The news spread, one day, that the chief's only daughter was sick, and that the medicine-men had declared themselves unable to bring relief to her. A moccasin, or runner, was sent out to bring back a very old shaman living far away from the other people.
As soon as he saw the young woman, the old shaman told the People at once to dig into the roots of the wild apple tree standing by the chief's lodge. A party of men began digging all around the tree; and following the old man's advice, they laid down the young woman at the edge of the trench; for he had said, "When you dig into the roots of the tree, you will find the remedy that will cure her. Lay her down so near that she may get it merely by stretching out her arm as soon as she detects it."
With all their might the men went on digging. Others replaced them as soon as they felt tired, and carried on the work. The sick girl was there, lying close by, when a party of men stepped out of the trench. The sudden approach of a terrific roar startled them all. Gazing at the place whence it had come, they saw the ground around the tree fall through, and the tree vanish underground with the young woman entangled in its brandies.
The world underneath was a vast sheet of water. No land was anywhere
in sight. A pair of large 'white birds with long crooked necks' - Swans
we are told were swimming about on the waters. They heard a peal of thunder,
the first ever heard in this world. They glanced upwards. They saw the
tree and the woman as they fell from the sky. One of them exclaimed, "What
a strange creature it is that is coming down from above!"; and he added,
"I know that she cannot be borne up by the waters. Let us swim close together
and hold her upon our backs." They swam close together and the woman fell
lightly upon their backs and rested.
While swimming along, the swans bent their long necks and looked at their burden. They said to each other, "What a beautiful creature it is! But what shall we do with it? We cannot always swim like this and hold her up. What shall we do?" The other replied, "The only way is to go and see the Big Turtle. He will call a council of the animals to decide as to what shall be done."
They swam until they had found the Big Turtle. They showed him the strange creature, told him all they knew about her, and asked whether he intended to call a council of all the animals to decide her fate.
A moccasin, sent by the Big Turtle, went around and called all the animals to a council. They came at once, and for a long time remained looking at her in great wonder. The Big Turtle then warned them of what they had to do; for they had to decide upon what was to happen. They should not even think of dropping her into the waters and leaving her to die. Since she had been sent to them in that way, it must be for their own good, and, indeed, they had to find a place for her to rest upon.
Now, they were all greatly concerned with the matter. A tree had fallen from above, they had been told by the Swans. Someone stood up and suggested that if the Swans could show the place wherein the tree had disappeared, the divers might go down and perhaps get just a little bit of the earth clinging to its roots. The Big Turtle added, in support of this idea, that if the Swans could show the place wherein the tree had fallen, a little bit of the dirt clinging to its roots might be gotten and an island be made for the woman to live upon. He offered, moreover, to hold the island upon his back.
The Swans then turned around and, with the woman resting upon their backs, they swam ahead of all the animals until they had reached the spot where the tree had disappeared. There they stood still.
The Turtle then summoned the best of the divers, the Otter, to go deep down into the waters, in search of some dirt clinging to the roots of the tree. The Otter at once went down out of sight. The animals were beginning to think that he would never come back, when, after a while, they saw him coming back through the clear waters. So exhausted was he that, reaching the surface, he opened his mouth, gasped, and down again he went, dead. The Muskrat was summoned next. He dived down and remained still longer out of sight. He failed in the same way. The Beaver was then called, being the next among the best divers. He met with the same fate as the Otter and the Muskrat.
A number of other divers were, in turn, sent down, until so many had lost their lives to no avail that the Big Turtle declined to summon any other, but welcomed any one who would volunteer and dive in quest, of the tree.
There was no one to offer himself for a long time. Now then, an old Toad, lost in the crowd, spoke up and said that she would try. The animals all looked at each other and, with much laughter, jeered at the small, and ugly old Toad, so futile was her vanity in attempting what so many well-known divers had failed to accomplish. The Big Turtle, on her part, agreed that she did well to try and that, perhaps, she would be more lucky than the others.
