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Books about the Sun - Moon - Stars - All ages
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Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians




Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Earth Tales from Around the World by Michael Caduto. (1997)
See "The Seven Sisters: Aboriginal Tale/ Australia" and "Why The Sky Is High: Polynesian."

Stories come from around the world, and this collection of the finest Earth tales has been drawn from more than 40 countries. Organized by themes, the stories range from "Origin of the Ocean, " a tale from Colombia and Venezuela, to "The Wrath of March, " a tale from Italy, to "The Garden of Wisdom, " a tale from Israel.

Golden Hoard (The): Myths and Legends of the World by Geraldine McGaughrean. (1996)
See "How Music Was Fetched out of Heaven."
Twenty-two multicultural tales are gathered from such locations as Polynesia, Estonia, Mexico, and Kikuyu and include the legend of Robin Hood, the story of Anansi the Spiderman, and the Native American folktale of how men and women finally agreed.

Grandmothers' Stories: Wise Woman Tales from Many Cultures by Burleigh Muten. (1999 - Ages 4-8)
See "The Woman in the Moon." The stories in this anthology illustrate many of the qualities of the wise woman, offering readers of all ages a new perspective on the grandmother character that is usually presented in fairy tales as either menacingly evil or dim-witted and useless. With spirited grandmothers from as far afield as Senegal and Sweden, all of these tales are rich with humor, action and suspense. A fresh and witty retelling is complemented by finely detailed and mesmerizing illustrations. Also available as an Audio CD.

Greek Myths: Daedalus and Icarus (King Midas) v. 7 (Younger Fiction) by Geraldine McCaughrean with Tony Ross (illus). (1997)
McCaughrean has retold many classic stories, including "The Canterbury Tales" and "The Arabian Nights." In this volume, she retells the story of how Icarus flies too close to the sun, and how Midas' greed gives him an embarrassing problem.

Heavenly Zoo (The): Legends and tales of the stars by Alison Lurie. (1980 - Ages 9-12)
Sixteen legends of the constellations and how they got their names, taken from such varied sources as ancient Greece, Babylon, Egypt, Sumeria, the Bible, Norway, the Balkans, Indonesia, and the American Indians.

How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven, a Chinese folktale retold by Lily Toy Hong. (1995 - Ages 4-8)
Long ago, when people on earth worked hard and often went for days without eating, the Emperor of all the Heavens sent his best messenger, Ox Star, down to earth with an important decree: "The people of earth should eat at least once every three days." But Ox Star bumbled the message and for this he was banished from heaven to become forever a beast of burden for mankind. Full color.

Joining In: An Anthology of Audience Participation Stories and How to Tell Them by Teresa Miller. (1988 - Ages 4-8).
See "Sunman" by Laura Simms. This anthology features stories by Heather Forest, Doug Lipman, Norma Livo, Anne Pellowski, Diane Wolkstein, Bill Harley, and 12 more tellers. The stories are from African, Indian, Native American, and other cultures; some are original. Each of the 18 stories includes notes by the contributor on how to encourage the audience to participate in the telling of the story.

Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (Keepers of the Earth). (1999 - Ages 4-8) How Fisher Went to the Skyland: The Origin of the Big Dipper (Anishinabe-Great Lakes Region. Joe Bruschac & Mike Caduto: See "How Fisher Went to the Skyland: The Origin of the Big Dipper."
A selection of traditional tales from various Indian peoples, each accompanied by instructions for related activities dealing with aspects of the environment.

Maid of the North (The): Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World by Ethel Johnston Phelps. (1982 - Ages 4-8)
See "How the Summer Queen Came to Canada." Twenty-one folk and fairy tales featuring women as heroic, clever figures . . . They are delightful tales from a variety of ethnic andcultural backgrounds, including Scandinavian, American Indian, Japanese, Celtic, East Indian, and Russian.

Moon Lore by the Rev. Timothy Harley, F.R.A.S. London: Swan Sonnenschein, Le Bas & Lowrey, 1885 (reissued by BiblioLife in 2009).
This work is a contribution to light literature and to the literature of light. The first part is mythological and mirthsome. The second part, deals with moon worship. The third part talks of lunar superstitions, many of which yet live in the vagaries that sour and shade our modern sweetness and light. And finally, the fourth part is a literary essay on lunar inhabitation, presenting in nuce the present state of the enigma of the plurality of worlds.

