Grandfather opened his eyes and children twittered in anticipation. The afternoon air felt warm and languid and heavy almost as if it were liquid. Children fanned out from where he had been dozing against the trunk of the large piñon tree near the great kiva, the little ones up front, the older ones in the back. Grandfather sat up straight and cleared his voice.
What was the first world called?
“Tokpela!” the children shouted in unison.
Ah, yes, that is right. For “Tokpela” means “endless space” or “sky,” and the Creator made the first world from the endless space around the moon and stars. But the Creator soon realized there was a problem with his new world, the first he had ever made. When he placed it in space and released it, it wobbled. All the mountains tumbled down and the waters sloshed out of their places and the wind blew around in a constant storm.
Well this simply could not be! So the Creator reached his hand down deep into the earth and pulled out two identical huge stones. They were twin giants among the biggest mountains on earth. Straight and tall like pine trees that grow all the way to the sky.
The Creator blew his breath on these great stones and they came alive. When they had blinked and looked around at the awful wind and the water splashing around and the mountains falling down, they said to the Creator, “Nothing can live in this place. Please put us back into the ground!”
This made the Creator laugh a great laugh. It rolled around the world like a giant thunder clash. He told the twins they were correct, nothing could live in this place, and they were going to help him make it right. But, he warned them, it would be a hard job and take all of their strength. They thought about it a few minutes, and finally agreed. It is, after all, generally a good idea to do what the Creator asks you to do.
So the Creator sent one twin to the top of the world and the other twin to the bottom of the world and told them to hold their arms up against the sky and hold the world steady. This they did, and everything on earth quickly calmed down.
This was the duty of the twins upon the first world, Tokpela. Until they had calmed down the earth, nothing could live on it, and there was no life. So all life in the first world, and all worlds after it including this one, owe their existence to the strength and power of the twins.
At this Grandfather stood, faced the columns of the Twin War Gods at the top of the mesa, and raised both hands, palm upward, in salute of how they had once made the world a place safe for life, and all the children stood and did the same.