Three Indians were once out hunting. One went after water and found a nice hole of water but was afraid to drink. Another went down to it, dipped his fingers in, and said, "It is good. Let us go into it." So he dived in and came out. When he came out he was white. From him came the white people. The second dived in and came out darker because the water was somewhat roily. From him came the Indians. The third dived in and came out black because the water was now very roily. From him came the negroes. Just before the first man dived he felt of the rocks and they rattled. He did not tell the others that this was gold. They went on from there and the Indian found something else. The white man was told about this and he picked it up. It was a book. He asked the Indian to read this but he could not. The white man, however, could read it, and it was to tell him about this gold. The book gave him this advantage. "The Nokfilas (whites) were terrible people to take the lead."
75:1 in this connection the following excerpt from a speech of the Seminole Chief Neamathla (Heniha ima
la) to the Governor of Florida is of interest:
". . . The Master of Life said, 'We will make man.' Man was made; but when he stood up before his Maker he was white! The Great Spirit was sorry; he saw that the being he had made was pale and weak; betook pity on him, and therefore did not unmake him, but let him live. He tried again, for he was determined to make a perfect man; but in his endeavor to avoid making another white man, he went into the opposite extreme, and when the second being rose up, and stood before him, he was black! The Great Spirit liked the black man less than the white, and he shoved him aside to make room for another trial. Then it was that he made the red man; and the red man pleased him.
". . . In this way the Great Spirit made the white, the black, and the red man, when he put them upon the earth. Here they were, but they were very poor. They had no lodges nor horses, no tools to work with, no traps, nor anything with which to kill game. All at once these three men, looking up, saw three large boxes coming down from the sky. They descended very slowly, but at last reached the ground, while these three poor men stood and looked at them, not knowing what to do. The Great Spirit spoke and said, 'White man, you are pale and weak, but I made you first and will give you the first choice; go to the boxes, open them and look in, and choose which you will take for your portion.' The white man opened the boxes, looked in, and said, 'I will take this.' It was filled with pens, and ink, and paper, and compasses, and such things as your people now use. The Great Spirit spoke again, and said, 'Black man, I made you next, but I do not like you. You may stand aside. The red man is my favorite; he shall come forward and take the next choice: Red man, choose your portion of the things of this world.' The red man stepped boldly up and chose a box filled with tomahawks, knives, war clubs, traps, and such things as are useful in war and hunting. The Great Spirit laughed when he saw how well his red son knew how to choose. Then he said to the negro, 'You may have what is left; the third box is for you.' That was filled with axes and hoes, with buckets to carry water in, and long whips for driving oxen, which meant that the negro must work for both the red and white man, and it has been so ever since."--McKenney and Hall, History of the Indian Tribes of North America, I, pp. 82-83.
Of course, this is nothing more than a parable setting forth, as if of historical origin, the actual condition of affairs, and the other stories of the origin of races are of the same kind. From such parables, no doubt, many myths had their origin.
According to another writer, the Seminole believed that man was originally formed from the clay; that the Great Spirit submitted his creation to the influence of fire, but that his ignorance of the degree of heat necessary to give consistency caused the first batch to be overbaked, black and crusty; these were the aborigines of the negro race. Again the Creator essayed, but endeavoring to avoid the error of the former attempt, he plunged into another, that of applying too little fuel. They were in consequence but half baked, of a pale ash color. These were our first parents. But in the third and last effort the Great Master created perfect models, both in shape and color, producing to the world the founders of the Indian tribes. "Narrative of a Voyage to the Spanish Main in the Ship "Two Friends." London, 1819.)