More English Fairy Tales (Forgotten Books) with Joseph Jacobs (contributor). (reprinted 2009)
See "The Buried Moon."
Thirty-one traditional English tales recount the adventures of giants, witches, princes, princesses, and animals.

Phaeton and the Sun Chariot (Orchard myths) by Geraldine McCaughrean. (2000)
These powerful and drama-packed retellings feature a host of well-known Greek gods and goddesses, magically brought to life by Tony Ross's lively illustrations. Phaeton and the Sun Chariot/Zeus Shining/Dionysus and the Pirates: What happens when you want what you can't have? Spoilt Phaeton, lovelorn Semele, and a band of greedy pirates are all about to find out the hard way.

Silver Treasure (The): Myths and Legends of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean. (1996 - Ages 9-12)
See "The Raven and the Moon."
A silver treasure of myths and legends from around the world: a companion volume to the highly acclaimed Golden Hoard (The): Myths and Legends of the World.

Stars in Our Heaven (The): Myths and Fables by Peter Lum. (1970 - Ages 9-12) (first published in 1932).
And older title but worth a look, this book offers historical background information woven with the telling
of stories from many cultures. The stories of the Zodiac creatures are especially interesting. Lack of source notes or index limits its usefulness, but still an interesting book for browsing.

Story Bag (The): A collection of Korean folk tales by Kim So-un. (2006)
See "A Dog Named Fireball." Pulsating with the rhythm of life and the seasons, these 30 stories transport the reader to a wonderland, where a tiny mouse teaches filial piety to a spoiled child, a blind man can "see" evil spirits, and fleas drink rice wine. It is somehow deeply reassuring to know that even in present-day politically-divided Korea, these same stories are still being told, just as they have been for generations.

Sun, Moon and Stars, collected by Mary Hoffman. (1998)
This beautiful and wide-ranging book explores the eternal mysteries of the sun, moon, and stars. Alongside stories adapted from ancient mythology are pages of celestial lore -- facts and ideas about how people used to navigate by the stars and why they thought the earth was flat, about the Star of Bethlehem and the Signs of the Zodiac.

Tales of a Chinese Grandmother: 30 Traditional Tales from China by Frances Carpenter and malthe Hasselriis. (2001 - Ages 9-12)
An aged Chinese grandmother tells some Chinese folk tales and legends to her grandchildren. See "The Spinning Maid" and "The Cowherd and The Sisters in the Sun."

Tales of the Shimmering Sky: Ten Global Folktales With Activities (Tales Alive! Series, Vol 2) by Susan Milord. (1996 - Ages 9-12)
Ten magical folktales inspired by our vast and shimmering sky are combined with fascinating facts to take children on an ethnic journey exploring the sun, moon, stars, seasons, and weather. Story-related activities draw kids into cultures, arts and crafts, cooking, science, math, games and history! Full-color art and 100 "how-to-do-it" illustrations.

They Dance in the Sky: Native American Star Myths by Jean Guard Monroe and Ray A. Williamson. (2007 - Ages 9-12)
For countless generations, Native American storytellers have watched the night sky and told tales of the stars and the constellations. The stars themselves tell many tales—of children who have danced away from home, of six brothers who rescue a maiden from the fearful Rolling Skull, of the great wounded sky bear, whose blood turns the autumn leaves red, and many more.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London. (1997 - Ages 4-8)
s on Turtle's shell stand for the 13 cycles of the moon, each with its own name and a story that relates to the changing seasons. Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London collaborate to reveal the beauty of the natural world around us, while Thomas Locker's illustrations honor both Native American legends and the varied American landscape.

When Jaguars Ate the Moon: And Other Stories About Animals and Plants of the Americas by Maria Cristina Brusca. (1995 - Ages 4-8).
See "The Skunk in Love with the Moon." Alphabetically arranged stories, drawn from twenty-five distinct cultures, introduce young readers to more than one hundred animals and plants indigenous to the Americas.

Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky by Elhinstone Dayrell with Blair Lent (illus). From Nigeria, Ibibio people. (1990 - Ages 4-8)
Sun and his wife, the moon, lived on Earth and built a large house so that the water people could visit. But so many poured in that they were forced to move to the sky.

Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
Take an illuminating ride through the starry night sky with National Geographic's Zoo in the Sky! Little Bear and the Great Bear in the Northern Sky; the scaly dragon winding his long tail; the Great Dog chasing the Hare in the Southern Sky; all are beautifully rendered in Christina Balit's vibrant art, studded with shiny stars, which perfectly illustrates Jacqueline Mitton's rich text.

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Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story and song titles are in quotations.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Solar Folklore. Tell Me a Story, COUNTING STARS.
Sky Tales: Sun, Moon & Stars.
Specimens of Bushmen Folklore Index.
The Moon In Folklore -
A site for aboriginal star knowledge.
Astronomy in Japan.
"Many Moons" by James Thurber. What happens when a little princess demands the moon from her father in order to get well from eating raspberry tarts. (Full text)
Book: Many Moons (A Harcourt Brace contemporary classic) by James Thurber.

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Advice, Discussion and References from Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) Some beautiful prayers and chants on this theme are collected in the Hebrides by Alexander Carmichael and published in the huge multi-volume bi-lingual Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations from the Gaelic. There is an English- only edition that's only one volume and Published by Floris.

Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations from the Gaelic by Alexander Carmichael (editor). (2004)
Carmina Gadelica is the most complete anthology of Celtic oral tradition ever assembled. During his travels, Alexander Carmichael spent hours with peasants in their huts in front of peat fires listening as they "intoned in a low, recitative manner" these poems and prayers. This unique collection of living spirituality drawn from the depths of Celtic Christianity, represents a hidden oral tradition of great power and beauty, handed down through countless generations of Hebridean peasants.

Previously available only as a bilingual text in six volumes, this edition in English contributes to a broader awareness of Celtic literature in general. John MacInnes' introduction puts the poems in the context of the life and folklore of the Gaelic community.

Carmina Gadelica, Vol. I & II: Hymns and Incantations (Forgotten Books) by Alaexander Carmichael (author). (2007)
"This is volume I of Alexander Carmichael's collection of folk poetry from the Western Isles of Scotland. Carmichael spent years collecting folklore from the vanishing cultures of Scotland. The poems in this volume include prayers, invocations, blessings and charms. They are a synthesis of Christian and pre-Christian belief systems. Besides invoking Jesus, Mary, and the saints, a number of these call on other powers. One of these is 'Bride,' who is explained as Jesus' midwife, but who is probably Brigid, an ancient Celtic goddess. Also mentioned throughout are a triune deity which is equated to the Christian Trinity, but which may also be an echo of a set of three pagan deities. The text includes notes on seasonal observances and folk customs which are probably likewise survivals of pre-Christian customs. All of these are woven into the cycles of the year, and activities such as weaving, fishing and herding. A vivid picture of life in pre-modern rural Scotland emerges."

2) "The Star Princess" found in Fairy Tales of the World: Stories to Read Aloud by Jennie Ingham.
In this collection, the story of "The Hare and Tortoise" is not Aesop's but a version in which the slow-going tortoise rolls down the hill to win the race. "The Crow and the Mango," a folktale from India, shows how a bird is so beset with distractions that he never gets to eat the mango he has set his sights on. Fate brings together two old enemies in the most romantic of stories from China, "The Willow-Leaf Eyebrow." Storytellers from a variety of countries provide these versions, which don't have to be read aloud to be enjoyed. A jarring design element, however, detracts from the gorgeous illustrations, also by various artists: the pictures reside in clusters throughout the book. The art for "The Hare and the Tortoise" is placed on the opening page of a different story, and "The Crow and the Mango" illustration is five pages away from the tale. Ages 5-8.

3) Joseph Bruchac's Iroquois Stories: Heroes and Heroines Monsters and Magic. 1985.
One of the last stories is "The Hunting of the Great Bear," p. 189. It tells of four hunters and a dog following the Great Bear, wounding it, and eating it. They realize they are up in the sky, and the hunt is played out through every season. So that not only is the Ursa Major (Big Bear) or Big Dipper constellation explained, but also the movement across the sky is explained as the seasons change. Example from the Bruchac's story: "When autumn comes and the constellation turns upside down, the old people say, 'Ah, the lazy hunter has killed the bear.' " (p. 195).

4) How Fisher Went to the Skyland: The Origin of the Big Dipper from Joe Bruchac's and Mike Caduto's book Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (Keepers of the Earth).

