February 13, 2003

Pima Legend: The Night Sky

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KEYWORDS: Pima legend Arizona Indian legend native american legends creation story creation stories american indian legend Arizona Indian tribe oral story buy nature art prints nature art print Southwestern Art Print

SOURCE: Pima Oral Story (Arizona Indian tribe)

n the beginning there was nothing at all except darkness. All was
darkness and emptiness. For a long, long while, the darkness gathered
until it became a great mass. Over this the spirit of Earth Doctor
drifted to and fro like a fluffy bit of cotton in the breeze.

Then Earth
Doctor decided to make for himself an abiding place. So he thought
within himself, “Come forth, some kind of plant,” and there appeared the
creosote bush.

He placed this before him and set it upright. But it at
once fell over. He set it upright again; again it fell. So it fell until
the fourth time it remained upright.

Then Earth Doctor took from his
breast a little dust and flattened it into a cake. When the dust cake
was still, he danced upon it, singing a magic song.


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Full Moon and Star

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Next he created some black insects which made black gum on the creosote
bush. Then he made a termite which worked with the small earth cake
until it grew very large.

As he sang and danced upon it, the flat World
stretched out on all sides until it was as large as it is now. Then he
made a round sky-cover to fit over it, round like the houses of the
Pimas.


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Edge of Autumn


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But the earth shook and stretched, so that it was unsafe. So
Earth Doctor made a gray spider which was to spin a web around the edges
of the earth and sky, fastening them together. When this was done, the
earth grew firm and solid.

Earth Doctor made water, mountains, trees, grass, and weeds-made
everything as we see it now. But all was still inky blackness.


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Treasures of the Desert (S)


Adin Shade


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Then he
made a dish, poured water into it, and it became ice. He threw this
round block of ice far to the north, and it fell at the place where the
earth and sky were woven together. At once the ice began to gleam and
shine. We call it now the sun.

It rose from the ground in the north up
into the sky and then fell back. Earth Doctor took it and threw it to
the west where the earth and sky were sewn together. It rose into the
sky and again slid back to the earth. Then he threw it to the far south,
but it slid back again to the flat earth. Then at last he threw it to
the east. It rose higher and higher in the sky until it reached the
highest point in the round blue cover and began to slide down on the
other side. And so the sun does even yet.


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Fascination


Robert Marshall


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Then Earth Doctor poured more water into the dish and it became ice. He
sang a magic song, and threw the round ball of ice to the north where
the earth and sky are woven together. It gleamed and shone, but not so
brightly as the sun.

It became the moon, and it rose in the sky, but
fell back again, just as the sun had done. So he threw the ball to the
west, and then to the south, but it slid back each time to the earth.
Then he threw it to the east, and it rose to the highest point in the
sky-cover and began to slide down on the other side. And so it does even
to-day, following the sun.


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Monument Valley Moon

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But Earth Doctor saw that when the sun and moon were not in the sky, all
was inky darkness. So he sang a magic song, and took some water into his
mouth and blew it into the sky, in a spray, to make little stars. Then
he took his magic crystal and broke it into pieces and threw them into
the sky, to make the larger stars.

Next he took his walking stick and
placed ashes on the end of it. Then he drew it across the sky to form
the Milky Way. So Earth Doctor made all the stars.

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