle’s tequila. In a flash Turtle drank it down, grabbed hold of 
the boy transforming him to a crane, then he took Salt Woman 
upstairs where they tasted their thirst – again and again.





Copyright © Eric Ashford

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