Long long ago Dawn came to Darkness, and Changing Woman was born. Golden rays of light carried her from the sky to a mountain top. The Four Winds swept down and breathed life into her, printing spirals on her fingers, head and toes. The Flowers surrounded and cradled her. Joyfully, the Blue Birds sang.
The Holy People, who lived below, sent Talking God up the mountain to find out what all the commotion was about. When Talking God reached the top, he found a beautiful baby girl lying in the grass. Gathering her into his arms, he carried her down the mountain. The People were delighted by her, and fed her pollen, animal broth and dew from the loveliest flowers.The little girl ran races. And Talking God sang to her. In four days, she was fully grown.
Bright red rain fell from inside her. The People stroked and painted her, dressing her in the finest deer-skin, shells and turquoise. "She moves," they sang. She moves, she moves, she moves. While they sang, she changed into an old woman. Then she changed back into a young woman. Again she changed into an old woman. And again she changed back into a young woman. Old, young, old, young-four times she changed, until she had become the finest young woman.
One day, when Changing Woman was out gathering seeds and berries, Sun came riding by on his white horse, wearing his whitest clothes. Stunned by the young woman's beauty, he blazed brilliantly, begging her to follow him on his journey to the far West. But Changing Woman protested. I would be too lonely, She replied. Still Sun persisted, Follow me, and we will be closer than we have ever been.
Finally Changing Woman was persuaded. And stepping on the back of a fog, she followed Sun westward to a majestic wild mountain, located in the middle of the ocean. Wind and Light came along to help Changing Woman build her new house. In the East, where Sun stood in the morning, they built a room entirely of white shell. In the West, they made a room of yellow abalone. Black Thunder arrived from the North, and sat down by a black cornstalk-there they built a room of pure black jet. In the South, they made a turquoise room with a turquoise door, and turquoise footprints leading to it.
Changing Woman's house was constructed of four stories, with ladders leading to each one. Little suns were placed in every room. In the center of the house, they built a rock crystal altar reflecting every color in the rainbow. There, in Crystal House, Changing Woman lived happily with Sun. She spat hailstones to clear the land of monsters. And one day, while resting below a shimmering waterfall, she conceived the twins, Monster Slayer and Child of the Waters.
Changing Woman taught the twins all her songs and dances. When they were fully grown, she put prayer sticks in their blankets and sent them on their way. Then she let out a piercing cry, that wrapped the whole island in grief. She rubbed skin off her body, and stirring into it shells, stone, sand, clay, pollen and foam-she made Chickens, Dogs, Goats, Sheep, Antelope and Horses. Finally, so she would never be lonely, she created Human Beings. She gave them pets, and stone canes for drawing water from the desert. Lifting her great bow, she shot rainbows into them-then blew them out over the wide ocean.
When Changing Woman was very old, so old she could barely move, Talking God reappeared at her door. This time he brought with him a Human boy and girl. In a flash, they had traveled on a bright rainbow to the coast, then crossed the green ocean on an underwater spiral. They followed the white trail to her house, and greeted the Four Directions. When Changing Woman's door opened, they saw the most beautiful young woman they had ever seen, dancing joyfully before her crystal altar. The children bowed. Changing Woman bathed them in her crystal bowl, dressed them in white and put feathers in their hair.
Beauty before you,
Beauty behind you,
Beauty above you,
Beauty below you.
Walk now with Beauty around you
and your way will be beautiful.
Then Changing Woman sat down under a cornstalk. Blue Bird sat on a corn tassel. And Changing Woman sang every song she knew. Dancing through the pollen, she left her golden footprints everywhere.