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July 18, 2007

A Whole Lotta Shakin’

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about What Makes the Earth Move
Not what you first thought, I bet! I’ve been researching earthquakes for a work in progress. There are some great myths that explain why the earth moves, and I thought I’d share.

1. India: The Earth is held up by four elephants that stand on the back of a turtle. The turtle is balanced on top of a cobra. When any of these animals move, the Earth trembles and shakes.

2. Mexico: El Diablo, the devil, makes giant rips in the Earth from the inside. He and his devilish friends use the cracks when they want to come and stir up trouble on Earth.

3. Mozambique: The Earth is a living creature, and it has the same kinds of problems people have. Sometimes, it gets sick with fever and chills and we can feel its shaking.

4. West Africa: The Earth is a flat disk, held up on one side by an enormous mountain and on the other by a giant. The giant’s wife holds up the sky. The Earth trembles when he stops to hug her.

5. New Zealand: Mother Earth has a child within her womb, the young god Ru. When he stretches and kicks as babies do, he causes earthquakes.

6. Columbia: When the Earth was first made, it rested firmly on three large beams of wood. But one day the god Chibchacum decided that it would be fun to see the plain of Bogota underwater. He flooded the land, and for his punishment he is forced to carry the world on his shoulders. Sometimes he’s angry and stomps, shaking the Earth.

7. East Africa: A giant fish carries a stone on his back. A cow stands on a stone, balancing the Earth on one of her horns. From time to time, her neck begins to ache, and she tosses the globe from one horn to another.

8. Romania: The world rests on the divine pillars of faith, hope and charity. When the deeds of human beings make one of the pillars weak, the Earth shakes.

9. Central America: The square Earth is held up at its four corners by four gods. When they decide the Earth is becoming overpopulated, they tip it to get rid of surplus people.

10. Assam (Between Banglasdesh and China): There is a race of people living inside the Earth. From time to time, they shake the ground to find out if anyone is still living on the surface. When children feel a quake, they should shout “Alive! Alive!” so the people inside the Earth will know they are there and stop shaking.

11. Siberia: The Earth rests on a sled driven by a god name Tuli. The dogs who pull the sled have fleas. When they stop to scratch, the Earth shakes.

12. Japan: A great catfish, or namazu, lies curled up under the sea, with the islands of Japan resting on his back. A demigod, or daimyojin, holds a heavy stone over his head to keep him from moving. Once in a while, though, the daimyojin is distracted, the namazu moves and the Earth trembles.

13. Latvia: A god named Drebkuhls carries the Earth in his arms as he walks through the heavens. When he’s having a bad day, he might handle his burden a little roughly. Then the Earth will feel the shaking.

Which myth is your favorite? Do you have your own myth to add?


  1. Heather

    Fascinating info, Shelley! I’d have to say my favorites are 9 and 10. Esp. 9 — I imagine there are days we’d all like to tip someone off the planet. :wink: :lol:

  2. Thomma Lyn

    What a great list of myths! I like them all, but I am partial to the Assam myth — how cool to think about a race of people living inside the earth and shaking the planet every now and then to see if “anybody is out there!” :mrgreen:

    Happy TT, and thanks for visiting mine! :)

  3. N.J. Walters

    These are fascinating, Shelley!

  4. Jennifer Shirk

    Very interesting…and strange. LOL!

    I personally like #11. :grin:

  5. Christine d'Abo

    These are great! I don’t know why, but I really love #4

  6. Tempest Knight

    Great T13! I enjoyed reading all these ideas about why the Earth shakes. Hehehe!

  7. TA Chase


    Those were interesting myths. I think my favorite is #4. The earth trembles when the giant hugs his wife. :)


  8. Rhonda

    Wow, those are cool…I wish I knew some good myths to add!!!

  9. Elle Fredrix

    Wow. Some of these are so…creative!

    My fave is number 4. Hey, I’m a romantic!

  10. Wylie Kinson

    Shelley – what a terrific TT! Very imaginative, and interesting.
    I’m throwing my vote to #4, the Giant who hugs is wife. Though the Assam myth has it’s own creepy charm.

  11. Ciar Cullen

    Incredibly cool list. Thanks for firing up some brain cells for me before coffee!

  12. Jennifer McKenzie

    These are so interesting! I especially like the West Africa one. Hugs! Who knew.

  13. Lesley Speller

    hehehe I thought you were going somewhere else with #3… The Earth needs some beano?

    #4 is soooooooooooooooooo cute!!! Awww 5 too!

    These are just great! :razz:

  14. Miss Frou Frou

    Really interesting information, thanks

  15. Adelle Laudan

    These are fabulous! Thanks for sharing! :wink:

  16. Dorothy

    No wonder the human race is all screwed up. I personally like the earth is flat.

  17. Samantha Lucas

    Born and raised in Southern California, I have first hand experience with earthquakes and I hate them! These myths were great though! :)

    Love the idea of using one in a book, can’t wait to read that. :)

  18. julia

    #8 the Romanian one really resonates with me. Wonderful TT!

  19. R.G. Alexander

    So awesome! I love this list :)

  20. Red

    Loved your TT Shelley! Fantastic idea, and I can’t pick faves, all of them are so interesting!!!

  21. Marguerite Labbe

    My favorites are the West Africa and New Zealand, but the Assam one is the most original.

  22. Gina Ardito

    Those are fabulous, Shelley! Fascinating.

  23. Lis

    Oh those are cool! I like the Mexico and Romania ones best

  24. Anna J. Evans

    I knew about the Mexican and Indian legends, but the others were new (And fascinating!). I just finished a book that featured earthquakes in a major way, but I made up my own beasties, lol.

    anna j evans

  25. Joely

    I *adore* stuff like this! Happy TT and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  26. Lisa Andel

    #9 is my favorite, but #2 provides some vivid imagery for me. Some of these are just odd. :wink:

  27. rhian

    i love these Shell – of course i’m a total and unapologetic myth ‘ho. I’ve saved this post in my all time favorites list. I hadn’t heard the Romanian one before or the Assam – very dang cool! :smile:

  28. Kissa Starling

    Those are some great myths! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Shelli Stevens

    Wow that is freaking cool! I’m glad I dropped by today (sorry it’s been so long.) Hope you’re doing well. You have some HOT covers!

  30. Shelley Munro

    I love the Assam myth, and it sounds as if most of you do too. The East Africa one made me laugh. I mean a cow and a fish? Just doesn’t go together really. :eek:

    Shelli – thanks for the cover compliments. I like your Samhain one with the two faces. It’s very striking.

    Rhian – Ooh! I’ve made your favorite’s list. I’m honored! :cool:

  31. rhian

    Shell – you’re a nut. It’s one of the things I love best about you! :lol:

  32. Shelley Munro

    Hmmm…I wonder if being a nut is a good thing? :wink:

  33. Miguel Vera

    I love your post Shelley, I was just doing some research on the japanese namazu mythology and I found your blog. I hope you don’t mind me translating it to post in my blog. Do you?

  34. Shelley Munro

    Hi Miguel,

    Thanks for visiting. That’s fine :grin:

  35. Rose Middleton

    WOW! Those are incredible. My fave is #8, Romania. I’m not overly religious but there’s something about the faith, hope and charity beliefs that call to me. Especially with the way the world is at the mo.