Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/133
Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Wyandots. 121
apple-tree, they should bring the young Woman, and lay her down upon the ground under its branches, so that she might see down where the men 1 were at work, and the more quickly pluck away the medicine (Noh-quaht) when it should be reached.
When they had dug there for a while, the tree and the ground all about it suddenly sank down, fell through, and disappeared. The lap or treetop caught and carried down the young Woman. Tree and Woman disappeared, and the rent (K5h'-mehn-sah'-eh-zhah'-ah, i. e. broken world, or the rent earth) was closed over both of them.
This point where the tree sank down through heaven is called in the Wyandot mythology, Teh'-6oh-kyah'-eh, the point of breaking through. In some versions of this account it is called the " Jump- ing-off Place ; " for the Woman is represented as jumping or springing from the sky. The same Wyandot term is used, though, in all versions.
Underneath, in the lower world, was only water, — Yooh n s'-tsah n - reh'-zhooh, The Great Water. Two Swans 2 were swimming about there. These Swans saw the young Woman falling from heaven. Some accounts say that a mighty peal of thunder, the first ever heard in these lower regions, broke over the waters, and startled all the swimmers. On looking up, the Swans beheld the Woman stand- ing in the rent heavens, clad in flames of bright lightning. She was taller than the highest tree. Thus was she accompanied in her fall from heaven by Heh'-noh, the Grandfather and the Thunder God of the Wyandots.
One of the Swans said : —
"What shall we do with this Woman ?"
The other Swan replied : —
"We must receive her on our backs."
Then they threw their bodies together side by side, and she fell upon them.
The Swan that had first spoken said : —
"What shall we do with this Woman ? We cannot forever bear her up."
To this question the other Swan replied : —
" We must call a council of all the swimmers and all the water tribes."
This they did. Each animal came upon special invitation. The Big Turtle came by special invitation to preside over the Yah'-hah- sheh'yeh, the Great Council.
1 Some versions say women were doing the digging ; others use the word " people."
2 The Wyandot word for swan is used in this place, but the description of the birds would seem to indicate gulls or geese. They are described as " flat-backed birds," half a tree tall, i. e. very large.