"The Creations of nature and man"The waters on the earth whirled and rushed with their power. The chih-mei spirit, chieh-tzu, was restless to leave the cave. The waters of the white sea carried the spirit, through the sea of blood, and the black sea. Chieh-tzu arrived at the well of Erlik, entrance to the seventeen levels of the earth, where the spirit had never been. Through the levels chieh-tzu traveled, visiting his cousins, the kudai, on the upper levels. On the third level were the souls, who called out to the chieh-tzu. They were restless as well, but were confined to the third level. They asked if chieh-tzu would go to the swan woman and Erlik on the seventeenth level to let them travel freely. But most of all they wanted form, to add touch to their feeling. Chieh-tzu agreed to present their wishes in the seventeenth level.
"I am chieh-tzu," the spirit called.
The swan woman came out to greet chieh-tzu. And chieh-tzu was so enthralled with this extraordinary creature, like nothing he had seen before, that he forgot the request of the souls, and his home, his cave on the surface of the earth.
Chieh-tzu spent much time with the swan woman, and she became with child. When the child was born, chieh-tzu was in awe of its form, and named it human to honor the swan woman. The child grew and thrived, but it was sad on the seventeenth level with none of its own kind.
When the child was old enough, it asked the swan woman and chieh-tzu if it could journey out beyond the world on the seventeenth level. Chieh-tzu and the swan woman were very sad that their child wished to leave them, so denied the request. But chieh-tzu remembered the restlessness of youth, and gave the child a gift of advice, "Go to the polestar. It will guide you, and I hope that you will find happiness there."
So the child looked to the polestar, and it drew human through the levels. First, the child encountered the aina, who teased it for its folly, "There is nothing up there for you, little one. You will not make it to the polestar." But the child was not discouraged.
The child continued up through the levels of the aina, then he came to the levels of the kudai. They encouraged it, for they were closer to the surface of the earth and knew of the earth's wonders. "Go well, human, and we will do all we can for you." The child bade them farewell with fondness.
Then came the level of souls, and the child was confronted by them, "Your father promised to get us form, and let us leave the third level. Why has he forgotten us?"
"I know nothing of this promise, but maybe I can help you. I am going to the polestar. You may travel with me." said human. And the souls arranged themselves on the form of the child, and were carried upwards.
When the child arrived on the surface of the earth, it found it was unable to rise any higher, and the child was greatly saddened. But the souls were delighted to have reached the surface of the earth, and they raised the spirits of the child. The souls left the child, and went into the water, the wind, and the land. The child saw the water in all its power, and the mountains towering above. The child was frightened by all the power in this place, but remembered that the kudai would help. The child made an offering to the kudai, hoping they would remain friends.
The child traveled out over the earth, rejoicing in its power, but the swan woman down in the seventeenth level had been greatly disturbed to find her child gone. The swan woman became angry at chieh-tzu, so angry that chieh-tzu was forced to leave. The swan woman was so angry after the loss of her child, that others who have met her since never see the delightful being that chieh-tzu saw. They call her cruel, for the swan woman no longer gives love to anyone.
Chieh-tzu made a rapid ascent to the earth's surface, and set out to find the child. Chieh-tzu found the child in a cave very similar to the one chieh-tzu had lived in so long ago. The child was very happy in this place, and was glad to see chieh-tzu, but was distressed to learn of the swan woman's anger.
The child made offerings for the swan woman, but the swan woman was unswayed in her anger. Erlik, who had spent much time with the child while in the seventeenth, heard human's prayers, and knew the child would need another.
Erlik sent another child to the surface of the earth. The two children
were delighted in each other and became inseparable. Soon there were others
like themselves, and the humans began to spread across the surface of the