The heavens by night in Benin are breathtaking. The lack of electricity in my village certainly helps, but it’s a small price to pay when you look up at night time. There’s one family in town (the family where the father passed away) who I like to swap stories with. So far I’ve recounted fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood, the Tortoise in the Hare, even a Harry Potter tale! Haha.
The 24 year old daughter Vivianne told me the story about the stars during my first month at post. Here it is.:
Long ago, there was a great famine in the land. There was not nearly enough food to feed all the families. Sun and Moon, who had many, many children decided that something needed to be done. The population had to be reduced and a huge sacrifice had to be made. Someone must sacrifice their children. But who? They would both throw their babies into the ocean, drowning them in order continue life on the land. This was not an easy action to fathom, but the famine was ravaging the land and causing much suffering.
On the designated day, Moon and Sun arrived on the shores each carrying a large sac filled with their children. Sun pulled her arm back and threw her children into the water, extinguishing their bright light forever. The sac of Moon was a little different. For she had tricked her friend Sun. Instead of placing her children in the sac, she had filled in with stones. Moon also quickly threw her sac into the waves. But come nightfall, Moon’s children were seen shining brightly in the sky.
This is why today we can still look up at Moon’s children, but Sun’s children are nowhere to be found.