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buber.net > Basque > Folklore > EHL > Euskal Herriko Leiendak: The Sunflower
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Euskal Herriko Leiendak: The Sunflower

by chris

The following Basque Legend was translated by chris from the book "Euskal Herriko Leiendak". He originally posted these stories in the Forum.

Thousands of years ago now, when men started to wander through the world, there wasn't any sun or moon. Men and women lived in darkness, frightened by the monsters that came up from the bowls of the earth in the form of giant dragons, winged horses or fiery bulls.

Well, in despair the people decided to ask the Earth for help.

"Mother Earth, Earth Mother" they begged her "We ask you, please protect us from the threats that will destroy us."

The Earth was very busy, and she paid no attention to men; They, however, didn't go away, asking and asking, until at last she gave some thought to what they asked her.

"You ask me to help you, my sons and daughters" she said to them "and I will help you. A bright being I will create, and you will call her the moon."

And the Earth created the Moon.

At first the people were frightened of her, and hid in their caves, not venturing outside, but soon they became used to walking in her light.

Like the people, the witches and monsters were also very frightened when they first saw the light in the sky, but they also became accustomed to it and they soon started to leave their caverns again and attack the men. Again the men went begging to the Earth.

"Mother Earth" they said to her "All thanks we give to you for having given Mother Moon to us, but we need something more powerful, because the monsters from underground are still attacking us."

"Very well" the Earth said to them "I will create a being with more light than the moon. You will call her the sun. The sun will make the day, and the moon will make the night."

And the Earth created the Sun.

It was so big, so bright and so hot, that they had to get used very slowly to its light, but it was truly cheering that thanks to its heat and light plants began to grow. THe monsters and witches, however, couldn't get used to the light of the day, and since then they come out at night.

Again the men went to the Earth.

"Mother Earth" they said to her "We are happy and thank you for giving Mother Moon and Mother Sun to us, but we need something more still, because although by day there is no problem, when night comes the monsters leave their caves and start to attack us."

Earth listened this time also to the requests of the men.

"Very well. I will help you again, but this will be the last time. I will make you a flower, very beautiful, so beautiful that when the monsters of the night see it they will think it is the sun, and they will leave you in peace."

And the Earth made the flower of the sun, the sunflower, which still today guards our houses from bad monsters, witches, lamias (eg water spirits), bringers of harm, storms and lightning.

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