The Course of the Sun
by Katharine Berry Judson
Myths and Legends of California and the Old
Sia (New Mexico)
Sussistinnako, the spider, said to the sun, "My son, you will ascend and
pass over the world above. You will go from north to south. Return and
tell me what you think of it."
The sun said, on his return, "Mother, I did as you bade me, and I did not
like the road."
Spider told him to ascend and pass over the world from west to the east.
On his return, the sun said,
"It may be good for some, mother, but I did not like it."
Spider said, "You will again ascend and pass over the straight road from
the east to the west. Return and tell me what you think of it."
That night the sun said, "I am much contented. I like that road much."
Sussistinnako said, "My son, you will ascend each day and pass over the
world from east to west."
Upon each day's journey the sun stops midway from the east to the centre
of the world to eat his breakfast. In the centre he stops to eat his
dinner. Halfway from the centre to the west he stops to eat his supper. He
never fails to eat these three meals each day, and always stops at the
The sun wears a shirt of dressed deerskin, with leggings of the same
reaching to his thighs. The shirt and leggings are fringed. His moccasins
are also of deerskin and embroidered in yellow, red, and turkis beads. He
wears a kilt of deerskin, having a snake painted upon it. He carries a bow
and arrows, the quiver being of cougar skin, hanging over his shoulder,
and he holds his bow in his left hand and an arrow in his right. He always
wears the mask which protects him from the sight of the people of Ha-arts.
At the top of the mask is an eagle plume with parrot plumes; an eagle
plume is at each side, and one at the bottom of the mask. The hair around
the head and face is red like fire, and when it moves and shakes people
cannot look closely at the mask. It is not intended that they should
observe closely, else they would know that instead of seeing the sun they
see only his mask.
The moon came to the upper world with the sun and he also wears a mask.
Each night the sun passes by the house of Sussistinnako, the spider, who
asks him, "How are my children above? How many have died to-day? How many
have been born to-day?" The sun lingers only long enough to answer his
questions. He then passes on to his house in the east.