In the beginning, there was Nothing. It was not black, or white, or gray or any other color, because it was not at all. At least, that is the way it was until the Creator rose out of it.
She gathered the strange Beginning-Stuff that had formed her and cast it out of herself in a shape like a bubble. She looked around the bubble and said, 'I've done something interesting. I think I'll call it Creation, after myself. But it still looks rather empty...' And so she used a fragment of her Beginning-Stuff to create a palace to live in, unlike anything that you and I have ever seen, all glittering and massive and full of strange shapes and piping music. Then, with a few more pinches of Beginning-Stuff, she made servants to look after her home and keep her company.
The Creator said, 'I'm tired. What I've made looks good enough for now.' And with that, she bundled up the rest of the Beginning-Stuff and put it in a basket, which she kept in her chambers until she was ready to use it.
Now, one of her servants was not like the others; she had made it in a more definite shape than the rest, and taught it some small measure of the art she had used to make Creation. This she called the Consort, and she was very fond of him. But the Consort was curious as well as studious, and it was not long before he asked the Creator about the basket kept in her rooms.
The Creator felt a stab of something unpleasant when she heard this. 'It is mine, and no concern of yours,' she replied.
But the Consort was not satisfied with this, and so when the Creator was sleeping he stole into her chambers without her knowing. Carefully, he took the basket from its place and began to open it.
In a flash, the Creator was at his side, and she gave him a blow that sent him tumbling across the floor. 'Look what you've done!' she cried. 'You are no longer welcome in my house!' And so she had her servants cast the Consort out of her palace and into the rest of Creation, where he seethed in anger and shame.
'She shouldn't have done that to me,' he said. 'I saw what she was keeping in that basket, and maybe that would have been enough. But now she has insulted me and that is too much. I'll make her sorry!' The Consort thought and thought, and slowly he began to come up with a plan.
Some time later, he crept back to the palace and concealed himself carefully. He watched the Creator coming and going about Creation, memorizing the way she moved, her voice, and the color of her eyes. After he had absorbed all that he could of her, he returned outside. He reached into his leg, drew out a supernumary bone, and made it assume the shape of the Creator.
'You are First Woman,' he told the being he had made, 'and my daughter. There is something I want you to do for me, so listen carefully.'
He told her of his plan, and after he had done so he drew a supernumary bone from his other leg and fashioned it into a sword. 'Take this with my blessing. You will need it to defend yourself.'
First Woman went stealthily to the palace of the Creator and waited. At last, she saw her emerge, but stayed in the shadows until she was well away from her home. Then she stepped out and approached the door. The Creator's servants blocked her way, but then they saw that she looked like the Creator and moved aside without a word. 'Take my to my chambers,' First Woman told them. 'I wish to sleep.'
The servants did as First Woman asked and brought her to the Creator's rooms. First Woman looked around and her eyes fell on the basket. She struggled to contain her excitement as she told the servants, 'Leave me.' Once they had let her alone, she rushed to the basket and swept it into her arms. Gathering all of of her mettle, she forced herself to take slow, dignified steps, and began to leave the palace. The eyes of all the Creator's servants were on her as she moved, watching, but they still thought she was their maker and so made no effort to stop her.
First Woman left the palace and started out deep into Creation. Then, quickly, she dashed off, running as far away from the palace as she could.
The Creator returned, and her servants were much surprised. 'Where is your basket?' they asked.
'What about my basket?' she asked.
'You had taken it from the palace and left with it,' the servants told her.
The Creator knew at once that something had gone very wrong. 'You have been tricked! It is a trick of the Consort! Go, find the impostor and take my basket back!'
The servants came out of the palace in a great wave and ran in the direction First Woman had gone. At that very moment, First Woman herself was far away, fleeing to a place that had been told of to her by the Consort. 'When you have gotten well away from the palace of the Creator,' he had said, 'open the basket, facing away from you, and let the Beginning-Stuff out into the rest of Creation. But take care also to leave some small amount in the basket, and bring it to me. I want that last portion for myself.'
First Woman stopped, wiped the sweat from her brow, then knelt down in the near-formless Creation and set the basket in front of her. Then she opened it.
