Native American Legends
Creation of the Red and White Races
An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown
Among the people of long, long ago, Old Man Coyote was the symbol
of good. Mountain Sheep was the symbol of evil.
Old-Man-in-the-Sky created the world. Then he drained all the water
off the Earth and crowded it into the big salt holes now called
the oceans. The land became dry except for the lakes and rivers.
Old Man Coyote often became lonely and went up to the Sky World
just to talk. One time he was so unhappy that he was crying. Old-
Man-in-the-Sky questioned him.
"Why are you so unhappy that you are crying? Have I not made
much land for you to run around on? Are not Chief Beaver, Chief
Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo on the land to keep you company?
"Why do you not like Mountain Sheep? I placed him up in the
hilly parts so that you two need not fight. Why do you come up here
Old Man Coyote sat down and cried more tears. Old-Man-in-the-Sky
became cross and began to scold him.
"Foolish Old Man Coyote, you must not drop so much water down
upon the land. Have I not worked many days to dry it? Soon you will
have it all covered with water again. What is the trouble with you?
What more do you want to make you happy?"
"I am very lonely because I have no one to talk to,"
he replied. "Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief
Buffalo are busy with their families. They do not have time to visit
with me. I want people of my own, so that I may watch over them."
"Then stop this shedding of water," said Old-Man-in-the-Sky.
"If you will stop annoying me with your visits, I will make
people for you. Take this parfleche. It is a bag made of rawhide.
Take it some place in the mountain where there is red Earth. Fill
it and bring it back up to me."
Old Man Coyote took the bag made of the skin of an animal and traveled
many days and nights. At last he came to a mountain where there
was much red soil. He was very weary after such a long journey but
he managed to fill the parfleche. Then he was sleepy.
"I will lie down to sleep for a while. When I waken, I will
run swiftly back to Old-Man-in-the-Sky."
He slept very soundly.
After a while, Mountain Sheep came along. He saw the bag and looked
to see what was in it.
"The poor fool has come a long distance to get such a big
load of red soil," he said to himself. "I do not know
what he wants it for, but I will have fun with him."
Mountain Sheep dumped all of the red soil out upon the mountain.
He filled the lower part of the parfleche with white solid, and
the upper part with red soil. Then laughing heartily, he ran to
his hiding place.
Soon Old Man Coyote woke up. He tied the top of the bag and hurried
with it to Old-Man-in-the-Sky. When he arrived with it, the sun
was going to sleep. It was so dark that the two of them could hardly
see the soil in the parfleche.
Old-Man-in-the-Sky took the dirt and said, "I will make this
soil into the forms of two men and two women."
He did not see that half of the soil was red and the other half
white. Then he said to Old Man Coyote, "Take these to the dry
land below. They are your people. You can talk with them. So do
not come up here to trouble me."
Then he finished shaping the two men and two women--in the darkness.
Old Man Coyote put them in the parfleche and carried them down
to dry land. In the morning he took them out and put breath into
them. He was surprised to see that one pair was red and the other
"Now I know that Mountain Sheep came while I was asleep. I
cannot keep these two colors together."
He thought a while. Then he carried the white ones to the land
by the big salt hole. The red ones he kept in his own land so that
he could visit with them. That is how Indians and white people came
to the Earth.
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