The Bunun and two Suns

Year / 2019

Type / Picture Book

Details / Kitchen Paper on Paper

This is a tale originated in one of Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes, the Bunun. It has survived not because of texts but by word of mouth.

During the Min-pakaliva period (an ancient period), there were two suns so people were suffering from droughts. One day, a married couple found that their little kid was turned into a lizard due to the suns. Out of anger, the father, along with his eldest son, decided to shoot the suns down. After ten long years, they arrived right below the suns. The mission was incomplete due to the strong sunlight, so they decided to hide behind Baihal (taro leaves), which were burned, and then they hid behind Asik (palm leaves) and successfully shot down one sun.

The sun blamed them for the lack of gratitude, saying that all creatures nourish because of the sunlight. On hearing this and out of shame, the father used a Kuling (pocket cloth) to clean the wounds of the sun. The wounded sun has turned into the moon, who taught the Bunun how to perform ceremonies for a prosperous life.

Now whenever we look up at the sky, there is a sun during the daytime and a moon during the night. Sometimes we see the dark side of the moon and that is the wound cleaned with the Kuling. This name of this father has been forgotten and no such a song praising his brave act can be found because it is only hoped that the descendants will always appreciate the Mother Nature.

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All images copyright © Jieni Kao 2020

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