Animals, elements, the solar system, and natural phenomena are
revered by the Apaches. That which is beyond their understanding
is always ascribed to the supernatural.
In the beginning nothing existed--no earth, no sky, no sun, no
moon, only darkness was everywhere.
Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow
and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within
the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives
Above. As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face
with both hands.
When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above.
He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he
created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many
colours appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different
Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together,
thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a
"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she
did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right
hand to the Girl-Without-Parents.
"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.
"From the east where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon
"Where is the earth?" she asked.
"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking,
thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was
the magic number.
Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together,
then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again
Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small-
All four gods sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.
"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too
small for us to live upon."
Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and
some western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he
Creator sang, "Let us make earth. I am thinking of the earth,
earth, earth; I am thinking of the earth," he sang four times.
All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed
together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small
round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.
Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked
the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns
giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator
told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.
Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball,
crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his
strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a
yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With
mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to
immeasurable size--it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or
rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains
Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and
there appeared Hummingbird.
"Fly north, south, east, and west and tell us what you see," said
"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The earth
is most beautiful, with water on the west side."
But the earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator
made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support
the earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the
four cardinal points of the earth. The earth sat still.
Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he
repeated four times.
Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought
there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty-
eight people appeared to help make a sky above the earth. Creator
chanted about making chiefs for the earth and sky.
He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned
with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a
turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or
teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.
Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweathouse. Girl-
Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of
the east doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket
to be used after the sweat.
Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweathouse. The
three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs
of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be
finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic
red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them,
giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and
Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People.
One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the earth and
its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her
charge of health care for all Earth-People.
Since the earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to
create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see
how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported,
"All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the
water on the other side of the earth will rise and cause a mighty
Creator made a very tall pinon tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered
the tree framework with pinon gum, creating a large, tight ball.
In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud,
taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents
put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at
In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on
a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into
mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led
the gods out from the float-ball onto the new earth. She took
them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with
his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during
the flood time on earth.
Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl-
Without-Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.
"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do
your best toward making a perfect, happy world.
"You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.
"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.
"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.
"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.
"You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."
Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they
rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them
forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile
of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.
Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this
cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other
clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the
Sun-God went east to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without-
Parents departed westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy
and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the south. Big Dipper can
still be seen in the northern sky at night, a reliable guide to
Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
Copyright @ 1993-2016
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