Once upon a time, evil spirits stole the Sun from the tundra dwellers. In all the darkness that followed the birds and beasts stumbled about searching for food by touch. Soon the birds and the beasts decided to call a grand council to decide what to do. Messengers were sent out to every species of animal and bird to come to the council meeting.
The old raven, whom everyone agreed was by far the wisest, was the first to speak up at the meeting: "My friends, how much longer must we dwell in darkness? I have heard that close to where we live, in a great cavern, live the evil spirits who have stolen the Sun. I am told that they keep it in a white stone pot. If we steal back the Sun from the evil spirits we can light up the world again. So I would advise you to send the biggest and strongest among you, the big Polar bear, to fetch the Sun."
"The bear, the bear!" cried all the animals. "He should go, he will get the Sun" back to us.
At that moment, the ancient owl was busy preparing her sleigh for winter as without the Sun there was no more summer. While she was working she noticed all the commotion. She asked a nearby snow bunting what all the commotion was about. The snow bunting told her that the polar bear was to going to go fetch the Sun.
"Oh, no!" cried the owl. "That will not work at all. As soon as he so much as sees the smallest scrap of food he will forget all about his mission. And we will never get the Sun back."
The snow bunting ran back to the group and told them what the old owl had to say. They all were forced to agree that as soon as the bear saw food he would forget about everything else.
The raven spoke again: "Then why don't we send the wolf? After the bear he is the strongest and he is much faster."
"What are they saying? I can't quite hear them." the owl asked the snow bunting.
"They have decided the wolf should go. He is the strongest and swiftest of us all after the bear."
"Fiddlesticks!" said the owl. "That wolf is greedy and will stop at the first deer he sees and eat it, these beasts are ruled by their stomach and not their head!"
When the snow bunting told the other animals what the owl had said, the other animals had to agree. But they could not think of anyone else to send for the Sun. They thought and thought.
Finally a tiny mouse raised up and spoke: "We should send the hare; he is the best runner amongst us; he can fetch the Sun back for us."
"The hare, the hare, the hare", the animals screamed!
And for the third time the old owl asked the snow bunting what they were saying. "They want to send the hare for the Sun, for he is the best runner and he may catch the Sun on his way", replied the snow bunting.
The owl thought for a bit, then said: "Yes, he may indeed steal back the Sun. He can run well, and is not selfish at all."
So the hare was chosen. He went straight on his way after the Sun, guided by the raven. He ran for many days before he saw a tiny spot of light far ahead. The light gradually grew brighter. At last he was close enough to see that the rays of light were coming from under the earth through a narrow crack. When he put his eye to the crack he was able to see an enormous ball of fire in a large white stone pot. He knew at once it must be the Sun, but almost at the same moment he realized that the creatures lying on the skins in the corner must be the Sun's kidnappers, the evil spirits. The hare squeezed through the crack carefully while the spirits were sleeping. Once in the cavern he hopped over to where the ball of fire lay. He quickly picked it up out of the stone pot and jumped as quickly as he could out of the crack. But just as he was almost out a rock from the surface fell down the hole and hit one of the spirits on the head.
At once the evil spirits rushed at him, all trying to squeeze through the crack after the hare at once. In the meantime the hare ran as fast as he could. Even with the delay it didn't take long before the evil spirits were right behind him. Just before they were about to grab him, he kicked the ball of fire with his hind legs, breaking it in two parts. One part was small, but the other was big. He kicked the ball a second time and the smaller part went flying high into the air until it reached the sky. There it became the Moon.
He then kicked the big part as hard as he possibly could and it soared into another part of the sky to become the Sun. The evil spirits were blinded by the light of the Sun and quickly retreated underground. When the hare got back home he was praised as the brave little hare that had rescued the Sun.
©Copyright 1998 Elizabeth
Beckett, Holly Bernitt, and Vishwa Chandra.