February 28, 2002

The twins alter the Book of Life


Source: Winnebago Oral Legend

The twins traveled all over the world and killed all the evil spirits they  encountered.

Then the twins went under the earth, under the rivers, under the  ocean and then above the earth, visiting the Night spirits, the Sun, the  Moon, the Stars, the Thunderbirds–all of them.


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Hey visited the four worlds,  too. Indeed they did not miss anyplace.
Herecgunina was sitting there writing  in a book and marking off the number of years human beings were to live. He  was making them very short.

“Say, why don’t you make them long?” asked the twin  boys.

“This is the way Earthmaker created me. He put me in control of life.  It is to be short because if all people were to live long lives, the world  would soon become overcrowded. Then the people would be in a pitiable  condition indeed.

There would not be enough food to go around. This is the  reason the Earthmaker created me, that I might decrease the number of  people.”

Then the twins asked him to let them have the book for a little while to  do the marking. Finally they persuaded him to give it to them.

When they had  the book they marked all the lives long. “Don’t do that,” Herecgunina said. But they  refused to obey him.

Herecgunina tried to take the book back but they refused to give  it up for, although Herecgunina was the equal of Earthmaker, these boys were  powerful still. Herecgunina was afraid of them.

Winnebago / Hochunk Legends
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