The Cherokee people is one of the nations, that believe that the SUN,
The Sun lived on the other side of the sky vault, but her daughter live
in the middle of the sky directly above the earth, and every day as the
sun was climbing along the sky arch toward the west she used to stop
at her daughter's house for dinner.......
Now the Sun did not like the people on the earth, because they could
never look straight at her, without screwing up their faces. She said
to her brother , the Moon . " My Grandchildren are ugly: they grin all
over their faces when they look at me." But Moon said, " I like my
younger brothers and sisters: I think they are very handsome" - because
they always smiled pleasantly when they saw him in the sky at night,
for his rays were milder.
The Sun was jealous and planned to kill of the people: so every day
when she got near her daughter's house she sent down such sultry
rays that there was a great fever and the people died by the hundreds.
Until everyone had lost some friend and there was fear that no one
would be left. They went for help to the "Little Men". Who said the
only way to save themselves was to kill the Sun.
The Little Men made medicine and changed to men into Snakes
the Spreading Adder, and the Copperhead. and sent them to
watch near the door of the daughter of the Sun, to bite the old
Sun when she came the next day. They went together and hid
near the house until the Sun came, but when the Spreading Adder
was about to spring the bright light blinded him and he could only
spit out yellow slime. as he does to this day when he tries to bite.
She called him a Nasty thing and went by into the house. The
Copperhead crawled off without trying to do anything.
So the people still died from the heat, they went to the Little Men
a second time for help. The Little Men made medicine again and
changed one man to the great Uktena and another into a Rattlesnake
and sent them to watch the house. And kill the old Sun when she
came for dinner.They made the Uktena very large with horns on his
head. And everyone thought he would be sure to do the work, but
the Rattlesnake was so quick and eager that he got ahead and coiled
up just outside the house, and when the Sun's Daughter opened the
door to look out for her mother, he sprang up and bite her. And
she fell dead in the doorway, He forgot to wait for the Old Sun, but
went back to the people, and Uktena was so angry that he went back also.
Since then we pray to the Rattlesnake and never try to kill him, because
he is kind and never tries to bite unless he is disturbed. Uktena grew
angier all the time and more dangerous , so that if he looked at a man,
that man's whole family would die. so the sent him up to Galunlati,
and there he is now.
When the sun found her daughter dead, she went into the house and
grieved, and the people did not die anymore, but now the world was
dark all the time , because the Sun would not come out.They went
again to the Little Men and these told them that if they wanted the
Sun to come out again they must bring back her daughter from
Tsusginai ( the ghost Country, Usunhiyi, the darkening land of the
west) They chose seven men to go and gave each a sourwood rod
a hand-breath long . The little men told them they must take a box
with them, and when they got to Tsusginai, they would find all ghosts
at a dance. They must stand outside the circle. and when the young
woman passed in the dance they must strike her with the rods, and she
would fall down to the ground. Then the must put her in the box and
bring her home to her Mother. But they must never open the box, not
even a little way , until they got her home.
They took the box and rods and traveled seven seven days to the West.
Until they came to the Darkening Land. There were a great many people
there, and they were having a dance just like back home in the settlements
The young woman was in the outside circle. And as she danced by each
man struck her with the rods, and she fell upon the ground. The other
ghost never seemed to notice.
They took the box and started home toward the East. In a little while
the girl came back to life. and begged to be let out of the box.
but they made no answer. Again she asked to be let out, then she
asked for a drink of water , but still the men did not answer.
When at last they were very near home, she called out that she was
smothering, and begged them to open the lid just a little. They were
afraid that she really was dying again, so they lifted the lid just a
little to give her some air. As they did so they heard a fluttering
sound inside the box, and something flew past them, into a
thicket. Then they heard a Redbird cry, "Kwish! Kwish! Kwish!"
in the bushed . They closed the lid again and went on to the settle-
ments. But when they got there the box was empty.
So we know the Redbird (Cardinal) is the Daughter of the Sun.
and if the men had kept the box closed like the Little Men
told them to do, they would have brought her home safely, and
we could bring back our other friends also from the Ghost
country. But now we know when they die we can never bring
The Sun was glad when they started for the to the Ghost
Country, But when they returned without her, She grieved,
"My daughter! My daughter! and wept until her tears caused
a great flood on earth, The people sent their handsomest
men and women to dance and sing for the Sun , to cheer her
up. But she would not stop crying. until at last the drummer
suddenly changed the song. Then the Sun lifted her face,
and was so pleased at the sight that she forgot her grief