Long ago, long before the coming of the great flood, the Cocoon Man floated in a time beyond measuring. For years without number, he floated, until finally, he began to become aware of himself. And as one becomes aware of oneself, one becomes aware of one’s limitations, and so the Cocoon Man began to shrink. As he became more himself, he grew smaller and smaller, until his skin began to slough off, and this excess skin became the Land. The Cocoon Man stepped onto the Land that had once been part of himself, and felt himself compelled to walk in the direction of the East. He walked East, until there was no more East to walk, and discovered an infant. The Cocoon Man did not want to leave the baby alone, fearing he would die of exposure, so he wove a large basket and placed the infant in the basket.
Now the Cocoon Man felt a need to go South, and so he walked South, until there was no more South to walk, where he discovered a little boy, about four years old. Not wanting to abandon the child, the Cocoon Man picked the child up and placed him in the basket.
The Cocoon Man now felt a need to go West, so he walked West, until there was no more West to walk. And here he discovered a teenage boy. Now he was used to this, and placed the teenager into the basket.
Now the Cocoon Man felt a need to go North, and so he walked North until there was no more North to walk. And there he discovered a young man. And the young man said, “It was I who whispered into your inner ear and suggested you make this world. It was I who whispered into your inner ear and suggested you walk to the East, to the South, to the West, to the North. I was that Baby, that Child, that Adolescent. And if you don’t believe me, then look inside your basket.”
And so the Cocoon Man looked inside his basket. And it was empty.
(Traditional Warm Springs story)