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How the night came
Fairy Tales from Brazil, by Elsie Spicer
Start of Story
"Let us drop the bag full of night right here where we are and run
away as fast as we can," said the first slave.
"We shall perish. We shall perish, anyway, whatever we do," cried the
"Whether we perish or not I am going to open the bag and see what
makes all those terrible sounds," said the third slave.
Accordingly they laid the bag on the ground and opened it. Out rushed
all the night beasts and all the night birds and all the night insects
and out rushed the great black cloud of night. The slaves were more
frightened than ever at the darkness and escaped to the jungle.
The daughter of the GREAT SEA SERPENT was waiting anxiously for the
return of the slaves with the bag full of night. Ever since they had
started out on their journey she had looked for their return, shading
her eyes with her hand and gazing away off at the horizon, hoping with
all her heart that they would hasten to bring the night. In that
position she was standing under a royal palm tree, when the three
slaves opened the bag and let night escape. "Night comes. Night comes
at last," she cried, as she saw the clouds of night upon the horizon.
Then she closed her eyes and went to sleep there under the royal palm
When she awoke she felt greatly refreshed. She was once more the happy
princess who had left her father's kingdom in the depths of the great
seas to come to the earth land. She was now ready to see the day
again. She looked up at the bright star shining above the royal palm
tree and said, "O, bright beautiful star, henceforth you shall be
called the morning star and you shall herald the approach of day. You
shall reign queen of the sky at this hour."
Then she called all the birds about her and said to them, "O,
wonderful, sweet singing birds, henceforth I command you to sing your
sweetest songs at this hour to herald the approach of day." The cock
was standing by her side. "You," she said to him, "shall be appointed
the watchman of the night. Your voice shall mark the watches of the
night and shall warn the others that the _madrugada_ comes." To this
very day in Brazil we call the early morning the _madrugada_. The cock
announces its approach to the waiting birds. The birds sing their
sweetest songs at that hour and the morning star reigns in the sky as
queen of the _madrugada_.
When it was daylight again the three slaves crept home through the
forests and jungles with their empty bag.
"O, faithless slaves," said their master, "why did you not obey the
voice of the GREAT SEA SERPENT and open the bag only in the presence
of his daughter, your mistress? Because of your disobedience I shall
change you into monkeys. Henceforth you shall live in the trees. Your
lips shall always bear the mark of the sealing wax which sealed the
bag full of night."
To this very day one sees the mark upon the monkeys' lips, where they
bit off the wax which sealed the bag; and in Brazil night leaps out
quickly upon the earth just as it leapt quickly out of the bag in
those days at the beginning of time. And all the night beasts and
night birds and night insects give a sunset chorus in the jungles at