Native American Tales

The Earth Dragon

The Earth DragonThe Earth Dragon

Northern California Coast

Before this world existed, there was another and the sky was sandstone. Thunder would shake it. The gods decided to strengthen it and stretch it. They stretched it out, put four pillars on each corner, and then began to create things. They made flowers and other nice things. They also made people and filled them with grass, but the people did not have an easy time. It rained so much. The waters would join again. Many animals were drowned.

Naigacho rode a great earth dragon. It would turn it’s head here and there. when it came to spots. Eventually it lay down and created the mountains in California. The earth was no longer being covered with water as it once was. Trees and other plants were made. People were able to come and live. Sea animals were created for them to eat. When Naigacho got to the north he decided to stay there with his people.


Even the California origin story has California as not being very stable and being covered with water. Maybe one day it will fall off into the ocean.

California can’t really fall off into the ocean, but some major earthquakes could cause a lot of damage that could potentially split it a bit on fault lines.


This is an origin story, plain and simple. It’s the story of why California is not flat. There’s a dragon underneath it and the dragon’s body makes the mountain range there. One might also say that the dragon moving causes earthquakes there, but I don’t know if people say that.

We like to make up stories for why things are the way they are, or we used to anyway. These days science seems to rule and we have science that tells us that two tectonic plates smashed into one another and made the mountain ranges and fault lines in California. It’s a bit sad that we’re not such a story-telling people anymore. We have scientists who sit and investigate to create our dry reasons for why things are the way they are, but where’s the whimsy in that?


You Californians better make sure that dragon stays happy.

Weigh In

What would your story be for why the geography is the way it is where you’re from?

Do you think science takes away some of the whimsy in our lives?


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