Sacred Texts  Native American  Southwest  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 34

When Badger Named the Sun

AT THE BEGINNING of the era of the Surem, nobody knew the name of the sun and they wanted a name for it. For this reason they held a council on the bank of the Surem river. Everyone gave his opinion but no name was found for the sun. Every day they studied the matter. They did not know if it were man or woman and so they couldn't decide whether it would be best to give it a male or a female name. The Surem could not agree. They finally invited all the animals of the world to come to a council.

Once they were all present, before the sun came up, at the edge of the river, they made a great group of men and animals. When the sun appeared, a badger came out of a hole where he lived in the ground.

The badger came to the council and said in a strong voice, "The sun being a man, comes out of a hole in the earth as I do." Speaking thus, he ran away.

Everyone ran after him, wishing to pay him honor for his great intelligence. They wanted to give a fiesta for him and to pay him well with abundant food.

But the badger ran away and went into his hole and would not come out. He thought they wanted to punish him. From that time on the badger rarely goes out on the plains. He is still afraid that they might punish him for something.

Two other versions of this incident were encountered. In one, the tortilla fish knew the name of the sun; in another it was the rooster who knew. The Huichol Indians have a similar story in which the turkey names the sun (Zingg 1938: 517).

Next: Mochomo