Early North American Native People living along the North Pacific Coast carved the stories of their people on trees as they had no written language.
They carved strange and beautiful figures, representing people, animals, birds, fish and supernatural characters, then painted them with bright colours. The tallest red cedar trees were selected for totem poles and were used for landmarks as well as illustrating the legends told from generation to generation.
One of those poles told the story of the creation as it was told by the Haida nation.
When the world was very young, there were no people on the earth. There were no birds or animals either. There was nothing but grass and sand and some creatures who where neither people nor animals.
Then the two brothers of the Sun and the Moon came to the earth. Their names were Ho-ho-e-ap-bess, which means “The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things.” They came to make the earth ready for a new race of people, the Indians.
They called all the creatures to them. Some they changed to animals and birds. Some they changed to trees and smaller plants.
They changed a creature who was a thief stealing food into a seal who now had to catch his own food. Another was a great fisherman, he became the Great Blue Heron. Another was a fisherman and a food thief, he became the Kingfisher.
Two creatures had huge appetites. They transformed one of them into Raven and his wife became the Crow.
Then the Two-Men-Who- Changed-Things remembered that the new people would need wood for many things. They changed some into trees for canoes, totems, arrows and wood for fuel.
They also changed a creature with a cross temper into a crab apple tree and another one into a cherry tree so the people would have fruit to eat and could use the cherry bark for medicine.
They filled the waters with fish and turtles and the forest with animals so the people would have some animals for food.
Thus the Two-Men-Who-Changed –Things got the world ready for the new people who were to come. They made the world as it was when the Indians lived in it.
From the book Voices of the Winds, Native American Legends by Margot Edmonds & Ella E. Clark