On one hand we have the almighty star, the one who creates and destroys everything; the one who enlightens the world and shares his warmth with all; our sun! While on the other, there is the immortal beauty the world craves for; the mysteriously calm moon. Call it fate or choice, they are never seen together, ever!
Courtesy modern science, we all need not be nerds to know how the sun and the moon work, who rotates around whom and why there are these solar eclipses. But centuries back, in the absence of science how did our elders justify the phenomena’ they’d witness? Well for one, they made use of their limited knowledge of nature and intertwined it with their religious connotations. Such a hybrid gave birth to the folklores of old, the myths which fascinate us to date! Although these stories would sound downright crazy and bizarre today, these were representative of their way of understanding, their ways of reasoning with nature and my gosh did they come up with some insane tales!
CHINESE MYTHOLOGY- YI AND THE TEN SUNS
The Chinese proposed that there was not one but ten suns, all brothers of the Solar Goddess Shiho. All of them would play under the leaves of a mythical Fusang tree; whilst their mother would take them on a ride aboard her chariot. One at a time, they’d soar through the skies lighting up the world below. But one fine day, they got bored with this routine and decided to rebel against it. They joined forces and agreed to shine upon the world all at once so that it is heated up enough for a few days. They did so, but a part of the plan did not execute as was planned. All of the rivers dried up and the crops caught fire. Apparently, one of them was hot enough for mother Earth!
Witnessing this havoc, the Sun god then summoned the great archer Huo Yi. With his 10 magical arrows, Huo shot down nine of the suns but couldn’t shoot the last one down as apparently, a young kid stole this sun, hence saving the world from eternal darkness!
PHILIPPINE FOLK TALE
The sun and the moon were often related to each other back then, in this story- husband and wife. Sun (husband) and moon (wife) were married with the stars as their children, but the Sun’s temperature was often a reason for quarrel. Sun loved his children but whenever he neared them, they would burn down because of the heat. This made mother moon very upset with sun. Since then, the moon stays away from the sun, always keeping her children by her side. In some versions it is explained, that it is because of the sun that the moon has marks on her face; as burns and are visible to date!
I know these stories sound really weird today but some are just super CRAZY! Just like this one.
According to this legend, the sun was very upset with the humans down on earth because of the way they looked at it. Everyone would appreciate her brother moon and its gentle light but disregarded her for her heat. So, one fine day the sun plotted revenge and shone too harsh and for too long upon it. At dusk she went down below to greet her daughter. Humans were in so much of trouble with the heat that they asked little magicians to help kill the sun. These little magicians turned themselves into a rattlesnake, planning to kill the sun as she was visiting her daughter. The rattlesnake knocked on the door and as soon as the sun opened it, they bit it only to realize that it was her daughter! When the sun got aware of the news she could not stop mourning her daughter’s loss and cried till the streets flooded with water.
The humans, with their houses flooded, started to cheer the sun up by dancing and singing till the sun finally smiled! If only we could still please the sun the same way to save us from some global warming!
EGYPTIAN SUN GOD RA
Egyptians believed that the sun god Ra steered his boat through the sky in the morning and at night it travelled back through the underworld in a silver bowl. Day time was for enlightening the living, spreading warmth and energy, whereas the night was for the dead and empowering black magic. They also explained that at dawn, the sun is a newborn that grows through the morning and is matured by the day. As dusk approaches, it ages and reaches its end by night. This shows the cycle of life, the cycle of nature.
But a story is never complete without a villain posing troubles! Apep, an evil serpent God, always followed Ra in an attempt to engulf and destroy it. At times Apep would REALLY close down upon RA, yet every single time RA would escape! Hence the occasional solar eclipses! Now you know what to write in your exams about these eclipses!
NORTHWESTERN TALE- RAVEN AND THE SUN
What happens when you think nothing could ever be worse than this but then you fumble upon something that is actually the WORST!? Well this is by far, hands down, the most bizarre tale I came across where things happen leaving you like “What the hell!”
Once upon a time there used to be a chief who had captured the sun in a box. Without the sun there was no light, of course. When the skies were clear, the day used to be pleasant but on a cloudy day it used to get really dark. Apparently, there was a boy Raven who planted some seeds which wouldn’t grow without the sunlight. He found a hole through the sky, where the chief lived and went through it. On entering, he saw the chief’s daughter fetching water from the spring. He changed himself into a cedar seed and started floating on the very water the girl was drinking from. Without the girl’s notice, he entered her belly. The girl got pregnant (Wait WHAT?!) and gave birth to a boy who was actually no one else but Raven himself!
The baby Raven asked his grandfather to let him play with the yellow ball in his box. Now, how could the chief deny his grandson’s wish, even if this grandson just sprung from the middle of nowhere?! Then while the chief was looking away, the baby transformed into the actual Raven, (what in the holy name of god?) set the sun free and flew away with it! Wow! Just wow!
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