Then the Toad took a deep breath and down she went. The animals gathered close together and kept gazing at her, until she had dropped out of sight. They watched and waited for so long that they began to say to each other that it was done with her, that she would never come back. They kept waiting ever so long, for they had not yet given up all hope. They could not see a thing, however. A bubble of air came up through the waters and, by and by, burst at the surface. Yet they could not see her coming. The Big Turtle thought that she was likely soon to appear and said, "Let us swim right to the place where the bubble has burst and, if the toad comes back, we shall hold her up for fear that she may fall back." So it was done. Just then, some of them could see her rising from the deep. Some others said, "She must have some earth, for she has been away so much longer that the others." Very soon she glided upon the waters, to one side of the Big Turtle, opened her mouth and spat out just a few grains of earth that fell on the edge of the Big Turtle's shell. And she gasped before falling back, without life.
The Small Turtle at once began rubbing and spreading the dirt around the edge of the Big Turtle's shell. It began to grow into an island. The animals were looking on as it grew. The island soon became large enough for the woman to live upon. The two white birds swam to its edge and the woman stepped off on to it. The island grew larger and larger until it had become our island (the world), as we know it.
It was soon found out, however, that there was not enough light on the island. In order to know what to do, the old Turtle called a council of the animals. When they had all assembled together, the Turtle came forth saying that since the island had been made for the woman, there should be more light. After a prolonged deliberation as to what was to be done, someone suggested that a great light be placed in the sky. The Small Turtle spoke up and said that were she only able to climb into the sky, she could gather some of the lightning and make a light. The Big Turtle prompted her to go ahead and try it. It seems that the Small Turtle had very great powers, for no sooner had she begun to call them forth than the council of the animals beheld a vast cloud, dark with a dreadful mixture of rocks and broken trees, from which lightning darted in all directions. The cloud slowly rolled down towards the animals, and came so near that the Small Turtle climbed it. Then it began to move upwards, soon to disappear into the sky.
Once in the sky the Little Turtle went around and gathered as much as she could of the lightning. Out of it, she made the Sun, that was thereafter to shed light on the island. Then she made the Moon, and gave it as partner or wife to the Sun. Although the Moon was smaller and not quite so powerful as the Sun, she was shining far more brilliantly than nowadays.
Some animals were next appointed to bore a hole through the earth for the Sun and Moon to get back [to their starting point.] The Sun and the Moon were not meant to travel together. It is said that once, however, the Moon ran into the underground passage earlier than she ought to have done and before the Sun had passed through. So offended was the Sun that he abused her most harshly and almost killed her outright.
The Little Turtle, not knowing what had become of the Moon, went out in search of her and found her lingering along the underground trail so sadly had the Sun chastised her. She had thus been so weakened indeed, that there was just a little light and heat left to her, and barely a strip of her body, that is, just as much as one sees of the new moon nowadays. The Little Turtle brought her out and tried to mend her. After a while, the Moon would get better and then relapse, soon to improve again, until she had become almost as strong as ever she had been. At this point, hope came to her that the Sun would as heretofore pay some attention to her. Grieved to find that the Sun would hardly notice her at all she again began to fade away, until, as at first, only a tiny strip was left of her and almost no heat. And thus she went on, to this day, regaining her power only to lose it again. This is why the Moon ever keeps on changing, to this day.
It is also asserted that the Little Turtle inflicted a punishment upon the Sun for his rash behavior towards the Moon. Exactly what she did has been forgotten.
Since she had been sent into the sky to fix things as she thought best, the Little Turtle was known as the Keeper of the Sky, wherein ever after she had her abode. Whenever she was wanted at the councils of the animals, she had to be called by a herald whose voice "goes a long way"; and then she would ride down on the cloud that had first brought her up into the sky.
For a long time, the Little Turtle was the only animal living in the sky. Somehow or other, the Deer came to think that he also should go up into the sky. Perhaps he was pondering in his mind that things were not running quite as smoothly in the sky as might be desired, and that he should try a hand at it. Then he went out to see the Rainbow and tried to get into the sky with his help. But the Rainbow was by no means anxious to help the Deer, and he wanted to know what business he had in the sky, or who was sending him up there. The Deer could not find any good reason to offer. So the Rainbow advised him to call again some other time so that further thought might be given to the matter.
