(The following story is based upon a dream that I had while helping Starfox research and build this web site and is not an official Amerindian tale. I hope you enjoy it.)
(September, 2004 update: This story has now been published in "Dream Fantasy International" [formerly "Dream International Quarterly"] issue #32.)
In the beginning of days, the Great Spirit created the spirits of all living things.
"I have made the Earth, now each of you shall make images of yourselves from her dust and her water. When this is done, I will make them fruitful, and you will teach them how they are to live."
The Great Spirit saw the goodness of these things and decided to make a creature in His own image. Instead of making a separate spirit and body, the Great Spirit took a piece of His own spirit and fused it into the physical form. This creature He called "Man".
Man enjoyed racing with the deer, wrestling with the bear, and games of cunning with the fox and the coyote. When he felt hot or dusty, he would swim with the fish and the beaver. When he felt hungry, the Earth would give him corn, squash, and fruit. Man was very happy.
One day, Evil saw Man enjoying all the creatures and fruits of the Earth. Evil did not like what he saw, for he was jealous of the Great Spirit and His power.
"I will turn Man against all his pleasures and never let him be satisfied with what he has," Evil decided.
So Evil plotted, and began to whisper words of dissatisfaction into Man's ear. Soon, Man began to hoard the fruits and vegetables of the Earth, not wishing to share with his brother creatures, even when they began to spoil and go to waste. He became jealous of the bear's strength, the cunning of the fox and the coyote, and even of the beaver's dams. He polluted the waterways and began to destroy the homes of all the forest creatures.
All of the creatures began to cry out to the spirits for help against Man's cruelty, and the spirits, in turn, sought help from the Great Spirit.
"The spirit of Man has become polluted by Evil!" they were told. "The Evil must be cleaned away and restitution made. This I will leave to you, for you are the ones who are being harmed. Only you may not destroy the body of Man."
The spirits thought long and hard about how they would remove Evil from Man's spirit. Finally, Coyote had a plan.
"It will take Bear's strength and my cunning," he said, "but if we can get the body to sleep deep enough, we can force the spirit to look around the spirit world and hold it there until we can remove Evil from it."
Man was soon found, and Coyote began.
"Man, most mighty, why does your spirit not honor us with your presence? The spirits of all the other creatures have gathered to give each other gifts, and we have only seen your body. Why not visit with us in the spirit world?"
"But my body and spirit are one," answered Man. "How may I come into the spirit world?"
"When you sleep, does not your spirit wander? Have you not had dreams? That is where the spirit world is."
"But even in my dreams, I have never visited the spirit world. How do I get there?"
"I will make you a special drink, and when you drink it you will sleep so deep that your spirit will walk with us in our home."
So Man agreed to drink the mixture and soon fell into the deepest sleep he had ever had. His spirit walked the glades of the spirit world and he wondered where the other spirits were. Suddenly, Bear leaped out from behind a tree and pinned Man to the ground.
"Let me go, Bear!" he cried in shock. "What have I done to you that you treat me in such a disrespectful manner?"
"You have been polluted by Evil and have sought to destroy all that I and all my brothers have created! Now the Evil must be scrubbed from you! Help me hold him, Brothers!"
All the spirits began cleansing Man's soul of Evil, but were unable to purify it. Then, with a terrible ripping, the Good spirit and the Evil spirit came apart. All, that is, except for one seam that would not tear.
"Hold!" It was the voice of the Great Spirit. "That shall be his punishment! He will know that Evil is in him and that he must fight it. I will make a woman for him and they will tell their children about this day and what they have lost. His dreams will tell him where to look, but Man's spirit will not walk the spirit world again until his body dies. At that time, I will judge his life and let his spirit live in the spirit world, or wander forever, just outside, but never allowed in to rest."
And that is how Man's spirit was split between Good and Evil.