Native American Tales

Walks All Over the Sky

Walks All Over the SkyWalks All Over the Sky

Tsimshian

In the beginning there was only the chief in the sky. He had two sons and a daughter and also his people. There was no light in the sky. There was only dark. The younger son was smarter than the older son. He was sad to see it always dark, so he made a hoop out of wood and covered it in pitch and lit it. He ran across the sky.

The people were happy to see the light, but said the son ran across the sky too fast. His sister ran after him one day and caught him, when he was in the middle of the sky, and he slowed down for a bit, but soon broke free and ran on. This is why the sun always stops in the middle of the sky for a bit.

The older brother decided to do something as well. He put charcoal on his face and ran across the sky at night. He was the moon.

Animals were made and everyone decided how long a month should be. At first it was forty days and then it was thirty. They decided what the months should be called and what the seasons should be.

When Walks All Over the Sky was asleep, sparks flew out of his mouth and became the stars. His sister eventually went to Earth, but she created the fog one day. Walks All Over the Sky was in charge of creating all the good things of the Earth and his sister created the fog, which always came from the West.

Observations

This isn’t the only myth where someone brings the sun across the sky. Remember Apollo?

In many cultures, a woman wouldn’t necessarily be part of the story of creation. In the Christian creation story, there aren’t any women until Eve. No women take part in the actual creation of Earth, or so says our official story. In this story a woman actually takes part in the creation of the Earth, even if it isn’t a huge part, she’s still there helping out and that’s a good thing.

Themes

Two brothers who vie for the praise of their father and to be the better brother, it’s all so familiar. That’s because we have all kinds of stories about brothers competing against each other. In the Bible we have the story of Jacob and Esau, but we also have the story of Christ and Lucifer, who are brothers, according to some religions. One brother did what pleased his father more and became the star of the Earth, while the other brother did not please his father as much and was pretty much relegated to the background.

In real life would these stories happen? It’s true that there may be one kid among your family that is a bit more of a go-getter than anyone else, but would your parents allow themselves to favor one child so much more? Theoretically, it shouldn’t happen, but there’s been plenty of cases where it has. When I was younger, it was pretty obvious that my mother favored my younger brother, but did he accomplish the greater things? That’s up to opinion, I think.

The point is, this story isn’t necessarily politically correct, for lack of a better term, but may not necessarily be that far out of the realm of reality. I also feel that it’s kind of a warning story. Be accomplished in your father’s eyes, or else. It’s a scare tactic in some aspects.

Overall

Don’t be that other brother.

Weigh In

If you could create the sun or the moon, which one would you create?

Which brother was better?

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