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Compare and Contrast: Ancient Myth Stories

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A Comparison and Contrast Essay

Before America was discovered by the Europeans, Native Americans were already living there. They lived in different tribes and settled in different regions. Their unique, individual cultures led to the diversity in many oral myths and other stories. Many stories have the same idea, but some of the details differ.

In both myths, the earth was covered with water. There were people who lived in the sky, just like we live on the earth now. There was a tree in the Sky Land, where all life was known to come from, which had to be eventually removed for differing reasons. Also, both of the chiefs' wives fell into the hole that the tree left when uprooted. Another similarity is that the earth was made from animals carrying wet dirt up to the surface for either of the wives to stand on. As well as there are similarities, there are differences.

Some of these differences are that the giant tree is called The Great Tree in one myth and the Sky Tree the other. Another is how the wife fell through the hole that the Great Tree left, grabbing seeds that the tree had, and having the other wife jump in after the Sky Tree. Also, in "The Sky Tree", the chief gets ill and has a dream saying that he needs the fruit on the top of the Sky Tree to survive. His wife chops it down and gives him the fruit. "In Earth On Turtle's Back", the wife of the chief tells the chief a powerful dream. The chief then pulls up the tree. Another difference is that a muskrat swims down and brings up earth, while in the other story, all of the animals put it on a turtles back.

From all of this, there have been many similarities and many differences among the two myths. It is easy to visualize how closely the two are to each other, because it came from the same source, just altered from each oral telling. These different myths that the Native Americans believed were the beginning of American literature.



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