Pomo Creation Story I I I – – adapted from the telling of Edwin Loeb
Marumda was like a man and lived alone in a cloud house. Kuksu was like a brother to him and knew his ideas as well as himself. Marumda talked to himself, then took the hair from his head and asked the hair to point him in the direction of his brother. He came to Kuksu’s house that was a cloud house like his own. He suggested to Kuksu that they create the world. Kuksu took some gum from under his arms and rolled it into a ball. He added a piece of feather with it. He gave it to Marumda who took some for from under his arms and rolled it into a ball. Then he rolled the two balls together. Marumda had a pipe that had marks on it of all the things that would occur on the earth. He filled the pipe with tobacco and blew smoke on the ball. He attached a sinew cord to the ball and the other and to his ear. He fell asleep holding the ball which would jerk. The jerking and sleeping continued for eight days. On the eighth day the ball grew heavy and slipped from his hand, pulling him along with it. It was the earth. Marumda checked to see if the water and mountains were placed as they were on the pipe. The land was empty. He said to Kuksu that they should make things to occupy the earth. He made the animals before people. He and Kuksu looked around and then he said that they should make someone to take care of it all. Kuksu gave Marumda four feathers from which to make people. Marumda made women from the feathers and men from his hair. He and Kuksu showed the people how to make things and how to prepare acorns. He told the people to kill and eat the animals but not while the women were menstruating. Marumda went to the ocean and took out one of the men but he was unable to drink the water. He said the water was to bring him food that he was to drink the water from the mountains. Marumda made the fishes and the shellfish. The people gathered them for food. Marumda decided to make light so he smoked his pipe and blew the fire out into the heavens. The sparks became stars and the main fire, the sun. The people became cruel and committed incest. Marumda said that a flood would destroy the people. Only a few families survived the flood. The people who turned into beavers survived because they could live among the waters. The beavers and otters could marry and Otter could marry the falcon. Frog put fire in his stomach. Beaver and Falcon got Frog and had him spit the fire out into the tinder on their raft. That is how fire started. The water started to go down and Falcon flew to find land. He found some and Otter and Beaver moved their raft to it. Frog sat on the top of the logs. Falcon sent Beaver to get food and water but could not bring any up. Frog went down and brought up some water. As the water receded the mountains and valleys appeared. The people found the places where they belonged. At this point Coyote appeared. Coyote said that the water was too smooth and food too easy to get. He splashed in the waters and that is how the wind and the waves began. Marumda told the people to act right. The animals could become people and the people animals. Again the people violated the hunting, fishing, and marriage laws. Marumda sent fire that killed the people. The people cried to be saved but Marumda said he would be destroyed by the fire too. Spider took him up in his net and saved him. Falcon was saved but his feathers were burned. That is why is he is black to this day. Frog was saved and went under the ground taking the water with him. Marumda took away from the people the ability to turn into animals and the animals into people. They are as they are to this day.