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The Cottage Midsummer 2003
The Adulterous Moon


An Adulterous Moon

Blackfoot Native American Tribe


The elders tell a tale of the beginnings of all life. The great creator was the Sun. He first created the Moon

and took her as his wife. Together, they had seven sons, which can still be seen as the stars of the

Big Dipper.

The Creator Sun also gave life to snakes upon the Earth. These creatures reproduced so quickly that the

lands were soon overrun with their kind. Sun went to the snakes and asked them to slow down. Certainly,

the Earth could not sustain them if they continued to multiply at such a speedy rate.

The snakes refused to comply with Creator Sun. Failing to gain their cooperation, he decided to destroy

them all and free the Earth of this burden. And so he did, all but for one female snake. This one she-snake

was about to give birth and Creator Sun felt compassion for her. She alone was allowed to survive.

One of the snake's descendants, upon reaching adulthood, decided to seek revenge for the destruction of his

kind by Creator Sun. To carry out his mission, he assumed a human form. It was in this shape that he came

to be known as Snakeman.

In order to avenge his race of ancestors, Snakeman wanted to make Creator Sun suffer a loss as grievous as

his own race had suffered in the early times. And so, in his human form, he seduced the Moon.

Sun soon discovered the betrayal and killed Snakeman. Then Sun and his seven sons ran from the Moon.

But the Moon had fallen deeply in love with Snakemen. Because Sun had taken the life of her beloved,

Moon chased after him with the intention of destroying him as he had destroyed Snakeman.

Sun, who had created Moon and made her powerful, was fearful for the safety of his sons. He armed his

sons with powers of their own so that they might defend themselves against the angry Moon. He gave one

son a stick that could turn into a forest and another a rock capable of becoming a mountain. He gave his

third son a skin filled with water that could turn into a rainstorm, and his fourth son one that could

transform into an ocean. His fifth son received a beautiful bird that could change into thunder, lightening,

and rain. His sixth son received a pouch of air that could become a mighty windstorm. The last son received

a magic powder that enabled him to create deep canyons by tracing his finger in the dirt.

As the angry Moon closed her distance on her intended victims, each son used his special power to create an

obstacle for her. The Moon overcame each and moved ever closer to her seven sons and their father. When

she was almost upon them, one of her sons poured his skin of water and an ocean appeared between them.

Creator Sun took advantage of this distraction to raise himself and his sons into the sky. The Moon,

however, was not without powers of her own. She lifted herself into the sky and resumed the chase.

Sun divided the night from the day to gain some rest from the endless pursuit. Through the day, he and his

sons can rest from the relentless Moon. At the rise of nightfall she is once again after them, and they seek

refuge in the west.

So has it been since the earliest times. We see Sun in his transit across the sky, trying to keep ahead of his

angered wife. When the sky turns black, Moon is in pursuit, never failing to track his direction and

following nightly the path of his flight. Should this eternal chase ever end, say the elders, it will be a bad

omen and would foretell the ending of life itself.