The Maasai Legend of the Sun and the Moon

One of the famous stories from the Maasai community in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Sun and the Moon, Maasai folktale (2020) by Advithi EmmiProject FUEL

In the beginning, the sun married the moon. They travelled together for a long time, the sun leading and the moon following. As they travelled, the moon would get tired and the sun would carry her for three days every month.

On the fourth day the donkeys are said to be able to see the moon. People can only see the moon on the fifth day.

One day the moon made a mistake and she was beaten by the sun. But it happened that the moon was a short-tempered woman.

When she was beaten, she fought back, and wounded the sun's forehead. The sun also beat the moon and scratched her face and plucked out one of her eyes.

When the sun realised that he was wounded, he was very embarrassed and said to himself, "I am going to shine so hard that people will not be able to look at me." And so he shone so hard that people could not look at him without squinting. That is why the sun shines so brightly.

As for the moon, she did not feel any embarrassment and so she did not have to shine any brighter. And even now, if one looks closely at the moon, they will see the wounds that the sun inflicted on her during their fight.

Credits: Story

Project FUEL would like to thank the Maasai community in the Losimingori village of Arusha, Tanzania for opening their hearts and home to this research. 

This exhibit is part of the Wise Wall Project, an initiative of Project FUEL, to document, design, and strengthen the wisdom of rural communities and marginalized villages using art and community outreach programs. In the third edition of this project, we collaborated with the Maasai, in Arusha, Tanzania, to build an on-ground community centre for the people and bring an exclusive insight into the life, lifestyle, and learnings of this inspiring community.

Illustration: Advithi Emmi
Story: Jens Finke
Research, Interviews and Curation: Project FUEL
Project Partners: Vijana Inspiring Foundation, Vikram Solar Ltd., Lions Club of Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Google Arts & Culture

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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