Navajo Creation Story and Myth

About the Navajo creation story, the Native American myth about the history and origins of the earth.


The 1st world was inhabited by insects and insectlike people. It was such as unpleasant place that all of the insects made themselves wings and flew to the sky to look of r a new home. Finally they found a crack in the sky and emerged into the 2nd world.

The 2nd world was a blue world of birds who strongly resented the invasion of the insect people. There was constant fighting, and at last the insect people followed the voice of the blue wind to the 3rd world.

The 3rd world, or yellow world, began to look more like the world we now know, and people and animals began to look more like they do now. There were 4 mountains in this land, one in each direction, and the mountain people began to teach First Man and First Woman how to plant corn and how to build homes. They also warned everyone not to bother the water monster.

But the coyote did not heed the warnings. He went to the home of the water monster and kidnapped his 2 children.

Suddenly the oceans rose and the land began to flood. All of the people and animals gathered on top of the highest mountain. The people planted a giant reed on top of the mountain and climbed up inside it. Finally after 4 days of climbing the giant reed, the reached the 4th world.

This 4th world was even more beautiful than those before, and here were other people and other kinds of animals. Here First Man and First Woman learned more about growing corn and the proper roles of the sexes.

But the coyote still had the children of the water monster, and First People were horrified to find the waters of their new world suddenly rising. Again they planted a reed and began to climb, but this time they could not reach all the way. Nor could they find a hole. So the yellow hawk tried to scratch a hole in the dome. The heron and the buzzard also helped, but the locust was the one who finally succeeded in getting through. Then the spider spun a rope so that everyone could climb up through the hole.

The New world was only a small island, so the ants were 1st, carrying the soil of the 4th world. The other people followed, carrying seeds of corn and other treasures from the 4th world.

The people had not even gotten settled in the 5th world when the waters there started rising. This time First Man and First Woman decided that someone must have offended the water monster. They searched everyone, and of course, found his children with the coyote. They took them to the lake and put them in a small boat. The waters went down immediately and floods have never again destroyed man's world.

(Permission: Myths and Modern Man. By Barbara Stanford and Gene Stanford. New York, Simon and Schuster, Inc., Washington Square Davison, 1972.)

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