Native American Tales

Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun

Grandmother Spider Steals the SunGrandmother Spider Steals the Sun


The world used to be dark, but there was light in another world. They had the sun. The animals contrived to steal it. The possum said it could hide the sun in its bushy tail. It went to the sun hanging in the tree and put a piece of it in his tail, but it burned up all the fur off of his tail and from this point forward the possum does not have a bushy tail. Then the buzzard said that it could get the sun. It would hide it on its head. The buzzard got a bit of the sun and tried to hide it on his head, but the sun burnt the feathers off of his head and now buzzards don’t have feathers on their heads.

Grandmother Spider said she would get the sun. She made a clay pot and she made a web reaching all the way across the world. She was so small that no one saw her coming. She put the sun in her clay pot and took it off across her web. She gave the sun and pottery to the people.


The sun must have been tiny to fit on a buzzard’s head and into a clay pot.


This is a pretty simple origin story. It’s the story of how the Cherokee got pottery and the sun. Who would have thought that the two would be tied?


Leave it to an eight-legged woman to get things done.

Weigh In

What would you hide the sun in?

What other animals would have been good candidates for snatching the sun? Why?



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