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Previous to the birth of a child, if a daughter be desired, the husband and wife proceed together to the "mother" rock, and at her feet make offerings and prayers, imploring her to intercede with the great father, the Sun, to give to them a daughter, and that this daughter may grow to be all that is good in woman; that she may be endowed with the power of weaving beautifully and may be skilled in the potter's art. Should a son be desired, the couple repair to the shrine above, and here, at the breast and heart of the "father" rock, prayers and plume sticks are offered that a son may be given them, and that he may have power to conquer his enemies, and that he may become distinguished in the Kok-ko and other orders, and have power over the field to produce abundant crops. In both cases the sacred meal is sprinkled, and, should the prayer not be answered, there is no doubt that the heart of one or the other was not earnest when the prayer was offered.
The Zuni child is born amid ceremony. At its birth only the maternal grandmother and two female doctors are present. After the birth of the child, the paternal grandmother enters, bearing as offerings to the new born babe a large pottery bowl and inside of it a tiny blanket. She then prepares warm suds of yucca root in the bowl, in which she bathes the infant, at the same time repeating a prayer of thanks for the life that has been given them and praying for the future of the child. She then rubs the entire body of the child, except the head, with warm ashes held in the palm of the hand and moistened with water. This process is repeated every morning during infancy and the same paste is put upon the face of the child until it is several years old.
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