American Indian Mythology by Evelyn Wolfson

By Evelyn Wolfson

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And called out for Butterfly-Man. And kept reaching out for butterflies as she went. But Butterfly-Man did not slow down. Nor did he turn around. Before long, Tolowim-Woman’s heart was gone away. 45 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Q: A: Why does Tolowim-Woman wish to change her life? Q: What qualities does Butterfly-Man possess, and what do they represent to Tolowim-Woman? A: Butterfly-Man’s great beauty represents the attraction of sensual pleasures. He is Tolowim-Woman’s guide to freedom. He flies freely in an enchanted and beautiful land without any responsibilities.

The next group, little birds who ran around stupidly, he made into sandpipers. A group of fishermen in a canoe on a lake he turned into sawbill ducks, and others, standing in shallow water, he made into mallard ducks. The last group of creatures, whom he could not identify, were lounging on the beach, so he turned them into clams. After Young Moon had changed everything he encountered on earth, he created a great waterfall to challenge the Dog Salmon on their way upstream. When he finally arrived at home, his family waited to cheer him.

He says about the Cherokees’ various worlds: The Southeastern Indians conceived of This World as a great, flat island resting rather precariously on the surface of the waters, suspended from the vault of the sky by four cords attached at each of the cardinal directions. . Above This World was the sky vault, an inverted bowl of solid rock which rose and fell twice each day, at dawn and at dusk, so that the sun and moon could pass beneath it. When the sun passed up and under the inside of the sky vault it was day; while it was returning back to its starting place in the east 4 it was night.

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