Woman Who Fell From the Sky

In the mythology of the Iroquois and Huron of North America, the Woman Who Fell From the Sky is a primal ancestor. Also known as Sky Woman or Ataensic, she plays a central role in creation.

According to legend, the Woman Who Fell From the Sky lived in a world above the sky. One day she became pregnant and fell out of heaven. Some stories say that she fell while chasing a bear, while others say that the tree of life was uprooted and she tumbled through the hole left behind.

As the woman fell, ducks flew beneath her to slow her descent. She landed in a vast watery place, with no land in sight. Turtle arose from the water and let her rest on his back. Meanwhile, Muskrat dove beneath the water and brought up mud to form the earth. Soon after, the woman gave birth to twin sons—one good and one evil—who created all the natural features of the earth and sky. According to some stories, she gave birth to a daughter, and that woman was the mother of the twins.

primal earliest; existing before other things

underworld land of the dead

The good twin shaped the sky and created the sun. He also made the moon, stars, mountains, and many plants and animals. The evil twin set out to destroy his brother's creations. He created darkness to drive the sun from the sky and made monsters, storms, and various kinds of dangerous beasts. When creation was finished, the brothers fought. The good twin won and banished his evil brother from the earth. Some stories say that the evil twin became ruler of the underworld and still tries to spread evil in the world.

See also Creation Stories ; Native American Mythology ; Twins .

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