There was once a woman and man that were attracted to each other since childhood. Anningan would chase Malina around the tundra. But Malina was always faster and full of energy. She was said to be so fast she would out run hunters chasing moose or caribou. Anningan, learned that if he ate a full meal he can sometimes catch Malina.
‘Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.’ – Alaska Native saying
One night while the village was sleeping, an enemy tribe attacked them. Burning the homes and capturing those that fled. However, Anningan and Malina were able to escape. Anningan finally shouted to Malina, who was further ahead, ‘I love you Malina!’ Malina scared looked back and responded, ‘I love you too, Anningan!’ It was too late, however, both collapsed from exhaustion. Their spirits lived on in the Moon, Anningan and the Sun, Malina.
Anningan was always behind Malina never able to catch up with her. Only if he ate and rested for three days is he able to keep looking. But every so often, as when they were children, after Anningan ate would he be able to catch Malina. During these times, their love for each other is so strong the light from Malina would disappear because Anningan would keep it for himself. For in that brief moment, love is never out of reach, even for the spirits that watch over us. Then the chase would begin again.
This is the tale of the Moon chasing the Sun as passed down from generation to generation. Like all Yup’ik and other Native cultures, there are variations. This is the love between two who never got to express it in life, but for only a moment.