Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/154

This page has been validated.

the Pah-ah (Great Spirit), who lives above the place of all.

"Every month that father, the sun, does swallow some of the stars, his children, and then that mother, the moon, feels sorrow. She must mourn; so she must put the black on her face for to mourn the dead. You see the Piute women put black on their faces when a child is gone. But the dark will wear away from the face of that mother, the moon, a little and a little every day, and after a time again we see all bright the face of her. But soon more of her children are gone, and again she must put on her face the pitch and the black."

Here all the phenomena are accounted for, and the explanation is as advanced as the Egyptian doctrine of the hole under the earth where the sun goes when he passes from our view.

Mr. Tylor quotes[1] a nature myth about sun, moon, and stars which remarkably corresponds to the speculation of the Piutes. The Mintira of the Malayan Peninsula say that both sun and moon are women. The stars are the moon's children; once the sun had as many. They each agreed (like the women of Jerusalem in the famine), to eat their own children; but the sun swallowed her whole family, while the moon concealed hers. When the sun saw this she was exceedingly angry, and pursued the moon to kill her. Occasionally she gets a bite out of the moon, and that is an eclipse. The Hos of North-East India tell the same tale, but say that the sun cleft the moon in twain for

  1. Primitive Culture, i. 356.