5) Anathuya the skunk, fell in love with Pajsi, the moon. He looked longingly at her bright face each night as she passed over in the sky, but could never reach her. Concor helps reluctantly, and skunk leaves little "kissy" marks on the moon.

6) There are several books with historical accounts of the Underground Railroad mention the North Star and Big Dipper used to show the way to Canada. One is by Jeanette Winte, Follow Drinking Gourd. c1988. Paging [46] p. : col. ill. ; 26 x 29 cm. Reprinted by Dragonfly Books in 1992.

By following the directions in a song, "The Drinking Gourd," taught them by an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe, runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.

7) Mexican myth titled "How Music Was Fetched out of Heaven." It is not completely about the stars but earth elements as well as the sun (a really big star and the wind. It's in The Golden Hoard: Myths and Legends of the World by Geraldine McGaughrean.

8) The Girl Who Married the Moon: Tales from Native North America by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross. (2006)
This collection of traditional stories explores the significance of a young girl's rite of passage into womanhood. Each of these stories originated in the oral tradition and have been carefully researched. Joseph Bruchac, author of the best-selling Keeper's of the Earth series, and noted storyteller, has been entrusted with stories from elders of other native nations which ensures that the stories collected in this book are authentic.

9) "How The Sun Came" – A Cherokee Myth (posted by Beatrice Bowles, March 2002)
In the beginning, there was no light, no light anywhere on Earth. The first people, the animal people, were always stumbling around in the dark, bumping into the rocks and trees, and into each other.

“What we need,” the large animals growled, “is some light!”
“Yes,” cried the little animals, “what we need is light.”

Finally, there got to be so many animals and they were bumping into each other so often, that they called a meeting in the dark to decide how to get some light.

The last to arrive at the meeting was Red-headed Woodpecker. She flew in crying, “Light! Light! I’ve seen some light way over on the far side of the world!!”

“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.

But then they got into a huge fight about who should go and get the light. Who was the fastest? Who was the strongest? Who was the smartest?

Finally, Possum spoke up, loudest of all. “I’ll go! I’m big! I’m strong! I’ve got sharp claws and the biggest, bushiest fur coat. I’ll hide the light in my fur!”

“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.

So Possum set off in the darkness, traveling towards the land of the sun. As he got closer, Possum squinted his eyes to shut out the light, as he still does today. Possum grabbed a bit of the sun, hid it in his fine thick bushy tail and went back through the darkness, all the way back to the land of the animal people.

Possum called out, “I’m back and I’ve brought you some light!”

“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.

Possum reached for the light but he discovered the sun had burned off all the fur on his fine thick bushy tail, and Possum’s tail was as naked as it is today.

“Oh no!” cried Possum.

“Oh no!” cried all the animals. “Possum’s lost all the fur on his fine thick bushy tail, and still we have no light! What shall we do?”

Then Buzzard spoke up. “AWK! I’ll go. I’ll bring you some light. Everyone knows my brain is bigger than Possum’s. Just look at all my fine thick head feathers! AWK!”

So Buzzard set off through the darkness, flying high and straight as he does today, heading towards the land of the sun. When he got there, Buzzard grabbed a bit of the light, put it in his fine thick head-feathers and flew back through the darkness, high and straight, all the way back to the land of the animal people.

“AWK!” cried Buzzard, ”I’ve brought you some light!”

But when Buzzard reached up, he discovered that the sun had burnt off all his fine thick head-feathers, and Buzzard’s head was as bare as it is today.

“Oh no!” cried Buzzard.

“Oh no!” cried all the animals. “Possum’s lost his fine thick bushy tail. Buzzard’s lost his fine thick head-feathers, and still we have no light. What shall we do so that we may have some light? Now we’ve sent our best warriors! What can we do?”

“You’ve done everything a man can do, it’s true,” said a tiny little voice from down in the grass, “but perhaps this is something a little creature can do better than a big one. Maybe this is something a woman can do better than a man!”

“Who are you?” cried the animals. “Who are you speaking to us in that funny little voice from down in the grass?”

“I am your Spider Grandmother. Perhaps I was put into the world to bring you light. Who knows? At least I can try, and if I am burnt up, it’s not as if you lost one of your big strong warriors. I’ll go.”

“Good! Good!” cried all the animals.

So Spiker Grandmother felt around in the darkness until she found a lump of damp clay. Then she molded it into a bowl, a fine little round clay bowl. Holding up the bowl to dry and spinning a long thread out behind her, Spider Grandmother set off through the darkness, traveling from west to east, towards the land of the sun.

