Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Baltic Tale of Night and Day

Golden-haired Saule sat alone, spinning her amber wheel, weaving the very thread of life when the Moon first laid eyes upon her. Fiery Saule, richly dressed in golden silk raiment and crowned with shining jewels, was a vision of sparkling loveliness that Menulis could not resist. Menulis, silver-dressed Guardian of Night and Time, won the heart of his Balta Saulite, his Darling Little Sun, after much courting, and they were wed in the Primeval Spring. First born to the Sun and Moon was Žeme, the Earth, followed by Vakarine, the evening star, and most beautiful Aušrine, the morning star.

The family fell quickly into routine. Aušrine burned the morning fire and made Saule ready for her journey across the sky, for every morning Saule drove her Chariot of Fire into the sky, leading her white mares on to the Baltic Sea where she was met by her companion, Perkunele, who bathed the weary Sun Maiden at the end of her journey. Saule’s chariot was transformed into a gilded boat when it reached the sea, and guided by Perkunele, she sailed home to where Vakarine had prepared her bed that she may rise, rested and prepared for the next day’s journey.

Each day’s journey was shared with the bearded Sky God, Perkunas the Thunder, who rode alongside Saule in his own chariot, carrying his lightning-bolt sword and stone axe. Needless to say, Perkunas and Saule were close as brother and sister, and it was with great sadness in his heart that Perkunas noted the roving of Menulis. Saule, who rose very early, retired for the evening shortly after Menulis ascended to rule the night, and he was easily and often led astray by the shimmer of a nearby star while Saule slept. Perkunas was keenly aware when Menulis became overly interested in Aušrine, the Morning Star, even more beautiful than her mother with her mother’s golden hair, adorned with a sun crown and a starry mantle closed with a moon-shaped brooch. One fatal morning, as he was returning from a night alone in the sky, Menulis gave in to his obsessive desires and took Aušrine as she prepared the fires for her mother, tearing her starry mantle and flippantly tossing aside her crown. Perkunas became so enraged at the sight that he slashed at Menulis with his lightning sword, leaving the scars on his face that may be seen in the night sky even still.

Saule was so angry with Menulis for his infidelity that she declared an end to their marriage, banishing him to dwell in the night sky alone. With her head held high and her daughters by her side, Saule continued her work on her own, the Matriarch of the Sky who watches all the Children of the Earth herself and still finds time to dance upon the hills in silver shoes with joy in her heart, Saule, the Golden Apple of the Sun.