Erkhii Mergen

Once upon a time there rose seven suns in the universe, and it was exposed to a burning drought. People and living beings suffered
from intolerable heat, and horses and animals were tormented by painful thirst. It was dreadfully difficult to live or even survive.
However, there lived a very good archer, called Erkhii Mergen. A stream of people went to him, and requested him to shoot and destroy
the many suns which rose in the sky. Then he said, “I will shoot the seven suns with one arrow each and destroy them” and he made
a promise and swore an oath, ” If i should not succeed, i will cut off my thumbs and be no longer a man! I will become an animal which never drinks pure water and eats the dry grass and lives forever in a dark hole!”



From the Eastern side then Erkhii Mergen began shooting the seven suns, those that rose in a file from the East to the West in the sky.
He hit and destroyed six of the suns with six arrows. As he shot his seventh arrow, aiming at the seventh sun, a swallow crossed in
front of it, its flight screening the sun. Erkhii Mergen`s arrow hit the swallow`s tail and ripped it. Since then, the swallow`s tail has been forked. Nevertheless, the last sun was afraid of the archer and it disappeared to hide behind a western mountain. So Erkhii Mergen chased the swallow, which had impeded him shooting the seventh sun, on his piebald horse. When the horse had almost caught up with the swallow, the swallow flew a tortuous twisting path to avoid the horse. This went on from dusk to dawn, but the horse could not catch it.


According to his promise as a man, Erkhii Mergen cut off his thumbs and was no longer a man, but changed into a marmot which never
drinks pure water and eats the grass of the preceding year, and lives in a dark hole. The marmot comes out from its hole by the morning and the evening sun; this means that Erkhii Mergen the archer, wants to forget that he has changed into a marmot and wants to wait
and shoot the last sun at its rising or setting. People say that the sun of this world was frightened of Erkhii Mergen and went behind a
mountain, and it is for this reason that the day and the night appear in succession.
State Publishing House Ulanbaatar 1988: “How did the great bear originate? Folktales from Mongolia”