Sir Sun and Lady Moon (and how they were parted from one another)
The world's moon is often referred to as Lady Moon or Lady Luna, just as the sun is often referred to as Sir Sun. She indeed often appears in the night sky as the face of a lovely and somewhat demur lady. She is inconsistent, increasing and decreasing in brightness as portions of her face are covered and uncovered during the lunar month. Some say that it is her fan that she uses to cover her face and that the nearer she is to her husband, Sir Sun, the more shy she becomes for anyone but he to see her. When they are very close to each other, she almost fully covers her face, smiling upon her husband from behind her fan while he gazes back at her. When they are farthest separated, she puts her fan away entirely and shows her face fully in order to look for him wherever he may be.
Legend has it that once Sir Sun and Lady Moon were never parted from each other's company and that they always walked the sky together. During that time, there was no day and no night upon the earth, and Sir Sun did not strive to outshine his beautiful wife. Hand in hand they stood on high, with all their children, the stars, with them. There are many stories that tell different accounts of how they came to be separated.
One story relates that when the Dragonkind first came to the Northlands bringing gifts to the Faerekind, and the Faerekind rebuffed them, Aperion was angry at his siblings for doing so. It is said that Aperion sent Sir Sun away, to bring darkness upon the world so that the Faerekind might be reminded that the Dragonkind live only for a short while and that the days of the Dragonkind are filled with toil and hardship. When Sir Sun obeyed Aperion, he went quickly away into the west. But Lady Moon, who loved to look upon the world, hesitated. Their hands became unclasped, and, after a time, she and her stars followed after Sir Sun. But, it is told, she could not find her husband, and when he came again to look upon the world, she was not there. Meanwhile, and perhaps this was Aperion's true purpose, the Dragonkind were given relief from the heat of their lands. Thereafter, Sir Sun continued his search for his wife, and she continued to look for him. Since then, they are seldom joined, and when they do come together, their union is brief, and darkness crosses the earth and the sky so that neither Lady Moon nor her husband can be seen for a few moments.
However, another tale says that it was Secundur, and not Aperion, who created the night, but he did not intend for Sir Sun and Lady Moon to be parted. Secundur wanted to send them both far away, along with all their children and heavenly kin, so that no light would fall upon the earth. Secundur was fond of dark caves and shadowy places, he suffered much pain by any source of light, and he strongly desired to freely roam the earth and to go wherever he wished without the risk of painful light.
So when the Dragonkind came to visit the Faerekind, Secundur whispered against them to his fellow Faerekind, inciting them to anger and making them rebuff the visitors' offerings of peace and friendship. Then, when the King of the Faere, Aperion, left the northern lands to personally escort the Dragonkind back to their abode, he took with him his comforting light. Sir Sun and Lady Moon continued to shine brightly, but Secundur wanted them to go away, too, for he was relieved at Aperion's absence. To accomplish this, Secundur sent a white eagle who could fly higher than any other to speak with Sir Sun and Lady Moon. The eagle told Sir Sun and Lady Moon that Secundur knew of a place far in the west where there was not yet any Faerekind nor any creatures at all. The eagle told Lady Moon and Sir Sun that they should go to that place so that their light could inspire the spirits of that portion of the earth to come forth into being, just as the Faerekind had done. Sir Sun did not wish to go, but Lady Moon, thinking it was only right for all the earth to share in the abundant joy of existence, wanted to find that place. Although Sir Sun and Lady Moon loved each other, the eagle, using Secundur's words, provoked them to argue. At last, in anger, Lady Moon departed into the west without her husband, taking all their children with her on the adventure.
Sir Sun remained for a long while. At first, he was angry at Lady Moon for her abrupt departure and at his children for going with her. But he began to miss them terribly, and he became sad. As his mood changed, he slowly moved in the direction his wife had gone, and as he went, his light faded somewhat from the earth. Then, determined to find his wife and to take her back into his arms, he resolutely marched over the far hills of the earth and out of sight.
The Faerekind were dismayed and filled with fear and foreboding, for they had never seen darkness. But Secundur rejoiced, going about from one to another saying, "It is but as it should be, for now I can be amongst you without pain or suffering."
