Sand Painting

Munay Ki Rites





Royal Hummingbird

How Royal Hummingbird gave his love and his life to us.

• This is actually a story told by Native Americans to understand how the stars came into being and how Royal Hummingbird gave his love and his life to us. It was passed down many generations through oral tradition. Eventually it made its way to me. It is a story of bravery and dedication, inspiring many people for years. It is written down in hopes of inspiring you as well.

A long time ago,
when the world was new, there was a great forest where all the animals lived. There were two animals in particular that ruled over this forest, the bears and the eagles. The only problem was that both the eagles and the bears were conceited and greedy for power. They disagreed with the other, and there was a feud between both animals, forbidding any contact between the animals of the land and the animals of the sky.

Though, the bears and the eagles managed to keep a peaceful agreement for a long time, and everything seemed fine with the world. But something happened that neither the bears nor the eagles expected. Every day, the prince of the eagles would sneak away to play with the prince of the bears at a secluded river.
They were the best of friends, but one day, they got into an argument over which animal was better. “It most certainly is the bears!” cried the young bear prince. “We are larger and far more mightier than the eagles. We can crush your wings with our paws without any effort.” But the eagle prince disagreed, “You are mistaken, for it is the eagles that are far superior. We fly above the lowly bears, which are forsaken to walk on all fours. And when the bears try to reach us, we only fly higher, out of their reach!” In anger, the bear prince rose up on his feet, and bared his claws, “You will pay for your words, Eagle!”. But the eagle was not scared. He flew high towards the sun, where the bear could not see him, and he swooped back down, talons ready to sink into the bear’s chest. The eagle prince missed the bear, but the bear lost his footing. He fell and slipped on a rock, and he was dragged under the current.
Realizing what he had done, the eagle prince began to cry in agony, causing the bears to come rushing towards the river. When the bear king arrived, he asked of the eagle prince, “Where is my son? What has happened to my son?”
The eagle prince told him everything, but the bear king did not believe him, “You killed him! You killed my son! This is unforgivable! You shall receive the same fate as my son!”
So large was the sorrow of the eagle prince that he was unable to defend himself, and he too fell.

When the eagle king heard of what had happened, he flew to the river to see for himself if the story was true. Upon arriving, he saw the body of his son beneath the bear king.
He cried out, “My son! You have killed my son! No longer shall there be peace among the land creatures and the sky creatures!”
After that day, there was great fighting between the land creatures and the sky creatures.
Now Spirit saw what had happened between the animals. He became very angry, and he decided to punish them, so Spirit took away the Sun. He took his blanket and threw it over the Earth. The fighting ceased, and the animals were greatly distressed because without the light, there could be no joy.

One day, the eagles came up with the idea that if they could fly high enough, they could lift the blanket off of the sky and allow the sun to shine again. They tried for hours, but not one eagle could reach. The land animals began to laugh at the birds, mocking them, “If you are such powerful and mighty eagles, why can’t you reach the blanket?
The land animals came up with their own idea. If we can get the squirrels to climb to the top of the highest trees and jump, they would be able to reach the blanket. The squirrels too tried, but not once did they even come close. The sky creatures began to mock the land animals, “Even you cannot reach the blanket, even by jumping from the tallest of your trees.”
This only caused more fighting between the animals.
The fighting was so loud between the eagles and the land animals that the voice of another creature was almost drowned out. “Wait, wait! Stop the fighting! I have an idea!” it cried. The fighting stopped for a moment, and all the birds and animals turned towards the creature that had made the noise, a small hummingbird, the smallest in fact. The bear king approached the hummingbird, “What can you, a tiny hummingbird, do to help?” The eagle king also spoke, “Yes, even though you are a bird, you are too small to make a difference.”

But the hummingbird was not phased by their words, “No, I cannot do anything alone, but with help and cooperation, we can all bring the Sun back. If the squirrels will take me to the top of the highest trees and throw me off the top, then I can fly to the blanket.” The eagle king nodded, “Do as you wish, small hummingbird, but know that it is dangerous for such a small bird to fly so high.” “I know,” said the hummingbird, “but if we do not get the Sun back, we will all die.” So the squirrels led the hummingbird to the top of the tallest trees. They took him and threw him off the top. The smallest hummingbird flew with all his might towards the top, but when he was almost to the blanket, he couldn’t fly any higher and returned to the tree. He told the squirrels, “Throw me a bit higher and I will be able to make it.” When they threw him this time, he went much higher. Flying was much harder and he was only feet from the blanket, when he had to return to the tree. This time, he turned to the squirrels, “One more time, just a bit higher. We will have the sun back.”

And they threw him as high as their arms would allow. The hummingbird flew with all his might, and he got closer and closer and closer. His beak broke through the blanket, but at the same time, the hummingbird’s heart gave out. He had flown so hard and with so much determination, that he had used up all of the love left in his heart to bring back the Sun.

The animals grieved when they saw what had happened to the hummingbird, but when they saw what he had accomplished with the help of the other animals, they were also determined.
Then the eagle king yelled out, “See what the smallest hummingbird has done! He gave up his life to bring back our Sun!”
The bear king added, “Let us honor and respect him by finally retrieving the Sun! But to do this, we all must work together!”

All of the humming birds flew up to the highest points of the tallest trees and had the squirrels throw them off. The eagles joined the bears, and soon all of the birds were working with the land animals to poke holes through the blanket. After days of flying up to the top of the sky, there were millions of holes in the blanket, but still it was not enough to bring back the Sun.

Spirit had seen what had happened between the sky creatures and the land animals. He was overjoyed that they were learning to work together, and so he decided to lift the blanket off of the sky and give the Sun back. But because he wanted the animals to never forget what had happened between them, for part of the day, he would let the Sun shine, and then he would place the blanket filled with holes on top of the sky.

So now, when you look up in the sky at night, you will see the blanket filled with holes that came from the hard work of both the birds and the animals. And it is all because of the unlikeliest of creatures: the smallest Royal Hummingbird.