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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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When Tcikabis Trapped The Sun
This version of the legend was shared with us by Anne Bouchard.

Once Tcikabis decided to visit the sky. His sister tried to talk him out of it but his mind was made up. He climbed to the top of the highest tree, but when he got there and looked around, the sky was still above his head. So Tcikabis used his medicine and blew on the tree until it was twice as tall as it was before. He climbed to the top, but the sky was still overhead. So Tcikabis used his medicine again and blew on the tree until it was even taller. But when he climbed to the top, the sky was still overhead. Tcikabis used his medicine again and the tree grew even taller. But when he climbed to the top, the sky was still overhead. Finally he used his medicine a fourth time and this time the tree grew so tall that when he climbed to the top, he could step off onto a road leading across the sky.

Now Tcikabis was tired from all that effort, so he lay down on the road to sleep. But he didn't sleep long before a loud noise woke him up. It sounded like something big was coming. He looked, but all he could see was a light getting brighter and brighter. It was the sun!

"Get out of my way," said the sun.

"No," said Tcikabis, who never did what anyone told him. "I don't want to move. You go around me."

"I can't go around you, I'll set the treetops on fire if I leave my path. This is my road, now get out of my way!"

Tcikabis just laughed at the sun. "If you don't want to go around me, jump over me then," he said. "I don't intend to get up."

"Fine!" The sun stepped over Tcikabis. He was so hot that Tcikabis' clothes caught on fire as the sun passed over him, and if it wasn't for his powerful medicine he would have been burned to death from the heat. Now Tcikabis was naked and burned and his hair was singed off and he was angry. "I'm going to get revenge."

When he went home his sister asked him what happened. "The sun burned me. I was just sitting there minding my own business and he burned me." Tcikapis forgot all about being such a troublemaker and ignoring the sun's warnings. "I'm going to get revenge on him."

"No, don't do that. You'll just cause more trouble for all of us."

But Tcikabis didn't listen to her. He got to work making a magic net, big enough to catch the sun in. He went back up the tree and set a trap on the sun's path. When the sun came that way, he was caught in the net, and darkness covered the whole world.

Tcikabis was happy, but his sister said "Nothing good will come of this."

The darkness lasted and lasted. The people were starting to starve. No plants would grow, and there was no light to hunt by. Everyone was angry and they told Tcikabis "Let the sun go! We need him!" But Tcikabis said "I can't let him go. If I get close enough to cut the net, I'll be burned to death this time."

But everyone bothered him so much that Tcikabis finally agreed to carry some little animals up the tall tree. Maybe one of them could hide in the shadow of a rope and gnaw through it. The turtle tried, but he was too big. He got burned and had to turn back. The rabbit tried, but he was too big too. He got burned and had to turn back. Even the squirrel was too big. He got burned and had to turn back too. Finally the mouse tried it. He was so little that he could hide his whole body behind the rope. He gnawed through it and the sun escaped.

And then life went on as usual.

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Tshakapesh is a folk hero of Cree and Innu folklore. He is often referred to as the Man in the Moon in English, since the myth cycle about Tshakapesh usually ends with the hero travelling to the moon and living there. Tshakapesh is usually depicted as a dwarf or a young boy who never reaches full size, yet he has immense strength and can shoot his bow farther than the largest of men. Tshakapesh also has magical powers which allow him to face and defeat many fearsome monsters. In some stories Tshakapesh acts in a rash or foolish way, often ignoring the advice of his wise and cautious older sister and ending up in a jam because of it. But Tshakapesh is always brave and good-hearted and never stays in trouble for long.

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