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Old Man decided that something was missing in the world he had made. He thought it would be a good thing to create a woman and a child. He didn't quite know how they should look, but he took some clay and mud and for four days tried out different shapes. At first he didn't like the looks of the beings he formed. On the fourth day, however, he shaped a woman in a pleasing form, round and nice, with everything in front and back, above and below, just right.

"This is good," Old Man said, "this is the kind of woman I like to have in my world." Then he made a little child resembling the woman. "Well," said Old Man, "this is just what I wanted, but they're not alive yet."

Old Man covered them up for four days. On the first day he looked under the cover and saw a faint trembling. On the third day they moved their arms and legs. "Soon they will be ready," said Old Man. And on the fourth day he looked underneath the cover and saw his figures crawling around. "They're ready now to walk upon my world," thought Old Man. He took the cover off and told the woman and the child: "Walk upright like human beings." The woman and child stood up. They began to walk, and they were perfect.

The followed Old Man down to the river, where he gave them the power of speech. At once the woman said, "What is that state we are in, walking, moving, breathing, eating?"

"That is life," said Old Man. "Before you were just lumps of mud. Now, you live."

"When we were lumps of mud, were we alive then?" asked the woman.

"No," said Old Man, "you were not alive."

"What do you call the state we were in then?" asked the woman.

"It is called death," answered Old Man. "When you are not alive, then you are dead."

"Will we be alive always?" asked the woman. "Will we go on living forever, or shall we be dead again at some time?"

Old Man pondered. He said: "I didn't think about that at all. Let's decide it right now. Here's a buffalo chip. If it floats, then people will die and come back to life four days later."

"No," said the woman. "This buffalo chip will dissolve in the water. I'll throw this stone. If it floats, we'll live forever and there will be no death. If it sinks, then we'll die." The woman didn't know anything yet, because she had been walking the earth for just a few hours. She didn't know about stones and water, so she threw the stone into the river and it sank.

"You made a choice there," said Old Man. "Now nothing can be done about it. Now people will die."

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[ Introduction | Deeds and Prophecies of Old Man ]
[ How the Blackfoot got the Buffalo Jump ]
[ How a Piegan Warrior Found the First Horses ]
[ The Creation | The Story of the Buffalo Dance ]
[ The Piqued Buffalo-Wife | The Wise Man of Chief Mountain ]
[ The Wematekan's are Earth Spirits ]
[ Water Spirit's Gift of Horses | A Hunting Trip ]
[ Coyote and the Rolling Rock | Sacred Otter ]
[ Origin of the Sweat Lodge | The Story of Two Brothers ]
[ Women Who Married Star Husbands ]
[ How the Worm Pipe Came to the Blackfoot ]

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