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How the People Caught the Sun

Saynday was coming along, but he had a hard time doing it. All his world was dark, and he kept falling over things. At last he began to get angry because the darkness made him clumsy, and just when he was really losing his temper he bumped into his friends, Fox, Deer, and Magpie. Magpie flew straight up in the air, and then came down but Fox and Deer were hurt when Saynday bumped them, and didn't try to move.

"Look where you 're going, can 't you?" Fox demanded.
'It seems to me you could get along better than that,'' said Deer.
Well try it yourselves and see how you make out,'' Saynday snapped, and he sat down on the ground by a prairie dog hole. His friends were tired of slipping and banging around, so they sat down there with him.
''What we really need in this world is some light,'' Deer said, 'I can't tell if I'm eating grass or weeds until I taste them. Sometimes the weeds taste nasty and make me sick.''

"Well, at least you can find something to eat," snapped Fox. "How would you like it if you had to run after your food and catch it in the dark. The other day something I thought was a rabbit turned out to be a bear, and nearly ate me."

"What about you?" Saynday asked Magpie.

''Well,'' answered Magpie, ''I can fly up in the air. When I get very high, I can see a little rim of light over in the east.''

''There is light, then,'' said Saynday. ''What we have to do is figure out a way to get it, so we can find our way around and be sure of what we are eating.''

''Well, you figure it out,'' remarked Deer. ''You're the one who's supposed to be smart."

The little prairie dog, by whose hole they were sitting, burrowed deeper in the earth. She was afraid that if Fox could see her lie would eat her instead of a rabbit.

''Now, then,'' said Saynday, ''if the light is so far away that Magpie can see only a little rim of it in the east, it will be too hard for one person to get it alone. We '11 have to line ourselves up like a relay race. Fox, you can run hard and far. Go to the east, and get into the sun people's village. When you get to know them and they trust you, grab the sun and run. Deer can carry it next, and then Magpie. I'll put myself last, because you're all better runners than I am.''

So Fox started on his journey to the east. At first he still stumbled around in blackness, but finally, ahead of him, he began to see the little rim of light on the edge of the world that Magpie had talked about.

The light grew and grew, ahead of Fox, and sometimes he had to stop and put his paws over his eyes, for fear it might blind him. When he did that he rested, too, to get ready for the big race.

At last Fox came to the sun people's camp, and he saw that they were playing a game. The men were lined up on two sides, and each side had four spears. First the leader on one side would roll the sun along the ground then the opposite leader would. While the sun was rolling like a big ball, the men took turns with the spears trying to hit it. It was like the spear-and-hoop game the Kiowas still play.
Fox watched very quietly. One side was ahead, and when the losing side took their turns with the spears, Fox said, under his breath, so only their leader could hear him: ''Good luck to the losers.'' That time the losing side scored more points than the other, and again Fox wished them luck, and a third time when the score was even. When his side won, the leader came over to Fox, and asked, ''Who are you, who wish us well and make us win?''

''Oh I come from over there,'' said Fox pointing to the west with his puckered lips. "I'm one of old Uncle Saynday 's boys."
"Never heard of him " said the sun camp man. "What are you doing here?'' "Just going along," said Fox, "trying to see the world." But he had to shut his eyes then, because the sun was so bright. (And you remember, a fox always sees well at night, and the sun is reflected in his eyes in the darkness.) "Why don't you stay here a while?" asked the man. "You seem to be pretty lucky. We can teach you to play our game if you promise to play on our side." ''All right,'' said Fox. ''I'd like to learn the game.''

Fox stayed in the sun camp for four mouths, and though he never did get used to the brightness, he did learn to play the spear game. When he got really good at it, and the game was going fast, Fox stabbed his spear into the sun, put it over his shoulder, and ran. He ran as hard and fast as he could, with the sun people right behind him.

Just as Fox was about to drop from running, he met Deer. Deer grabbed the sun from Fox and ran as fast as lie could, with the light
growing and glowing all around him. The sun people weren't used to the darkness they were running into, and they began to slow down, but Deer didn't. He just tore along, and as he began to lose his breath, Magpie dived down out of the sky and grabbed the sun away from him. Now the other side of the world was getting darker and darker, and Saynday 's side was becoming bright.

When Magpie dropped down to the earth and gave the sun to Saynday, they had all the light there was in the world, but the sun was so hot it had burned black streaks on Magpie's feathers, which had been all white before. Now the sun became a problem. Nobody knew what to do with it, and there was so much light all the time nobody could sleep except Fox, who was used to it. ''Maybe we'd better put it iii the tipi,'' Saynday decided, ''that way, it might not be so bright.'' But the tipi didn't seem to darken the sun enough. "Put it on top of the tipi, so we don't have to look right at it,'' suggested Fox. But that was no good, because the sun set fire to the tipi and burned it right to the ground.

''Oh, throw it away,'' said Magpie. 'it's just getting to be a nuisance.''

''All right,'' Saynday agreed, "Now stay there and travel around the world,'' Saynday ordered the sun. 'Spend part of your time with the people on the other side, and part of it here with us.'' And he pushed the sun to the west to start it going around the world.

And that's the way it was, and that's the way it is, to this good day.