Creation Stories: Benzozia, Mother Dragon

Background Info

The Basque people of northern Spain are a mystery, genetically and linguistically different than the cultures around them. This story from their mythology recounts the creation of the world and of the Basque themselves. The Basque have been, and still are, battling the Spanish government for independence.

The world was a cold, flat place then. There were no mountains or valleys or sea. There was no warmth, only cold wind blowing across an endless plain.

Beneath the earth lived Benzozia, Mother Dragon. She was a great serpent, with seven great jaws and fourteen great fangs. Beneath the earth, Benzozia slept. But Her sleep was restless. She turned in Her sleep and Her great scales rasped against the earth above. Her heavy coils, all shades of red and blue and purple, arched against the earth above, and the earth groaned.

Again and again, Benzozia turned in Her sleep. Her heavy coils pushed against the earth above, arched and shoved. The earth groaned and moved. The earth split wide and rose high. Into the cold air the earth rose in peaks, and the Pyrenees were created, the world's first mountains.

In Her sleep, Benzozia rolled and from Her seven great jaws fire poured forth. It rose up, poured through the cracks in the earth and erupted from mountains and valleys. It rolled across the surface of the earth, luminous gas and burning liquid. It burned the soil and the air. It burned hot and clouds rose, mixtures of dust and moisture. Water fell from the clouds created of Benzozia's fire. The fire and water fought and hissed and more clouds were born, and the fire began to retreat, back down into the earth. Water filled the low places and mixed with earth burned dark black by fire. Trees and bushes pushed tiny shoots through the dark soil and lifted their heads into the air. Taller and taller they grew, no longer driven to hide beneath the ground by the cold above.

Into the earth the fire retreated. But from its sparks, its warm embers and hot gas and hot liquid, came the first people. They were the Basque, born of Benzozia's fire.

She lives still, the Great Mother Dragon, beneath the earth. Her sleep is still restless and the earth groans when She pushes with Her heavy coils. From time to time, She opens Her great jaws in Her sleep and fire erupts forth. It sweeps up through cracks and crevices in the earth; but now it erupts only from the heights of mountains, far from the low places filled with water.