Sun-Woman

The sun is usually feminine, and this myth explains why the sun appears and travels across the sky at different times during the day.

When the world was still new, the Sun-woman created a baby girl whose body shone with light. She lived in the west, beneath the ground, and continued to shine even as she grew older. When some other women tried to touch her, they burned their fingers as if in flames. When the women asked why this happened, Sun-woman told them that both she and her daughter were “Sun Dreaming. . .both of us.” Then she goes on to say: “When all the land is dark, my daughter will bring you light. But I, myself, can’t come up above the ground. I’m too strong. If I came up and looked at you all, up there, I would burn you to ashes.”

The daughter continued to live beneath the earth with her mother and darkness fell across the land except on those occasions when the daughter would come up into the sky each day, lighting the country.

Then she begins to think of her mother, lonely and waiting for her, and she goes down in the west on her way home. Down she goes, under the ground, to be with her mother, and darkness covers the land. They sleep there together until it is time for the birds to waken again. Then the Sun-woman sends her back to us. . .

They made themselves Dreaming for us, so that we would have light every day to move about, and hunt for food. If we had no sun and there was night all the time, we couldn’t find our way and we couldn’t see any animals or plants. We would starve to death. The moon and stars give us only a weak light, and the Sun-woman is too dangerous for us to see. But the Sun’s daughter always looks after us; and every day she makes the country bright, to keep us alive.







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