Animation of the bear story.

Canadian Heritage Information Network

© Canadian Heritage Information Network, 2003


Flash Video

Nimishomis, my grandfather, where do the moon and stars come from? Who puts them there? Grandfather, please tell me about them.

Noshins, my grandson, I don’t know everything there is to know; but I know the things that were taught to me by my Elders. I can tell you some of the stories now, as it is winter.

In the summertime when the plants are all alive and the animals are roaming about, we cannot talk about these things, of the spirits of all living things might hear me and I might say something that could offend them.

We can speak of these things only in the winter when the spirits are resting.

Tell me about the stars Nimishomis, how did they get up there?

A long time ago, Noshins, there were no stars. There were only two moons and the sun.

There was a young boy, named Little Bear, who lived with his grandfather. His father was Big Bear, who lived in the Sky world.

One night as they sat around the fire, as you and I are doing right now. Little Bear asked his grandfather about the two moons.

I wonder if anyone lives on those moons? Why do we have two moons when one is enough?

As grandfather placed an offering of tobacco, into the fire in honour and respect for the spirits, given to him by his grandson, he began to tell Little Bear about the two worlds, each with one moon.

Long ago, we shared the sun with the other world, as everything was equal and people lived in harmony with each other.

In time, things began to change and the evil soon took over the world.

The good people fled and came to our world, but the evil followed.

Evil tried to control our lives and our world, so our people prayed to the Creator for help. The Creator took pity on us and sent the evil people back to their world, far away from the sun. He took away their moon and left them in darkness.

The Creator then told our people that one day a child would come who would have the power to make a place in the sky for all of us.

After his task on Earth was finished, the child would be given a special place in the heavens beside his father, Big Bear.

Little Bear was fascinated and he could not forget this story. One night he had a dream about his bow and arrow. The dream disturbed him very much.

The next morning, Little Bear asked his grandfather the meaning of the dream. Grandfather did not reply for a long time – finally he said:

Noshins, you must prepare yourself for what is to come. Neither you nor anyone else can change what is destined for you.

One day, Little Bear felt compelled to go to the big hill which stood outside his village.

Picking up his bow and arrow, he kissed his grandfather good-bye, and began to climb to the highest point on the hill.

Little Bear stood up tall and with his arrow, took careful aim, at the brightest of the two moons.

With all his strength, he pulled back on the bowstring as far as he could.[24]When he released it, the arrow sailed into the sky and hit the moon. There was an enormous explosion and the moon shattered, like broken glass, into millions of pieces.

Little Bear was stunned with amazement when he saw the sky filled with new stars. It was at this moment that he realized the meaning of his dream.

For the last time, looked down at his grandfather’s lodge and whispered…

Good-bye, grandfather.

The excitement he felt made his heart beat faster and faster as his spirit rose up into the sky towards the stars and his father.

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