Friday, April 21, 2017

R9.1.2. Sun and Moon captured by creditor, thus causing eclipse (WTF - Weird Things in Folktales)

Welcome to my A to Z Challenge blog series titled WTF - Weird Things in Folktales! Find the introduction post (explaining the theme) here. Find all other participating blogs in the comments of each day's post on the main blog! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

R in the Motif index is for Captives and Fugitives - including such folktale staples as "R11.1. -  Princess (maiden) abducted by monster," "R11.2.1. - Devil carries off wicked people," and of course "R111.1.3. - Rescue of princess (maiden) from dragon."

R9.1.2. Sun and Moon captured by creditor, thus causing eclipse

This story was collected from the Didayi people in Orissa, India.

The whole thing starts with the wedding of the Sun and the Moon, arranged by Rumrok, the supreme god. Platters were made of leaves for the wedding feast, but the last platter needed one more bamboo pin. Rumrok borrowed one from a merchant, and the wedding was duly celebrated.
After the wedding, Rumrok had a quarrel with the Sun, and went to live separately. Some time later, the merchant showed up, asking for the return of the bamboo pin, but Rumrok sent him to the Sun, since he was now the head of the house. The Sun returned the pin, but the merchant did not accept it - saying that with interest, the Sun now owed him one lakh (one hundred thousand) pins. The Sun could not pay, so he sent the merchant away.
Years passed by, and the merchant kept showing up; the Sun kept hiding from his creditor. One day the merchant threatened him, saying he would take his wife the Moon as payment. So ever since then, whenever the merchant shows up to collect their debt, the Sun and the Moon hide in their house, only leaving a crack in the door so they can peek out and see when the debtor is gone...

(Read the story here. Pg. 52)

R5.1. Enemy host imprisoned by earthen walls thrown up by hero’s chariot wheels
R7. Men held captive in the Land of Women
R9.2. Grain and pulse in human form imprisoned by wicked king
R9.5. Cow imprisoned until it promises not to eat men
R9.6. King imprisons all living creatures
R13.1.3. Rhinoceros carries off man
R13.1.8. Abduction by rabbit
R13.2.3. Abduction by cat
R33. Fairy physician abducted to heal wounded mortals.
R115. King transformed to parrot frees captured parrots
R121.4. Ants carry silk threads to prisoner, who makes rope and escapes
R121.10. With her teeth woman files away chain tying up husband
R169.3. Boy saved by werwolf
R212.1.2. Captive buried alive to his neck fastens his teeth on jackal that comes to eat him and companions
R351.1. Milk drops from woman’s breast on tiger‘s leg and reveals her hiding place in tree


  1. That's a really cute ending! So many people can relate to that.

    The story about the fairy doctor sounds interesting. R7 also has so many possibilities.

  2. Okay, that's more of a story that I can understand, that explains a natural phenomenon in mythological ways, as weird as it may be.

    I am curious to note what the woman dripping breast milk on the tiger is supposed to represent. :-/

    R - JR Robertson, Toronto's First Literary Pirate

  3. this is not weird, just curious. if the sun and the moon are humans, this wouldn't even be a story, right? I think I'm more curious by 'abduction by rabbit' story.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my R post - Rainswept - how I make my header~

  4. Cute story. But that interest rate is appropriately out of this world!

  5. Now that is one interesting story.

  6. I guess if these were the days when we thought the earth was the centre of the universe and the sun went round it, it's as good an explanation of an eclipse as any.

  7. Cute mythological explanation of natural phenomena. Today's vote among the ru's goes to - milk from woman drops on tiger...very ominous...I can't foresee a happy outcome there :)


  8. That creditor sounds like a crook! Something should be done. The man-eating cow, that apparently can be reasoned with, sounds like quite a story.

    A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

  9. Oh, I like that! In spite of creditors and all, there's something poetic abotu it :-)

    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

  10. Aww that's a really fun ending! :D I'll remember this story whenever there's an eclipse.

    I'm also intrigued by "cow imprisoned until it promises not to eat men"! lmao!

    Here's my "R" post :)