When she got there, Spider Grandmother grabbed a little bit of the sun and dropped it in her clay bowl. Then, following that thread that she had spun, Spider Grandmother traveled west again, with the light growing and spreading before her.

Spider Grandmother returned to the land of the animals people bringing with her the very first sunny day.

Ever since that time, pottery making has been considered sacred work, and spiders have the honor of spinning their homes in the spae of the rays of the sun.

You can see it for yourself.


I tell a version of that story from one of Joe Bruchac and Caduto's Keeper Series. It's different mainly in that AFTER Grandmother Spider gets the sun, the vulture puts it in the sky. There's many different versions. Tim Tingle tells one that is presented as a sacred story for Grandmother Spider is the bringer of Light.

The Kalevala: Or Poems of the Kaleva District
Here are two versions from our Finnish national epic The Kalevala, translated by Keith Bosley.
I heard it recited thus
I knew how the tale was made:
with us the nights come alone
the days dawn alone, so was
Väinämöinen born alone
the eternal bard appeared
from the woman who bore him
from Air-daughter his mother.

There was a lass, an air-girl
a nice nature-daughter: she
long remained holy
forever girlish
in the air's long yards
on its level grounds.

Her times grew weary
and her life felt strange
from being always alone
living as a lass
in the air's long yards
in the empty wastes.

So now she steps further down
launched herself upon the waves
on the clear high seas
upon the open expanse.

There came a great gust of wind
from the east nasty weather
lashed the sea to foam
whipped it into waves.

The wind lulled the maid
and the billow drove the lass
about the blue main
and the froth-capped waves;
and the wind blew her womb full
the sea makes her fat.

She bore a hard womb
a difficult bellyful
seven hundred years
nine ages of man;
but no birth was born
no creature was created.

The lass rolled as the water-mother:
she swims east, swims west
swims north-west and south
swims all the skylines
in fiery birth-pangs
in hard belly-woes;
but no birth was born
no creature was created.

She weeps and whimpers;
she uttered a word, spoke thus:
"Woe, luckless me, for my days
poor child, for my way of life:
now I have come to something -
forever under the sky
by the wind to be
lulled, by billows driven
on these wide waters
upon these vast waves!

Better 'twould have been
to live as lass of the air
than just now to toss about
as water-mother: it is
chilly for me to be here
woeful for me to shiver
in billows for me to dwell
in the water to wallow.

O Old Man, chief god
upholder of all the sky
come here when you are needed
come this way when you are called:
free a wench from a tight spot
a woman from belly-throes;
come quickly, arrive promptly
most promptly where the need is!"

A little time passed
a moment sped by,
Came a scaup, straightforward bird
and it flaps about
in search of a nesting-place
working out somewhere to live.

It flew east, flew west
flew north-west and south
but it finds no room
not even the worst spot where
it might build its nest
take up residence.
It glides, it hovers
it thinks, considers:
"Shall I build my cabin on the wind
my dwelling on the cabin
the billow will bear off my dwelling."

So then the water-mother
the water-mother, air-lass
raised her knee out of the sea
her shoulderblade from the wave
for the scaup a nesting-place
sweet land to live on.

That scaup, pretty bird
glides and hovers; it
spied the water-mother's knee
on the bluish main;
thought it was a grass hummock
a clump of fresh sward.

It flutters, it glides
and it lands on the kneecap.
There it builds its nest
laid its golden eggs:
six eggs were of gold
an iron egg the seventh.

It began to hatch the eggs
to warm the kneecap:
it hatched one day, it hatched two
soon it hatched a third as well.

At that the water-mother
the water-mother, air-lass
feels that she is catching fire
that her skin is smouldering;
she thought her knee was ablaze
all her sinews were melting.

And she jerked her knee
and she shook her limbs:
the eggs rolled in the water
sink into the sea's billow;
the eggs smashed to bits
broke into pieces.

