Baiame and Man

Light was brought into the dark world by Yhi, the goddess of the sun. As few living things can grow without light, there was a close association between the two great spirits, Yhi and Baiame. Light and warmth were necessary for the preservation and growth of the animate world of Baiame's creation, and these were provided by Yhi. Yet light and warmth alone were insufficient for the making of mankind. Another dimension was needed, something more than the instinct that directed the actions of animals. That indefinable element could be supplied only by the All-Father who, in the beginning of the Dreamtime, could be described as thought, intelligence, even life itself. Baiame had no corporal body, nor did he need one until the time came to show himself to the beings he had formed. He was part of his creation, part of every single animal, and yet he was Baiame, indivisible and complete.

He confided his intentions to Yhi.

"I must clothe myself in flesh that is recognizably that of both man and god," he said. "My whole mind must be put into something that has life and is worthy of the gift. It must be a new creation."

From the processes of thought, the joining together of atoms and microscopic grains of dust, the forming of blood and sinews, cartilege and flesh, and the convolutions of the substance of the brain, he formed an animal that walked erect on two legs. It had hands that could fashion tools and weapons and the wit to use them; above all, it had a brain that could obey the impulses of the spirit; and so Man, greatest of the animals, was fashioned as a vessel for the mind-power of the Great Spirit.

No other eye saw the making of Man, and the minutes of eternity went by in the last and greatest act of creation. The world became dark and sorrowful. Floods ravaged the land, animals took refuge in a cave high up in the mountains. From time to time one of them went to the entrance to see if the floods had subsided. There was nothing to be seen except the emptiness of the land and the endless swirling of the waters under a sunless sky.

Yhi had turned her face from the birthpangs of spirit in man. As sunlight faded from the earth and the cave of refuge became black as night, the animals were bewildered. One after the other they went to the mouth of the cave, peering through the gloom, straining their eyes looking for something--a light--or a shape--that would explain the change that had come to the world.

Goanna was the first to report something that broughht even more confusion to their rudimentary minds.

"A round, shining light." he said. "Like the moon. Perhaps it is the moon and the darkness is only an untimely night."

"Where is this light?" asked Eagle-Hawk.

"Here outside the cave, floating in the air, but close to the ground."

"The moon is far up in the sky where the Great Father lives," Eagle Hawk objected.

"I said, 'like the moon'," Goanna retorted. "It is like a light. Come and see for yourself."

The animals were surprised when he came back and said, "It's nothing like a light. You must be dreaming, Goanna."

"What is it like?" came a voice from the back of the cave.

"It's a kangaroo."

The laughter of the animals boomed in the confines of the cave.

"What's unusual about a kangaroo?"

"There's nothing very unusual about this kangaroo," Eagle-Hawk said, taking no notice of the laughter. "Its eyes are as bright as stars. Their light pierced right through me."

There was a rush to the mouth of the cave. Theyt returned, arguing, quarelling, shouting, contradicting each other. A strange presence had made a different impression on each developed mind.

Baiame was disappointed. These were his creatures, yet none of them could recognise him. To each he appeared in a different guise. They were still quarreling among themselves. The little portion of Baiame that was in each of his creation had failed to recognise him in all his fullness.

The quarrel had been even more serious than he had realised. Words had led to acts of violence. Claw and tooth had rent and torn. Dead animals lay on the floor of the cave.

Saddened by the consequences of his revelation, Baiame left them. The animals came out of the cave and, in a last supreme effort, he revealed himself in the form of a man. And in man, animals recognised the wisdom and majesty of the spirit of Baiame. Yhi flooded the world again with light.

The spirit of the All-Father returned to his home in the sky, leaving behind him the crown of his creation, man, who walked on two legs instead of four, who carried his head high, and inherited Baiame's capacity for thought and action.

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