Legend of the Northern Lights
An Ojibwa Legend
Many of us who live in the Northern areas of the American Continent have had the delightful experience of watching the magnificent display of moving multi-coloured, misty lights, as they flash across the night skies.
A number of theories and explanations have been advanced for this natural phenomenon known as the "Aurora Borealis" or "Northern lights", but let us travel in our minds, back through the eons of time and discover how they really came into being. We are in a world that spins in a perfect vertical position upon its axis. The moderate temperature is about the same all over its surface and beautiful vegetation is everywhere.
As we return through time, we witness the great Flood where everything becomes submerged and finally lost. As the waters gradually recede their tremendous weight throws our planet off its balance and it now tilts to one side, thus causing long dark periods in the North and South.
Not quite all is lost however, for in the North lived a simple and God-fearing race of people, known to us now as the "Mongols", whom the Great Manitou (their name for God) had spared from this great deluge.
When they could no longer see the Sun and feel its warmth, fear came upon them and they prayed to the Great Manitou to save them. In his compassion, the Great Spirit decided to take them to the warm and fertile plains of this Continent and he bade them gather together their families and 'what goods they could carry and trek across the barren North to the "New Land".
Because there was no daylight many became lost and perished within the deep crevices caused by the flood waters.
Again they prayed for help and the Great Manitou devised a plan. Covering the Northern cap of the world with great crystals of ice, some as high as mountains, he was able to capture the rays of the hidden sun and reflect them up into the sky, thus providing light for his people to see by. Onward these stalwart people trekked, and became the forerunners of our many Indian tribes.
The great ice prisms split the sun's rays into all the beautiful colors of the spectrum and because of this, people for thousands of years have witnessed this wonderful miracle, the Northern Lights!
Return to Ojibwa Legends