The Birth of Earth

© Sam Cristoforetti Looking down toward Earth from the International Space Station.

By Donna Henes, Cricket Media

Central America - The Quichè Maya from Guatemala say that in the beginning, there was only an immense ocean that covered the entire universe. In this vast sea lived a serpent covered with blue and green feathers. One day, Feathered Serpent swam to the surface of the water and spoke to one who was called the Maker, the Heart of Heaven. These two beings were great thinkers, and together they thought about what could bring light and life to the world and how to create all things. As they discussed this matter, their words took shape and became real. They said, "earth," and there was Earth. As they said, "mountains," "valleys," "pine trees," and "rivers," these things were all formed.

China - According to Chinese myth, in the beginning, the universe was in the shape of an egg that held a swirling mass of elements. There were dark elements called Yin and light elements called Yang. One day, the egg cracked and split open. The Yang rose to the top and became the sky, and the Yin dropped down low to become Earth. In the middle lay a giant named Pan Gu. The giant grew 10 feet taller each day for 18,000 years. With each spurt of growth, he forced the sky further up and Earth further down. This work was exhausting, and finally Pan Gu died. His body became the soil, his blood made the waters of the world, his bones and teeth hardened into rock, and his hair grew into all the trees, plants, and grass that cover Earth.

Africa - The Yoruba people of Nigeria tell that in the beginning, the universe was divided into sky above and water below. There was no ground anywhere. Obatala, one of the many gods and goddesses who lived in the sky, decided to try to cover the water with land, so that people and creatures might live there one day. So he climbed down on a golden spider's web carrying a small shell, a pigeon, and a hen with five toes. When he got pretty close to the surface of the water, he poured sand from the shell into a pile, then he set the birds down onto the sand. The hen and the pigeon scratched and scattered the sand about until it turned into solid earth.

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Kids Magazine: The Birth of Earth
The Birth of Earth
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