Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in September 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Devil Stealing The Sun, The.

A Christmas Carol.

IN THE glory of the heavens,
On the outskirts of Paradise,
Close to the throne of God—
The throne of Judgment—
Where the whole world gathers,
Tables are decked,
And the saints sit round the table.
John St. John,
Ilie St. Ilie,
Peter St. Peter,
With all the other saints,
Are feasting joyously.
The Lord came then to the table,
Sat down at the table,
Blessed the bread,
And began
To eat.
They were eating,
Or not eating,
For on a sudden
They lifted their eyes,
And whom should they see from afar?
The archangel Gabriel
And the angel Michael,
Who were coming, always coming,
Drawing nearer and nearer, and then they reached the table.
They bent their knees before the Lord,
Bent their knees and prayed.
And said the following:
“Dost thou know, O Lord, or dost thou not know,
What has happened in Paradise?
What we have seen and what has been done?
No sooner had St. Peter gone,
And Ilie followed suit,
And St. John had left us,
When the heathen gods, realising it,
Stormed Paradise,
Entered inside,
Robbed it and
Have taken away the crown of Paradise.
They have taken the moon,
With its light.
They have taken the twilight,
With its glimmer.
They have taken the stars,
With their flowers.
They have taken the sun,
With its treasures.
The heathen gods have further taken away
The throne of judgment,
Before which the whole world must appear.
They have carried it all away into hell.
Paradise is darkened,
Whilst hell is lit up.
We have fought as much as we could fight,
But they overpowered us.
They refuse to give up the spoil.
We have now come to tell you,
To bring our prayer as a sacrifice,
That you may render us help,
And come back with us to Paradise.”
When the Lord heard it,
He made a sign to the saints,
And turned his eyes upon the angels,
And went with them
To bear them company.
First St. Ilie,
Who is the most powerful saint;
And second to him St. Peter,
To smite the heathen gods with drought.
They followed him.
They started,
John baptising,
St. Ilie striking with his lightning flashes,
St. Peter drenching with rains and downpours.
When they arrived at hell
St. Ilie struck with his lightning;
St. Peter cursed them;
St. John baptised them.
The idols were seized with trembling.
They fell on their knees,
And submitted to St. John.
The archangel Gabriel,
Together with the angel Michael,
Entered hell,
Took everything
In their arms,
And brought them back to Paradise.
Holy moon with its light,
The twilight
With its rays,
The stars
With their flowers,
The sun
With its treasures,
The throne of judgment,
Before which all men must appear,
They brought them back to Paradise,
And Paradise again shone brightly.
Hell was darkened.
They turned to the Lord,
And prayed:
“May, O Lord, thy will
And thy kingdom last forever.
To your health for many years to come.”


This carol is full of apocryphal reminiscences and mythical elements. The contest between Satan and God, and between the evil and good powers is here described under the form of Satan, stealing the sun from heaven and plunging the world into darkness, but the angels, with the prophet Ilie (Elijah) at their head, are able to defeat the machinations of Satan, and to restore the sun to Paradise. Cf. among others the English poem, "The Harrowing of Hell," and the literature connected with the Gospel of Nicodemus. Wesselofsky has studied the transformation of the prophet Elijah into the Ilie of the popular faith, who rides the heavens with a thunderbolt in his hands, and smites the devil wherever he finds him. It is a combination of the prophet Elijah with a modified form of the Greek Helias. The archangels Gabriel and Michael are here in their proper place, whilst in the story of the dragon-fly they have been supplanted by St. George. We shall find the same saint disguised as a knight and almost forgotten as a saint in the legend of the Fly of Kolumbatsh, No. 21.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Devil Stealing The Sun, The.
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

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