Dan Gibson, Storyteller/Banjoplayer
214-331-4559
dan.gibson@juno.com
Folk Tales
Ghost Stories
Sample Stories and Verse
Outrageous Verse
Pushing Up the Sky
Adapted by Dan Gibson
from the telling of Apache storyteller Emma Ortega of San Antonio.
Thank you, Emma.
copyright 1999 Dan Gibson

A long time ago, maybe even before then, the people had a problem: the sky was too low.
It was so low that there wasn't even room for clouds. It was so low that trees couldn't grow as tall as they are today. There was no room for birds to fly around. Sometimes they'd crash into those short trees. There wasn't even room for clouds.

But more importantly, because the sky was so low, grownups couldn't stand up as straight and tall as they needed to. They had to walk around all stooped over, looking down at their feet. They couldn't see where they were going.

Now, the children didn't mind this so much. They were short. They could stand up as straight and tall as they needed to be. They didn't have to walk around all stooped over looking down at their feet. They could see where they were going.

They knew they would become grownups some day, and that they would have to walk around all stooped over looking at their feet unless something was done about the problem. So, they decided to raise the sky.

All the children gathered together -- along with some of the grownups who were listening -- and put long poles up against the sky. On the count of four, they all pushed the sky up with a huge shout -- unnn-uhhhhhh.

But it didn't work. The sky fluttered back down to where it had been. The trees still couldn't grow, the birds couldn't fly, there was no room for clouds, and the grownups still had walk around all stooped over, looking down at their feet -- couldn't see where they were going.

So, the children got longer poles, and on the count of four, pushed harder -- unnn-uhhhhhh. It still didn't work.

But, the children were persistent. They tried a third time with even longer poles. It still didn't work.

"One more time," they shouted. They got the longest poles they could find. And once again, on the count of four, they pushed as hard as they could -- unnn-uhhhhhh.

This time it worked. The sky stayed up, and it's still there today.

Now there is room for trees to grow; room for birds to fly around; and room for clouds. Best of all, grownups can stand up as straight and tall as they need to. They can see where they're going, because the children raised the sky.

But that night, something else amazing happened. When the sun went behind the sky and it got dark, the people looked up. The sky was full of tiny holes poked into it by the children's poles, and through each one twinkled a little point of light.

That's how stars came to be. The children put them there when they raised the sky. That's why grownups have stars to reach for.

Look up on a clear night. You'll think of this story, and you will know it is true.