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The Creation Of The Sun

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



In the Navaho Genesis, just recounted, there is a brief description of the creation of the Sun-Disk. A somewhat different and fuller version, recorded by James Stevenson, is as follows :

"The first three worlds were neither good nor healthful. They moved all the time and made the people dizzy. Upon ascending into this world the Navaho found only darkness and they said, `We must have light.' Two women were summoned Ahsonnutli (Estsanatlehi) and Yolaikaiason (Yolkai Estsan) and to them the Indians told their desire. "The Navaho had already partially separated light into its several colors. Next to the floor was white, indicating dawn; upon the white blue was spread for morning; and on the blue yellow for sunset; and next was black representing night. They had prayed long and continuously over these, but their prayers had availed nothing. The two women on arriving told the people to have patience and their prayers would eventually be answered.

"Night had a familiar, who was always at his ear. This person said, `Send for the youth at the great falls.' Night sent as his messenger a shooting star. The youth soon appeared and said, `Ahsonnutli has white beads in her right breast and turquoise in her left. We will tell her to lay them on darkness and see what she can do with her prayers.' This she did. The youth from the great falls said to Ahsonnutli, `You have carried the white-shell beads and the turquoise a long time; you should know what to say.Then with a crystal dipped in pollen she marked eyes and mouth on the turquoise and on the white-shell beads, and forming a circle round these with the crystal she produced a slight light from the white-shell beads and a greater light from the turquoise, but the light was insufficient.

"Twelve men lived at each of the cardinal points. The forty-eight men were sent for. After their arrival Ahsonnutli sang a song, the men sitting opposite to her; yet even with their presence the song failed to secure the needed light. Two eagle feathers were placed upon each cheek of the turquoise and two on the cheeks of the white-shell beads and one at each of the cardinal points. The twelve men of the east placed twelve turquoisesat the east of the faces. The twelve men of the south placed twelve white-shell beads at the south. The men of the west placed twelve turquoises on that side, and the men of the north twelve white-shell beads at the north, and with a pollen-dipped crystal a circle was drawn around the whole. But the wish remained unrealized. Then Ahsonnutli held the crystal over the turquoise face, whereupon it lighted into a blaze. The people retreated far back on account of the great heat, which continued increasing. The men from the four points found the heat so intense that they arose, but they could hardly stand, as the heavens were so close to them. They looked up and saw two rainbows, one across the other from east to west and from north to south. The heads and feet of the rainbows almost touched the men's heads. The men tried to raise the great light, but each time they failed.

"Finally, a man and a woman appeared, whence they knew not. The man's name was Atseatsine [Atse Hastin] and the woman's name was Atseatsan [Atse Estsan]. They were asked, `How can this sun be got up?' They replied, `We know; we heard the people down here trying to raise it, and this is why we came.' `Sunbeams,' exclaimed the man, 'I have the sunbeams; I have a crystal from which I can light the sun-beams, and I have the rainbow; with these three I can raise the sun. The people said, `Go ahead and raise it.' When he had elevated the sun a short distance it tipped a little and burned vegetation and scorched the people, for it was still too near. Then the people said to Atseatsine and Atseatsan, `Raise the sun higher, and they continued to elevate it, and yet it continued to burn everything. They were then called to lift it higher still, but after a certain height was reached their power failed; it would go no farther.

"The couple then made four poles, two of turquoise and two of white-shell beads, and each was put under the sun, and with these poles the twelve men at each of the cardinal points raised it. They could not get it high enough to prevent the people and grass from burning. The people then said, `Let us stretch the world'; so the twelve men at each point expanded the world. The sun continued to rise as the world expanded, and began to shine with less heat, but when it reached the meridian the heat became great and the people suffered much. They crawled everywhere to find shade. Then the voice of Darkness went four times around the world telling the men at the cardinal points to go on expanding the world. `I want all this trouble stopped,' said Darkness; `the people are suffering and all is burning; you must continue stretching.' And the men blew and stretched, and after a time they saw the sun rise beautifully, and when the sun again reached the meridian it was only tropical. It was then just right, and as far as the eye could reach the earth was encircled first with the white dawn of day, then with the blue of early morning, and all things were perfect. And Ahsonnutli commanded the twelve men to go to the east, south, west, and north, to hold up the heavens [Yiyanitsinni, the holders up of the heavens], which office they are supposed to perform to this day.



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