StarDate logo
Eclipse Legends

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, briefly blocking it from view. Before people understood the science, however, they created legends to explain the Sun’s disappearance. Many of those legends involved animals or mythical monsters.

In China and elsewhere, it was thought the Sun was being devoured by a dragon. People in Vietnam blamed a hungry frog. In Scandinavia, it was a giant wolf set loose by the god Loki. In India, it was the severed head of a monster.

Still others saw an eclipse as a quarrel — or a reunion — between the Sun and Moon. And a story from Transylvania said an eclipse took place when the Sun, which was thought of as female, covered her face in disgust at people’s bad behavior.

In the Choctaw Nation, which originally was based in Mississippi but now is in southeastern Oklahoma, the eclipse was blamed on a black squirrel, Funi Lusa. The story says the squirrel was mischievous. When it got hungry, it started nibbling on the Sun. The startled people yelled and screamed and banged metal objects to scare it away. Men shot arrows and guns into the sky. Eventually, it all worked, and the squirrel left the Sun in peace — sparking a big celebration.

The Choctaw Nation is in the path of next Monday’s total eclipse. The celebration there will include the legend of Funi Lusa — a naughty squirrel that tried to eat the Sun.

More about the eclipse tomorrow.

Script by Damond Benningfield

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top