The Gifts of the Sun Goddess

When all animals, insects, birds, and reptiles had the appearance of men, they were dissatisfied. They went to Yhi, the sun goddess, and begged her to give them the gifts they longed for. The goddess took pity on them.

"I will grant all your requests," she said, "but remember this. Once I have given you what you want you will never be able to change back to what you are now. Are you satisfied?"

"Yes, yes," they all cried. "Give us our hearts' desire."

"Very well. Who is first?"

"I am," said Mouse.

"And what do you want, my little one?"

"I want wings to fly with."

The sun goddess waved her hand and long, leathery wings sprouted from the Mouse's legs and arms until it was transformed into Bat that flies by night.

Seal lumbered up.

"I have had too much of the land," he said. "My body is far too heavy, and I hurt myself when I scrape between the trees."

Yhi smiled sympathetically at the unwieldy Seal.

"Here are flippers for you," she replied. "You will still be able to walk on land, but your real home will be in the cool waters of the sea, where you will be able to dive and swim like a fish."

"I'm next," said Owl.

"But you can fly. What more do you want?"

"I want bigger eyes, so that the other aniamls will admire me."

"There you are, Owl... but perhaps you will be sorry some day for being vain."

Her words came true. Owl could no longer bear the light of day, and had to spend the daylight hours deep in the heart of the bush, coming out only at night when his large eyes could see in the darkness.

Last of all, after the other animals had had their wishes granted, Koala came prancing up to the sun goddess, waving his long, bushy tail from side to side, and exciting the envy of the others. Unfortunately, Koala was not aware of their admiration.

"Take it away," he begged. "It is useless. Take it away!"

And Yhi took Koala's tail away, to his everlasting sorrow.

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