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How The World Was Created
by [?]

In the beginning of the world, many, many cycles ago, so long ago, in fact, that no man knows how long it was, there were no trees, no hills, no land, nothing but water. The wind blew the waters hither and thither, sometimes in great waves, sometimes in quiet ripples; the wind blew, the waves rolled, and that was all.

Now it happened that Gong Gow, the Great Spirit Spider, felt weary with carrying around her heavy burden of eggs wrapped up so carefully in their white covering fastened to her waist, therefore she said to herself:

“I would fain place my eggs in a safe place, but know of none where they can hatch themselves without danger,” so she searched through the universe to find a suitable place, and at last she spied the water that is now the world, and in it began to spin her web.

Backward and forward, forward and backward, round and round, in and out she wove, till at last all was done, and full of content she left her eggs in their web prison nest and journeyed away.

The wind blew and drove the water hither and thither as aforetime, and soon little pieces of solid substance caught in the meshes of the web, and behold! as the time passed the solid substance became more solid till it formed mud and separated itself from the water, and when the mud had dried, lo! it was the earth.

So the eggs of the great Spirit Spider were safely locked up within the earth; by and by they hatched, and breaking forth there appeared the first man, Boo Pau, and the first woman, Myeh Pau, from whom all the ancient people who belonged to the first race were descended.

Many, many years passed and people lived out their lives, till one day the great earth caught fire. It burned fiercer than anybody’s imagination can conceive, and it destroyed everything. All the beautiful forests with their green coverings of moss and leaves, all the cities which the first race had builded were burned down, till by and by there was naught more for the fire to consume, and it was then the end of the hot season; the time of wet came soon after, and the rain fell upon the burning earth in such torrents that the whole sky was covered with the steam.

Now it happened that in Moeng Hpea, the far-away land where dwell the powerful spirits whom we call “hsangs,” the smell of the steam ascended and ascended till all the spirits smelled the sweet scent, and said to themselves:

“Behold, there appears a sweet smell arising from below, what can it be?” and there was much marveling at what could cause such sweet-smelling incense as that then ascending.

And it also happened that in Moeng Hpea were nine spirits, five of them males and four females, and these being of more adventurous spirit than their fellows, determined to find out for themselves where the sweet perfume came from. So they set out on their travels downward. They descended faster and faster, and the faster they descended the sweeter became the smell, till at last they landed upon this world of ours, and bending down to the earth they tore great handfuls of it out and ate it with the greatest relish.

It was morning time when they descended, and they fed upon the fragrant earth all day till the sun set and the shades of evening began to surround them, then the eldest of the spirits looked around upon his fellows, and said:

“Brethren, oie! it is time that we ascended to our own country,” and as the rest assented they stood up to return, but alas! they could not rise, they had eaten so much earth it had made them too heavy to soar, and from that day to the day they died none of them ever found their way back to the beautiful country of the Hsangs, but had to spend all their lives upon this earth of ours.