Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/204

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Iliad, was banished from the sky. In the upper world there are woods and plains, as on earth. Ataentsic fell down a hole when she was hunting a bear, or she cut down a heaven-tree, and fell with the fall of this Huron Ygdrasil, or she was seduced by an adventurer from the under world, and was tossed out of heaven for her fault. However it chanced, she dropped on the back of the turtle in the midst of the waters. He consulted the other aquatic animals, and one of them, generally said to have been the musk—rat, fished[1] up some soil and fashioned the earth.[2] Here Ataentsic

  1. Relations, 1633. In this myth one Messou, the Great Hare, is the beginner of our race. He married a daughter of the Musk-rat.
  2. Here we first meet in this investigation a very widely distributed myth. The myths already examined have taken the origin of earth for granted. The Hurons account for its origin; a speck of earth was fished out of the waters and grew. In M. H. de Charencey's tract Une Legende Cosmogonique (Havre, 1884) this legend is traced. M. de Charencey distinguishes (1) a continental version; (2) an insular version; (3) a mixed and Hindoo version. Among continental variants he gives a Vogul version (Revue de Philologie et d’Ethnographie, Paris, 1874, i. 10). Numi Tarom (a god who cooks fish in heaven) hangs a male and female above the abyss of waters in a silver cradle. He gives them, later, just earth enough to build a house on. Their son, in the guise of a squirrel, climbs to Numi Tarom, and receives from him a duck-skin and a goose-skin. Clad in these, like Yehl in his raven-skin or Odin in his hawk-skin, he enjoys the powers of the animals, dives and brings up three handfuls of mud, which grow into our earth. Elempi makes men out of clay and snow. The American version M. de Charencey gives from Nicholas Perrot (Mem. sur les Mœurs, &c., Paris, 1864, i. 3). Perrot was a traveller of the seventeenth century. The Great Hare takes a hand in the making of earth out of fished-up soil. After giving other North American variants, and comparing the animals who, after three attempts, fish up earth to the, dove and raven of Noah, M. de Charencey reaches the Bulgarians. God made Satan, in the skin of a diver, fish up earth out of Lake Tiberias. Three doves fish up earth, in the beginning, in the Galician popular legend (Chodzko, Contes des Paysans Slaves, p. 374). In the insular version, as in New Zealand, the island is usually fished up with a hook by a heroic angler (Japan, Tonga, Tahiti, New Zealand). The Hindoo version, in which the boar plays the part of musk-rat, or duck, or diver, will be given in "Indian Cosmogonic Myths."