THIS is the oldest story in the world. It began to be told when children began to ask questions; and that was very long ago. The children said, “Where did everything come from? Who made the hills and the sea? Who made the sun and the stars?” And their fathers and mothers answered as best they could.
In our time, after long study of the earth, there are wise men who know more about these things than any-body knew when the world was young. They ask the earth itself, and tell us what the earth says. But the oldest story is still the best, because it tells us that the world was made by God. And that is what we want to know.
In the beginning of all beginnings, so the story goes, the world was a wide sea without a shore. Up and down, and here and there, and all across, nothing could be seen but water. And it was all dark, like the ocean at night when there is no moon. And God said, “Let there be light!” And day appeared. And God made the sky; and under the sky, in the new light of day, in the midst of the vast waters, He made the land; and grass began to grow upon it, and then trees, with leaves and fruit.
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Then in the sky, the sun began to shine by day, and the moon and stars by night. And in the sea, first little fishes and then big ones, began to swim; and in the air, the birds began to fly; and on the land, all kinds of living things began to move about, lions in the thick woods, sheep in the fields, cows in the pastures. And at last, as best of all, God made man; and to the first man He said, “Behold, the new earth and all that is in it. It is yours. Here you are to live, and over all these living things you are to rule.”
Thus the world and man came into being. The story says that God did all this in six days, but the earth says that every one of these six days was millions of years long. Very, very slowly, but no less wonderfully, was the great world made.