Ni’jal Epic of Creation

The Great Clam

The following is but one example of a Ni’Jal creation myth. There are hundreds of variations and hundreds of completely different myths.

At the start was darkness, a fullness of emptiness. It was not cold, but empty of heat. It was not dark, but empty of light and it was within this night-dark fullness that Sanggai swam. Not in the waters below, but in the waters above he swam. To and fro he swam, happy and content for he had no need to create or have others with him. He was an island unto himself, a rock.

As he swam, he dragged a fishing line behind and below; in the waters below did he troll. In this way he angled and created the ocean fish as he swam. The creator did not think about what he would create, he simply created. There was little thought and little planning, but in this, all things came to be.

Soon, Sanggai had a thought, he would create offspring, but was concerned that his children might disturb him, distract him and stop him from swimming freely in the darkness (he was also concerned that if he created his children they would then have to create light and that he would be unable to swim in the darkness or void of light). As he mused about this, his angling line caught on a shellfish below. In amusement, the creator pulled up the shellfish and found a clam had been snagged by his hook. He smiled, for he now had a plan.

The world of his offspring would be a clam. A giant clam, but still a clam. The top half of the clam was his son, the Sky Father, the bottom half was his daughter, the Earth Mother. This he created, and then he left. It was by Sanggai that all things were created, but only the first two were directly created.

Having lost their father, the brother and sister cleaved to one another for warmth, protection and companionship, for unlike their father, the two craved company and loved one another. It was from their love that their offspring grew. For as they dreamed, the children gods were born. First came the god of wind; then the great squid, god of the sea; then the mighty tree, god of the forest; the great ray, god of sea creatures; closely followed by the great boar, god of food; and soon the god of peace. It was sometime later that the god of war came into being and the only one to bear a name, Milchama. Nobody knows where Milchama came from or whose child he truly was, but he has been as long as men remember.

Soon the children began to grumble, for as they practiced their crafts, the confines of the shell became unbearable. The children first approached the wind-god and bade him, as firstborn, to ask their parents for freedom, but the wind-god, being wisest of them all refused for he knew his parents loved each other and their separation would be painful. The children moved to the second born, the great squid, who wanted the freedom as much as the rest of them, so he took his great arms and tried to push his Sky-father apart from his Earth-mother. He was unsuccessful. Though he was strong, he was not strong enough. The god of land food and god of ocean food tried but were also unsuccessful. Milchama suggested that the children kill their parents and then pry them apart, but the others would not hear of it. And so, they turned to their last hope, the third born, the mighty tree, god of the forest.

With great patience and endurance the great tree planted himself firmly in the earth-mothers shell and slowly began to reach for the Sky-father. Eventually he reached the upper shell, but he did not stop; he continued to stretch, to grow and with time, the god of the forest was successful. He pried apart the Sky-father and Earth-mother and widened the gap until all the children could escape and be free. Sadly, the Sky-father and Earth-mother were forever separated and could never rejoin in their loving embrace.

The god of wind was furious with his brothers. He railed and screamed and blew against them causing the great hurricanes and storms. He raged against his brother the great squid trying to find him and causing the great waves that destroy the coastline. He drove against the great boar tearing out foliage and lesser trees in his desire to avenge his mother and father’s pain. But most of all, he moved against the great tree, bringing lightning and storms to bear upon the forest of great trees, all but destroying them and leaving the god of forest weak and frail. It is to this day that the trees that grow in the swamplands are small frail things. With time the wind grew closer to the god of peace and stopped his angry tantrums, but even today, when he remembers the pain his parents felt, he once again rages against his brothers and their offspring.

It is said that every night the Sky-Father cries for his beloved, and in the morning the land is damp with the dew of his tears. It is also said that the morning mists are the Earth-Mothers sighs of sadness as she thinks of her beloved, now separated from her embrace.

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