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Cherokee Myths and Legends

The Cherokee Creation Story

A Cherokee Legend When the Earth begun there was just water. All the animals lived above it and the sky was beginning to become crowded. They were all curious about what was beneath the water and one day Dayuni'si, the water beetle, volunteered to explore it. He went everywhere across the surface but he couldn't find any solid ground. He then dived below the surface to the bottom and all he found was mud. This began to enlarge in size and spread outwards until it became the Earth as we know it. After all this had happened, one of the animals attached this new land to the sky with four strings. Just after the Earth was formed, it was flat and soft so the animals decided to send a bird down to see if it had dried. They eventually returned to the animals with a result. The land was still to wet so they sent the great Buzzard from Galun'lati to prepare it for them. The buzzard flew down and by the time that he reached the Cherokee land he was so tired that his wings began to hit the ground. Wherever they hit the ground a mountain or valley formed. The Cherokee land still remains the same today with all the land forms that the Buzzard formed. The animals then decided that it was too dark, so they made the sun and put it on the path in which it still runs today. The animals could then admire the newly created Earth around them.

Cherokee Creation Story 2

A Cherokee Legend At first there was darkness and cold, vast and endless, stretching out in all directions. Beneath the great stone arch of the sky there was a dizzying drop. One by one tiny creatures began to awake and one by one they realized that they were cold, thirsty and very crowded. The first creature to awake said, "I smell water, I am a water beetle," and with that it jumped from the great stone arch of the sky. Much later there was a splash. The next creature to awake, said, "I can spin silk, I am a spider." And so it went as each creature awoke and realized what he or she was. Not long after, a voice was heard from far beneath the great stone arch of the sky. It was the water beetle, who said, "Underneath the water there is something soft, yet strong enough to hold us, with room enough for everyone." "Throw down some rope, so that we might fetch it," another creature on the great stone arch of the sky said, so the spider began to make some very strong ropes. The ropes were thrown down and the water beetle took them and swam beneath the waters. She then fastened them to the four corners of the great slab of mud that rested beneath the waters. When she surfaced, she told the other creatures who had remained on the great stone arch of the sky what she had done. They began to pull and haul at the ropes until the great slab of mud rose from beneath the waters. When they had finished, all the creatures began to scramble down the ropes to get to this new place which had room for everyone. When they reached the bottom, they drank their fill. Some creatures, realizing that they were fish, swam away, others flew away, and still others, realizing that they were frogs sank happily into the mud. There the land hung and there it hangs to this very day, until the day that will come when the ropes will break and the land will sink once more beneath the waters.

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