Alaska: The Boy in the Moon

This story is part of the Alaskan Legends unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of Alaska, edited by Katharine Berry Judson (1911).

The Boy in the Moon
Eskimo (Lower Yukon)


ONCE upon a time, long, long ago, in a village on the great river, lived four brothers and a sister. There was also a small boy who was a great friend of his sister.

The brothers were hunters and in the fall hunted at sea, but after the Bladder-feast was over they went to the mountains and hunted reindeer. But the boy was lazy.

Now the boy fell in love with the girl.

One day the girl took up a dish of meat and berries and went out of the house. There she saw a ladder leading up into the sky, with a line hanging down by the side of it. Taking hold of the line, the girl climbed the ladder going up into the sky.

Then her brothers saw her and began at once to scold the boy. The boy caught up his sealskin trousers. Being in a hurry, he thrust his right leg into them and drew a deerskin sock upon the other foot as he ran outside the house. There he saw the girl, far, far up in the sky, and he began to climb the ladder to her. But the girl floated far away, the boy following her.

Now the girl became the sun and the boy the moon. Ever he pursues her but never overtakes her. When the sun sinks in the west, the moon rises in the east, but always too late. The moon has no food, and sometimes almost fades away. Then the sun reaches out the dish of meat and berries and the moon becomes fat again.

(300 words)

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