How the Sun Was Made
An Aboriginal Legend
When the emu egg was hurled up to the sky it struck a great pile of wood which had been gathered by a cloud man named Ngoudenout. It hit the wood with such force that the pile instantly burst into flame, and flooded the earth with the soft, warm light of dawn. The flowers were so surprised that they lifted their sleepy heads to the sky, and opened their petals so wide that the glistening dewdrops which night had given them fell to the ground and were lost.
The little birds twittered excitedly on the trees, and the fairies, who kept the snow on the mountain tops, forgot their task, and allowed it to thaw and run into the rivers and creeks. And what was the cause of this excitement?
Away to the east, far over the mountains, the purple shadows of night were turning grey; the soft, pink-tinted clouds floated slowly across the sky like red-breasted birds winging their way to a far land. Along the dim sky-line a path of golden fire marked the parting of the grey shadows, and down in the valley the white mist was hiding the pale face of night.
Like a sleeper stirring softly at the warm touch of a kiss, all living things of the bush stirred at the caress of dawn. The sun rose with golden splendor in a clear blue sky, and, with its coming, the first day dawned. At first the wood pile burned slowly, but the heat increased, until at noonday it was thoroughly ablaze. But gradually it burnt lower and lower, until at twilight only a heap of glowing embers remained. These embers slowly turned cold and grey. The purple shadows and white mists came from their hiding-places, and once again the mantle of night was over the land.
When Ngoudenout saw what a splendid thing the sun was, he determined to give it to us for ever. At night, when the fire of the sun has burnt out, he goes to a dark forest in the sky and collects a great pile, of wood. At dawn he lights it, and it burns feebly until noonday is reached, then it slowly burns away until twilight and night falls. Ngoudenout, the eternal wood gatherer, then makes his lonely way to the forest for the wood that lights the fire of the sun.
Sources And Further Reading
Sacred Texts Some Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines by W. J. Thomas