Wichita creation story


As told by the Wichita chief, Towakoni Jim, to George Dorsey

In the beginning there were neither sun, nor stars, nor anything else that we know today. For a long time, the only man was Man-never-known-on-Earth. He created everything. When he created the world, he created land and water, but they were not separate, and still everything was dark.

Then Man-never-known-on-Earth created a man who was known as Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light and a woman named Bright-Shining-Woman. Everything that they needed, they dreamed of, and it was there when they awoke. Bright-Shining-Woman received an ear of corn and knew that it would be the food of generations to come.

Still there was nothing but darkness. Without knowing why, Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light began a journey to the east, moving slowly through the darkness. He came to a stranger who told him that there would be many villages and many people in the future, and that it would be up to Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light to teach them.

As they talked, a voice from the east called to this stranger to shoot a black-and-white deer that would follow a white deer and a black deer out of a stream nearby. Four times the stranger had to tell the impatient voice that he was preparing a bow and arrow to shoot the deer.

Finally he emerged from his lodge as the deer jumped out of the water, and he shot the black-and-white deer. This meant that the earth would turn, that the stars would move, and that there would be day and night.

The stranger, whose name was Star-that-is-always-moving, went to follow the deer that he had wounded, but Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light stayed by the shore. From where the voice had spoken, he now saw the sun rise for the first time.

He returned to his home, but he traveled much faster now that it was light. That night he saw three stars in the sky, with another star nearby, and he concluded that they were the three deer and the man who followed them.

After there was light, villages and people multiplied, as the stranger had predicted. Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light and Bright-Shining-Woman went from village to village, teaching the people. Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light taught the men about bows and arrows, and he taught them to play the ball game and the shinny game.

Bright-Shining-Woman taught the women about corn, how to grow corn, how to feed the people with corn, how to offer some corn at each meal to Man-never-known-on-Earth, how take four kernels and rub them on their child as a prayer. She also taught them the double-ball game.

She told them that, after she was gone, they could look at her face to tell when their monthly bleeding should occur, and by counting her appearances they could keep track of when their children would be born. Then she left them, and that night the first moon came up, because she was the Moon.

Man-with-the-Power-to-Carry-Light taught the men that they must offer some of the game that they caught to the moon and to the stars and to the other supernatural beings. He told them that he would leave them, but that they would see him sometimes in early morning.

When they saw him, they were to take their children to drink and bathe in the river, which would give them long life. Then he left them and became the Morning Star.