Earth Diver Creation from South Central California

Earth Diver creation stories from South Central California. Folklorist Alan Dundes thinks the Earth Diver story is a case of male pregnancy envy.

Kawaiisu creation adapted after the telling of Maurice Zygmond

Originally there was water all over the world. The animals lived in the sky. Coyotes sent them down to get dirt from the bottom of the ocean. All failed including Coyote. A little bird brought up some dirt on its nails. It put it on a tray and it grew. It grew and it covered all the water. The animals came out of the sky and lived on it.

Pohonichi Miwok creation adapted after the telling of Alfred Kroeber

There was water everywhere. Coyote sent one of the ducks to dive. It at first had trouble, then went to the bottom and bit dirt. It came up and Coyote mixed the dirt with a certain kind of seed. The mixture swelled and the water disappeared. Earth was there.

Gashowu Yokuts creation adapted after the telling of Alfred Kroeber

Prairie Falcon and Raven made earth when everything was water. The beaver, the otter, the mud hen, and mallard, and another kind of duck dove and tried to reach the bottom but failed. A small duck dove, reached the bottom and brought up sand from there. As he rose it all washed away except for a little bit under its fingernail. He gave the sand to Prairie Falcon who mixed it with the tobacco. He gave half to his friend Raven. The Prairie Falcon and Raven went to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west. They dropped the sand which boiled when it hit the water. The world grew from underneath. Prairie Falcon was the first who wanted the world.

Truhohi Yokuts creation adapted from the telling of Alfred Kroeber

In the South was a mountain which was the only land. Everywhere else was water. The people were eating the earth and it was nearly gone. Coyote said to Eagle who was chief, “Can we not make mountains?” Eagle didn’t know how to. Coyote asked Magpie, “Can we obtain earth?” The magpie said it was below them. The ducks dove and tried to bring up earth. They will could not reach it and died. Finally, Mud Hen went down. It was gone for a day and at night and died and floated to the surface. When they looked at the body they found earth under its nails, in its ears and its nose. They mixed this with chiyu seeds. Wolf spread this around but Eagle said let it dry first. Coyote thought it was ready and ran along the soft earth to the east. This formed the Sierra. He ran along the soft earth to the west. This became the Coast Range. Coyote sent the people who were still animals to their places to live. They became people. Eagle told Coyote to stay. He said, “No” – he would go with Eagle. They talked for six days. The Eagle left and Coyote went with him. Now they are both in the sky.

Wukchamai Yokuts creation adapted from the telling of Alfred Kroeber

Everywhere there was water except for a small patch of ground. Coyote and Eagle were there. They sent Turtle to dive to the bottom. The turtle barely made it to the bottom and when he came up all the earth washed away except for a grain of earth that Coyote found in its nails. Eagle and Coyote laid this down. From this the earth came to be. They made six men and six women. They sent these out in pairs to the different directions. Coyote looked to see what they were doing and found that they were eating the earth. Eagle said, “Let’s make something for them to eat”. They sent Dove out and it found a single grain of meal. Eagle and Coyote put this on the ground and the earth became covered with seeds and fruits. The people ate these and spread all over. But under the world there is still water.

Yauelmami Yokuts creation adapted from the telling of Alfred Kroeber

Water was everywhere. The piece of wood grew out of the water to the sky. On the tree was a nest. In the nest was Eagle, Wolf, Coyote, Panther, Prairie Falcon, a hawk, and the Condor. Eagle wanted to make land so he called a small duck to dive to the bottom. It died on the dive but when Eagle and the others checked the body they found dirt under its fingernail. The Eagle took this dirt and mixed it with ground up seeds and made dough. He set it in the water and it swelled and spread everywhere. Eagle told his companions to take some earth. They went back to the nest. In the morning Eagle told Wolf to shout. He did and all became water again. They made the earth again from what they had taken to the nest. Eagle, again told Wolf, “Shout!” He did and the earth was shaken by an earthquake but it stood. Coyote said, I will shout to. He did and the earth shook a very little. They came out of the tree and settled by a lake.

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