The First People (Caddo)
The Caddos believe that a very long time ago, men and animals were brothers and lived together below the ground. But at last their leader, a man named Neesh (Moon), discovered the entrance to a cave leading up to the earth’s surface. Neesh told everyone they would have to follow him to the new land. The people divided into groups, each with a leader and a drum. Neesh told the people to sing and beat their drums as they moved along, and he warned them never to look back they way they had come. Soon they reached the opening. First an old man climbed out, carrying fire and a pipe in one hand and a drum in the other. Next came his wife, bringing corn and pumpkin seeds. Then came the rest of the people and animals. But when Wolf climbed out he turned around and looked back. The opening closed, shutting the rest of the people and animals under the ground, where they still remain. Those who had come out into the world of light sat down and cried for their friends left below in the world of darkness. The people on the surface traveled westward until finally the chief picked up some dirt and threw it in front of him and formed very high mountains. The people stopped and began to make their first homes and villages. Moon went to the top of the mountains and looked about and saw that not all the people had followed his trail. Some had scattered and gone in different directions. When the people had all been together, they had spoken only one language, Caddo; but now that they were scattered, each group spoke a different language. That is why the many tribes of the present time speak different languages. Because their ancestors came out of the ground the Caddos call the Middle World ina’—Mother—and return to it when they die.
Adapted from The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890 by James Mooney (1896, Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report, No. 14, Part 2).