Sun and Her Daughter


Title: Sun and her Daughter
Tribe: Cherokee
Region: Tennesee, North Carolina
Object: Sun, Moon

As the Sun traveled across the sky she would stop in the middle each day to have dinner at her daughter's house. Now the Sun hated people because they would always squint when they looked at her. "They screw up their faces at me!" she told her brother the Moon. "I like them," said the Moon, "they always smile at me." The Sun was jealous and decided she would kill the people by sending a fever. Many people were dying and those remaining decided they would have to kill the Sun. With some magic, one of the people was turned into a rattlesnake and sent to wait by the daughter's door, to bite the Sun when she stopped for dinner. But when the daughter opened the door to look for her mother, the snake bit her instead. The snake returned to Earth with the Sun still alive and the daughter dead. When the Sun discovered what had happened she shut herself up in the house and grieved. The people no longer had the fever but now it was cold and dark. So, seven people were chosen to visit the land where ghosts dance to see if they could retrieve the daughter. As she danced past them they struck her with rods so she fell down, then they trapped her in a box. On the trip home she complained of not being able to breath so they opened the lid just a crack. She became a redbird and escaped, flying back to the land of ghosts. Seeing the seven people return empty handed, the Sun began to cry. This caused a great flood. To amuse the Sun and stop the flood, the people danced.

This is why the people do the Sun dance to this very day.


Background was created by Brad Snowder of the Western Washington University Planetarium .
Legend from Starlore of Native America, assembled by Brad Snowder. Used with permission.

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