by Mineke Schipper, Humanity’s End as a New Beginning: World Disasters in Myths

26. The last buffalo hair

(Pawnee, Nebraska)

The lord of all things, Tirawa Atius, determines fate. At the beginning of the world, he set a large bull buffalo in the sky to the far northwest. With the passage of each year, the bull loses one hair; when all his hairs will be gone, the world will end. There will be widespread meteor showers, and the sun and moon will become dim. In the beginning, Tirawa Atius appointed the North Star and the South Star to control fate. The South Star is moving a bit to the north with each passing year. When he catches up with the North Star, the world will be destroyed and come to an end. The stars in heaven will fall to the new earth and become people. The people left in this world at the time of destruction will fly high into the sky and they will become stars themselves.