I am proud to present the following story from volume 2 of "Folk Literature of the Toba Indians" (of northern Argentina). I've never seen a story with so many non sequiturs. "Big Conflagration, Metamorphosis of Men into Animals, and the Partial Establishment of the Current Cosmic Order One day the world came to an end, and people made a deep pit in the ground and climbed into it. They prepared some mud at the bottom of the well, and when the fire passed over them they covered themselves with the mud. The fire and the sulphur burned everything. When it was all over, they thought about what they should do. "The first person to emerge must not look in any direction but just come out of the pit bent over." The first person to come out made the mistake of looking all around him. He was turned into a bird. Another man came out, and he was turned into a very large bird. However, the last people to come out of the pit did things well; they came out bent over and looking at the ground, and so they remained as human beings. After a while they lifted their heads and saw that there was nothing left in the world and that the earth was parched and red. There was a small red bird singing its little song. It was all by itself, and it would jump up into the air and then jump back down again. A few days later a small tree came up in the midst of the field, and the bird kept on singing every day. Then a man came who made a river and divided the day into hours. He wanted to cross the river, so he stuck his lance into the ground. He crossed over to the other side, and after that many people followed. However, another man ruined what the first man had done. It was going to be a single river, but he spoiled the plan and the water spilled all over the place, some here, some there. People of long ago were happy after that, because they had fish to eat. Before that they had nothing to eat because there was no river. People began to keep animals. They caught horses and mounted them and went out looking for food. In the open plains they found rheas, and they hunted them on horseback with their lances and bolas. People were happy. When they came back from hunting they went to the river to drink water. Now they had a river, but before there was none, and they had to dig for a plant that contained water in its roots. When they were thirsty they would dig it up and drink its water and quench their thirst. Once they had the river, however, people never got that thirsty again. The man who had divided the river was called Kwiteik. Later on they began to make chicha. Our ancestors knew how to prepare a drink with the fruit of the carob tree. They prepared it in a large trough, and, after leaving it there two or three days to ferment, they would drink it and get drunk. They would start singing and take their small gourds and play them. In those days there were all kinds of pastimes; for example, there were mock battles between the tribes. Those who lost were left naked, with only a small piece of cloth to cover themselves. Everything was taken from them in the battle." The book gives a few other variations on this story; most of them focus on what types of animals which the people who came out of the hole first were turned into. Some turn into pigs, armadillos, etc.; in one version, the first man to leave the hole became the first howler monkey. But in my favorite version, no humans survive the fire; when it's over, the only things left are a small carob tree and, sitting on a branch, a little bird singing its little song. How all the creatures currently living on the earth came to be, is left unexplained. Joel T.  Chicha was the Spanish name for the Incas' maize beer, but the Toba seem to use the term to describe beer made from carob beans.