Tale of the Northern Lights

Saami tale about the boy who teased the sun, moon, stars and northern lights .

Two brothers once ran off to separate the reindeers. In the morning when the sun rose, the youngest yoiked (chanted):

The sunman shines
Yells at all
which is cold.
Ice and snow he burns
and each feather he lends life

Then said the elder: – Dear brother, do not mess with God’s creation!
The brother did not care about it. He just yoiked and added even more. Not long after, a very dense snow swirling came, and the sun was gone in a cloud. It was impossible to venture further. The brothers put up the tent and were weather-stuck for several days. When it finally cleared and the moon began to shine, the youngest yoiked:

Little moon mikkel thing, la la,
sits like a chump in a ring,
flashing up in the black of night, Naina.
Thuii, much frost he gives!
Sun he wants to forget.

His brother told him to stop, but he did not care. Then there was a terrible dense dark mist. They were in the middle of the mountain and had to stay there for three days because they did not find the way. Then said the elder: – Now you see how it goes when you mess with God’s creation!
When the fog eased, it was nice weather. The stars shone brightly. Again the youngest took to yoiking:


Stjernepilt (starpee), stjernedilt, yes, yes,
blink a little, waving a little – yes.

Then there came a fireball and hit his reindeer. It plunged to the ground and died. Then his brother said: – What do you think is going to happen to you, as crazy as you are. If you don’t stop you’ll see.
The running deer was dead, but the the youngest said: – One dead deer, but one left. I have seen worse damage!

So the brothers went on, but the youngest had to go and pull the sled. In the evening, the elder stopped to let his reindeer graze and wait for his brother. He lit a fire and began to cook. When the food was ready, his brother came. After they had eaten, there was a very strong aurora (northern light). The youngest yoiked:

Northern Lights flow, lip, lip, lip,
pork in your mouth, lip, lip, lip.
Hammer in head, lip, lip, lip,
ax on his back, lip, lip, lip.

His brother refused him to do it, but he just yoiked even higher. Then the Northern Lights began to wave awfully strong. It slammed against the snow as if someone hit with hard leather. The oldest brother crept under the sled. But the Northern Lights hit the youngest to death and burned his pesk (fur jacket).

After this the oldest drove on, with heavy mind and hearts ache for his brother whom he had lost.

Therefore, the old Sami still has the belief that it is dangerous to mess with the northern lights. If you do, the Northern Lights can be angry and come to get you.

They did not even find the body of the boy, it was said.


Sources: http://www.trestammersmote.no/les_mer.asp?id=140, Qvigstad: Lappiske eventyr og sagn, Nyere språkdrakt: Arvid Hanssen, Ramfjorden, samisk historie og samtid i Ramfjordområdet- Ramfjordlaget