The Deer, in truth, could not get rid of the idea that he had to get into the sky. Therefore, when lie judged that a fairly long time had elapsed, he went again to see the Rainbow and begged to be taken up into the sky. The Rainbow, this time, spread himself with all his bright colors into a long and broad path, joining the earth to the sky, and told the Deer to leap ahead, along the span of colors, until he had reached the top. Thus the Deer went into the sky.
Shortly after, a council of the animals happened to be called together. All the animals came forth, but the Small Turtle and the Deer. The Big Turtle tried to find out what had become of them. Several animals knew of the adventures of the Deer, but they did not stir or say anything. The Big Turtle sent out runners to look for the Deer. When they came back, after a long time, they could only say that the Deer was nowhere to be found; having gone up into the sky. It is remembered that the Turtle was quite angry, for she could not make out who had sent him or helped him to reach the sky, and why he had thus intruded into the Little Turtle's abode. The runners replied that they had been told of the help given him by the Rainbow. Dispatched after the failure of the other runners to find out where the Deer was, the Hawk also came back with the report that nowhere had he been seen for sometime.
It was for lack of warning, moreover, that the Little Turtle had not appeared at the council, for the Deer, being gifted with a voice "going a long way," was the one whose function it was to call the Little Turtle from the sky, whenever she was needed. The Big Turtle now said, "Let us call the Little Turtle from the sky; perhaps she may have something to tell us about the Deer." After a well established custom, a council could not, indeed, be held in the absence of the Deer. So, the Little Turtle was called and, by and by, she was seen riding down as usual, on a dark cloud.
No sooner had she reached the place of the council than several of the animals spoke lip and said, "The Deer is not here. We cannot have a council without him. Where can he be?" By this time, the Little Turtle had taken her place in the circle. The Big Turtle asked her, "What shall we do without the Deer?" The Little Turtle replied, "The Deer is now in the sky. He has been there for some little time, running all around everywhere."
The other animals were amazed. The Big Turtle, somewhat put out, said to the other Turtle, "Why and how did the Deer ever get into the sky? Who has sent him there?" The other answered, "The Rainbow has taken him up into the sky by means of a beautiful road made of all the colors that he has offered him. If you all follow me, I will show it to you." They followed her for a while and, then, she showed them the Rainbow's broad pathway of colors stretching from the earth into the sky.
The animals having beheld it, the Big Turtle spoke to them, "Now listen! Since the Deer has first shown us the way, let us all follow him." And all the animals in a long file travelled along the Rainbow's broad pathway until they had readied the sky.
It was the old Wyandot's saying that the animals have, to this day, remained in the sky.
The woman, during all this time, was living with her 'grand-mother,' an old woman whom she had found on the island. Soon after her fall from the sky, the woman felt that she was with child. Twin boys, in truth, were to be born to her. One of them said to the other, "I shall not be born in the manner of other children. Indeed, I shall 'kick my way out through her side.' His brother remonstrated with him and said, "It should not be so! for this would injure, or even kill, our mother." The other one retorted that it made no difference to him, having well nigh made up his mimd to do just as he pleased. While the Good One then came to this Island in the manner of other children, the Evil One 'kicked and tore his way through' his mother's arm-pit, and became the cause of her instant death.
From the very first it thus became known to the 'grandmother' that one of the twins was good and the other bad. Their 'grandmother' took charge of them and trained them from their earliest childhood in what their work was going to be, that is, 'making the island ready' for the coming of the people. While the Good One was ever kind, thoughtful, unselfish, and helpful to his 'grandmother,' the other was always willful and bad, ugly towards his brother, and disrespectful to his 'grandmother.' As they grew in size, the good nature of one of the boys developed more and more, and the other's wickedness day by day became still more marked. Tsensta' was the name of the Good One, and Taweskare that of the Evil One.
They were educated by their 'grandmother' in the usual way, as if they had been human children.
When the time for their work had come, it was understood that Tsensta' enjoyed greater powers than his mean brother. He, therefore, was the first to take up work. Tsensta' then began to prepare the island for the coming of the people, and made everything in such a way that if left undisturbed - hunger, work, and pain would have been unknown to the people. His brother Taweskare, however, would always disturb and upset what Tsensta'had done, saying that the people should not find life so easy on the island. It seems that the Good One had to work first and, after a while, stop and allow his brother to have his turn. Thus Taweskare had a chance, from time to time, partly to undo or spoil Tsensta'work. As time went on, Taweskare's wickedness grew even more emphatic, and when his brother's turn would come, it was not possible to restore things as they had been in the first place.
