The Sun and the Moon

This story was told in its original language, Makushi, by Auntie Paulette. The text below is an English transcript, but as a Makushi woman once said: “it hasn’t got the same juice in English!”


A long time ago, there was the Sun and the Moon. The Sun was the husband and the Moon was his wife. The Sun was a very bad husband and a jealous one. Although they had children together, the Sun used to get mad and be unthankful to his wife the Moon.

One day the Sun said: “I am leaving you. Stay home with your children!”

“Yes, go! I will stay with my children,” replied the Moon. They had several children together, including twin boys, whom she had named Iniki and Inskiran and dearly protected. These two little boys had now grown up into intelligent, smart young men.

The Sun was ready to go away. But before leaving, he thought that he would throw his children into the Ocean. So he went and picked up a girl and a boy and threw them both in the water. But the children did not die. Instead, they emerged from the Ocean and returned, but their appearance had changed into white persons. That is why we call white people Prankiri these days, as they come from Prana – the Ocean.

Noticing that the Ocean didn’t get rid of the two children, the Sun thought of another idea. “Fire!” he thought. So he grabbed a boy and a girl and threw them into the fire that was massively alit. However, the same thing happened as before. The children got up and out alive, albeit with a changed appearance: they came out as dark skin people.

“How is this happening?” the sun thought with great disappointment and rage. So he left and disappeared. “Oh Sun, my husband, why have you left…?” said the Moon to herself. She was so worried and sad that she decided to leave and search for her husband, the jealous Sun. “Let’s go my sons,” she said to Iniki and Inskiran, “let’s go find your father.”

The twin boys were now grown ups. Inskiran was a good person while Iniki was a bad person. While they were progressing in the search, they came across many rivers that they were unable to cross over. The intelligent sons thought of a brilliant idea, and started to build crossovers using rocks. That is how many rapids were created in the rivers. They represent places where the Moon and her children crossed over.

However, Iniki thought of other, wicked ideas. “I will make crawling bugs,” he thought. He picked up a handful of sand and threw it up in the sky saying: “turn into betrice!” – tiny red blood sucking bugs – and they were created and can still be seen everywhere these days. He continued, creating all the biting bugs like mosquitoes, wasps, honeybees and others.

His brother, on the other hand, was a good person. He used to return the dead into life again.

After a very long journey, the Moon finally met with her husband the Sun. She came very close to him and the place became grey and dark. And these days, the moment when the Moon and the Sun meet is now named eclips.

Photo: Guy Lebègue (from Wikimedia)