Native American Legends
The beginning of newness (Version 2)
A Zuni Legend
Before the beginning of the new-making, Awonawilona (the Maker
and Container of All, the All-father Father), solely had being.
There was nothing else whatsoever throughout the great space of
the ages save everywhere black darkness in it, and everywhere void
In the beginning of the new-made, Awonawilona conceived within
himself and thought outward in space, whereby mists of increase,
steams potent of growth, were evolved and uplifted. Thus, by means
of his innate knowledge, the All-container made himself in person
and form of the Sun whom we hold to be our father and who thus came
to exist and appear. With his appearance came the brightening of
the spaces with light, and with the brightening of the spaces the
great mist-clouds were thickened together and fell, whereby was
evolved water in water; yea, and the world-holding sea.
With his substance of flesh outdrawn from the surface of his person,
the Sun-father formed the seed-stuff of twain worlds, impregnating
therewith the great waters, and lo! in the heat of his light these
waters of the sea grew green and scums rose upon them, waxing wide
and weighty until, behold! they became Awitelin Tsita, the "Four-fold
Containing Mother-Earth," and Apoyan Tä'chu, the "All-covering
From the lying together of these twain upon the great world-waters,
so vitalizing, terrestrial life was conceived; whence began all
beings of Earth, men and the creatures, in the Fourfold womb of
Thereupon the Earth-Mother repulsed the Sky-father, growing big
and sinking deep into the embrace of the waters below, thus separating
from the Sky- father in the embrace of the waters above. As a woman
forebodes evil for her first-born ere born, even so did the Earth-Mother
forebode, long withholding from birth her myriad progeny and meantime
seeking counsel with the Sky-father. "How," said they
to one another, "shall our children when brought forth, know
one place from another, even by the white light of the Sun-father?"
Now like all the surpassing beings the Earth-Mother and the Sky-father
were changeable, even as smoke in the wind; transmutable at thought,
manifesting themselves in any form at will, like as dancers may
by mask- making.
Thus, as a man and woman, spoke they, one to the other. "Behold!"
said the Earth-Mother as a great terraced bowl appeared at hand
and within it water, "this is as upon me the homes of my tiny
children shall be. On the rim of each world-country they wander
in, terraced mountains shall stand, making in one region many, whereby
country shall be known from country, and within each, place from
place. Behold, again!" said she as she spat on the water and
rapidly smote and stirred it with her fingers.
Foam formed, gathering about the terraced rim, mounting higher
and higher. "Yea," said she, "and from my bosom they
shall draw nourishment, for in such as this shall they find the
substance of life whence we were ourselves sustained, for see!"
Then with her warm breath she blew across the terraces; white flecks
of the foam broke away, and, floating over above the water, were
shattered by the cold breath of the Sky-father attending, and forthwith
shed downward abundantly fine mist and spray! "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 horizons
be borne aloft and abroad by the breaths of the surpassing of soul-beings,
and of the children, and shall hardened and broken be by thy cold,
shedding downward, in rain-spray, the water of life, even into the
hollow places of my lap! For therein chiefly shall nestle our children
mankind and creature-kind, for warmth in thy coldness."
Lo! even the trees on high mountains near the clouds and the Sky-father
crouch low toward the Earth-Mother for warmth and protection! Warm
is the Earth-Mother, cold the Sky-father, even as woman is the warm,
man the cold being!
"Even so!" said the Sky-father; "Yet not alone shalt
thou helpful be unto our children, for behold!" and he spread
his hand abroad with the palm downward and into all the wrinkles
and crevices thereof he set the semblance of shining yellow corn-grains;
in the dark of the early world-dawn they gleamed like sparks of
fire, and moved as his hand was moved over the bowl, shining up
from and also moving in the depths of the water therein.
"See!" said he, pointing to the seven grains clasped
by his thumb and four fingers, "by such shall our children
be guided; for behold, when the Sun- father is not nigh, and thy
terraces are as the dark itself (being all hidden therein), then
shall our children be guided by lights--like to these lights of
all the six regions turning round the midmost one--as in and around
the midmost place, where these our children shall abide, lie all
the other regions of space! Yea! and even as these grains gleam
up from the water, so shall seed-grains like to them, yet numberless,
spring up from thy bosom when touched by my waters, to nourish our
Thus and in other ways many devised they for their offspring.
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