Thus Tsensta' made smooth or slightly rolling plains and clear forests, with flat ground everywhere; and Taweskare came and pulled out steep hills and mountains here and there, piling up huge rocks in places, scattering pebbles and boulders all over the land, and obstructing the forests with swamps, brambles, briars, and thickets. Every stream or river running one way was coupled by Tsensta' with another running the opposite way side by side, so that the people might travel up and down stream without labor and paddling. Taweskare found out that traveling would thus be made far too easy; he, therefore, pulled out one of every second river, leaving the others running in various directions at random. The Good One, resuming his work, made all kinds of trees covered with savory fruits, just within one's hand's reach; the blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries he brought forth on high bushes, scattered about in vast clusters, in such a way that it were mere pleasure to gather them up. The maple was made so that syrup would just drip out when the tree was tapped. Then came the Evil One. Finding the bushes too luxuriant and the fruits too sweet and juicy, he spoiled them and tore them apart very sadly, making them small and thorny; and the fruits, thereafter, grew small, bitter and full of hard seeds. luto the maple tree lie poured some water and in that way 'thinned' the syrup into sap, which could not be reduced into syrup without exacting labour and trouble.
Among very many other things, Tsensta' had made fishes without scales, but the other coated them over with large flinty scales, such as could hardly be scraped off.
It was fortunate, however, that Tsensta' could always partly undo the evil effects of his brother's work, for life would have proved intolerable, indeed, to the people.
The Twins continued their work on the island for a long time, until it became what we know it to be. In the long run, however, strife arose between them. It is still remembered that the Bad One once took his flight westwards, there to have his own way, unhampered. To his great enjoyment, he made huge mountains out west, and barren wastes. Tsensta' enjoyed the privilege of going out once and improving things. He went all over that rough country, boring springs here and there, and placing rivers and vegetation in the valleys and forests alongside.
Strife was growing ever more bitter between the Twins and became such that there was no telling as to what was about to happen. Tsensta' soon found out, by chance, that Taweskare entertained the utmost dread of the deer's horns. He, therefore, gathered a vast number of deer's horns, strewed them along a trail, and then chased his brother ahead of him. Taweskare unaware of his doom, soon found himself engaged along the path strewn with the dreaded deer's horns. Entangled in these sharp horns, he fell to the ground, and while struggling for escape, met with a speedy death.
After Taweskare's death, the island was not yet ready for the people. Tsensta' improved it and tried his best to stamp out the many evils brought. forth by his brother. Most of his memorable deeds have now been forgotten. Last of all, he made the people, (The Wyandots).
Sometime later, the people were all assembled in the underground world, far in the north, somewhere. Their head chief led them to the opening of the great cavern into this island. From the cave's entrance they had their first view of the world. As they were all gazing at it, a terrific storm cloud rose into the sky, followed by most vivid flashes of lightning. The people were frightened. Some one then appeared to them and spoke to their chief, saying that they had nothing whatever to fear, for lightning and thunder never would strike a Wyandot.
The storm passed away, and still beholding in wonder this beautiful
world, the people passed out of the cavern's opening. They divided themselves
into bands that travelled in all directions, and thereafter established
villages, now scattered all about the land.
II. CREATION MYTH
There were people living in the sky. Their patch of corn was just large enough to yield a meal a day. A woman whose occupation it was to gather the daily harvest, cut down the corn stalks, one day, and brought them home. She had thus wasted the corn harvest. That is why the men, being angry at her, cast her down through a hole in the sky.
She fell through the air. There was nothing but water everywhere.
No land was in sight. Wild geese, swimming about there, beheld something
in the sky. The Gander said, "Let us go there; something is falling from
above!" So there
they went together; and the woman fell upon their backs, without even touching the water. After she had remained a long time there, the Geese said, "We are tired!" The Gander answered, "Someone else should now take care of her."
