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Raven Steals the Sun

This version of the legend comes from Birket-Smith and de Laguna's 1928 collection The Eyak Indians of the Copper River Delta, Alaska. The storyteller was identified as Johnny Stevens.

In early days, everything was dark: there were no stars, no moon, and no sun. Raven saw that a rich family had the sun, moon, and stars hanging in a box from the ceiling.

A girl and a man went after water. Raven made himself into a feather, and dropped into the water. The girl drank the water, and Raven turned into a baby inside her. The child was born a short time after, and no one knew how it happened. The child kept looking at the box. (He was able to fly five or six days after birth). He kept crying for the box, and at last, his grandfather gave it to him. Then he flew with them, the sun, moon, and stars, through the smokehole.

People were fishing in a dark place, getting lots of fish. Raven had come to them before and had wanted fish, but could not see. He stopped at the fishing place and opened the box. Sun, moon, and stars flew into the sky. Then people could not sleep; it was light all the time. Then Raven turned into a man with leaves for clothes, but he still had the raven's beak.

Then he went to the first house. The people all went to sleep, but they had left a watchman on duty. He saw a faint light appearing in the east, but he didn't know what it was. It grew lighter and lighter. He called the people and they all came out and looked with wonder. No one knew what had happened except the grandfather who had let the sun go. The people went in to eat and the Raven kept looking at his mother, so everyone suspected he was the strange baby who had been born to her, but they were not quite sure.

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More stories to read:

 Native American legends about Raven
 Native American nature legends
 Legends about daylight

Learn more about:

 The Eyak language
 The Eyak people
 Eyak legends
 Native Alaskan tribes

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