Ceremonial Horn Toad, 1995, Anderson Black, ET513.31
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Horned Toad and Lightning Story

One day Tsin Niltł’ish (Lightning) told Na’ashǫ́’iidich’izhii (Horned Toad) that he had more power than him. Lightning said, “If I strike four times, I bet I can kill you.” Taking up the challenge, Horned Toad walked a short distance away and waited. Lighting struck Horned Toad four times, but each time Horned Toad used the spikes on his back, songs, and prayers to divert the energy of destruction. After the fourth time, Horned Toad said to Lightning, “It’s my turn.” He took a position above Lightning, pointing his spiky head toward him. Horned Toad thrust his head down, sending spikes flying straight into Lightning. A fierce bolt of electricity splintered into a vast array of smaller strikes, which exploded wildly across the sky. The Diné (Navajo) call upon the great power that allowed Horned Toad to defeat Lightning by using Horned Toad’s songs and prayers for protection from evil.