The Creation of Evil

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

"While the Great Spirit had been at work the Evil Spirit was asleep. He now awoke and on finding how much the Great Spirit had created he went to work himself quite sure of being able to do as much. His first effort was to try to make an Indian but through some mistake in the ingredients a black man was produced. He then endeavored to make a black bear and it turned out a miserable grizzly creature. He then made several serpents but they were filled with poison. He commenced work in the vegetable line and created a set of useless herbs; he made a few ugly and distorted trees and sowed broadcast myriads of thistles. To complete the sum of his machinations he tempted the creations of the Great Spirit to evil; he made some of the Indians steal and murder and lie. With the Evil Spirit the Great Spirit is to have a battle; and at that time there will be darkness four days and nights, there will be thunders and lightnings, and then the wicked will go to the Evil Spirit. At that time the earth will be destroyed again by a great flood of waters, but the Great Spirit who will always exist will restore it again."1

Commentary. "Evil Spirit" — he is more usually called Herešgúnina, "The One Who May Be." He may well have been introduced from early Christian influences.

"he now awoke" — this models the Evil Spirit after Earthmaker, who came into existence when he suddenly awoke.

"mistake" — the basic theory of evil advanced here is that it is the product of error. Earthmaker is not an omnipotent god, and could not stop the Evil Spirit from make defective creations.

"the earth will be destroyed again" — all of the material on the fight between the Good and Evil Spirits, the destruction of the earth through a flood, and its restoration, are all lifted out of Christianity. Herešgúnina himself is the product of an error on the part of Earthmaker, so that his creation exemplifies both defectiveness and Earthmaker's failure of omnipotence.

Comparative Material. ...

Links: Herešgúnina, One Legged One, Earthmaker.

Stories: featuring Herešgúnina (the Bad Spirit or One Legged One) as a character: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Woman Who Became an Ant, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Šųgepaga, The Spirit of Gambling, Bladder and His Brothers, The Two Brothers, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Buffalo's Walk; see also Black and White Moons, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hocąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hocągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, Turtle and the Giant, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; mentioning grizzly bears: Blue Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, The Spotted Grizzly Man, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Roaster, Wazųka, Little Priest's Game, The Story of How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Migistega's Magic, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, The Two Boys (giant black grizzly), Partridge's Older Brother, The Chief of the Heroka, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Dipper (white grizzly), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Creation of Man (v. 9), cp. The Woman Who Fought the Bear; mentioning poisons: Hare Visits the Blind Men, The Island Weight Songs, The Seer, The Shaggy Man, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 3), Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), Ocean Duck, The Diving Contest, A Wife for Knowledge, Great Walker's Medicine (antidote).

Themes: arrogance: The Skunk Origin Myth, The Blue Jay, The Fatal House, Holy One and His Brother, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, The Foolish Hunter.


1 Ellen Russell Emerson, Indian Myths, or Legends, Traditions, and Symbols of the Aborigines of America, Compared with Those of Other Countries, Including Hindostan, Egypt, Persia, Assyria, and China (Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1884) 128.