T'Boli Creation Story

T'Boli Creation Story

The T'boli people are a tribe from the Philippines
From "To care for the Earth", by Sean McDonagh.

In the beginning there were no mountains on Earth. As far as the eye could see, the water was spread out in all directions. The D'wata (the spirit) said, "I will create land for all the creatures so that they will have a place to live". D'wata asked the hawk to find soil. Though he travelled a great distance over the oceans he could not find it. Then D'wata approached the dove and asked her. The dove flew continuously for eight days but even she failed to find soil. Lastly, D'wata turned to the Betoti - a small swift flying bird. Before setting out on his adventure the Betoti left this message. 'If I return in eight days it means that I have seen soil. If, however, I do not return for sixteen days, it means that something evil has happened to me.'

The Betoti was lucky and found soil, so he placed some under his wing and returned within eight days to D'wata. Betoti carried very little soil. D'wata said to him 'We will have to spread out the soil so the waters can recede. Each place where you hop will become dry land.' For eight days and eight nights Betoti hopped backwards and forwards until after the eight days half the world was covered with land. Although he was exhausted Betoti was very happy with what he had achieved. He exclaimed, 'How wonderful it is to have a place to stay. Let all the snakes, pigs, horses and other animals live in this place.' So the aniumals moved to that place and began to live there.

After a while one of the animals suggested to Betoti that they should have someone look after them. Then Betoti formed sixteen clay statues, eight male and eight female. As he was forming them, Betoti wondered how he could make them move or speak. D'wata knew this and he assured Betoti that he would help. After eight days one of the male statues moved. Betoti was very happy. He helped the man to walk, but he could not get him to speak for eight days.

The first words of the man were, 'What a privilege it is to be called to care for the Earth and the Sky.' Though he could move and speak, the man thought to himself, 'I am not content merely to watch over the animals. I must look for a suitable companion.' At that moment the female statue moved and she became man's partner and companion.

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