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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Taking Away the Sun"

Taking Away the Sun

People were becoming such good hunters that they killed a great many animals, more than Raven was willing to have killed, lest the animals become too few for the large number of people now on earth. For this reason, Raven took a grass basket and tied a long line to it and, going down to earth, caught ten reindeer which he took up to the skyland. The next night he let the reindeer down near one of the villages and told them to run fast and break down the first house they came to, and destroy the people in it.

The reindeer did so and ate up the people with their sharp, wolf-like teeth; then they returned to the sky. The next night they came down again and destroyed another house and ate up the people.

"What shall we do?" cried the people to one another. "They will destroy all of us if they keep on coming."

"I know what I am going to do," said the man who lived in the third house. "They will come to my house the next time, and I'm going to cover it with deer fat and stick sour berries all over in the fat."

When the reindeer came the third night, they got their teeth full of fat and sour berries, and ran off shaking their heads so hard that their long, sharp teeth fell out. Afterward small teeth, such as reindeer now have, came in their places, and these animals became harmless.

But Raven had not accomplished his purpose, for only two families had been destroyed, and there were still too many inhabitants left. He said, "If something isn't done to stop people from killing so many animals, they will keep on until they have killed everything I have made. I believe I will take away the sun from them, so that they will be in the dark and will die."

He took Man up to the sky with him, so that he would be safe from the trouble to come. Then he said, "You remain here while I go and take away the sun."

He went away and took the sun, and put it into his skin bag, and carried it far off to a part of the skyland where his parents lived, thus making it very dark on earth. There in his father's village he stayed for a long time, keeping the sun carefully hidden in the bag.

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