The Maasai Legend of the Sun and Moon

Every time I go on safari to Kenya or Tanzania I make a serious effort to spend some quality time with the Maasai, mostly the warriors.  With just a little bit of coaxing and some good ‘ole southern charm, they will open up to you and before you know it, you will soon be learning all sorts of wonderful facts and folk lore about their way of life.  For a quick and fun read giving you a glimpse into a young man’s transition from a Maasai child, to life in the western world, give Facing the Lion: Growing up Maasai on the African Savanna (National Geographic) by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton a read.  It is a rather fast read however it is a truly amazing story about a boy growing up with his Maasai people in Kenya, and later – through incredible twists and turns in his life – comes to the United States for college, all the time never abandoning his African roots.

According to the Maasai, there is a reason why the sun is so bright, which they tell in the following folk tale:

Long ago the sun married the moon but one day they fought and the moon struck the sun on the head. Of course, the sun hit back, and damaged the moon. When they had finished fighting, the sun was so ashamed of his battered face that he became so dazzlingly bright that humans could not regard him without half-closing their eyes. The moon, however, was not in the least bit ashamed and anyone looking at her can clearly see that her mouth is cut and one of her eyes is missing.