Native American Tales

Little Brother Snares the Sun

Little Brother Snares the SunLittle Brother Snares the Sun

Winnebago

The animals used to be the chiefs. They killed and ate humans. All of the humans were gone except a boy and a girl. The boy was the size of a baby, but the girl was regular sized. The girl had to do all the work because she was bigger. To keep him occupied while she was away, she gave him a boy and arrow and told him to hide until a snowbird came and then shoot it.

The first day, he didn’t hit one, the second day he did. He wanted his sister to make him a coat out of its feathers. He would kill a snowbird each day. They didn’t know what to do with the meat, but the boy told his sister to make soup, which wasn’t done at the time.

There were finally enough feathers for the coat. One day Little Brother went out in his coat and he took a nap in a spot where the sun had melted the snow. The sun beat down on him and shrunk his coat so he couldn’t get it off. Little Brother went home for twenty days and pouted about how the sun had destroyed his robe, but he vowed to get revenge. He had his sister make him a rope, the first wasn’t strong enough, the second, wasn’t strong enough, but the third was. He found the hole where the sun came out of and snared it when it came up.

All the animals had a meeting about the sun because it had been dark. There had been no day. They voted that Dormouse, which was big at the time, would go and gnaw through the rope to free the sun. Dormouse did this, but the sun was so hot that Dormouse got shrank down to its present size. They decided that Little Brother was the wisest being in the world for snaring the sun and from that point forward the people were chiefs instead of the animals.

Observations

Just imagine…giant Dormice.

Themes

Don’t underestimate the little guy. Brawn and strength may be nice, but brains can and do get you a lot of places. Bears are bigger than people, but we’ve managed to stay alive a long time with bears around, so think about that.

Overall

Some of these people have it in for the sun.

Weigh In

Could you catch the sun?

Do you think Little Brother is excessively smart or just sort of smart?

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