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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Flight to the Moon"

The Flight to the Moon

A powerful conjurer, who had a bear for his mascot, thought he would like to go to the Moon. He had his hands tied up and a rope fastened around his knees and neck. Then he sat down at the rear of his hut with his back to the lamps and had the light extinguished.

He called for his mascot, and the bear at once appeared and he mounted its back. Up it carried him, above the village, above the mountains, up and up till they reached the Moon. To his surprise, the Moon was a house which was covered with beautiful white deerskins. Now white deer are strange and sacred and are hatched from long white eggs buried deep in the soil. There is mystery and magic in white deer, white buffalo, and in all albino animals. The Man in the Moon dried these white deerskins and fastened them over his house, which, as I said, is the Moon itself.

On each side of the door to the house was the upper part of an enormous walrus. The beasts were alive, and they threatened to tear the visitor in pieces. It was very dangerous to try to pass the fierce animals, but the conjurer told his mascot to growl as loud as it could, and that startled the walruses for an instant, and in that instant the man slipped in.

It must be chilly in the Moon, for the house had a passageway to keep out the cold, just as the Eskimo houses have. In this passageway was a red-and-white spotted dog, the only dog which the Man in the Moon keeps. The man went on past this dog and into the inner room. There at the left he saw a door into another building in which sat a beautiful woman with a lamp before her. As soon as she saw the stranger she blew on her fire and made it flash up, and she hid behind the blaze; but he had seen enough so that he knew she was the Sun.

The Man in the Moon rose from his seat on the ledge and came over to shake hands with the visitor and welcome him. Behind the lamps there was a great heap of venison and seal meat, but the Man in the Moon did not offer his guest any of it, which is not the way the Eskimo and Indians treat their guests.

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