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Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories
The Sun, the Elk, and the Mammoth

Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko, Russia

Evenk cosmology tells how the Sun was captured and carried about the sky by the cosmic Elk (Big Dipper constellation). The Elk and her daughter (Little Dipper) were hunted by the Bear or Hunter (the bright star Arcturus and Bootes). The Elk fled to the Sea and became Seli/Holi the Mammoth.

The Mammoth link may explain why you get a female Elk carrying the sun in antlers she would not have. It is very likely that it was originally a Mammoth who was chased across the night skies, night after night, around the year, marking the night hours, and the seasons of the year. That explains the sun in the antlers - originally the Mammoth's tusks, and also how after mammoths had disappeared from the daily scene, she was remembered as a large impressive shaggy beast so became the Elk.

“The winter was very strong, the cedar cracked, the deer did not go. When the Elk (the Big Dipper) got into rearing (at midnight), the ground at Hushma has opened, mist was going out, and Mammoth shouted from undergroung: "Oh-oh-oh-oh !" I had fallen down and laid. Mine was very much afraid of Mammoth".

“When the Bear will rise upon his hinder legs, Mammoth will stick his head out of the water and scream: "Oho, oho, hо". Khirogir shows up to the Big Dipper, extends and bends his hands, trying to represent the position of the constellation”.

Some scholars connect Swastika origin theories with positions of Big Dipper.

Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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