22. The Sun eats his children 

(Fang, Gabon

In the beginning sun and moon were husband and wife, and the stars were their children. They ate different food than we do, they ate fire, and that is why the whole family shone and generously shared its light with us on earth. 

But then, one day, a young man came to the village, so handsome that love enflamed the moon’s heart as soon as she saw him. As a sign of her passionate affection she gave him a token and whispered: “Wait for me at the bend in the road, then we will fly off together for ever.”

As soon as he noticed the moon’s absence, the sun asked his children the stars: “Where is she?” They had no idea. But he continued to ask: “Where is she?” They really did not know. “You must have helped her flee,” he went on, and began to shine so angrily that the stars ran away from him. The sun began to hunt them down, and each time he caught a star he devoured it, even though it was his own child, and those stars never shone again. But the rest of them were much too scattered and numerous for him to catch and eat.

Every day the sun continues to chase his wife, the moon, and his children, the stars, across the sky. Incidentally he eats another of the stars. In the meantime mother moon does her best to protect her children. She warns them when the sun rises and takes them with her to her own hiding place.

This chase will go on for a long, long time, before it will come to an end some day. And the coming of that last day will depend on us. Yes, it is us, men who will bring it about. We must uphold the rule of good on earth. If we don’t, and evil is going to reign instead, then we will be lost. As soon as evil takes over, the sun will capture his wife, the moon, at last.

No, he will not devour her, but lock her in a deep ditch at the centre of the earth and not allow her to ever rise again. As for the stars, her children; their father, the sun, will soon catch and eat them, every one.

“And what will happen to us?”

“’Who knows? No one, I guess. At least, I do not know.”