How Saynday Got The Sun
Saynday was coming along, and all the world was black as midnight. There was no sun on this side of the world, and all the people were in darkness. The sun belonged to the people on the other side, and they always kept it near them, close by, so that nobody could take it from them.
As Saynday was coming along, he met some of the animals. There were Fox and Deer and Magpie. They were all sitting together by a prairie dog hole, talking about these things.
"What's the matter?" said Saynday. "We don't like this world," said Fox. "And what's wrong with the world?" said Saynday. "We don't like all this dark," replied Deer. "Now, what's wrong with the darkness?" asked Saynday. "It won't let things live and grow and be happy," said Magpie. "Well, I guess we'd better do something about it, then," said Saynday.
So the four of them sat by the prairie dog hole, and they thought and thought and thought and thought. They were so quiet that the prairie dog stuck his head up, and when he saw them, he stayed still and joined in the thinking.
"There is a sun," said Saynday at last. "Where is it?" asked Fox. "It's on the other side of the world," said Saynday. "What's it doing over there?" asked Deer. "The people who've got it won't let it go," answered Saynday. "What good is it to us, then?" asked Magpie. "Not any," said Saynday. "I guess we'd better do something about it." So they sat, and they thought and they sat and they thought some more. Then none of them moved at all.
Then Saynday said, "We could go and borrow that sun." "It wouldn't really be stealing," said Fox. "We don't want to keep it for always," said Saynday. "We'd give it back to them sometimes," said Deer. "Then things could live and grow on their side of the world," said Magpie. "But they'd live and grow on this side, too," replied Saynday. Then Saynday got busy, because he'd finished his thinking. He could begin to do things now.
"How far can you run?" he asked Fox. "A long, long way," said Fox. "How far can you run?" he asked Deer. "A short long way," said Deer. "How far can you run?" he asked Magpie. "A long short way," said Magpie. "I can't run very far, myself," said Saynday," so I guess I'll have to take it last." Then he lined them all up and told them what to do. Fox was to go to the village on the other side of the earth, and make friends with the people who lived there. That was the first thing to do, and the hardest. So Fox got ready and started out.
Fox traveled a long, long way, feeling his way along in the dark. Then there was a tiny rim of ling on the edge of the world, like the sun coming up in the wintertime. He traveled towards the rim of light, and it got brighter and brighter until it was a big, blazing light and it filled all the sky ahead of him. Then he was up on a hill, and down below him was the village of the people with the sun. Fox sat down on the hilltop and watched them while he made up his mind what to do.
The people were playing a game with the sun. They were lined up on two sides, and each side had four spears. They would roll the sun along the ground like a big ball, and take turns throwing the spears at it. The side that hit the most times won. One side was way ahead; the other side was losing badly.
Fox went down the hill into the village and lay on the ground with his nose on his paws and watched them play. They rolled the sun again, and the side that was ahead won more points, and the side that was behind lost again. So Fox said quietly, just so the captain of the losing side could hear him, "Good luck to the losers."
Nobody paid any attention, except the captain, and he just turned his head for a minute. Then they rolled the sun again, and this time, the losing side won. The captain came over and said to Fox, "Thank you for wishing us well." "Good luck to your winning," said Fox, and this time, the losing side won again. Then they had some excitement. The side that had been winning before wanted to send Fox away, but the side that was losing wanted to keep him there. They fought and bickered and argued, but Fox's side was the strongest, and in the end he stayed.
Fox stayed and stayed and stayed and stayed in that village. He stayed until he knew it better than his own home. He stayed until he knew the names of all the people, and what they did and where they lived. He stayed until he found out who had the sun when they weren't playing, and until he knew all the men who watched it. He stayed until he knew the rules of the game they played, and even played him. All this time, he was making a plan.
One day they had a big game. It was to decide the champions for that year. Fox was playing on the side he had wished luck to in the beginning. Everyone else rolled the sun first because they had all been playing first, before he came. Then it was Fox's turn to roll. He took the sun in his paws the way they'd taught him and bent over as if he were going to send it along the ground. But instead of rolling it, he got a good start on his running, and he ran off with the sun. For the first minute, the people were so surprised that they didn't know what to do. Then they were mad, and they started running after Fox. But Fox was a fast runner and could run a long, long way. That was why Saynday had put him first. He ran and ran, and at last he caught up to Deer. Deer didn't even look at the sun. He grabbed it from Fox and started running with it himself. He ran and ran, and just when he was about to give out, he caught up with Magpie.
The sun village people were so far behind now that they couldn't even be seen, but Magpie didn't take any chances. He started running with that sun, going as fast and as far as he could go. And just when his breath was gone, he came up to Saynday and handed the sun to him.
The sun people were so far behind now that Saynday didn't even bother to run. He just walked along with the sun over his shoulder like a huge sack of meat. He walked along so easy that the others all caught up to him. When they were back at their old prairie dog hole, they all sat down to rest. "Well, now we have the sun," said Saynday. "Now we have light," said Fox. "Now we can see what we're doing and where we're going," said Saynday. "Now we can travel around," said Deer. "Now plants will come up out of the ground and grow," said Saynday. "Now there will be trees to live in," said Magpie. "I guess we brought light to our world," said Saynday. But the trouble was, there was TOO much light! It had been dark all the time before, and now it was light all the time. People could travel around all right, but they got tired, because it was light and so they were travelling all the time. The plants and the trees could grow, but they never stopped growing. Magpie and his wife went to bed in a tree ten feet off the ground and woke up in a twenty-foot tree. It was all very annoying.
Finally, the three friends went to go see Saynday, who was sitting on the ground in front of his lodge, admiring the sun shining on the ground in front of him. "What's the matter?" he said. "There's too much light," said Fox. "We don't want so much," added Deer. "We don't NEED this much!" said Magpie. "What can we do?" asked Saynday. "Try putting the sun somewhere else, I guess," said Fox. "That's a good idea," said Saynday. He put the sun in the lodge, but it shone right through the walls. "Put it up off the ground," said Deer. "All right," said Saynday, and he balanced it on top of the tip-top of the lodge. Poof! Whoosh! It burned the whole lodge down. "Well, then, throw it away," said Magpie. "All right," said Saynday, "I don't want the old thing." And he threw it straight up in the sky, and there it hung! "That's a good place for it, actually," said Fox. "It's far away enough not to burn things," said Saynday. "It's got plenty of room to move around," said Deer. "It can travel from one side of the world to the other," said Saynday. "Now things can grow a little at a time!" declared Magpie. "And now all the people on both sides of the world can share the light evenly," said Saynday. And that's the way it was, and that's the way it still is, to this day.
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