Momaday says that the Kiowas believed they "entered the world through a hollow log." Explain what this phrase means.

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It's interesting that Momaday prefaces his account of the Kiowa creation myth with the words "You know." The full sentence is "You know, everything had to begin, and this is how it was: the Kiowas came one by one into the world through a hollow log." This tells us that the story is a familiar one, one that has been handed down orally from generation to generation.

As regards the substance of the Kiowa creation myth, it's notable that only a relative few were able to emerge from the hollow log. This is supposed to explain why the Kiowa is such a small tribe. According to the story, a pregnant woman got stuck in the log, preventing anyone else from escaping. So those who did manage to escape were very fortunate indeed. None of this is to suggest that the original members of the tribe were some kind of morally superior elite; they just got lucky.

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According to The Way to Rainy Mountain, this phrase means that the Kiowa tribe of Native Americans has a very interesting creation myth. When one speaks about the "hollow log" in relation to the Kiowa tribe, one is speaking about the very first of the twenty-four numbered sections in Momaday's book. Further, one is speaking about the mythological voice in that first section. (Keep in mind that each section contains three voices: mythological, historical, and personal.) The general Kiowa creation myth is that the Kiowa tribe originated inside the earth and emerged onto the surface through a hollow log. Why is the Kiowa tribe so small? The answer to this question is found within the myth as well: a pregnant Kiowa woman got stuck in the log; therefore, the rest of the tribe remained within the earth.  This mythological story connects to the history of the tribal name. The word "Kiowa" actually means "coming out."  Momaday goes even further in his personal voice to talk about the first time he "came out" onto the great plains in order to discover his tribe's story.

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