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The Delivery of Men and Creatures - Zuni

Now there were growing things in the depths, like grasses and crawling vines. So now the Beloved Twins breathed on the stems of these grasses (growing tall as grass is accustomed to do toward the light, under the opening they had cleft and whereby they had descended), causing them to increase vastly and rapidly by grasping and walking round and round them, twisting them upward until they reached forth all the way into the light. And where wherever they grasped the stems, ridges were formed and thumb-marks from which sprang branching leaf-stems. In this way the two formed a great ladder whereon men and the creatures might ascend to the second cave-floor, and thus not be violently ejected in after-time by the throes of the Earth-mother, and thereby be made demonic and deformed.

Up this ladder, into the seeond cave-world, men and the beings crowded, following closely the Two Little but Mighty Ones. Yet many fell back and, lost in the darkness, peopled the under-world, from which they were delivered in after-time amid terrible earth shakings, becoming the monsters and fearfully strange beings of ancient times. In this second womb it was dark as is the night of a stormy season, but larger of space and higher than had been the first, because it was nearer the navel of the Earth-mother, hence named K'ólin tehuli (the Umbilical-womb, or the Place of Gestation). Here again men and the beings increased and the clamor of their complainings grew loud and beseeching. Again the Two, augmenting the growth of the great ladder, guided them upward, this time not all at once, but in successive bands to become in time the fathers of the six kinds of men (the yellow, the tawny gray, the red, the white, the mingled, and the black races), and with them the gods and creatures of them all. Yet this time also, as before, multitudes were lost or left behind. The third great cave-world, where men and the creatures had now ascended, being larger than the second and higher, was lighter, like a valley in starlight, and hamed Áwisho tehuli—the Vaginal-womb, or the Place of Sex-generation or Gestation. For here the various peoples and beings began to multiply apart in kind one from another; and as the nations and tribes of men and the creatures thus increased in numbers as before, here, too, it became overfilled. As before, generations of nations now were led out successively (yet many lost, also as before) into the next and last world-cave, Tépahaian tehuli, the Ultimate-uncoverable, or the Womb of Parturition.

Here it was light like the dawning, and men began to perceive and to learn variously according to their natures, which is why the Twins taught them to seek first of all our Sun-father, who would, they said, reveal to them wisdom and knowledge of the ways of life—in this they were instructing them as we do little children. Yet like the other caveworlds,this too became after a long time filled with progeny; and finally, in stages, the Two led forth the nations of men and the kinds of being into this great upper world, which is called Ték'ohaian úlahnane, or the World of Disseminated Light and Knowledge or Seeing.

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