A Siberian Myth
The Sun God had many, many children. The eldest was Peivalke; then there were the four winds, the Storm cloud twins, Lightning, Thunder and Tempest. He also had three daughters he loved dearly — Golden Sunshine, Misty Shadow and Bright Sunbeam.
The girls were beautiful and free spirited, chasing reindeer across the tundra, dancing in the cool wooded glades and flitting like silver fish in Lake Seityavr. One day, the sisters saw a birch-bark boat gliding down the lake. They watched, the young fisherman on the boat cast his net into the lake. Strong and handsome, he hauled his net heavy with abundant fish in one effortless tug. Then he brought his boat to the shore, hung his nets to dry and went to sleep by the lake side. Curious the girls approached the sleeping man.
Upon a closer look at his handsome countenance, Golden Sunshine stamped her foot and declared with determination, “He is mine, from now on, he shall serve only me! ” She tore off the golden fur hem of her robe and drew it across the sleeping youth’s face leaving a golden glow on his brow. But he did not stir.
“That is for him to decide when he wakes,” declared Misty Shadow with a haughty laugh. “Let us see who he chooses!” Bright Sunbeam did not say a word. Their father had almost finished his day’s journey riding his boat sledge across the sky and was sinking beyond the sea to rest. Young Sunbeam ran to join him.
Misty Shadow spread a pale blue quilt beside the sleeping man and blew a cool breeze upon him. The fisherman’s arms and legs became numb with cold and his heart froze.
“What say, my dear sister? Who will he serve now?” laughed Misty Shadow.
“Let it be dawn. I’ll spread my golden glow over him then and he shall not refuse me,” said Golden Sunshine. But when the morning broke, Bright Sunbeam rushed to the lake side. She removed the cold blue quilt that lay on the bank and her warm gaze caressed the sleeping fisherman. The longer she looked on, the warmer his heart became and the cold fled his arms and legs. He opened his eyes to see a beautiful young girl bending over him, breathing warmth into his body. She wore a long robe of silken strands and scarlet boots.
Stretching out his arms to her, the young man exclaimed, “What a beautiful girl! Who are you, fair maiden, so like the daughter of the Sun?”
“I’m indeed the Sun’s daughter,” replied Bright Sunbeam shyly. “Why do you gaze at me so? Your golden eyes have warmed my poor cold heart. I’m just a poor man. How could you love someone like me?” he asked her. Without a word, she gently took his hand and walked along the shore until they came to his hut.
Misty Shadow and Golden Sunshine who saw them together rushed to their father with the news. “Dear father, Bright Sunbeam has gone and married a poor fisherman! You have to punish her and make that fisherman serve us!’’ On hearing the news, an anguished Sun wrapped himself in a storm cloud and his tears fell as rain on the ground. His sorrow thus spent, he gazed at his daughters with his fiery eyes.
“Are you any better? Carrying tales and being so spiteful. No longer will you have the freedom to roam around as freely as you please. Misty Shadow, you shall sit in the forest marshes and guard my underground waters while you, Golden Sunshine shall stand on the Stone Mountain and guard my underground treasures! And you shall not interfere or trouble Sunbeam or her husband.”
And wrapping himself in more storm clouds, the sun disappeared while Misty Shadow moved to the marshes of Black Varaka and her sister left for the Stone Mountain to stand guard.
To be continued...