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Star boy and the sun dance.

From Canadian Wonder Tales by Cyrus MacMillan

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ONCE long ago when the Blackfeet Indians dwelt on the Canadian prairies, it happened that a band of the people were camped near the mountains. It was spring-time, and the warm winds blew over the prairies laden with the scent of wild flowers. One hot cloudless night two girls slept in the long prairie grass beside their tents with no covering but the sky. The elder awoke before dawn and saw the Morning Star just rising. Very beautiful and bright he looked in the clear morning air, with no smoke or dust to hide him. The girl looked long at the Star, and she had strange fancies, and imagined that he was her lover. At last she called her sister and said, " Look at the Morning Star. He is bright and wise. I love only the Morning Star for he is more beautiful than man." One day in the autumn when the flowers were faded and the grass was yellow with age and the cool winds blew over the prairie and the birds were flying south, as the girl was returning home from a long walk she met a young man on the trail. In his hair was a yellow plume, and in his hand a small shrub with a big spider-web hanging to it. He was very beautiful, and he wore fine clothes of soft skins, and the odour of his dress was that of the sweet-grass and the pine.

As the girl drew aside from the trail to pass, he put forth his hand and stopped her. " Stand aside," she said, "and let me pass." But he answered, " I am the Morning Star. One night in spring when the flowers were blooming, I saw you sleeping in the long grass outside your tent, and I loved you. I heard you say you loved only me, and now I have come to ask you to come with me to the sky to the home of my father, the Sun, where we shall live together and you will have no more troubles nor cares. It is the Land of Little People, the Land of the Ever- Young, where all are happy like children, and no one ever grows old." Then the girl remem bered the hot cloudless night in the spring-time when she slept in the tall grass, and she knew now that Morning Star was to be her husband. And she said, " I must first say good-bye to my father and mother." But Morning Star said, " There must be no leave-taking," and he would not let her go home. He fastened his yellow plume in her hair, and gave her the shrub to hold. He told her to place her feet upon the lowest strand of the spider s web and to hold the uppermost strand in her hands. Then he told her to shut her eyes. After a brief time when he asked her to open her eyes, they were in the sky.

They passed on to a large tent. Morning Star said, " This is the home of my father and mother, the Sun and the Moon," and he asked her to enter. As it was day, the Sun was away on his long journey, but the Moon was at home and she welcomed the girl as her son s bride. And the girl lived happy in the Star country with her husband, and she learned many wonderful things. Not far from her home, near the tent of the Spider Man who weaved webs, a large turnip was growing about which she wondered greatly. But the Moon seeing her wonder said, "You may dig any roots that grow in the sky, but I warn you not to dig up the large turnip. If you do, unhappiness will follow you." After a time a son was born to the girl, and everywhere the girl went she carried the child. She called him Star-Boy. She often saw the large turnip near the tent of the Spider Man who weaved webs, but mindful of the Moon s warning, she was afraid to touch it. One day, however, her wonder overcame her, and she decided to see what was underneath the turnip. She tried to pull it up but it stuck fast, and she was unable to move it. Then two large cranes, flying from the east, came to her aid, and catching the turnip with their long bills they moved it from side to side, loosened it, and pulled it up.

The girl looked through the hole, and saw the earth far beneath her. It was the same hole through which Morning Star had brought her to the sky. She looked long through the hole, and she saw the camps of her people, the Blackfeet, on the plains far below. What she saw was well known to her. It was summer on the prairies. The men were playing games ; the women were tanning skins or gathering berries on the rolling hills. She grew very lonely as she watched, for she wanted to be back on the green prairies with her own people, and when she turned away to go home she was crying bitterly. When she reached home, Morning Star and his Mother the Moon were waiting for her. Morning Star at once knew from her face what had happened, and he said, "You have pulled up the sacred turnip." When she did not answer, the Moon said, " I warned you not to dig it up, because I love Star-Boy and I do not wish to part with him." It was day, and the Sun was away on his long journey. When he came home in the evening, he asked what was the matter with his daughter for she looked sad and troubled. And the girl answered that she was lonely because she had looked down that day upon her people on the plains.


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