Pomo Creation Story

Promo creation story – – adapted from the telling of Jaime de Angulo

Marumda lived in a cloud house in the North that looked like ice. He said, I will ask my brother in the South about making the world. He pulled out four of his hairs and asked them to lead them to his brother. He held them to the east, the north, the west and finally to the south. The hairs floated to the south and left a streak of fire that the cloud house followed, floating. Marumda rode in it. He slept four times and finally reached his elder brother Kuksu’s house. The hairs floated around Kuksu’s house four times and finally entered on the east side. Marumda smoked his pipe four times, then offered it to his brother Kuksu. Kuksu said that their knowledge would be good and quit smoking. Marumda and Kuksu circled each other four times, then Marumda smoked again, drawing four times. Then he offered his pipe to Kuksu. He blew the smoke to the South, the West, the East, the North and the nadir. Marumda scraped armpit wax from his armpit, then gave it to Kuksu who stuck it between his big toe and the next. Then Kuksu scraped his armpit wax and stuck it between Marumda’s toes. Marumda removed it and blew on it four times. Kuksu removed his armpit wax and blew on it four times. The brothers each circled the other four times. Then they took the ball of wax and added them together, adding hairs from each of them. They faced the four directions and the nadir, then they said the plan will be good. There will be food from the water, land, air and under the ground. People will have many villages. They said the daytime sun will pass overhead at day the nighttime sun at night. Kuksu said the plan will be good. Marumda spoke, holding the ball of wax to the four directions and the nadir. He said there will be people and plenty of food. Marumda put the ball of wax in the sack that held the tobacco and rode back to his house in the north. For four nights he was awakened until the armpit wax grew. He threw it into space where it was dark. He took his pipe and an ember from his sack and created the sun which traveled to the South. Marumda walked around the earth creating the rocks and the mountains, the food plants and the animals. He caused the sun to alternate day and night, light and dark. He made a river with fish and many villages. He made a mountain with flint for tools and basketry plants. He made wood for bows and wood for arrows. He made a mountain for playgrounds for the water bears and the people. He made a mountain where it was forbidden for the people to come. He made the features of the land. He made waves on the lake. He took an acorn shell and put it on the waters of the lake where it grew and became a boat. He smoked again and crossed the lake in the boat. He made people out of rocks that he put in the mountains and people out of hair who he taught to eat. He made people out of wood. He made people from the hairs from his arm. These people became deer. He made people from sinew. These people were hairless. He made people from hairs that became bears. Then he made people of flint who flew in the air. Then he danced and dreamed that the people were doing bad. Marumda floated in his house to his brother Kuksu’s house. Marumda consulted with his brother saying that people are intermarrying and their offspring are puny and deformed. He told Kuksu he would wash the people away. They smoked four times and then it rained for four days. It flooded. Marumda sought refuge on the top of a mountain where he called for help from his grandmother, Old Lady Spider. She sent a spiderweb basket and in it he floated up to the sky. She took him to Kuksu’s house where he told Kuksu that he had washed away the people. She lowered Marumda to the ground. He looked for people but found none. He went to the lake where he said there will be people he went to a Valley and wished people to be to and they had a dance house. He smoked again causing a fog. The people ran for cover. He made a speech telling the people together in the dance house where he began the ceremony. Time passed and people started their incestuous ways again. Marumda and Kuksu smoked again. They decided to destroy the people with fire. Marumda told the Fire Man who lived with the sun to burn the earth. Marumda ran around seeking shelter on the mountain when Spider saved him with her net again. She took him to Kuksu’s house. Marumda went to a Valley where he fastened the string to his ear hole after planting willow sticks. People were created. He went to them. He was an old man leaning on a stick. He taught the people that the people before had done wrong. He taught them the way to be, not to commit incest. He made a bowl and an arrow and told the people to shoot a deer. They did not know what to do with it. He taught them to skin it. He taught the women to weave baskets. He taught the women how to prepare food by pounding. He made a fish trap of willow, with which he trapped many fish. He roasted the fish and the women made acorn mush. Marumda went back to his place in the North. Time passed and he dreamed that the people were acting badly again. He went to Kuksu’s house where they smoked. They decided to destroy the people was snow and ice. After they did Marumda went back to the South. He lay down to sleep and wish people to be. He went to their dance house where he told people how it should be. He told them what to eat and use a milkweed string net. He taught the people how to catch fish with the net. He taught them to cook the fish and to eat them. He told them to perform their ceremonies in the dance house and chose one man to be the head chief. He went back to his house and in the north. Time passed. He dreamed that the people were acting badly, turning to incest. He floated to Kuksu’s house where they smoked. He conferred with Kuksu who decided to destroy the people again with a whirlwind. Marumda went to Whirlwind Man’s house who he told that the people were committing incest and they should be destroyed. Whirlwind Man destroyed the people and sought out Marumda with whom he smoked. Marumda thought the earth must not be naked, it must have people. He went to the East where he came to a valley. He planted sticks which he connected to a string in his ear hole. He slept and when he awoke he found people. He made a bow and arrows and taught them to hunt deer. He taught them to net and trap fish. He made a mortar and pestle a metate and mano. He taught them to grind food. He taught them to make friends with people over the hill who spoke differently from them. He taught them to dance. The people hunted the deer and the woman made acorn mush. He taught them to store their food and told them to hold festivals. Some boys talked to him and he took an acorn shell and threw it in the lake where it became a boat. He crossed the lake where Kuksu came. He asked if the people were behaving. Marumda gathered the people and told them to hold a four-day dance. The people crowded the dance house. They went to bathe at the lake and went back to the dance house. They gave Marumda a ball of mush and he departed. He taught the coyotes, the wolves, the pumas to hunt. He taught the skunks and raccoons how to behave. He taught the martins and the elk how to do. He taught all the animals how to do. He taught the birds and the water birds. He taught the fishes. He taught the turtle. Marumda got on top of a mountain and instructed every being how to behave and what to eat. He went to Kuksu’s house where he told them he had done well. Four times people were destroyed. This is how the world came to be.

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