The Beginning Of Newness
Source: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest
Zuni (New Mexico)
Before the beginning of the New-making, the All-father Father alone had
being. Through ages there was nothing else except black darkness.
In the beginning of the New-making, the All-father Father thought
outward in space, and mists were created and up-lifted. Thus through his
knowledge he made himself the Sun who was thus created and is the great
Father. The dark spaces brightened with light. The cloud mists thickened
and became water.
From his flesh, the Sun-father created the Seed-stuff of worlds, and he
himself rested upon the waters. And these two, the Four-fold-containing
Earth-mother and the All-covering Sky-father, the surpassing beings,
with power of changing their forms even as smoke changes in the wind,
were the father and mother of the soul beings.
Then as man and woman spoke these two together. "Behold!" said
Earth-mother, as a great terraced bowl appeared at hand, and within it
water, "This shall be the home of my tiny children. On the rim of each
world-country in which they wander, terraced mountains shall stand,
making in one region many mountains by which one country shall be known
Then she spat on the water and struck it and stirred it with her
fingers. Foam gathered about the terraced rim, mounting higher and
higher. Then with her warm breath she blew across the terraces. White
flecks of foam broke away and floated over the water. But the cold
breath of Sky-father shattered the foam and it fell downward in fine
mist and spray.
Then Earth-mother spoke:
"Even so shall white clouds float up from the great waters at the
borders of the world, and clustering about the mountain terraces of the
horizon, shall be broken and hardened by thy cold. Then will they shed
downward, in rain-spray, the water of life, even into the hollow places
of my lap. For in my lap shall nestle our children, man-kind and
creature-kind, for warmth in thy coldness."
So even now the trees on high mountains near the clouds and Sky-father,
crouch low toward Earth mother for warmth and protection. Warm is
Earth-mother, cold our Sky-father.
Then Sky-father said, "Even so. Yet I, too, will be helpful to our
children." Then he spread his hand out with the palm downward and into
all the wrinkles of his hand he set the semblance of shining yellow
corn-grains; in the dark of the early world-dawn they gleamed like
sparks of fire.
"See," he said, pointing to the seven grains between his thumb and four
fingers, "our children shall be guided by these when the Sun-father is
not near and thy terraces are as darkness itself. Then shall our
children be guided by lights." So Sky-father created the stars. Then he
said, "And even as these grains gleam up from the water, so shall seed
grain like them spring up from the earth when touched by water, to
nourish our children." And thus they created the seed-corn. And in many
other ways they devised for their children, the soul-beings.
But the first children, in a cave of the earth, were unfinished. The
cave was of sooty blackness, black as a chimney at night time, and foul.
Loud became their murmurings and lamentations, until many sought to
escape, growing wiser and more man-like.
But the earth was not then as we now see it. Then Sun-father sent down
two sons (sons also of the Foam-cap), the Beloved Twain, Twin Brothers
of Light, yet Elder and Younger, the Right and the Left, like to
question and answer in deciding and doing. To them the Sun-father
imparted his own wisdom. He gave them the great cloud-bow, and for
arrows the thunderbolts of the four quarters. For buckler, they had the
fog-making shield, spun and woven of the floating clouds and spray. The
shield supports its bearer, as clouds are supported by the wind, yet
hides its bearer also. And he gave to them the fathership and control of
men and of all creatures. Then the Beloved Twain, with their great
cloud-bow lifted the Sky-father into the vault of the skies, that the
earth might become warm and fitter for men and creatures. Then along the
sun-seeking trail, they sped to the mountains westward. With magic
knives they spread open the depths of the mountain and uncovered the
cave in which dwelt the unfinished men and creatures. So they dwelt with
men, learning to know them, and seeking to lead them out.
Now there were growing things in the depths, like grasses and vines. So
the Beloved Twain breathed on the stems, growing tall toward the light
as grass is wont to do, making them stronger, and twisting them upward
until they formed a great ladder by which men and creatures ascended to
a second cave.
Up the ladder into the second cave-world, men and the beings crowded,
following closely the Two Little but Mighty Ones. Yet many fell back and
were lost in the darkness. They peopled the under-world from which they
escaped in after time, amid terrible earth shakings.
In this second cave it was as dark as the night of a stormy season, but
larger of space and higher. Here again men and the beings increased, and
their complainings grew loud. So the Twain again increased the growth of
the ladder, and again led men upward, not all at once, but in six bands,
to become the fathers of the six kinds of men, the yellow, the tawny
gray, the red, the white, the black, and the mingled. And this time also
many were lost or left behind.
Now the third great cave was larger and lighter, like a valley in
starlight. And again they increased in number. And again the Two led
them out into a fourth cave. Here it was light like dawning, and men
began to perceive and to learn variously, according to their natures,
wherefore the Twain taught them first to seek the Sun-father.
Then as the last cave became filled and men learned to understand, the
Two led them forth again into the great upper world, which is the World
of Knowing Seeing.
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