know tht there are always two guardians in the
temple to care for the sacred fire. But once in
the past it happened that one of these two men
went out for som epurpose, and while he was away
his companion fell asleep and let the fire go
out. When he awoke, seeing the fire exteinguished,
fright seized him.
But as his companion had not yet come back he
determined to conceal his fault, because he was
easily able to do it, in order to escape the death
which he had merited. He called then to the first
passer and begged him to bring him fire with which
to light his calumet (pipe), a thing which this
person did willingly, well knowing that it is
not permitted to touch the eternal fire except
to tend it, and that not other use could be made
Thus this fire was relighted with profane fire.
Immediately sickness took hold of the Suns. In
a few days they were seen to die in rapid succession,
and it was necessary to send after them into the
world of spirits many people to serve them. "This
mortality lasted four years, without anyone being
able to guess what had occasioned it. Nine great
Suns who succeeded each other died in this interval,
and a multitude of people with them. Finally,
at the end of this time the guardian himself fell
ill. This bad man, feeling that he was not able
to live a long time, had word sent to the great
Sun at once that he had something to communicate
to him of such great importance tht if he died
without revealing it all the Natchez would die.
The great Sun went to see him as quickly as possible.
As soon as the sick man perceived him his whole
body trembled and he appeared unable to speak.
However, he spoke these words, although with difficulty:
"I am going to die, so it makes no difference
to me whether the sickness of a man kills me.
I know that I am a bad man for having for so long
a time concealed, in order to preserve my life,
what I am going to tell you. I am the cause of
the death of my nation, therefore I merit death,
but let me not be eaten by the dogs."
The great Sun understood by these words that this
man was guilty of some great crime, and that it
was necessary to reassure him in order to draw
from him his secret, which appeared to be of the
last importance. He therefore told him that whatever
he had done he might be assured that he would
not be put to death and that he would be buried,
that what he had promised him was as true as it
was true that the Sun, their father, lighted them
every day, and that he should hasten to speak
before death prevented him. On this promise the
bad guardian confessed all that he had done, which
I have related to you.
Immediately the great Sun assembled the old men
and by their advice it was resolved to go that
very day to wrest fire from the other temple.
That was executed and the Suns ceased dying.