His Quest for a Birthplace
"Now go all over the world,"
said the baby from his mother's womb.(48)
So the baby led Beautiful-Rich to a bare rock
to look for a place to give birth.
And from the womb of Beautiful-Rich the baby said,
"I do not like it here, Mama.
This place is for kites to nest and eagles to be born in.
Kites eat chicks and are the pride of their owners;
Curses follow them, but only make them stronger.
Eagles, I know, are strong. Of course they carry off
Some escape but get their due,
others they catch -- they are finished off.
From their claws nothing falls.
But take me away, Mama. Let us go, Mama.
I hate this place. It is a place of plunderers,
strong because they work with their hands.
They have no subject to summon and no subject to dispatch.
There is no authority [for me] here."
So his mother left that rock,
and as she struck the rock, it shattered.
Once more the baby led his mother away.
She came to the summit of a high, high place. The baby said,
"I like it here, Mama.
This is where I will be born.
This is the highest of places,
where many look up for help
and there are many to command."
Then he changed his mind, saying,
"Yes, it is good here, Mama.
Yes, it is good,
but it is a place of ghosts and spirits,
and for that I do not like it.
Good and bad winds blow here together."
Then his mother arose and left that place,
and struck that hilltop.
The earth shuddered, the rocks rolled and were crushed. (49)
They set forth again, and the baby made his mother traverse all
the forests of the earth.
Yes, though he was still in her womb,
he led his mother. And again, he said,
"Oh, Mama, I do not like it here.
There are a thousand people ruling here.
The great are being led by the small.
There is nothing [for me] to do here.
It is a land of wild dogs,
a land of leums,
a land of wild swine,
a land of wild beasts.
Take me back, Mama. I hate it here.
It is a land of the stealthy."
And again she arose, again she kicked the forest.
The trees were uprooted, pulled up, overturned.
They set forth again
and came to water, to find where he would be born.
His mother submerged herself in the water. Then he said,
"I do not like it here, Mama.
Here are many slippery beasts;
I do not know how to handle them.
There will be no authority [for me] here."
So she arose, and left the water creatures there.
She stirred up the water. It dried up,
and the creatures too were stirred up by the waves
and floated on the surface.
But his mother did not come out of the water just yet,
for he said,
"I like it here, Mama.
It is a bed with a soft mattress;
I need not look for mattress or pillow.
And yet I do not like it, Mama,
for it is a big mat that cannot be rolled up,
a lamba (50) that cannot be folded,
a pillow that cannot be carried." (51)
So she arose again and blew on the water --
and that, they say, is what makes waves on the sea. (52)
Then she returned. She went directly back to the village.
When his mother reached the village,
he guided her to the ridge-beam, saying,
"I like it here, Mama,
because of the thousand men suspended
and the three men separated. (53)
Here there are many to respect, many to support me.
Yet I do not like it,
because there are many to support,
and I can not rule alone,
because most of these slaves are strong only in talk
and there is no place to do justice.
So take me down, Mama."
Now his mother went to the south gable. Then he said,
"This I detest, Mama.
It is for sacrificing cattle to the dead
and exorcising for the living.
Take me to the north gable."
When his mother reached the north gable, he said,
"Oh, Mama, I detest this.
I see it is for calling on the Creator.
If there be any good one, it is he,
and in the beyond are brothers and sisters,
but on earth is deceit, and no wholehearted fighting.
So take me on the east plate, Mama."
When his mother reached the east plate, he said,
"Now this is a good place, Mama.
Yet it is held up by the south one
and held up by the east one.
It is one who lies down, held by those who stand up. (54)
I do not think Lord Lying-Down stands for justice;
he is not very terrible."
Again his mother moved, and again he said,
"Carry me to the tie-beam, Mama. (55) That is good,
because it has ten thousand umbrella-carriers,
a thousand chair-bearers,
a hundred united me."
And he added, from inside his mother,
"See where the sun is." His mother said,
"The sun is directly over the top of the house."
And the baby said,
"Now is the time when the cat steals, Mama;
now he robs the sky,
now he robs the East,
now he robs the West,
now he robs the South.
And now to add all those to my possessions, Mama," he said.
And he said from his mother's womb,
"Have four thousand guns fired to the four directions.
Have them fire a thousand shots to the sky.
Have them fire first toward heaven."
And they were fired toward heaven.
"Now, have the guns to be fired been fired, Mama?"
said the baby.
"They have been fired," said his mother. And he said,
"Those men are to fight for ten days, Mama.
Now, have the shots fired to the four directions."
They were fired. And he asked,
"Have they been fired as well, Mama?"
His mother said, "They have not been fired. Only the east one
has been fired." Then the baby said,
"Now is accomplished the oath of fidelity with the people, Mama.
The land is ours now, and there has been no shot.
This is the moment of a joining that will last all day. (56)
Now will I be born, Mama,
for there is the throne you will lie on," said the baby,
"and there is the golden throne I will mount,
seven meters wide, fourteen meters long."
When the baby was about to be born, he said,
"Take some fire,
make it blaze up in the hearth,
and take a razor and swallow it in a banana.
For I will not come out climbing,
I will not come out descending,
but I will come out through your womb, Mama."
And Great-King-Maker said,
"Is not this the very thing I do not want, Beautiful-Rich?"
But Beautiful-Rich said,
"It is bad is to have nothing, even if he is in trouble.
This baby is the heir to the land."
So Great-King-Maker made a razor and put it in a banana,
and Beautiful-Rich swallowed it.
Then the baby took the razor,
and while Beautiful-Rich was still on the throne,
he opened her womb and came out. (57)
Then the baby jumped up on the golden throne.
His mother died there on that throne,
and he turned his head toward the east.
On the day of his birth,
all living beings, whatever they were, were broken up.
The rocks split open,
the earth tumbled over,
the sky rumbled.
That is how earthquakes first appeared.