Storytelling Under the Stars was another hit this year, with about 100 people buying tickets to listen to folklore about the heavens. Dr. Brian told a Brazilian story of how the daughter of the Great Snake came to live on the land after marrying a human. She missed the darkness of the deep ocean (and the sleep that came with it), so her new husband sent three servants to get night from the ocean. The Great Snake sealed it in a coconut, saying, “Do not open it, for only my daughter is strong enough to control the night spirits inside.” The servants open it as soon as they are back on land, curious about the hoots, howls, and squeaks that are coming from inside, so night (and all the night creatures) flood the land. The daughter welcomes them, and they go silent, and everyone sleeps. The next morning, the daughter gives three gifts to the world: 1) the Morning Star to signal the end of night, 2) the cockcrow to signal the coming of day, and 3) the most beautiful singing of the birds just at dawn. Hank told a Navajo story about how coyote really wants to help place the stars in the sky, but the gods won’t let him help. He whines and wheedles and then finally in a fit, he grabs the bag of stars from Black God, and they are flung across the sky randomly. He does get to place one final star that is the Wandering Star or Coyote Star. Alexandra then told a Japanese story of the bamboo cutter who finds a tiny child in a piece of bamboo he cuts open. He raises her, and she grows into a radiant young woman. Many court her, but she refuses them all, even the emperor. Finally, the Star People descend and take her back to the sky. They had placed her on earth to learn compassion. She is still seen (and she still watches over us) as the face in the moon. JC finished the storytelling with the Siberian tale of how the sun was stolen by demons. Great Snowy Owl calls a council of animals to see who would try to rescue it. Bear get sidetracked by delicious berries, and Wolf fails when distracted by the howling call of relatives. Rabbit, rescues the sun and kicks it back into the sky to light the world for all. Amy Sayle then guided the audience on a journey through the universe, always a special (and humbling) treat.
Thanks to Amy Sayle and the Morehead Planetarium for continuing to sponsor this event. We’re in our 10th year! And way to go, Story Squad storytellers.