Sun King’s Promise

Long ago, when Sun King was young, he raced across the sky on his stallions. The horses gleamed, Sun King glowed. Thanks to Sun King’s work, the Earth was fertile and rich, and Earth King rejoiced and praised Sun King’s labor.

Every evening Sun King rode his horses to their golden stables, and there he rested and fed them. Afterward, he himself rested in his golden palace, and while he slept, stars danced in the sky. There the stars held council, pleased to be providing gentle light to Earth King’s world.

One day, Earth King’s wife gave birth to a daughter. They named her Beautiful Dawn, or Vela Chow, for she was soft and round and rosy, and they knew that one day she would become important to the world.

Vela Chow often looked up when she heard the sound of Sun King’s horses, their galloping feet racing across the sky. She clapped her hands and gazed with her warm eyes, delighted with handsome Sun King’s strength.

Vela Chow grew more and more beautiful. When she was a young woman, one day she went to bathe in the river. When she heard the sound of Sun King’s horses, she looked up as she always did, but this time Sun King saw her. At that moment, Sun King and Vela Chow fell in love.

When the people heard Sun King’s laughter, they knew the world was about to change. “Sun King is powerful,” the people said. “From the sound of his laughter, it seems he must be in love. His love will be as powerful as him.”

From that day, Vela Chow and Sun King spent as much time as they could together. Soon, Sun King wanted nothing more than to be with his beloved. Vela Chow stared into Sun King’s face and glowed, and Sun King stared into hers and felt calm. Vela Chow told Sun King stories, for she was a fine storyteller. Sun King laughed and begged her to tell more. Sun King told her stories, too, tales of the world, which she longed to see.

After a while, Sun King no longer returned to his palace in the evening. Instead, he tied his horses to a tree, and he and Vela Chow sat and talked and laughed. Before long, they could think of nothing but each other.

The people began to suffer. Sun King’s constant heat was too hot, and they longed for their lost nights of darkness. The stars loved Vela Chow, but they were angry with Sun King. The rhythms of the world had gone wrong, and the stars missed their dark nights.

The stars tried to reason with Sun King, but instead of listening, he turned his back on them and entered a cave with Vela Chow where no one could find him.

With his departure, darkness fell over the world. When the people were asleep, the stars quickly sped to Earth, untied Sun King’s horses and hid them. Then they raced to the sky and watched and waited.

When Sun King and Vela Chow came out of the cave, Sun King looked around for his horses. “I need my horses. I must travel across the world.”

“Don’t leave me,” Vela Chow said. “Forget your horses. Stay with me.”

But Sun King was anxious, and he also was angry. “I must light the world. Where are my horses?” Taking Vela Chow’s hand in his, he climbed the mountains, searching every cave. But he could not find his horses, and he grew sick with worry.

“I must look in my palace,” Sun King said. “Come with me there.” Vela Chow held Sun King close, and her eyes dripped silver tears. “I cannot make that leap,” she said, looking up at the golden palace above them. Sun King knew she could not, and his eyes dripped golden tears.

“I will find my horses and return for you,” he promised, and he jumped into the sky. He threw open the doors of his palace, and when he saw the stars waiting for him, he cried, “Where are my horses?”

“Safe and waiting for you,” the stars said, “but you must promise us you’ll once again be king of the day, and you’ll never again shine in the night.”

“I promise,” Sun King said.

“And one more promise,” said the stars. “You have your work to light the day, and now that you have given Vela Chow your love, she too will have work. She will be known from this day forward as Silver Moon, and she will rule the night. You may come to see her only when she is not shining.”

Sun King was furious. “I will visit my love whenever I wish,” he cried.

But the stars were firm. “Only when she is not shining,” they insisted.

Sun King looked at the stars who had begun to spill out of the palace doors and windows. When he saw how many there were, he knew he could never win the argument, and so he agreed to their plan.

And so Sun King and Silver Moon and her court of stars took their places in the sky that very day. The people celebrated them with festivals.

To this day Sun King has kept his promise. He always shines during the day, though sometimes clouds hide him from our view. He never shines at night. He visits Moon on the other side of the sky, but only during times known as an eclipse. On those nights, Sun and Moon both shine, and rejoice in their moments as king and queen, ruling together.