Native American Legends
Tokpa, The Second World
A Hopi Legend
The First People of Tokpela, the First World, were safely sheltered
underground as fire rained down upon the earth. Volcanoes and fire
storms destroyed all that was above them until the earth, the waters,
and the air itself was all elemental fire.
While this was going on, the people lived happily underground with
the Ant People. Their homes were just like the people's homes on
the earth-surface being destroyed. There were rooms to live in and
rooms where they stored their food. There was light to see by too.
The tiny bits of crystal in the sand of the anthill had absorbed
the light of the sun, and using the inner vision of the center located
behind the eyes they could see by its reflection very well.
Only one thing troubled them: the food had begun to run short.
It had not taken Sótuknang long to destroy the world, nor
would it take him long to create another one. But it was taking
a long time for the First World to cool off before a Second World
could be created. That was why the food was running short.
"Do not give us so much of the food you have worked so hard
to gather and store," the people said.
"You are our guests," the Ant people said, "What
we have is yours also." So the Ant people continued to deprive
themselves of food in order to supply their guests. Every day, they
tied their belts tighter and tighter, and this is why ants today
are so small around the waist.
Finally, that which had been the First World cooled off. Sótuknang
purified it. Then he began to create the Second World. He changed
its form completely, putting land where there was water and water
where there was land so that the people upon their emergence would
have nothing to remind them of the previous wicked world.
When all was ready, he came to the roof of the Ant kiva, stamped
on it, and gave his call. Immediately the Chief of the Ant People
went up to the opening and rolled back the núta (the straw
hatch that covered the opening to the kiva). "Yung-ai! Come
in! You are welcome!" he called.
Sótuknang spoke first to the Ant People. "I am thanking
you for doing your part in helping to save these people. It will
always be remembered, this you have done, The time will come when
another world will be destroyed, and when the wicked people know
their last day on earth has come, they will sit by an anthill and
cry for the ants to save them. Now, having fulfilled your duty,
you may go forth to this Second World and take your place as ants."
Then Sótuknang said to the people, "Make your emergence
now to the Second World I have created. It is not quite as beautiful
as the First World, but it is beautiful just the same. You will
like it. So multiply and be happy. But remember your creator and
the laws he gave you. When I hear you sing joyful praises to him
I will know you are my children, and you will be close to me in
So the people emerged to the second world. Its mane was Tokpa (Dark
Midnight). Its direction was south, its color blue, its mineral
was qöchásive (silver). Chiefs upon it were salvi (spruce),
kwáhu (eagle), and kolíchiyaw (skunk).
It was a big land, and the people multiplied rapidly, spreading
over it to all directions, even to the other side of the world.
This did not matter, for they were so close together in spirit they
could see and talk to each other from the center on top of the head.
Because this door was still open, they felt close to Sótuknang
and they sang joyful praises to the Creator, Taiowa.
They did not have the privilege of living with the animals, though,
for the animals were wild and kept apart. Being separated from the
animals, the people tended to their own affairs. They built homes,
then villages and trails between them. They made things with their
hands and stored food like the Ant People. Then they began to trade
and barter with one another.
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