The eggs don't fall in the mud
the fragments in the water.
The bits changed into good things
the pieces into fair things:
an egg's lower half
became mother earth below
an egg's upper half
became heaven above;
the upper half that was yolk
became the sun for shining
the upper half that was white
became the moon for gleaming;
what in an egg was mottled
became the stars in the sky
what in an egg was blackish
became the clouds of the air.

from The Kalevala: Or Poems of the Kaleva District by Elias Lonnrot and Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr. (2006)

Often compared to the epics of Homer, The Kalevala consolidates a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots. Created only 150 years ago as the tradition was dying out, this Finnish epic presents a rare portrait of an ancient people in both war and peace. The Kalevala played a central role in the process towards Finnish independence and inspired some of the greatest works of the composer Sibelius.

Thus I heard a song being sung, knew a lay to be composed:
in loneliness do the nights come upon us, in loneliness do the days shine bright upon us;
in loneliness Väinämöinen was born, the eternal singer emerged
from the maiden who bore him, from his Air Spirit mother.

There was a virgin, maiden of the air, lovely woman, a spirit of nature.
Long she kept her purity, ever her virginity
in the spacious farmyards, on the smooth fields of the air.
In time she got bored, her life seemed strange
in always being alone, living as a virgin
in the spacious farmyards, in the vast wastes of the air.

Now indeed she comes lower down, settled down on the billows,
on the broad expanse of the sea, on the wide open sea.
There came a great blast of wind, severe weather from the east;
it raised the sea up into foam, splashed it into billows.

The wind kept rocking the girl, a wave kept driving the virgin
around about on the blue sea, on the whitecapped billows.
The wind blew her pregnant, the sea made her thick through.
She carried a hard womb, a stiff bellyful
for seven hundred years, for nine ages of man.
Nothing is born, the self-begotten fetus does not come free.

As mother of the water the virgin went hither and yon. She swims east, swims west,
swims northwest, south, swims along the whole horizon
in the agonies of her burning gestation, with severe labor pains.
Nothing is born, the self-begotten fetus does not come free.

She keeps weeping softly and unceasingly, uttered a word, spoke thus:
"Woe are my days, poor me, woe is my wandering, wretched child!
Now I have got into trouble: ever to be under the sky,
to be rocked by the wind, to be driven by the waves
on these extensive waters, boundless billows! It would have been better to
live as a virgin of the air
than it is nowadays to keep floating about as the mother of the water.
It is cold for me to be here, painful for me to be adrift,
to dwell in the waves, to be going hither and yon in the water.
O Ukko, god on high, supporter of the whole sky!
come here, since there is need, come here, since you are summoned.
Deliver the maiden from her predicament, the woman from her labor pains!
come soon, get here without delay; you are needed without any delay at all."

A little time passed, a little bit passed quickly.
A goldeneye came, a straight-flying bird; it fluttered about
seeking a place for its nest, considering a place to live.
It flew east, it flew west, flew northwest, south.
It does not find such a place, not even the poorest kind of place,
in which it might build its nest, take up its dwelling place.
It flits about, soars about, it ponders, it reflects:
"Shall I build my house in the wind, my dwelling place on the waves?
The wind will tip the house over, a wave will carry off my dwelling place."

So then the mother of the water, mother of the water, virgin of the air,
raised her knee from the sea, her shoulder blade from a billow,
for the goldeneye as a place for a nest, as an agreeable dwelling place.
That goldeneye, graceful bird, flits about, soars about.
She discovered the knee of the mother of the water on the bluish open sea;
she thought it a grass-grown tussock, fresh turf.
She soars about, flits about, settles down on the knee.

On it she builds her nest, laid her golden eggs,
six golden eggs, the seventh an iron egg.
She began to brood the eggs, to warm the top of the knee.
She brooded one day, brooded a second, then brooded a third, too.

Now because of that the mother of the water, mother of the water, virgin of the air,
feels burning hot, her skin scorched;
she thought her knee was burning, all her sinews melting.
Suddenly she twitched her knee, made her limbs tremble;
the eggs tumbled into the water, are sent into the waves of the sea;
the eggs cracked to pieces, broke to bits.
The eggs do not get into the ooze, the bits not get mixed up with the water.
The bits were turned into fine things, the pieces into beautiful things:
the lower half of one egg into the earth beneath,
the top half of another egg into the heavens above.
The top half of one yolk gets to glow like the sun,
the top half of one white gets to gleam palely as the moon;
any mottled things on an egg, those become stars in heaven,
anything black on an egg, those indeed become clouds in the sky.
Neppe P.

11) The following book has lots of brief stories from lots of cultures about the constellations:
Staal, Julius D.W. The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars. The McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, 1988.
Kate D.

