Native American Tales

The Voice, the Flood, and the Turtle

The Voice, the Flood, and the TurtleThe Voice, the Flood, and the Turtle


Once there was a chief’s wife who gave birth to four monsters. They wanted to kill them, but the mother said they would turn out by-and-by, but the monsters grew. They eventually grew incredibly tall and joined together at their backs. They started grabbing people up and eating them. Most people hid near their feet because the monsters could not reach at their feet.

A man who could see the future heard a voice that told him to put a reed in the ground. He did. The reed grew very tall and he was to go up inside of the reed with his wife, naked, and two of all the animals they wanted to save. The sign to go up into the reed would be a great gathering of birds. The man saw the birds one day and went up into the reed.

A great flood came that flooded everything and all that was left above the water were the monsters’ heads. A great turtle went down and dug out the Earth below their feed so they sank. One sank to the north, one to the south, one to the west, and one to the east. This is how we got the four directions.

The floods subsided and the man and his wife went out, but there was nothing there. They went to sleep and the next day there were trees. They went to sleep again and there were more plants. They went to sleep again and woke up in a grass hut. They were given corn and the woman was told to plant it. If a woman ever plants corn and something other than corn comes up, then they would know the world was coming to an end. They never heard the voice again.


Let’s talk about these monsters. What constitutes a monster? Does a monster have to be some scary thing that lives under a bed and has big claws? Nope. The idea of a monster is loosely defined and throughout our history any number of things and people have been labeled as monsters. Were these quadruplets actually monsters? Probably not. They probably suffered from some deformity and people were like, “Oh, my gosh, they’re monsters!” Of course, they’re the mother’s children so she doesn’t want to kill them, even if they are deformed. Did they actually turn into giant monsters? No. That part is just a story.


This is another flood story. The mythology gifters must have been like Oprah–“YOU GET A FLOOD STORY! YOU GET A FLOOD STORY! YOU GET A FLOOD STORY! EVERYONE GETS A FLOOD STORY!” What this actually means is that at some point in Earth’s history, there was probably a heck of a lot of water around and people talked about it. Obviously, some people survived this flood because they kept talking about it. Newflash, if you didn’t know, Earth’s weather goes through cycles. Sometimes it’s warmer and sometimes it’s cooler. When the Earth is going through those warm periods, there is more water because more of the ice caps have melted. So the people of Earth may very well have lived through a very warm period in Earth’s history where there was quite a bit of water.

Getting back to the monster thing–these were a woman’s children. She gave birth to them and then they became terrible monsters. Is it real? Is it symbolic? Were the children really deformed monsters, or did they just act like monsters? If you child was born with some deformity, you would love them anyway, right? If your child was born as a psychopath you would love them anyway, right? Does the fact that you love your child negate the fact that they’re a psychopath? No. Your child is still a psychopath and at some point you cannot continue covering for their actions. You can want to believe they’re normal all day long, but at the end of the day your child is still a psychopath.

Of course, this brings up other questions of ethics, if you knew your child was going to turn out just awful and was going to hurt people, where does your responsibility lie in those actions? If you could prevent it somehow, should you?


What cute little monsters…oh no!

Weigh In

If you knew your child was going to be a serial killer, what would you do?

What do you think happened to the mother of the monsters?


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