And in the beginning, there was the world
not as we know it but as a world born anew
and brought into being before it was fully whole
void of substance and colour.
And the masters brought also into being
all manner of animals and plants
also creating the wind spirits, to shape the skies and waters
the stone spirits, to raise the mountains and mould the valleys
and the sun spirit, to nourish all creations and reign over them,
and to each spirit, the masters gave a tribe of people.
And the masters created the final spirit, the artist
and bestowed upon her the gift of colour
that the world would be filled with beauty
and the peoples and animals would behold it with joy and wonder.
And as the masters decreed, so it became:
she gave the stones and the earth bold colours
that the peoples and animals would behold their strength.
She dipped her finger into the seas and lakes and rivers
and gave them the colours of their heavenly brother, the sky.
The sun spirit refused, saying
‘I am not of the same substance as the world
and they shall behold me as such.’
And the artist replied
‘As you wish so shall it be that the world
will never behold you fully;
your brightness will blind all who seek to look upon you.’
And she coloured all things then
colouring life with her own scarlet blood;
to animals she gave colours of the earth and fire
to plants she gave colours of the earth and seas
but to her own people she gave the most striking colours
of fire and earth and skies and water together
and she taught them to weave and dye cloths
to colour their bodies and faces for marriages and wars
and to change the colour of clay.
And her people hid these skills from the world
believing them sacred to their people alone;
her altars were more beautiful than all others.
When the masters beheld the world, they were pleased
but the other spirits and their peoples cried out, saying
‘The artist has favoured her people above ours –
she has given them her knowledge of colour
for the sake of her own vanity!’
And the masters grew angry and sought the artist
that they could strip her of powers and knowledge
but she fled in the form of a red fox from their wrath.
And so much did she desire to keep her colour
so that the spirits would not recognize her
she coloured the coat of all foxes red.
And from that day, all artists among our people
are known as people of the fox.
Note: Written in response to a class on mythology and creation myths.