It came rushing out in a great tide, like liquid light, rippling as if it were laughing at itself and everything else. The Beginning-Stuff traveled across Creation, and First Woman watched in awe as everything around her turned the rich black of space. Then little points of light swirled into existence and grew into great spiraling masses of color, which gave birth to suns and worlds. First Woman was so taken aback by all this beauty that she forgot to turn the opening in the basket all the way away from herself. Some of the Beginning-Stuff swept over her, and parts of her were burned away or changed as it did. This is why you and I look different from the gods.
First Woman was still reeling with excitement and shock as she shut the basket, as she had been instructed, with some of the Beginning-Stuff still left at the bottom. She could see the servants of the Creator coming, and she clutched the basket tightly to her as she searched for a way to force them off her trail. Her eyes fell on one of the newly created worlds, and she ran down to that with her sword in one hand and the basket under the other.
As soon as her feet lighted on the ground of the newly created world, First Woman shook the excess Beginning-Stuff off herself, because it stung terribly. Plants sprang from the ground where flecks of it touched, and the larger fragments broke upon contact and turned into animals of thousands upon thousands of breeds.
First Woman watched this spectacle in wonder, but she had little time to look because already the servants of the Creator had caught up with her. They came upon her in a crowd, and she turned to face them and brandished her sword. First Woman fought with great alacrity and force, and the Creator's servants, overwhelmed by her power, fled into the forests. To this day they live in the far parts of the world as a race of giants, and they are to be feared because they still remember the time when they served the Creator herself.
However, one servant remained where it was. 'Why are you still here?' First Woman asked.
'Because I intend to fight you until I have brought the basket you carry back to the Creator.'
And then it lunged at First Woman with its own sword drawn. The two of them fought long, both driven by fierce determination. But First Woman was exhausted by her flight and the previous battle, and she knew that if this went on much longer she would lose. She remembered her promise to the Consort, her maker, but she also knew that he would not wish for the basket and its contents to fall back into the Creator's hands.
Summoning up all of her strength, First Woman thrust her sword at the Creator's lone servant and forced it back. Using the opening she had made, she dropped her own sword, took the basket in both hands, tore it open and flung its contents over her enemy.
The Creator's servant fell backwards on the ground, and First Woman saw that it had changed. It had assumed a shape unlike any other in Creation except hers, and suddenly she knew that what she was looking at was First Man.
First Man stared down at himself in shock and crumpled in shame. 'Now I have nothing to bring back to the Creator. What shall I do?'
First Woman studied First Man closer. And as she did, she felt the first stirrings of Love.
She held out a hand. 'You could come with me.'
First Man took First Woman's hand, and she led him after her as she went to find the Consort again. It was not long before she and First Man came upon him, and he rushed towards them eagerly. 'Have you brought me the Creator's basket?'
First Woman opened it and showed the Consort that it was empty. He was enraged. 'What is the meaning of this? Now the power of the Beginning-Stuff is lost to me! You are no child of mine!' And with that he turned First Woman and First Man away.
The two returned to the world where they had met and built a home of branches and stripped bark. First Man could feel the pain in First Woman's heart, but he said nothing. He only helped her to make fires and gather food, and held her close in the night.
After a time, First Woman started to feel strange. Her belly swelled, and she rubbed it as she looked longingly in the direction of her father's home in the sky.
And then, one day, First Woman gave birth to First Child. And as it raised its cry in the air, First Woman gasped in surprise and looked down at it. She rushed from her house with First Child in her arms and called to First Man. 'Come with me, quickly!'
With First Man's wrist held in one arm and First Child held in the other, First Woman walked the path of the stars back to the place where the Consort had made his home. He looked at her coldly.
'Why are you here, ungrateful child?' he asked.
First Woman stepped forward with First Man and held out First Child. 'To show you that the power of Creation is not lost to you. This is your grandchild.'
And then the Consort cried out in joy. He rushed to the Creator to tell her, and at first she received him poorly, but when she heard what had happened she was overjoyed. She looked out across Creation and saw that already more and more births were coming of the unions between the creatures that the Beginning-Stuff had made.
'I like this new idea,' she said, 'but I could improve it.' And so she reached down, took a long strand of the Love that stretched between First Woman, First Man, and First Child and wove it into a net. She threw this out across the whole of Creation, and to this day this is how the Creator watches over all that has been made under her.