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Native American Legends

Tokpela, The First World

A Hopi Legend

The first world was Tokpela (endless space)

Before that, there was only the Creator, Taiowa. All else was endless space, There was no beginning or end, no time, no shape, no life. There was only an immeasurable void that had its beginning and end, its time, its shape, and its life in the mind of Taiowa.

Then the infinite Taiowa conceived the finite.

First, He created Sótuknang to make it manifest.

Taiowa said to him, "I have created the first power and instrument as a person to carry out my plan for life in endless space. I am your Uncle. You are my Nephew. Go now and lay out these universes in proper order so they may work together in harmony according to my plan."

Sótuknang did as he was commanded. From endless space he gathered that which was to be manifest as solid substance, molded it into forms, and arranged them into nine universal kingdoms: one for Taiowa the Creator, one for himself, and seven universes for the life to come.

When he was finished, he went to Taiowa and asked, "Is this according to your plan?"

"Yes," said Taiowa, "it is very good. Now do the same for the waters, dividing them equally upon the surfaces of each of these universes."

So Sótuknang gathered from endless space that which was to be manifest as the waters. He placed them on the universes so that each would be half solid and half water.

When he was finished, he went to Taiowa and asked, "Is this according to your plan?"

"Yes," said Taiowa, "It is very good. The next thing now is to put the forces of air into peaceful movement about all."

So Sótuknang did. From endless space he gathered that which was to be manifest as the airs. He made them into great forces, and arraigned them into gentle, ordered movement around each universe.

When he was finished, he went to Taiowa and asked, "Is this according to your plan?"

"Yes," said Taiowa, "you have done a great work according to my plan. You have created the universes and made them manifest into solids, waters, and winds, and put them in their proper places. But your work is not finished. Now you must create life and its movements to complete the four parts (Túwaquachi) of my universal plan."

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