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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Up to the Top of the Sky, and Down to the Bottom of the Sea"

Up to the Top of the Sky, and Down to the Bottom of the Sea

One day Raven came back and, sitting beside Man, talked of many things as if they were brothers. After a little Man said, "I understand that you have made a land in the sky."

"Yes, I have a fine land there," answered Raven. "I made that land with all its people and animals, before I made this one."

"I wish you would take me to see it," said Man.

"Very well, I will do so," replied Raven.

They started toward the sky, where they arrived in a short time, and Man found himself in a beautiful country with a climate much better than that on earth; but the people who lived there were very small. When they stood beside Man, their heads reached only to his hips. As they walked along, Man looked about and saw many animals that were strange to him, and noticed that the country was much finer than the one he had left.

The people living there wore handsome fur garments nicely made and embroidered with ornamental patterns such as people on earth now wear. Man got the patterns, and when he came back to earth he showed his people how to make the handsome garments; and the patterns have been retained ever since.

After a time they came to a large house and went in. A very old man came from the place of honor opposite the door at the head of the room to welcome them.

"This is the first man I made in the sky land," said Raven, explaining why the man seemed so old.

The old man called to his people: "We have here a guest from the lower land, who is a friend of mine. Bring food to refresh him after his travels."

They brought boiled food of a more delicious kind than Man had ever tasted.

"That is the flesh of the spotted reindeer and the sheep that live in these mountains," said Raven. "When you have finished your meal we will go on to see other things that I have made. But you must not attempt to drink from any of the lakes we may pass, for in them are animals which would seize and kill anyone from the lower land."

On the way they came to a dry lake bed in which tall grass was growing very thickly, and lying on the very tips of the grass was a large animal, yet the grass did not bend with the weight.

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