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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The First Man"

The First Man

In the time before there were any people on earth, a large pea-vine was growing on the beach, and in the pod of this pea the first man lay coiled up for four days. On the fifth day he stretched out his feet and that bursted the pod. He fell to the ground, where he stood up, a full-grown man.

He had never seen anything that looked like him, and he did not know what to make of himself. He looked around, and then at himself; then he moved his arms and hands and was surprised that he could do it. He moved his neck and his legs, and examined himself curiously.

Looking back, he saw the pod from which he had fallen still hanging to the vine, with a hole at the lower end out of which he had dropped. He went up and looked in through the hole to see if there were any more like him in the pod. Then he looked about him again, and saw that he was getting farther away from the place where he started, and that the ground seemed very soft and moved up and down under his feet.

After a while he had an unpleasant feeling in his stomach, and stooped down to take water in his mouth from a small pool at his feet. The water ran down into his stomach and he felt better. When he looked up again, he saw a big dark object coming through the air with a waving motion. It came on until it was just in front of him when it stopped and, standing on the ground, looked at him.

This was a Raven, and as soon as it stopped it raised one of its wings, pushed up its beak like a mask, to the top of its head, and changed at once into a man. Before he raised his mask, the Raven had stared at the Man and now he stared more than ever, moving about from side to side to obtain a better view. At last he said:

"What are you? Where did you come from? I have never seen anything like you."

He looked again and said, "You are so much like me in shape that you surprise me."

Presently he said, "Walk away a few steps so that I may see you more clearly. I am astonished at you! I have never before seen anything like you.

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