This week the sky provided us with wondrous things to observe. Sunday was this year’s “Supermoon” which is the first full moon when the moon is at its closest point to earth. It was accompanied by the Perseid Meteor Shower which occurs every year around this time when the earth’s path crosses the debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle.
Man has always been intrigued by the sky and its mysteries and has tried to explain the phenomena in the sky with careful observation and reasoned hypotheses. This week I would like continue the series on Cherokee Fables with the Cherokee story “What the Stars are Like” as recorded by James Mooney in the late 1800’s:
“There are different opinions about the stars. Some say they are balls of light, others say they are human, but most people say they are living creatures covered with luminous fur or feathers.
“One night a hunting party camping in the mountains noticed two lights like large stars moving along the top of a distant ridge. They wondered and watched until the light disappeared on the other side. The next night, and the next, they saw the lights again moving along the ridge, and after talking over the matter decided to go on the morrow and try to learn the cause. In the morning they started out and went until they came to the ridge, where, after searching some time, they found two strange creatures about so large (making a circle with outstretched arms), with round bodies covered with fine fur or downy feathers, from which small heads stuck out like the heads of terrapins. As the breeze played upon these feathers showers of sparks flew out.
“The hunters carried the strange creatures back to the camp, intending to take them home to the settlements on their return. They kept them several days and noticed that every night they would grow bright and shine like great stars, although by day they were only balls of gray fur, except when the wind stirred and made the sparks fly out. They kept very quiet, and no one thought of their trying to escape, when, on the seventh night, they suddenly rose from the ground like balls of fire and were soon above the tops of the trees. Higher and higher they went, while the wondering hunters watched, until at last they were only two bright points of light in the dark sky, and then the hunters knew that they were stars.”