12) If you can find a copy of EARTH TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD by Michael J. Caduto, he has the following stories in the Sky section:
"Why the Sky is High" - Mangaia/ Polynesia
"Hare Rescues the Sun" - Inuit (Siberia)
"First People Make the Stars" - Dine/Navajo (United States)
"The Seven Sisters" - Aboriginal (Australia)
"A Golden Angel Egg" - Czechoslovakia
Judy S.

PBS has a series called Star Gazer, in which an astronomer gives a short story/information segment about what's happening out in space for the coming week or two. The host's name is Jack Horkheimer and his website is:

The explanation below is directly off the website. I"ve found it useful as inspiration for story ideas. And you can listen or watch over the net to his past episodes from 2002. Many talk about the legend behind the names of the constellations. Star Gazer is the world's only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy. Each weekly episode features selected objects for naked eye viewing for the following week. There are two versions of Star Gazer, one 5 minutes long and the other 1 minute long. Star Gazer is made available free of charge to all PBS television stations. If your PBS station is not currently carrying Star Gazer, you may wish to contact them. You may also view all Star Gazer episodes for 2002 on this web site in streaming video.

14) Moon stories
I was moseying around on the internet, looking for the folding story Jean asked for, when I came upon this website. It's got lots of good information, stories, activities, etc.
Granny Sue 5/23/05

15) "The Moon and the King's Son" and "The Story of Orion" found in Parabola (not complete citation).

16) "The Rabbit and the Moon, an African story" and "Girl from Heaven," both found on Richard Martin's website at

17) Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon (Sun Tracks, V. 40) by Anita Endrezze for ancient myths and cultural stories told in contemporary lives with a warm AND strong and very caring Mexican~American feminist perspective.

18) The Magic Orange Tree: and Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wolkstein "Owl" has darkness and sunlight it as major forces, as does Cupid and Psyche and those other lovers who can only meet in the darkness.

19) Mongolian story about the archer who got rid of the other SIX suns that were making the world too hot.
I believe his name is Erkhii Mergen, or something like that. Found in a collection of Mongolian Folktales edited by Hilary Metternich. The book was first published in 1977, copyright Jan Knappert 1977.

20) Man in the Moon (The): Sky tales from many lands, by Alta Jablow and Carl Withers. 1969.
A highly entertaining collection of tales from all over. Great fun to read, most stories are fairly short. Excellent source notes that are almost as interesting to read as the stories.

21) Perhaps and Perchance by Laura E. Cathon & Thusnelda Schmidt. c1962. See "Moon and Stars in the Sky."

22) Sun (The), the Moon and the Stars by Richard Whelan. 1998.

23) Sky Legends of Vietnam by Lynette Dyer Vuong. See "Why the Rooster Crows at Sunrise."

24) Many Moons (A Harcourt Brace contemporary classic) by James Thurber. A 10-year-old princess falls ill from eating too many raspberry tarts and demands to be given the moon before she will get well. The King and his advisors frantically confer. The court jester asks the royal goldsmith to make a tiny gold replica of the moon attached to a golden chain to give to the princess. When the real moon reappears in the sky that night, the princess knows exactly why—the moon has grown anew just as new flowers appear when old flowers are cut.
Full text:

25) "The Star Maiden" (source unknown; non-traditional)
Teens like the young love, gore and revenge in "The Star Maiden." As a child, she tumbles from the stars to live in an underwater village beneath a waterfall. When she grows to maidenhood, she falls smack in love with a man who paddles his canoe on the water above. She leaves her adopted home and discovers she has amazing powers on land. He's killed by marauding Iroqois. Mourning but vengeful, she bides her time till the fierce Iroquois return. She waits on the bottom of the river above the falls. When their canoes pass above, she overturns them. The Iroquois struggle with the pain of death by drowning, and the fear as they tumble over the gigantic waterfall. Sure, they will be smashed to smithereens on the rocks below, and unmanned by the great roar of the water, they scream like babies. In that moment of cowardice, Star Maiden changes them into eagles doomed to fly above the waterfall for all eternity, where you can see them still when you visit Niagara Falls.

Moral: don't mess with teenage girls.

Yvonne H. 12/29/09

26) "Girl From Heaven" works particularly well with teenage audiences.

Richard M. Germany 12/29/09

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Created 2002; last update 12/29/09

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