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An Introduction to Mythology

Page: 77

"This second group contains a large number of myths, many of them exceedingly beautiful and, so far as they are known, highly pleasing to cultivated people. Unfortunately few of these myths have been given to the world yet, for the sole and simple reason that comparatively few have been collected from the Indians."

Many and diverse indeed are the tales regarding creation current among the red men of America; but, notwithstanding their variety, they possess a fundamental likeness to each other whether they hail from the pampas of Argentina or the region of the Great Lakes. Among the North American Indian myths we find the animal creator strongly in evidence. Thus among the Algonquin Indians we have the Creator Michabo or Manibozho, the Great Hare, who through philological confusion (the likeness of the words for 'light' and 'rabbit') has changed his original status of sun-god for that of an animal deity. While hunting he observed his dogs disappear in the waters of a mighty lake. He himself entered the waters, which suddenly overflowed and submerged 'the world.' The god dispatched a raven to discover a piece of earth, but it returned. Another was equally unlucky, whereupon Manibozho sent out a musk-rat, which returned with a sufficiency of earth to recreate the terrestrial sphere. Marrying the musk-rat, he peopled the world.

ARAWAKS


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