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The End of The Third World

A Hopi Legend

This time Sótuknang came to Spider Woman and said, "There is no use waiting until the thread runs out this time. Something has to be done lest the people with the song in their hearts are corrupted and killed off too. It will be difficult, with all this destruction going on, for them to gather at the far end of the world where I have designated. But I will help them. Then you will save them when I destroy this world with water."

"How shall I save them?" asked Spider Woman.

"When you get there look about you," commanded Sótuknang. "You will see these tall plants with hollow stems. Cut them down and put the people inside. They I will tell you what to do next."

Spider Woman did as he instructed her. She cut down the hollow reeds, and, as the people came to her, she put them inside with a little water and hurúsuki (white cornmeal dough) for food, and sealed them up. When all the people were thus taken care of, Sótuknang appeared.

"Now you get in to take care of them, and I will seal you up." he said. "Then I will destroy the world."

So he loosed the waters upon the earth. Waves higher than mountains rolled in upon the land. Continents broke asunder and sank beneath the seas. And still the rains fell, the waves rolled in.

The people sealed up in their hollow reeds heard the mighty rushing of the waters. They felt themselves tossed high in the air and dropping back to the water. Then all was quiet, and they knew they were floating. For a long, long time, (so long a time that it seemed it would never end) they kept floating.

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