2012-08-06 16:17:23 ( UTC -4 )
Algon and the Star Maiden
In the Autumn and Winter skies, there lies a small group of stars often mistaken for
the Little Dipper. Known as the Pleiades, or “The Seven Sisters," we only see six stars
today in this young group of stars that are expanding into the galaxy, because about the
time of the Trojan War two fainter stars that were lined up from our point of view finally
drifted far enough apart to be seen as two very faint stars rather than one brighter one.
The disappearance of this seventh star has sparked legends and myths around the world,
including those of the first peoples of North America. For example, some Native American
Lore holds that humans descended from the Pleiades. Others involve tales of love.
In the far distant past there lived a mighty hunter by the name of Algon. Algon's
skills as a hunter were so great he was able supply all the meat his village ever needed
all on his own, for he possessed the great talent of shape-shifting at will into any land
animal he chose, thus allowing him to sneak up on his prey.
Late one evening, while returning from a long hunt across the prairie, he heard beautiful
singing in the distance. Intrigued, Algon snuck through the grasses until he was close
enough to see a willow basket sitting on the prairie with seven beautiful Star Maidens
dancing and singing in a circle around it. Then after a while they returned to their
basket and upon singing another song it rose up into the heavens returning them to their
Star People up above.
Algon, unable to get the vision of the Star Maidens out of his head, returned over
and over to the spot where see had seen them. Each time he returned he saw them descend
from the stars and perform their dance before returning to the heavens. As he watched them
night after night, Algon fell in love with the youngest and prettiest of the sisters. Soon
he couldn't live without her. So the next time the Star Maidens were dancing, Algon
shape-shifted into the form of a field mouse, slowly making his way through the grass to
the circle of sisters. Once the youngest sister was directly above him, he shape-shifted
back into his human form and grabbed her tightly. She screamed in terror, closing her eyes
and kicking and flailing in her attempts to escape, but Algon held tight. The other six
Star Maidens jumped into their willow basket calling for their sister to escape and join
them, but seeing that this was impossible, they sadly ascended into the heavens without
her. After a while, realizing that she couldn't escape, the young Star Maid opened her
eyes. Upon seeing the look of adoration and love in Algon's eyes she lost her fear and
also fell deeply in love. They returned to Algon's village where they were married the
following day. Their life together was one of joy and happiness, especially after a son
was born to them. But the Star Maid never smiled. For as much as she adored Algon, she
missed her Star People up above.
When their son turned five years old, Algon was once again returning across the
prairie from a long hunt, when he heard the soft voice of his beloved singing the song he
had heard so many times while observing the Star Maidens. Realizing what was happening,
Algon shape-shifted into the fleetest of deer, running as fast as he could to reach that
spot on the prairie, but he was too late. His wife and son were already ascending into the
heavens in the willow basket she had been crafting while he was on his hunts. He
shape-shifted back to human form and called out to her, bewildered as to why she was
leaving him, but she only disappeared into the heavens above. Grieving deeply for his
loss, Algon returned to his village alone.
Meanwhile, the Star Maid was welcomed by her People. Her sisters and father, who was
the Elder of the Star People, were overjoyed to have their dear one returned to them, and
welcomed her son as well into the family with a great celebration. However, the Elder of
the Star People was troubled. His youngest daughter never smiled, for while she was happy
to be with her people again, she missed her Love on the earth below.
Rather that risk never seeing his youngest daughter smile again, the Elder of the
Star People granted a great exception. He traveled to the earth below and approached Algon
with the offer of making Algon one of the Star People. Algon was overcome with hope and
deeply honored by the offer, but he knew he couldn't meet his wife's people empty handed,
so he begged for time to make one last hunt.
On this hunt, Algon wasn't searching for meat. No, he was collecting gifts...the horn
of a buffalo, the rattle of a snake, the claw of a bear, the shell of a turtle, the fang
of a wolf, and many more, and finally, three feathers of the great white eagle. Ready at
last to great his new people, Algon ascended into the heavens with the Elder. Upon
meeting each member of the Star People, Algon presented them with one of his gifts.
Thereafter that Star Person became the patron deity of whatever clan held that animal as
their totem. Finally, all the gifts had been handed out but for the three feathers of the
great white eagle. These Algon kept for himself, his beloved wife, and their son. With the
feathers in their possession, the three of them were able to shape-shift into the form of
the great white eagle to soar the winds together, free to visit the Star People above, or
the village of Algon's people below, united in their spirits forever.
In the Fall and Winter, their undying love can be seen in the Pleiades, where one of
the Seven Sisters left to be with her Love. In addition, in the Spring and Summer, it is
represented by the constellation of Corona Borealis, The Northern Crown, which looks like
a perfect circle of stars but for one that is missing.
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