Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky: A Efik Folktale

Cross River State Nigeria - Folkli
General Location: Cross River State / Map data ©2018 Google

This Efik folktale tells the tale of the sun, who very much desired his friend water to visit his house. 

Many years ago the sun and water were great friends, and both lived on the earth together. The sun often used to visit the water, but the water never returned his visits. At last the sun asked why.

The water replied that the sun’s house was not big enough, and that if he came with his people he would drive the sun out. “If you wish me to visit you, you must build a very large compound; my people are very numerous, and take up a lot of room.”

The sun promised to build a very big compound, and soon afterwards he returned home to his wife, the moon, who greeted him with a broad smile when he opened the door. The sun told the moon what he had promised the water, and the next day commenced building a huge compound in which to entertain his friend.

When it was completed, he asked the water to come and visit him. The water arrived, called out to the sun, and asked him whether it would be safe for him to enter. The sun answered, “Yes, come in, my friend.”

The water began to flow in, accompanied by the fish and all the water animals. Very soon the water was knee-deep, so he asked the sun if it was still safe, and the sun again said yes, so more water came in.

When the water was level with the top of a man’s head, the water said to the sun, “Do you want more of my people to come?” and the sun and moon both answered yes, not knowing any better, so the water flowed on, until at last the sun and moon had to perch themselves on the top of the roof.

Again the water addressed the sun, and received the same answer. More of his people rushed in, and the water overflowed the top of the roof, forcing he sun and moon up into the sky, where they have remained ever since.

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