(Image: Hawk 21)
The Kicking Monster, or The Monster Who Kicks People Down the Cliff, is a Navajo tale, and it was one of the first monsters that the Hero Twins slew in their many adventures. The Kicking Monster stood on the highest point of the steep, red sandstone cliffs of Wild Horse Mesa in Mesa Verde, Colorado, waiting for anyone to meet it and ask to pass it on the path. When they did, the monster would kick them off the narrow trail, and they would fall off the cliff. The creature would do this to anyone, from children to horses, to entertain itself. However, when the hero twins came to Mesa Verde, they tricked it. Four times it tried to kick them off as they passed it, but they were too fast and dodged the creature. Finally, Monster Slayer, one of the twins, cut the Kicking Monster’s hair, which had grown into the red rocks after so many years. Without its hair, the creature fell and died (Hawk 19-24).
The monster may have symbolized dangerous winds, but it is specifically tethered to one trail, interestingly. It is probable that the creature was meant to warn about particularly treacherous terrain along the trail. In addition, since the Hero Twins killed the Kicking Monster, it may have been somehow made safe after only a few mishaps early in Mesa Verde’s history and later became a legend.