The Birth of Man and the Origin of Earth’s Magnetic Poles ~ A folktale

By Rene Parks

              In the age of New Dawn there lived a bear married to a spider. The shaggy brown bear, bugs in his fur, had lived a long time and was wise in the ways of his world. The spider, too, with her eight long legs and round firm bottom, had lived a long time and spent her days contentedly weaving the most beautiful webs that would sparkle and glisten in the dewy morning sun. Bear and Spider kept each other warm through three winters before they married in the twilight of the rising full moon of a late summer night. Crickets chirped and bullfrogs croaked in the tall brown grasses surrounding a nearby pond. The forest animals joined together in jubilant celebration of the marriage of Spider and Bear and all danced wildly under the full moon.

              Bear and Spider now live happily together in a cave. The floor of the cave is covered with damp green moss and fronds of tiny ferns lay down on the pathway just outside the door. Spider makes a glittering web in the outer corner of the cave where the sunshine can still find her. Bear fishes for sparkly trout in the primordial river that rushes and flows far below the ledge of the cave. All seems well, but so gradually that one could scarce tell, the amity between Bear and Spider begins to deteriorate. Bear starts to have grandiose ideas about trout fishing, ideas that he shares impulsively with Spider. Bear’s thoughts race and he cannot sleep for days at a time. Spider, though still content with web making, has something growing in her stomach ~ she does not know, but it is fear.

              Bear feels a heaviness in his own stomach. The heaviness is making Bear uncomfortably full, and he grows increasingly irritable and agitated. Spider cannot imagine what is causing Bear’s agitation and Bear himself does not know the cause of his discontent. Bear’s stomach grows larger until it is apparent that there are two dynamic energies inside him. The energies are distinct yet attracted to one another, so they chase each other around inside Bear’s stomach, as they grow larger and larger. The night of the late summer full moon is again at hand, but this is not a night of celebration. The full moon’s attendance draws forth the energies that have been ripping at the inside of Bear’s stomach. The full moon delivers from Bear the alluring poles with one painful, ghastly howl from whence they came.

              Spider had been so anxious about Bear’s situation that she nervously caught fly after fly in her glittering web. She spun them in thread until they suffocated. Spider, looking fearfully on at her tormented lover, sank her tiny fangs and drew blood from the flies she had wrapped. Finally, she saw Bear’s face hanging slack, his large figure humped over and exhausted from the ordeal. Spider watched her love crumple as he expelled the magnetic forces that had tormented his stomach. As she watched, she unwittingly let her desiccated flies drop into the primordial river where the transformative rushing waters turned death into life and turned the flies into human beings. The full moon forced the tumultuous energies born from Bears stomach to retreat to opposite ends of the world. In order for Bear and Spider to mend their marriage, it was set forth that the beings born in the primordial river would be eternally dependent on the direction and guidance of the magnetic poles now living at opposite ends of the world. This is the creation story of human beings and they reason they are bound to define their location in relation to the poles of the north and the south.

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