The Good Twin and the Evil Twin

The Good Twin and the Evil TwinThe Good Twin and the Evil Twin

Yuma

There was once nothing and Kokomaht was there. Kokomaht was actually twins. The good part of Kokomaht rose out of the waters and was called All-Father. The second twin also wanted to rise and he asked his brother if he had opened his eyes while coming up through the water. All-Father did not want him to do damage so he said that he opened his eyes on the way up and as a result the other twin was blinded. He was called Bakotahl, The Blind One.

All-Father started by making the four directions and then he decided to create the Earth, Bakotahl didn’t think he had the power to do it, but he did. He made the Earth out of a swirl. He then made people. Bakotahl tried to make people, but they were disfigured. Bakotahl became angry and dove deep down in the darkness, which caused a big swirl, but All-Father stamped it out, all but for a little, which became all the diseases and bad things of the Earth.

All-Father was by himself now expect for his two people, which were the Yuma. He proceeded to make other peoples. He had to teach his children to reproduce so he begat a son by himself, who was called Komashtam’ho. All-Father told his creations that they must live together and not apart. He also made the moon and put it in the sky for light. He made Hanyi, the frog. The frog sought to kill him because of his power and he knew this, so he decided to teach the people what death was.

He let Hanyi kill him. The frog burrowed under the ground and sucked the breath out of All-Father. The people did not know what had happened to him. They did not understand death yet. The white man whined about things so Komashtam’ho made some sticks and it turned into a horse and gave it to the white man to ride so he would be quiet for a minute. In his last breaths, the All-Father told the people of Earth that they had to learn how to die.

When he died Komashtam’ho made the sun. It was time to prepare the funeral pyre for the All-Father, who had told Coyote to take his heart after he died. Komashtam’ho brought wood into being so he could build the pyre. They knew Coyote had misunderstood and thought he had to eat the heart so Komashtam’ho sent him to get a spark from the sun to light the fire, but Komashtam’ho could light the fire by himself, which he did. Coyote was quick though and got the heart anyway. He was cursed to wander from house to house.

The people asked when All-Father was coming back and Komashtam’ho explained to them that he was never coming back and they cried. They must die as well at some point. Komashtam’ho explained that the little wind that had come up from the ashes of the All-Father was actually his spirit and it would still be around, even if his body was not. Death was not something to be scared of. When they died, they would be with their loved ones again and would be young and strong instead of old and feeble as they were when they had died.

One man was chosen to help Komashtam’ho with the world and his name was Marhokuvek. His first degree was to tell the people to cut their hair short in mourning, but the animals, which looked like people at the time, didn’t look well with their hair short, so it was decided that they should be more like animals with claws and walk on all fours.

After a time, Komashtam’ho caused a large flood which killed many animals. Marhokuvek asked him what he was doing and he said that there were too many dangerous wild animals. Marhokuvek told him that many of these animals provided food for the people so they should stay. Komashtam’ho created a large fire that dried up the water and as a result there were deserts.

It was then decided that the All-Father’s house must be torn down. No one should live in his house after he died or keep his belongings. When Komashtam’ho smashed the house water welled up from the hold and became the Colorado river, in which all the evil things Bakotahl had created swam in.

Kahk, the crow, flew to the south and brought back corn seeds for the people to plant.

Komashtam’ho told the Yuma that he would soon turn into four eagles, which would watch over the people and would no longer live among them as a man. Bakotahl lived under the Earth and was mostly quiet, but when he rolled over there was a great shaking of the Earth. All-Father and Komashtam’ho still advise people in their sleep and council people to listen to their teachings. Everything good comes from the All-Father and everything bad comes from Bakotahl.

Observations

The story of the twins is fairly common in mythology, part of why I used the constellation Gemini as my picture.

Who would have thought that a frog could kill God? That’s the first time I’ve heard that one. Of all things to kill someone, it’s a frog, a frog, which you can squish with one step of a booted foot.

This story of getting rid of the belongings of the dead is actually something that has been perpetuated, a bit, by some of the modern tribes.

Themes

This is a creation story, which is actually very similar to the Christian creation story. There’s an All-Father; there’s his only begotten son; there’s the devil; there’s the creation of man and woman; there’s the creation of the Earth, the lights in the sky; there’s the great flood. Probably most interesting is the idea of heaven in this story–it’s really similar to the Christian idea of heaven.

I don’t know when this myth came into being. Was it before or after the bringing of religion by the White Man? It’s too similar in many ways. The American natives were not entirely without contact from Europe until Columbus, there were a few people who wandered over the Americas before then, but they weren’t necessarily bringing religion. In some circles, the Native American people are actually people who came over from Asia, actually, that’s actually how it happened with the land bridge that used to be between Asia and North America, but in some religions, people came over from Mesopotamia in boats and became the native peoples which Columbus later encountered. Is it true? Well this story, if thought up before the arrival of Columbus, would definitely give credence to that idea.

Replace the names in this story with some from the Bible and you have pretty much the same creation story.

Overall

Oh that Coyote, always doing things.

Weigh In

Do you think this story is about the good and evil that are in all of us?

Could you tear down your house if someone in the family died in it?

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