link to Home Page

icon Mother Sun

Ran across tale that is quite interesting and was run in our local paper. It's a kids section called "Tell me a story". This one is adapted by Amy Friedman and distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. It is entitled: Mother Sun and is an ancient Cherokee tale "from the earliest time".

Offered by John.

In the earliest time, Mother Sun was angry with the people, and she was jealous of Moon. Mother Sun spewed flaming fury as she strode across the sky and looked down at the people. At noon she reached her daughter's house. She stood outside, raised her arms and beamed her hottest rays on the people below. What are you doing mother? her daughter asked. "The people of Earth are ugly. They squint and frown at me and twist their faces into knots, but when they look at Moon, they gaze warmly and lovingly. I'm going to destroy the people". Daughter Sun did not approve of her mother's fury, but she could say nothing. Mother Sun was powerful, and when she was angry, everyone cowered and stepped away from her blaze. On Earth, the people became ill and exhausted with Mother Sun's relentless heat. At last they met in council to discuss what they might do to save themselves. After much talk, they decided to stir up strong medicine, to send poisonous snakes to destroy Mother Sun.

And so Copperhead, Rattlesnake and Water Moccasin slithered to the top of the sky and coiled themselves beside Daughter Suns' door, awaiting Mother Sun. Copperhead flicked his long tongue, Rattlesnake shook with fury, and Water Moccasin, so excited he could not be still, slithered this way and that, his tail so long that at night it covered moon and stars. His terrible red eyes and bright while fangs were the only lights in the sky. "Calm down" the other snakes said, but Water Moccasin could not relax. The next day, just before noon, Daughter Sun opened her door to look for her mother's arrival. Rattlesnake, startled by the movement behind him, turned and struck. He killed Daughter Sun. "You fool," Water Moccasin shouted, "You killed the wrong one!" In his fury he churned back to the watery world below the Earth. He has never left that place. Copperhead and Rattlesnake sneaked back home.

When Mother Sun found her daughter's body, she moaned. She gathered her child into her arms, and as she did, Sun Daughter's ghost peeled away, and her spirit journeyed to the ghost country in the dark land of the west. After that, Mother Sun would not leave her dead daughter's house, so instead of the relentless heat and light, the people suffered endless darkness. Again the people held council. They agreed they must bring Sun Daughter back from the ghost country. They sent seven people with seven sticks and a strong box to ghost country. "Whatever you do, bring Daughter Sun back to her mother. Do not set her free from the box before you reach her home" the council told them.

When the seven people arrived in the ghost country, they saw the ghost people dancing. They spotted Sun Daughter in her bright red dress, and they began to touch her with their sticks. The first man touched a stick to her shoulder, and then the second did, and the third, and at last, with the seventh touch, Sun Daughter moved out of the ghost dance. The seven people caught her and folded her into their strong box. On the journey east, they heard Sun Daughter calling to them. "Let me out! I'm so hungry. I can't breathe. I'm dying. Please let me out!" The people began to tremble. "What if she dies?" they asked each other. "If she dies, Mother Sun will never leave her house and we will live in darkness forever". At last, as Sun Daughter wailed and cried, the people opened the box a tiny crack. When they did, they heard a fluttering sound and felt something brush past their faces. A bright redbird perched in a nearby bush and began to sing. Now Daughter Sun was Redbird, and though the people tried to catch her, she could fly faster than the wind.

If they had kept that box closed, we would be able to bring people we love back from the ghost country, but now that can never be, for those seven people failed to obey the wise council. Still, the people knew they must go to Mother Sun. They continued their journey, and when they reached Mother Sun, she opened the box and wept harder than ever. She had been hoping and praying she would see her daughter once again, but now she understood she never would. As she wept, the world was flooded with her tears. Once again, the people held council. After much deliberation, they decided to send up a group of children to Mother Sun's house. In the sky the children, filled with delight, looked around. "What a beautiful world this is!" they cried, and they drummed and danced and held each other's hands, and the sounds they made were so happy, Mother sun peeked outside to see who was making them.

At that the drummers changed their beat. The dancers dropped hands. Each one began to leap and twirl and spin, faster and faster. Mother Sun, dazzled by their joy, stopped crying. And when the children saw her eyes open again, they rippled into a rainbow of pleasure. Mother Sun's eyes filled with tears once more, but these were tears of happiness at the sight of the singing, dancing children. They were so alive and beautiful. "I was wrong about the people" she said. "They are not ugly at all". And then she smiled, and stepped outside and raised her arms over the people. And from that day on, she offered gentle heat an dlight to the people of the Earth.