Minneapolis Institute of Arts World Myths and Legends in Art Art by Theme
Art by Culture Compare and Contrast
View All Art

Ketoh (Wrist Guard)


Ketoh (Wrist Guard)
Ketoh (Wrist Guard)
About 1930
Cast silver with turquoise on a leather band
Bequest of Virginia Doneghy

Key Ideas
Discussion Questions

Before this world existed, and far below it, the First World lay in darkness. Here lived six beings: First Man, First Woman, Salt Woman, Fire God, Coyote, and Begochiddy, the golden-haired child of the Sun. Begochiddy made four mountains in this first world - white to the east; blue to the south; yellow to the west; and black to the north. Then Begochiddy made insects and plants. But conflicts arose and the first beings, tired of the First World and its darkness, decided to leave.

At the center of the First World, Begochiddy made a red mountain and planted a giant reed. The first beings gathered all of Begochiddy's creations and crawled inside the hollow reed. The reed grew and grew and carried them into the Second World. In the Second World, which was blue, Begochiddy created still more new things. When the Cat People, who lived in the Second World, fought the newcomers, First Man used magic to overcome them. Conflicts again disrupted the harmony of this world and the first beings collected their possessions and travelled in the giant reed up to the Third World.

The Third World was beautiful, yellow and filled with light. There, Begochiddy created rivers and springs, animals and birds, trees and lightning, and many kinds of human beings. When the men and women began to quarrel, Begochiddy separated them. But they were so unhappy that Begochiddy reunited them, warning that the Third World would be flooded if there was any more trouble.

And then Coyote caused trouble. Walking by the river, he spied in the water a baby with long black hair. He lifted the baby from the river and hid it under his blanket, telling no one. Colorful storms and torrential rains approached from all directions. Everyone fled to the protective hollow of the giant reed, which carried them upward. But the reed stopped growing before it reached the next world. So Locust helped Begochiddy make a hole that led to the Fourth World, an island surrounded by water.

Seeing the waters still rising in the Third World, Begochiddy asked who had angered the Water Monster. Coyote tightened his blanket about his body and Begochiddy ordered him to open it. There was the water baby. Coyote returned the baby to the Third World and the waters receded. In the Fourth World, Begochiddy set out the mountains and placed the moon, sun, and stars in the sky. Begochiddy taught everyone the right way to live, including how to care for plants such as corn, squash, and beans, and how to give thanks.1

1 The version recounted here is based on the version told in Joseph Bruchac, Native American Stories (Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, 1991), pp. 10-18. Return to Text

Key Ideas Story Background Discussion Questions


Art by Culture | Art by Theme | View all Art | Compare & Contrast
Home | What is Myth? | Glossary | Further Reading | How to use this site | Downloadable Curriculum