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Native American Legends

Brothers who followed The Sun

A Choctaw Legend

Long, long ago two young brothers, Tashka and Walo, decided they wanted to follow Sun. Every morning they saw him come up over the edge of the earth, pass high overhead, and late in the day die in the west.

So they waited until Sun was directly overhead and then set out after him. At first they walked at an easy pace, but in a while Tashka said to Walo, "Sun is too far ahead of us. We must walk faster."

The brothers picked up their pace, but Sun stayed ahead of them.

"We must run or we will never catch him," Tashka urged his brother.

They started to run, but that night when Sun died, the brothers were still in their own country.

"We will catch him tomorrow," they vowed.

That night they slept, and the next day when Sun was again overhead they set off once more to follow him. The brothers continued pursuing Sun until they had grown to be young men. At last they reached a great body of water. The only land was the shore on which they stood.

They saw Sun die, sinking into the water. They passed over the water and entered Sun's house with him. Sun's house was the great dome of the sky.

All around the brothers were stars and Moon. Moon was a woman, Sun's wife. Moon said to the brothers, "How have you come here, so far from home?"

"We have followed Sun on his daily journey since we were boys."

Then Sun said, "Why have you followed me? It is not time for you to come here."

"We wanted to see where you went when you died," the brothers answered.

Sun spoke to his wife: "Boil water and bring it to me in a pot." Sun put the young men in the boiling water and rubbed them until their skin came off.

Sun then said, "I will return you to your home. But you must not speak a word to anyone for four days. If you speak you will live and prosper.

"Do you know the way home?" Sun continued.

"No," replied the brothers.

So Sun took them to the edge of the sky, where they looked down to earth. "I do not see our home," Tashka said.

"I cannot see it, either," Walo said.

Sun called a large buzzard and placed the brothers on his back. Buzzard started toward earth. The brothers had no trouble keeping their hold on the bird's back until they passed into clouds. A strong wind was blowing and Buzzard was blown about; the brothers hung on desperately.

But they reached Earth safely. Buzzard put them down in the trees near their home.

The brothers were resting under the trees, recovering from their frightening journey, when an old man passed by and recognized them. He did not speak to them, however, but continued down the road until he met the brothers' mother. "Your boys have come back," he said. "But they are men now."

The mother ran toward Tashka and Walo. She wanted to know where they had been and what had happened to them. At first they did not answer, because of what Sun had said about not talking for four days.

The mother worried because she had forced her sons to speak. But she took them to her house, and all the neighbors came in. The brothers told everything they had seen and done during their years of following Sun.

When they had told everything, they died and went up into the great sky to remain forever.

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