Native American Legends
A Hopi Legend
After the departure of Spider Woman, the people set out once more
to discover their new world. Alone they set out, traveling east
and a little north, paddling hard day and night for many days as
if they were paddling uphill.
At last they saw land. It rose high above the waters, stretching
from north to south as far as they could see. A great land, a mighty
land, their inner wisdom told them. "The Fourth World!"
they cried to each other.
As they got closer, its shores rose higher and higher into a steep
wall of mountains. There seemed no place to land. "Let us go
north. There we will find our place of emergence," said some.
So they went north, but the mountains rose higher and steeper.
"No! Let us go south! There we will find our place of emergence!"
cried others. So they turned south and traveled many days more.
But here too the mountain wall reared higher.
Not knowing what to do, the people stopped paddling, opened the
doors on top of their heads, and let themselves be guided. Almost
immediately the water smoothed out, and they felt their rafts caught
up in a gentle current. Before long they landed and joyfully jumped
out upon a sandy shore. "The Fourth World!" they cried.
"We have reached our place of emergence at last!"
Soon all the others arrived and when they were gathered together,
Sótuknang appeared before them. "Well, I see you are
all here. This is good. This is the place I have prepared for you.
Look now at the way you have come."
Looking to the west and south, the people could see sticking out
of the water the islands upon which they had rested.
"They are the footprints of your journey," continued
Sótuknang, "the tops of the high mountains of the Third
World, which I destroyed. Now watch."
As the people watched them, the closest one sank under the water,
then the next, until all were gone, and they could see only water.
"See," said Sótuknang, "I have washed away
even the footprints of your emergence, the stepping-stones which
I left for you. Down on the bottom of the sea lie all the proud
cities, the flying pátuwvotas, and the worldly treasures
corrupted with evil, and those people who found no time to sing
praises to the Creator from the tops of their hills. But the day
will come, if you preserve the memory and meaning of your emergence,
when these stepping stones will emerge again to prove the truth
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