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

The First Woman

Every time he made anything he explained to Man what it was and what it would do.

After this he flew away to the sky and was gone four days, when he returned bringing a salmon for Man and his wife. He thought that the ponds and lakes seemed silent and lonely, so he made insects to fly over their surfaces, and muskrats and beavers to swim about near their borders. At that time the mosquito did not bite as it does now, and he said to Man:

"I made these flying creatures to enliven the world and make it cheerful. The skin of this muskrat you are to use for clothing. The beaver is very cunning and only good hunters can catch it. It will live in the streams and build strong houses, and you must follow its example and build a house."

When a child was born, Raven and Man took it to the creek and rubbed it with clay, and carried it back to the stopping-place on the knoll. The next morning the child was running about pulling up grass and other plants which Raven had caused to grow near by. On the third day the child became a full-grown man.

Raven one day went to the creek and made a bear, and gave it life; but he jumped aside very quickly when the bear stood up and looked fiercely about. He had thought there ought to be some animal of which Man would be afraid, and now he was almost afraid of the bear himself.

"You would better keep away from that animal," he said. "It is very fierce and will tear you to pieces if you disturb it."

He made various kinds of seals, and said to Man, "You are to eat these and to take their skins for clothing. Cut some of the skins into strips and make snares to catch deer. But you must not snare deer yet; wait until they are more numerous."

By and by another child was born, and the Man and Woman rubbed it with clay as Raven had taught them to do, and the next day the little girl walked about. On the third day she was a full-grown woman, for in those days people grew up very fast, so that the earth would be peopled.

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