A long time ago human being lived high up in what
is now called heaven. They had a great and illustrious chief.
It so happened that this chief's daughter was taken very ill with a
strange affliction. All the people were very anxious as to the outcome
of her illness. Every known remedy was tried in an attempt to cure
her, but none had any effect.
Near the lodge of this chief stood a great tree, which every year bore
corn used for food. One of the friends of the chief had a dream in
which he was advised to tell the chief that, in order to cure his
daughter, he must lay her beside this tree, and that he must have the
tree dug up. This advice was carried out to the letter. While the
people were at work and the young woman lay there, a young man came
along. He was very angry and said: "it is not all right to destroy
this tree. Its fruit is all that we have to live on." With this remark
he gave the young woman who lay there ill a shove with his foot,
causing her to fall into th hole that had been dug.
Now, that hole opened into this world, which was then all water, on
which floated waterfowl of many kinds. There was no land at that time.
It came to pass that as these waterfowl saw this young woman falling
they shouted, "Let us receive her," whereupon they, at least some of
them, joined their bodies together, and the young woman fell on this
platform of bodies. When these were wearied they asked, "Who will
volunteer to care for this woman?" The great Turtle then took her, and
when he got tired of holding her, he in turn asked who would take his
place. At last the question arose as to what they should do to provide
her with a permanent resting place in this world. Finally it was
decided to prepare the earth, on which she would live in the future.
To do this it was determined soil from the bottom of the primal sea
should be brought up and placed on the broad, firm carapace of the
Turtle, where it would increase in size to such an extent that it
would accommodate all the creatures that should be produced
thereafter. After much discussion the toad was finally persuaded to
dive to the bottom of the waters in search of soil. Bravely making the
attempt, he succeeded in bringing up soil from the depths of the sea.
This was carefully spread over the carapace of the Turtle, and at once
both began to grow in size and depth.
After the young woman recovered from the illness from which she
suffered when she was cast down from the upper world, she built
herself a shelter, in which she lived quite contentedly. In the course
of time she brought forth a girl baby, who grew rapidly in size and
When the daughter had grown to young womanhood, the mother and she
were accustomed to go out to dig wild potatoes. Her mother had said to
her that in doing this she must face the west at all times. Before
long the young daughter gave signs that she was about to become a
mother. Her mother reproved her, saying that she had violated the
injunction not to face the east, as her condition showed that she had
faced the wrong way while digging potatoes. It is said that the breath
of the West Wind had entered her person, causing conception. When the
days of the delivery were at hand, she overheard twins within her body
in a hot debate as to which should be born first and as to the proper
place of exit, once declaring that he was going to emerge through the
armpit of his mother, the other saying that he would emerge the
natural way. The first one born, who was of reddish color, was called
Othagwenda, that is, Flint. The outer, who was light in color, was
called Djuskaha, tha is, the Little Sprout.
The grandmother of the twins liked Djuskaha and hated the other, so
they cast Othagwenda into a hollow tree some distance from the lodge.
The boy who remained in the lodge grew very rapidly, and soon was able
to make himself bows and arrows and to go out to hunt without his bow
and arrows. At last he was asked why he had to have a new bow and
arrows every morning. He replied that there was a young boy in the
hollow tree in the neighborhood who used them. The grandmother
inquired where the tree stood, and he told her, whereupon then they
went there and brought the other boy home again.
When the boys had grown to man's estate, they decided that it was
necessary for them to increase the size of their island, so they
agreed to start out together, afterward separating to create forests
and lakes and other things. They parted as agreed, Othagwenda going
westward and Djuskaha eastward. In the course of time, on returning,
they met in their shelter or lodge at night, then agreeing to go the
next day to see what each had made. It was found that he had made the
country all rocks and full of ledges, and also a mosquito that was
very large. Djuskaha asked the mosquito to run, in order that he might
see whether the insect could fight. The mosquito ran, and sticking his
bill through a sapling, thereby made it fall, at which Djuskaha said,
"That will not be right, for you would kill the people who are about
to come," So, seizing him, he rubbed him down in his hands, causing
him to become very small; then he blew on the mosquito, whereupon he
flew away. He also modified some of the other animals his brother had
made. After returning to their lodge, they agreed to go the next day
to see what Djuskaha had fashioned. One visiting the east the next
day, they found that Djuskaha had made a large number of animals which
were so fat that they could hardly move, that he had made the
sugar-maple trees to drop syrup; that he had made the sycamore tree to
bear fine fruit; that the rivers were so formed that half of the water
flowed upstream and the other half flowed downstream. Then the
reddish-colored brother, Othagwenda, was greatly displeased with what
his brother had made, saying that the people who were about to come
would live too easily and be too happy. So he shook violently the
various animals--the bears, deer and turkeys--causing them to become
small at once, a characteristic that attached itself to their
descendants. He also caused the sugar maple to drop sweetened water
only, and the fruit of the sycamore to become small and useless; and
lastly he caused the water of the rivers to flow in only one
direction, because the original plan would bake it too easy for the
human beings who were about to come to navigate the streams.
The inspection of each other's work resulted in a deadly disagreement
between the brothers, who finally came to grips and blows, and
Othagwenda was killed in the fierce struggle.