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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

It was a strange-looking animal with a long head and six legs, the two hind ones unusually large; the forelegs short; and a small pair under its belly. The hair around the feet was very long, but all over the body there was fine, thick hair. From the back of the head grew short, thick horns which extended forward and curved back at the tips. The animal had small eyes, and was of darkish color, almost black.

"These animals can sink right into the ground and disappear," said Raven. "When the people want to kill one of them, they have to put a log under it so it cannot sink. It takes many people to kill one, for when the animal falls on the lower log, other logs must be placed above it and held down, while two men take large clubs and beat it between the eyes till it is dead."

Next they came to a round hole in the sky with a ring of short grass growing around the border and glowing like fire.

"This is a star called the Moon-dog," said Raven.

"The tops of the grass blades have been cut away or have burned off," said Man.

"Yes, my mother took some, and I took the rest to make the first fire down on earth," said Raven. "I have tried to make some of this same kind of grass on earth, but it will not grow there.

"Now close your eyes and get upon my wings and I will take you to another place," said Raven.

Man did as he was told, and they dropped through the flame-bordered star hole and floated down and down for a long time. They came to something that seemed denser than the air, and caused them to go more slowly, until they finally stopped.

"We are now standing on the bottom of the sea," said Raven. "I came down here to make some new kinds of water animals. Looking through the water must look like a fog to you, but you must not walk about; you must lie down, and if you become tired you may turn over upon the other side."

Raven then left Man lying on one side, where he rested for a long time. Finally he awoke feeling very tired, but when he tried to turn over, he could not.

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