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The Good Twin and the Evil Twin

Natalie Curtis (1875–1921)
Natalie Curtis (1875–1921)

This is how it all began. There was only water — there was no sky, there was no land, only nothingness. Then out of the waters rose a mist, and it became the sky. Still there were no sun, no moon, no stars — just darkness. But deep down in the waters lived Kokomaht, the Creator. He was bodiless, nameless, breathless, motionless, and he was two beings — twins. Then the waters stirred and rushed and thundered, and out of the spray and foam rose the first twin, the good twin. With closed eyes he cleaved the waves and came to the surface. He stood upon the waters, opened his eyes, and saw. There he named himself Kokomaht — All-Father. And from beneath the waters a second voice called out to Kokomaht: “Brother, how did you rise? With eyes open or with eyes closed?” Bakotahl was the evil twin, and Kokomaht wanted to make it more difficult for him to do harm. So Kokomaht lied to him, saying: “I opened my eyes while I was under water.” The second twin opened his eyes as he rose, and when he reached the surface he was blind.

— from “The Good Twin and the Evil Twin” in American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon 1984), Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz

The Good Twin and the Evil Twin are the creator gods in the Yuma account of creation. This version, which explains how the good prevents evil from overwhelming creation, was retold from several sources, including a 1909 report by (pictured) Natalie Curtis (1875–1921), an American ethnologist who transcribed and published traditional music of Native-American tribes and early African-American music.

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Natalie Curtis (1875–1921)
Natalie Curtis (1875–1921)

This is how it all began. There was only water — there was no sky, there was no land, only nothingness. Then out of the waters rose a mist, and it became the sky. Still there were no sun, no moon, no stars — just darkness. But deep down in the waters lived Kokomaht, the Creator. He was bodiless, nameless, breathless, motionless, and he was two beings — twins. Then the waters stirred and rushed and thundered, and out of the spray and foam rose the first twin, the good twin. With closed eyes he cleaved the waves and came to the surface. He stood upon the waters, opened his eyes, and saw. There he named himself Kokomaht — All-Father. And from beneath the waters a second voice called out to Kokomaht: “Brother, how did you rise? With eyes open or with eyes closed?” Bakotahl was the evil twin, and Kokomaht wanted to make it more difficult for him to do harm. So Kokomaht lied to him, saying: “I opened my eyes while I was under water.” The second twin opened his eyes as he rose, and when he reached the surface he was blind.

— from “The Good Twin and the Evil Twin” in American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon 1984), Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz

The Good Twin and the Evil Twin are the creator gods in the Yuma account of creation. This version, which explains how the good prevents evil from overwhelming creation, was retold from several sources, including a 1909 report by (pictured) Natalie Curtis (1875–1921), an American ethnologist who transcribed and published traditional music of Native-American tribes and early African-American music.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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