Notes: Armenian tale of Night Mothers (snake witches) who race to catch the sun

The Armenian tale is slightly reminiscent of the Hopi prophecy which says the Fourth Sign will be that “the land will crisscrossed by snakes of iron”.

“Darkness is reigned by Night Mothers, old witches who seduce snakes.  They are the foes of sun and light, who, from the beginning of creation race after the sun that they cannot catch.  When evening comes they crawl out from under the mountains to catch the sun.  But the sun has already set, only its last rays shine on the world.  At the moment of the last shining of the sun’s rays, the Night Mothers blow together and darkness covers the world.  Holding snakes, they run throughout the land.  They fly into the mountains, into stones, into forests, into houses, villages and cities, thinking the sun is there.  Finally, having looked everywhere and not finding the sun, they fly into an old dry well that leads to the center of the earth, under the seas, where they continue to hunt for the sun.  At exactly that moment, in the East sunrise begins, and it becomes light, the sun rising from under the ground to heaven.  For if the Night Mothers will ever see the face of the sun, at that moment life on earth will cease to exist.  Everything will be destroyed and snakes will cover the earth.”

Source: Creation Myths (Home tour of Armenia)

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