How the Stars Came Into Being
A long time ago there lived 4 animals on earth. Each of the animals lived peacefully and in turn Great Spirit rewarded them with eternal sunlight. But one day something new came into the world- fighting and jealousy. Atop a large tree grew a very big and delicious looking fruit and upon seeing it, Bear began climbing the trunk of the tree to retrieve the beautiful thing. Coyote, also seeing the fruit, yearned for it and jumped onto Bear’s back, bringing both animals crashing to the ground. As they began to fight about who the fruit belong to, Eagle flew between the branches of the tree and plucked the fruit from where it sat. As he landed, thinking himself very clever to have won the fruit from the other two, he began to laugh, dropping the fruit from his beak and onto the soft forest floor; so ensued the greatest fight that animal has ever been a part of. So disruptive was this fight that its noise carried high into the sky and into Great Spirit’s ears. Angered by chaos bellow Great Spirit threw his cape upon the world, bringing, for the first time, an immense darkness. A silence immediately fell on the earth below, as the animals stopped their fighting in search of the source of this new thing. Unable to see anything, unable to understand what had happened, but knowing that they had angered Great Spirit, they began fighting once again, accusing one another of their own faults. Finally it was decided that one animal must go to Great Spirit and ask for forgiveness.
“I’ll do it,” said Coyote. “I will swim the widest river and climb the highest mountain and I will yell to Great Spirit, asking for forgiveness.”
And so Coyote set off across the planes of the world, swam the widest river and climbed the highest mountain until he reached its top. And there he stood and yelled to Great Spirit.
“Please forgive us. We have learned our lesson!” But there was no reply. For hours Coyote stood and yelled until his voice became hoarse and tired, emitting nothing but a howl, and so he returned to the others.
Bear laughed at his defeated friend, “You thought you could yell to Great Spirit?” And so Bear set off. Upon reaching the top of the Great Mountain, Bear took in a deep breath, filling his chest with air, and yelled as loud as he could, “Please forgive us, Great Spirit!” But there was no reply. After hours of failed attempts, Bear returned to his friends, grumbling with frustration.
Upon his return, Eagle laughed with joy at his friend’s failure. “Now you will see what a true animal can do.” But no sooner had he began his climb towards the heavens did he become very tired. A rush of death enveloped his body and he returned to earth, choosing his life over the happiness of his friends.
The mightiest of Great Spirit’s animals had fallen and with their realization of this, a severe cold began to inhabit the animals. Then, out of the darkness, they heard a tiny voice, “I can do it.” And from the darkness emerges Hummingbird.
The animals could not believe their eyes- never had they seen this tiny, pathetic creature before. They immediately burst into a fit of laughter. “You will never reach the Great Spirit my little friend,” said Bear. “I am the great warrior of this land and I was unable to make my pleas heard. Stay here where it is safe, for if you set off you will know only defeat.”
But Hummingbird ignored the jests of his fellow animals and began his flight. He flapped his wings and as he reached the Great Spirit’s cape his long beak punctured the fabric, but his body gave way and he fell back down to earth. Looking up into the sky the animals saw little Hummingbird’s work, for a tiny pinprick of light was now showing through the cape. After a short break, Hummingbird tried again and again a pinprick appeared in the cape just before he fell back to earth. Finally after thousands of attempts, Hummingbird made one last tip- flapping his wings faster than ever as he made his way into the darkness. One last hole appeared in the sky, but Hummingbird did not. After several minutes, Great Spirit appeared before the animals with tiny Hummingbird’s body clutched in his hands.
Hummingbird’s heart so impressed the Great Spirit that in honor of the fallen animal the Great Spirit covers the earth with his cape, un-mended, for half of the day, everyday.
Want more myths?
Manataka American Indian Council:
Myth vs. Urban Legend:
A Look at Urban Legends:
Created by: Jackie K.