The Legend of Turtle Island

This is a creation story from some indigenous cultures. It explains the origin of the Earth and how it came to be. According to the story, before the Earth existed, everything was water and many creatures lived in it. The story then introduces a powerful chief and his wife who lived in a land far above the clouds. The chief's wife had a dream that a great tree, which had roots stretching to the four sacred directions and bore many kinds of fruits and flowers, was uprooted. The chief knew that this was a powerful dream that must be fulfilled and so the tree was uprooted, leaving a large hole in the sky. The chief's wife fell through the hole, grasping a handful of seeds as she fell. The water creatures saw her falling and tried desperately to think of a way to help her. One of the creatures suggested that they try to get some land from below the waters. Many of the creatures tried to retrieve land but failed, but finally, a brave little muskrat succeeded and brought a piece of land to the surface. However, there was no place to put the land. The turtle then offered to put the land on its back and hold it up for the chief's wife, who had landed safely on the turtle's back, to stand on. She then cast the seeds around, and the land on the turtle's back began to grow and grow, forming an island in the middle of the water. This island grew and grew to become what is now known as North America, also called Turtle Island in honor of the turtle's bravery.