The Big Turtle then swam to the surface of the water, and took the woman upon her back. The Toad soon came up, with just a small bit of dirt. She gave it to the woman and said, "Just put some of it all around the Turtle's shell, in the water." So the woman did; and then the land began to grow around her. Quite soon it had become quite large, and the woman did not need the turtle any longer to carry her. She lived on the island.
In those days the children were not born as they are today. Whenever a child was desired, the people had just to think about it, and it was found anywhere, in the hollow trees, maybe. The woman on the island went out to chop wood. There she found two children, both boys. The first one she picked up she considered the elder. The next one was the younger brother.
The boys grew fast. After a while they were big enough to go out hunting and kill birds. Their mother made bows and arrows for them.
The woman at once found out that there was a great difference in the actions of the children. The younger one was quite mean. And, as they grew tip, it became more and more evident that one was good and the other bad. While the Evil One was busy with evil deeds, his elder brother was always bringing forth things that were good. The younger one would tear down the good things made by his brother. The Good One made the sugar-trees, the sap of which was pure syrup, running easily from the tapped trees. Only a little boiling made it into sugar. The evil brother poured water into the trees, so that there was no more syrup, but only sweet water, as we now find it.
It is only after long and patient boiling that we now can reduce it to syrup.
Now the Good One: created people, that is, just two persons. As he had also brought forth fruit trees, the Creator spoke to the first man and woman, saying, "You must not touch the fruit of this tree!"
But his younger brother said to the woman, 'Why can't you eat the fruit of that tree?" She answered, "The Creator has forbidden it." The Evil One retorted, "If you eat the fruit of the tree, you shall be wise." Then the serpent, made by the Good One, but rendered mean by his younger brother, came to the woman and said, "You should eat the fruit of the tree." Then the woman was induced to eat the fruit, and, in turn, she induced the man to taste it. They both found its taste very good. It had not yet been swallowed by the man when the Creator appeared. "What are you doing?" asked he. There was no answer. As they were ashamed, they ran off and hid themselves. This was the garden of Eden. The Creator said, "You shall have to work hard for your bread; and then you shall die."
From that time, the people began to sin, just as they have done ever since. There was neither death nor sorrow in the early days. Now the people are wicked, and there is nothing but trouble everywhere.
The two brothers were God and the Devil.
III. CREATION MYTH
Several brothers and sisters were living together. The only meal they had every day consisted of a single basketful of corn, the daily yield of their corn-patch.
Tired of thus gathering of the corn for every meal, the young woman thought to herself one day, "Now, maybe, the easiest way is to cut the stalks [and gather the ears once for all]." So she cut down the corn stalks and gathered them all. Her brothers, in their grief, spoke to her and said, "You have spoilt everything and ruined our subsistence! You have wasted it all!" They dropped her through a hole into the ocean.
Wild Geese were roaming about on the waters. Their leader exclaimed, "A body is falling from above. Let us all gather close together!" And the woman from above fell gently upon the backs of the Geese, as they were all assembled together. One of them spoke after a while and said, "We are getting tired. Let some one else now take our place." 'The Turtle, emerging from under the waters, said, "It is I, the next!" And the body of the woman fallen from above now rested upon the Turtle's back.
Then the Toad went [down] and came back with a mouthful of dirt. She gave the dirt to the woman fallen from above, saying, "Do this! Sprinkle it about at arm's length where you lie." The Toad meant her to sprinkle the [grains of] earth all around her. So the woman did; and the land grew around her. She rose and began to walk about the new land.
The Toad now gave to the woman grains of corn, beans, pumpkin seeds, and seeds of all the plants that are reaped. That is what the Toad did.
After a while the woman felt very lonely. She thought, "I wish to find a child." It so happened that she found twin boys. Very soon she noticed, as they were growing in size, that the younger of the twins was not good, and that he only cared for the ruin of whatever his elder brother had undertaken. The elder brother made all that is found in the lap of our land. He created all the living beings and also the people. The Indian people were created by him, the Good One. His younger brother then came forward and said, "I too will make some people." And the monkeys he brought forth, as though they had been real human beings.
Of the twins, the elder is Hamedijun, and the younger one the