Mongol Fable is a weekly series. Tune in next Wednesday for the next fable. Here’s the Mongolian version.
Once upon a time there were seven suns in the sky, making the world extremely bright and leaving all the humans and animals parched and suffering from the heat and the blinding light. Luckily, there was an archer named Thumblock Mergen. Thumblock was named so because he possessed a great strength in his thumbs and could shoot arrows at a great distance. People called him Mergen, because that was the title for sharpshooting archers in Mongolia.
Thumblock felt sorry for all the suffering around him, and one day, he decided to kill all the seven suns by shooting them down. So, he took his best horse and biggest bow and arrows. Arriving at an open field, he started shooting at the suns. And lo and behold, because his thumbs were strong, he shot farther than anybody could ever shoot an arrow and hit the suns.
When the first sun fell behind a mountain, riddled with Thumblock’s arrows, the other suns shrieked in fear and started floating away to the west. But Thumblock pursued them on his horse and shot down five more of the suns. He was aiming at the last sun when his horse jumped in fear when a swallow flew by. With his horse bucking him off at the release of his arrow, Thumblock ended up hitting the swallow’s tail feather and missed the seventh sun. This, by the way, is why the swallow has a split tail feather.
The sun used this opportunity to hide behind a mountain and disappeared. Now, the Mergen had no more arrows left and he had missed his last chance to kill all of the suns, so he was very angry. He was so angry that he cut off the famous thumbs that betrayed him and he started living in underground holes. He only survived on eating grass and didn’t drink any water. Basically, he became a marmot.
And that is why the sun doesn’t stay in the sky for long before hiding behind a mountain, and why the marmot gets out of its hole at sunrise and sunset, saying, “I was so close to catching you, sun.”
You could even say it was dumb luck that prevented Thumblock from taking down all the suns.
Natso Baatarkhuu lives in Mongolia and writes in English. His works have appeared in Cracked.com and The UB Post, and he started this website. He dreams of publishing novels and selling screenplays someday.