Creation of Turtle Island
Told by the Ancient Ones of Turtle Island
Let me introduce myself. I am known as TchiHawae. I am also
called Butterfly Deer Woman, a
name easier to remember.
I am in
part a storyteller. The Old Ones often speak to me and share
their stories that I may, in turn, share
them with you. One day, perhaps, you will share one of them
with your own child.
can make up a story and it can be whatever it is you would like
it to be, for there is no limit to
imagination. And sometimes what we think is not real at all
is, on some level, very real.
the story of "How Turtle Island Came Into Being" as told to
me by the Old Ones.
ago, there was no land, only water and sky. Our good Earth Mother
lay deep under the vast waters which covered her. These waters,
like an ocean, were inhabited by many colorful and often strange
looking creatures of many sizes, shapes,
forms and colors. Some came from the eel clan, some from the lobster,
starfish, sea horse, urchin, sponge, sting ray, whale, turtle
clans and more. So many more.
waters were so clean that they were crystal clear. You could see
way down to the ocean's floor. So abundant was the vegetation
there that no creature ever went hungry. Grandfather Sun showered
his nurturing light by day upon these waters and by night, thousands
upon thousand of starbeings winked and blinked in the water's
reflection. The phosphorescent lights
in these waters winked back and Grandmother Moon smiled warmly
at her own reflection as she traversed the night sky.
above and reflected in this sea was the largest, brightest and
most beautiful star in the Universe. And in this star there lived
a lovely and very curious little Star Princess. We'll call her
spent many fine hours staring down at her reflection in the rippling
waters below. And behind her, in this reflection,
was the whole universe around her. She had been often warned by
Grandmother Morning Star not to lean over too far. "Star people
are of fire," she sparked, "we do not swim. If you fall you will
drown in those waters."
had warned her too. Nova
sighed, "I guess I can never go there. I can only look down and
wave at the creatures below." And wave she did. Often.
creatures below waved back at her. They had become fond of the
little princess. They would show off for her, preen
and swim, glide and flip to impress her. And
so life went on.
day, while the little princess was admiring her body in the reflection
below she reached out just a little too far. Perhaps
a lot too far! Uh Oh! She
was falling through the ethers toward the waters below.
Oo!" said the creatures, watching her fall. "Oo Oo!" They had
to do something quickly to save her. They knew that
if she fell in the waters she would drown. Quickly they came together
in council on the ocean's floor, so that crab, lobster, clam,
sponge and others who lived there could attend.
Man Turtle, who had been sleeping, was awakened by the ruckus
of fin flappin' and tails whippin'. All around him creatures gathered,
talked and thought, clawed and fished to fin.
kept falling. She was getting closer. Time was running out. They
needed a solution!
and slowly, Old Man Turtle, wiping the sleep from his eyes, stretched
his head out of his shell and in a low and somewhat weary voice
said, "I can save the Princess, that is, if I can reach the top
of the waters in time. She can rest on my back and I can carry
her until there is another solution."
was of the essence, so the council of fish, mammals and crustaceans
alike, swam upwards pushing Old Man Turtle along as fast as they
could. This swimming caused large waves in the water making it
difficult to position Turtle near the falling Princess. Back and
forth they swam, pushing Old Man Turtle here, then there. And
then with a "splish" and a "sploosh," Nova
fell into the waters and was quickly scooped up into the arms
of Brother Octopus, who placed her astraddle on the back of Old
Creatures of the Sea were so happy and excited that they jumped
and bobbed about, applauding and splashing, creating other large
waves, almost turning Old Man Turtle and Nova upside down. Holding
on tightly Nova greeted and thanked her friends. They gathered
about her, brought her delicate fruits, greens of seaweed and
kelp from the great ocean floor, and shells with which to decorate
went on as time will, and the little princess grew heavier and
Old Man Turtle grew wearier. His back began to ache more and more
under the weight of the princess. He started to bob and sink.
"Not as young as I used to be," he sighed. "Ho there FinLess One,"
he called to his friend Eel. "I can no longer hold this princess
on my back, she is getting too heavy for the likes of me. Help
me!" he coughed, "Get help!" He gulped down a mouthful
of water. Nova spoke up with concern, "I will stop eating old
friend. I would not wish harm to come to you. I would sooner drown
than cause you further pain."
matter was very urgent. Once again the many creatures of the sea
gathered in council. Whale and Shark stayed behind
to help their old friend Turtle stay afloat.
was Dolphin who first had the idea. Horseshoe Crab seconded it.
All agreed it might work. They would dig, and dig they did! They
would dig that sand and stone from the ocean's floor right on
up above the water creating a beach, a hill, a mountain, an island,
even a continent! Something large enough upon which Princess Nova
could live and play.
of the little Princess and of Old Man Turtle's plight traveled
quickly through the four directions of the watery kingdom. Soon
all the creatures everywhere were digging and scooping. Even the
good Earth Mother helped by opening up her belly to spew forth
some of her hot lava rock. Land was rising above the waters in
the many directions, far more land than Nova needed. None to soon,
Old Man Turtle was able to stand at last on the sands at the water's
edge and Princess Nova was able to slide off his back to safety.
"Wow," she said looking about her, "this is beautiful."
so. When the creatures dug up the sand from the bottom of the
sea, they also dug up rocks, coral reefs, seaweed, pearls, brightly
colored shiny shells and some fossilized bone of the many ancestors
celebrated. To honor Old Man Turtle whose endurance and love had
kept the little Star Nation Princess alive, they molded part of
the earth into his likeness and connected it to a portion of the
land and called that land Turtle Island.
some of the vegetation that had grown under the waters began to
grow above the ground, pointing their little faces toward the
Sun. And creatures once happy to be in water now wanted to move
up onto the beautiful land. Some like eel remained legless, others
grew legs. Some even learned to fly.
so it was that Turtle Island was created. You can find it easily
by looking at a map. It is now called the United States. And if
you look at the State of Florida, you will see the likeness of
Old Man Turtle's head and neck extending out into the sea, reminding
us how it was, once upon a time.