But his brothers and sisters turned on Secundur, saying, "What have you done? We do not have eyes for darkness as you do. How are we to see the forests and the fields? How are we to enjoy the colors of the flowers, and the sparkle of laughing water? How may we see the love in the eyes of each other, or share our smiles? Go from us! It is a vile thing you have done!"
Secundur only laughed, traveling far and wide in but a short while, spreading himself all over the earth.
Meanwhile, Lady Moon and her children had crossed the great circle of the sky, but had not seen any land upon the earth without teeming life. But as she went, those Faerekind of the world underneath her flight praised her for her light, which came as a beautiful relief for them. But she marched on, with many of her children going before her and following behind, and she realized that she had been tricked and that Secundur's words were lies.
At last, Lady Moon returned to the lands where she had left Sir Sun, but he was not there. Below, the Faerekind were glad of her appearance, but implored her to bring back her husband.
"Where is he?" she asked. But they only pointed to the west and said, "He went over the hill."
All were happy when she moved toward the far western hills to find her husband and to bring him back. All but Secundur. He was writhing in pain from Lady Moon's bright light and was unable to speak to her at all. Even her children, the countless stars, gave him pain and continued to do so long after Lady Moon's face could no longer be seen in the west. Then, much to Secundur's increased suffering and dismay, the eastern sky began to glow. It became brighter and brighter, so that Secundur was forced to flee, darting from shadow to shadow to cover himself. At last, as Sir Sun completed his walk around the great circle of the sky and came again to the lands where he had last seen his wife, Secundur found a deep place within the crack of a mountain and hid himself there.
When Sir Sun saw that Lady Moon was nowhere in sight, he realized Secundur's trickery and gazed harshly upon the world to search for him, seeking to smite him with his burning glare. Secundur was nowhere to be found, but Sir Sun saw the white eagle who was Secundur's messenger circling over a deep mountain gorge. With all his fury, Sir Sun's fiery eyes landed upon eagle, and so stunned and burned by the light was the creature that it dove downward to escape the heat, and he slipped into the very same cave where Secundur hid. Together they huddled, Secundur and the white eagle, both angry at the other for the failure of their plot. Their words to each other grew angrier and Secundur and the eagle fought, the eagle clawing at Secundur's wispy form, and Secundur clutching at the bird's feathers. At last, when Secundur with his hurtful words and terrible grip had subdued the eagle, he said to the bird, "You shall be my servant from henceforth, and all your offspring! You shall do my bidding and my will, going wherever I send you, and coming again unto me for my pleasure. Agree to this or die!"
So the eagle agreed. But he said to Secundur, "I dare not leave this cave, for Sir Sun's gaze is relentless, and I fear that he will kill me with his fire. And he is sure to see me, for I am the only white eagle to fly in these lands."
"Fear not, bird," said Secundur, "for I have stained you with my shadow, and now there is not a speck of white anywhere upon you. Only your eyes have I not stained, but I have put the blood of your heart into them, as a sign that you are my creature. Now go! Go and look upon the world, and return to tell me what it is that you see."
That is how Secundur came to have black eagles do his bidding. And that is how Sir Sun and Lady Moon were parted. And to this day they look for one another. Sometimes they come very close to finding each other, but rarely do they join hands. And even then, they are pulled apart once more by the paths that draw them on. It is said that Lady Moon ever looks for that place where life has not been, or from where life has departed, seeing for herself the spirits of those who have left their earthly form and those whose earthly forms have not yet come to pass. But always does she look to her husband, sometimes from far across the sky. Meanwhile, Sir Sun constantly searches for Secundur and his white eagle. His heart, it is said, is set upon revenge for the trick played upon him and his wife. Thus Sir Sun's heart is restless, and his feet ever move him onward, to search again in those places he has already been, to look for his wife, too, and his children. And neither Sir Sun nor Lady Moon, nor any of their children will have anything to do with the happenings of the earth. Though they look upon the wide world and all of the things that happen there, they do not trust those who abide within it.
Courtesy of The Reader's Companion to the Year of the Red Door
© 2016 by William Timothy Murray
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