The Story Of The Creation

: Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights

In the beginning there was no earth, no water--nothing. There was

only a Person, uh-wert-a-Mah-kai (The Doctor of the Earth).

He just floated, for there was no place for him to stand upon. There

was no sun, no light, and he just floated about in the darkness,

which was Darkness itself.

He wandered around in the nowhere till he thought he had wandered

enough. Then he rubbed on his breast and
ubbed out moah-haht-tack,

that is perspiration, or greasy earth. This he rubbed out on the palm

of his hand and held out. It tipped over three times, but the fourth

time it staid straight in the middle of the air and there it remains

now as the world.

The first bush he created was the greasewood bush.

And he made ants, little tiny ants, to live on that bush, on its gum

which comes out of its stem.

But these little ants did not do any good, so he created white ants,

and these worked and enlarged the earth; and they kept on increasing

it, larger and larger, until at last it was big enough for himself

to rest on.

Then he created a Person. He made him out of his eye, out of the shadow

of his eyes, to assist him, to be like him, and to help him in creating

trees and human beings and everything that was to be on the earth.

The name of this being was Noo-ee (the Buzzard).

Nooee was given all power, but he did not do the work he was created

for. He did not care to help Juhwertamahkai, but let him go by himself.

And so the Doctor of the Earth himself created the mountains and

everything that has seed and is good to eat. For if he had created

human beings first they would have had nothing to live on.

But after making Nooee and before making the mountains and seed for

food, Juhwertamahkai made the sun.

In order to make the sun he first made water, and this he placed in

a hollow vessel, like an earthen dish (hwas-hah-ah) to harden into

something like ice. And this hardened ball he placed in the sky. First

he placed it in the North, but it did not work; then he placed it in

the West, but it did not work; then he placed it in the South, but

it did not work; then he placed it in the East and there it worked

as he wanted it to.

And the moon he made in the same way and tried in the same places,

with the same results.

But when he made the stars he took the water in his mouth and spurted

it up into the sky. But the first night his stars did not give light

enough. So he took the Doctor-stone (diamond), the tone-dum-haw-teh,

and smashed it up, and took the pieces and threw them into the sky to

mix with the water in the stars, and then there was light enough. [1]

And now Juhwertamahkai, rubbed again on his breast, and from the

substance he obtained there made two little dolls, and these he laid

on the earth. And they were human beings, man and woman.

And now for a time the people increased till they filled the earth. For

the first parents were perfect, and there was no sickness and no

death. But when the earth was full, then there was nothing to eat,

so they killed and ate each other.

But Juhwertamahkai did not like the way his people acted, to kill

and eat each other, and so he let the sky fall to kill them. But

when the sky dropped he, himself, took a staff and broke a hole thru,

thru which he and Nooee emerged and escaped, leaving behind them all

the people dead.

And Juhwertamahkai, being now on the top of this fallen sky, again made

a man and a woman, in the same way as before. But this man and woman

became grey when old, and their children became grey still younger,

and their children became grey younger still, and so on till the

babies were gray in their cradles.

And Juhwertamahkai, who had made a new earth and sky, just as there had

been before, did not like his people becoming grey in their cradles, so

he let the sky fall on them again, and again made a hole and escaped,

with Nooee, as before.

And Juhwertamahkai, on top of this second sky, again made a new heaven

and a new earth, just as he had done before, and new people.

But these new people made a vice of smoking. Before human beings

had never smoked till they were old, but now they smoked younger,

and each generation still younger, till the infants wanted to smoke

in their cradles.

And Juhwertamahkai did not like this, and let the sky fall again,

and created everything new again in the same way, and this time he

created the earth as it is now.

But at first the whole slope of the world was westward, and tho

there were peaks rising from this slope there were no true valleys,

and all the water that fell ran away and there was no water for the

people to drink. So Juhwertamahkai sent Nooee to fly around among

the mountains, and over the earth, to cut valleys with his wings,

so that the water could be caught and distributed and there might be

enough for the people to drink.

Now the sun was male and the moon was female and they met once a

month. And the moon became a mother and went to a mountain called

Tahs-my-et-tahn Toe-ahk (sun striking mountain) and there was born her

baby. But she had duties to attend to, to turn around and give light,

so she made a place for the child by tramping down the weedy bushes

and there left it. And the child, having no milk, was nourished on

the earth.

And this child was the coyote, and as he grew he went out to walk

and in his walk came to the house of Juhwertamahkai and Nooee, where

they lived.

And when he came there Juhwertamahkai knew him and called him

Toe-hahvs, because he was laid on the weedy bushes of that name.

But now out of the North came another powerful personage, who has

two names, See-ur-huh and Ee-ee-toy.

Now Seeurhuh means older brother, and when this personage came

to Juhwertamahkai, Nooee and Toehahvs he called them his younger

brothers. But they claimed to have been here first, and to be older

than he, and there was a dispute between them. But finally, because he

insisted so strongly, and just to please him, they let him be called

older brother.


Juhwerta mahkai made the world--

Come and see it and make it useful!

He made it round--

Come and see it and make it useful!


The idea of creating the earth from the perspiration and waste cuticle

of the Creator is, I believe, original.

The local touch in making the greasewood bush the first vegetation

is very strong.

In the tipping over of the earth three times, and its standing right

the fourth time, we are introduced to the first of the mystic fours

in which the whole scheme of the stories is cast. Almost everything

is done four times before finished.

The peculiar Indian idea of type-animals, the immortal and supernatural

representatives of their respective animal tribes, appears in Nooee and

Toehahvs, and here again the local color is rich and strong in making

the buzzard and the coyote, the most common and striking animals of

the desert, the particular aides on the staff of the Creator.

Might not the creation of Nooee out of the shadow of the eyes of the

Doctor of the Earth be a poetical allusion to the flying shadow of

the buzzard on the sun-bright desert?

In the creation of sun and moon we find the mystic four referred to

the four corners of the universe, North, South, East and West, and

this, I am persuaded, is really the origin of its sacred significance,

for most religions find root and source in astronomy.

In the dropping of the sky appears the old idea of its solid character.

In the "slope of the world to the Westward" there is something

curiously significant when we remember that both the Gila and Salt

Rivers flow generally westward.

Nooee cuts the valleys with his wings. It would almost appear that

Nooee was Juhwertamahkai's agent in the air and sky, Toehahvs on earth.

The night-prowling coyote is appropriately and poetically mothered

by the moon.

And here appears Eeeetoy, the most active and mysterious personality

in Piman mythology. Out of the North, apparently self-existent,

but little inferior in power to Juhwertamahkai, and claiming greater

age, he appears, by pure "bluff" and persistent push and wheedling,

to have induced the really more powerful, but good-natured and rather

lazy Juhwertamahkai to give over most of the real work and government

of the world to him. In conversing with Harry Azul, the head chief's

son, at Sacaton, I found he regarded Eeeetoy and Juhwertamahkai as

but two names for the same. And indeed it is hard to fix Eeeetoy's

place or power.