Old Man at the Beginning
A story of the Crow People of Montana and Wyoming
At the beginning of the world, there was nothing but water. It was dark in the world, and no one saw the water of the world. Then the Old Man of the Crow People came into the world, and he looked all around and said, "Is there nothing in this world but water?"
Off in the distance, Old Man saw that there were two little ducks swimming about. These ducks had red eyes. Old Man called them to him. They came swimming, paddling in the world of water.
Old Man said to them, "Is there nothing in this world but water?"
The elder duck answered, "We have never seen anything in this world but water, but we think that there may be something down under the water. We feel it in our hearts."
"Dive down, Younger Duck," said Old Man, and the younger of the little ducks dove deep under the water, looking for the bottom. He was gone a long time, and Old Man said, "Oh, I am afraid Younger Duck has drowned."
"No," said the Elder Duck, "we are able to hold our breath for a long time. He will come back up." At about that time, Younger Duck came up with something in his bill. It was a root.
"If there is a root," said Old Man, "then there must be earth as well. Dive down Elder Duck, and see if you find some earth."
The elder duck dove deep, and was gone for a very long time. When he came up, he had a ball of mud in his bill.
"This is what I have been looking for," said Old Man. He took the root and put it in the ball of wet earth, and blew three times on it. Once he blew, twice he blew, and again he blew on the ball of earth. The ball began to grow and fill the world and push the water aside. It grew until there was a great land, with many plants and animals living on it.
The ducks, who live in water, on land, and in the sky, brought up the earth, and Old Man made the world for the Crow People.