Native American Legends
Kuskurza, The Third World
A Hopi Legend
For many years, all the elements that had comprised the Second
World were frozen into a motionless and lifeless lump of ice. But
the people were happy and warm with the Ant People in their underground
world. They watched their food carefully, although the ants; waists
became still smaller. They wove sashes and blankets together and
Eventually, Sótuknang ordered Pöqánghoya and
Palöngawhoya back to their stations at the poles of the world
axis. With a great shudder and a splintering of ice, the planet
began rotating again. When it was rotating smoothly about its axis
and moving in its universal orbit, the ice began to melt and the
world began to warm to life. Sótuknang set about creating
the third world: arranging lands and seas, planting mountains and
plains with their proper coverings, and creating all forms of life.
When the Earth was ready for occupancy, he came to the Ant kiva
with the proper approach as before and said, "Open the door,
it is time for you to come out."
Once again, when the núta was rolled back, he gave the people
their instructions. "I have saved you so you can be planted
again on this new Third World. But you must always remember the
two things I am saying to you now. First, respect me and one another.
Second, sing in harmony from the tops of the hills. When I do not
hear you singing praises to your Creator, I will know you have gone
back to evil again."
So the People climbed up the ladder from the Ant kiva, making their
emergence to the Third World.
The name of this Third World was Kuskurza, its direction east,
its color red. Chiefs upon it were the mineral palásiva (copper),
the plant píva (tobacco), the bird angwusi (crow), and the
animal chöövio (antelope).
Upon it once more the people spread out, multiplied, and continued
their progress on the Road of Life. In the First World, they had
lived simply with the animals. In the Second World, they had developed
handicrafts, homes, and villages. Now, in the Third World, they
created big cities and countries: a whole civilization.
This made it difficult to conform to the plan of Creation and to
sing praises to Taiowa and to Sótuknang. More and more of
them became wholly occupied with their own earthy plans.
Some of them, of course, retained the wisdom granted them upon
their emergence. With this wisdom they understood that the farther
they went on the road of life and the more that they developed,
the harder it was. That was why their world was destroyed every
so often to give them a fresh start. They were especially concerned
because so many people were using their reproductive power in wicked
There was one woman who was becoming known throughout the land
for her wickedness in corrupting so many people. She even boasted
that so many men were giving her turquoise necklaces for her favors
she could wind them around a ladder that reached to the end of the
world's axis. So the people with wisdom sand longer and louder their
praises to the Creator from the tops of the hills.
The other people hardly heard them. Under the leadership of the
Bow Clan, they began to use their creative power in another evil
and destructive way. Perhaps this was caused by that wicked woman.
But some of them made a pátuwvota (a shield made of hide)
and with their creative power, made it fly through the air.
On this, many people flew to a big city, attacked it, then returned
so fast that no one knew where they came from. Soon the people of
many cities were making pátuwvotas and flying on them to
attack one another. So corruption and war came to the Third World
as it had to the others.
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