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

Taking Away the Sun

The people on earth were terribly distressed when it remained dark so long. They prayed to Raven and offered him rich presents of food and furs, but he wouldn't bring back the sun. They kept on begging him, saying at last: "We have crept around in the darkness finding our storehouses and getting the meat, till now it is almost gone, and we are likely to starve. Let us have light for a little time at least, so we may get more food."

So Raven yielded a trifle and held up the sun in one hand for two days while all the people went hunting; then he put it back and darkness returned. Another long time would pass and the people would make many offerings before he would let them have light again. This was repeated many times.

In this same sky village with Raven and his parents lived an older brother of Raven who thought the punishment of men was being carried too far. This brother felt sorry for the people on earth, but he didn't say a word about it to anyone. He thought out a plan which he kept to himself.

After a time he pretended to die, and was put away in a grave box in the customary manner. As soon as the mourners left his grave, he arose and went out a short distance from the village, where he hid his raven mask and coat in a tree. Then he turned himself into a young boy and went back to his father's house, where he skipped about in a lively manner, and amused the parents so much that the father at last became very fond of him.

When he had gotten them in the habit of indulging him, he began to cry for the sun as a plaything. He kept this up until the father went to the bag and took out the sun and let him have it for a while, being careful to see that it went back into the bag when anyone was coming, or when the boy was going out of doors.

One day the boy played with it for a time in the house, all the while watching his chance, and when no one was looking, he ran outside, fled to the tree where he put on his raven coat and mask and flew away with it. When he was far up in the sky, he heard his father's voice, sounding faint and far below, saying:

"Don't hide the sun.

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