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The Beginning of The World

A Wukchamni Yokut Legend

Everything was water except a very small piece of ground. On this were the eagle and Coyote. Then the turtle swam to them. They sent it to dive for the earth at the bottom of the water. The turtle barely succeeded in reaching the bottom and touching it with its foot. When it came up again, all the earth seemed washed out.

Coyote looked closely at its nails. At last he found a grain of earth. Then he and the eagle took this and laid it down. From it they made the earth as large as it is. From the earth they also made six men and six women. They sent these out in pairs in different directions and the people separated.

After a time the eagle sent the Coyote to see what the people were doing. Coyote came back and said: "They are doing something bad. They are eating the earth. One side is already gone."

The eagle said: "That is bad. Let us make something for them to eat. Let us send the dove to find something."

The dove went out. It found a single grain of meal. The eagle and Coyote put this down on the ground. Then the earth became covered with seeds and fruit. Now they told the people to eat these. When the seeds were dry and ripe the people gathered them. Then the people increased and spread all over. But the water is still under the world.

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