Origin of the Middle World (Yuchi)
In the beginning nothing existed. There was only water and some animals. The birds met with the Sun to figure out what they could do to find the Earth. The Sun asked the animals to help, so Beaver dived into the water but failed to find the Earth. Otter tried next, but he, too, was unsuccessful. Finally, Crawfish dived beneath the water. He was gone for a very long time. After a while, the animals saw some dirty yellow water rise to the surface. Pretty soon Crawfish came up, holding a little dirt between his claws. It was only a small amount of dirt, but the animals took it and threw it over the water. The dirt expanded and soon the Earth’s surface was formed.
At first there was no light, and so the animals met with the Sun to look for someone who would light the earth. First Glow-Worm tried; it flew around but made only faint gleams of light. Then Star tried but he also made only a dim light. Next they asked Moon. She gave light, but still not enough. Then they asked Sun. As soon as she came up the earth was flooded with light. All the creatures on earth were glad and sang aloud. At noon the sun stopped, and some animals said the sun should stay there. After a while Ground Squirrel said that there should be night as well as day. The animals all agreed. Then the Ground Squirrel kept talking about his suggestion, and Wildcat got mad at him. Wildcat jumped on Ground Squirrel and scratched him all over, leaving lines on his back.
When the earth was just made it was soft, and the animals thought it would be good if the ground were flat. Nobody was to walk on it until it was dry. Buzzard was sent to inspect the earth. While he was flying he noticed tracks, and following them he came upon Bullfrog. “Nobody is supposed to go on the ground and here you are!” said the Buzzard. He whipped Bullfrog with his wings until Bullfrog cried and his eyebrows swelled. Then buzzard flew on, and soon he saw more tracks. These tracks led to Raccoon, who was fishing for crawfish. Buzzard whipped Raccoon until his face became spotted. After a while Buzzard grew tired and almost fell to the ground. When he flapped his wings to rise into the sky, the mountains were made.
Adapted from Ethnology of the Yuchi Indians by Frank Speck (1909, Anthropology Publications of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, No. 1).