...and then Earth Mother set the clay on her table and began to sculpt it into mountains and valleys. As she worked, Tomiul the leopard came to sit across from her and watch her progress in silence. After some time, he raised his paw and reached for the jug of water that Earth Mother had set aside earlier.The leopard Tomiul features in many Dàni folk stories. His most notable story is the above-mentioned depiction of how he created the oceans by knocking over a jug of water. He's also known for stealing fire from a thunder cloud and gifting it to humans. Humans were startled and not thrilled when he dropped fire on their doorsteps after being out for the night. He takes the form of a small leopard, said to be the runt of his litter. He was always picked on by his bigger siblings, but his small size led him to become clever instead of tough. He is the first leopard to stash his food in a tree to come back for it later. A common theme throughout his stories is that he is a hero of the common folk. He generally uses his wiles against gods or powerful spirits to win boons for humanity, although sometimes he pranks humans. Generally, he the humans he pranks are the wealthy and powerful.
Earth Mother saw Tomiul reach. "No. Don't do that," she said in a stern voice.
But Tomiul did not like being told what to do, and he locked eyes with Earth Mother as he batted the jug over.
"No! Bad cat!" Earth Mother yelled as water flowed across the world, turning her valleys into rivers and plains into oceans.