Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD


A myth from the Yauelmani Yokuts of California.


At first there was water everywhere. A piece of wood (wicket, stick, wood, tree) grew up out of the water to the sky. On the tree there was a nest. Those who were inside did not see any earth. There was only water to be seen. The eagle was the chief of them. With him were the wolf, Coyote, the panther, the prairie falcon, the hawk called po'yon, and the condor. The eagle wanted to make the earth. He thought, 'We will have to have land.' Then he called k'uik'ui, a small duck. He said to it: 'Dive down and bring up earth.' The duck dived, but did not Teach the bottom. It died. The eagle called another kind of duck. He told it to dive. This duck went far down. It finally reached the bottom. just as it touched the mud there it died. Then it came up again. Then the eagle and the other six saw a little dirt under its finger nail. When the eagle saw this he took the dirt from its nail. He mixed it with telis and pele seeds and ground them up. He put water with the mixture and made dough. This was in the morning. Then he set it in the water and it swelled and spread everywhere, going out from the middle. (These seeds when ground and mixed with water swell) In the evening the eagle told his companions: 'Take some earth.' They went down and took a little earth up in the tree with them. Early in the morning, when the morning star came, the eagle said to the wolf: 'Shout.' The wolf shouted and the earth disappeared, and all was water again. The eagle said: 'We will make it again,' for it was for this purpose that they had taken some earth with them into the nest. Then they took telis and pele seeds again, and ground them with the earth, and put the mixture into the water, and it swelled out again. Then early next morning, when the morning star appeared, the eagle told the wolf again: 'Shout!' and he shouted three times. The earth was shaken by the earthquake, but it stood. Then Coyote said: 'I must shout too.' He shouted and the earth shook a very little. Now it was good. Then they came out of the tree on the ground. Close to where this tree stood there was a lake. The eagle said: 'We will live here.' They had a house there and lived there

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A.L. Kroeber, Indian Myths of South Central California, University of California Publications, American Archeology and Ethnology, IV, no. 4 (1906-7), PP. 229-31

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