SOON after the creation of the world, God created a fair maiden and gave into her charge all the birds beneath the heavens. This was Lindu, the lovely daughter of Uko, who knew the paths of all the birds of passage, whence they came in spring, and whither they went in autumn, and appointed to each his dwelling. She cared for the birds with a tender heart, like a mother for her children, and gave them her aid whenever it was possible; and like a flower in the morning sunlight under a thousand dewdrops, so brightly shone Lindu in her motherly care for the birds.
Therefore was it not surprising that all gazed upon her and loved her. Every one desired the maiden as a wife, and suitors came in crowds. The North Star drove up in a grand coach drawn by six brown horses, and brought ten presents. But Lindu gave him a sharp answer. “You must always remain at your post, and cannot stir from it,” said she.
Then came the Moon in a silver coach drawn by ten brown horses, and he brought twenty presents. But Lindu refused the Moon too. “You are much too changeable,” said she, “and yet you always run in your old path, and that won’t suit me.”
Scarcely had the Moon taken a sorrowful departure than the Sun drove up. He rode in a golden coach drawn by twenty gold-red horses, and brought thirty presents with him. But all his splendour and magnificence and rich presents went for nothing; for Lindu said, “I don’t like you. You always run on the same course day by day, just like the Moon.”
At length the Northern Light came from midnight in a diamond coach drawn by a thousand white horses. His arrival was so splendid that Lindu went to the door to meet him. His attendants carried a whole coach-load of gold and silver, pearls, and jewelry into her house. And the bridegroom and his presents pleased Lindu so much that she accepted him at once, saying, “You don’t always travel the same path, like the others. You set out when you will, and rest when it pleases you. Each time you appear in new splendour and magnificence, and each time you don a new robe, and each time you ride in a new coach with new horses. You are the fitting bridegroom, whom one can receive with joy.”
Now they celebrated their betrothal with great splendour. But the Sun, Moon, and Pole Star looked on sadly, and envied the happiness of the Northern Light.
The Northern Light could not tarry long in the bride’s house, for he was obliged to journey back towards midnight. But hefore his departure he promised soon to return for the wedding, and to carry p. 150 the maiden to his home in the North. In the meantime she was to prepare her trousseau and get everything ready for the wedding.
Lindu now waited and made everything ready. One day followed another, but the bridegroom came not to hold a joyous wedding with his bride. The winter passed away, and the warm spring adorned the earth with new beauty, then came the summer; but Lindu waited in vain for her bridegroom; nothing was seen of him.
Then she began to lament bitterly, and sorrowed, day and night. She sat in the meadow by the river in her bridal robes and white veil and the wreath on her head, and from her thousand tears sprang the little brooks in the valley. She did not heed the little birds who flew about her head and shoulders, and sought to soothe her with their soft blandishments, nor did she remember to direct their migrations to foreign parts, and to care for their nurture and food. So they wandered about and flew from place to place, not knowing what to do or where to remain.
At length the news of the maiden’s distress and the needs of the birds came to the ears of Uko. Then he resolved in his heart to help them all, and ordered the winds to carry his daughter to him, away from the misery of the world. While Lindu was sitting on the ground weeping and lamenting, the winds sank down before her, and lifted her so gently that she herself perceived it not, and bore her away to heaven, where they set her down on the blue firmament.
There dwells Lindu still in a heavenly pavilion. Her white bridal veil spreads from one end of the heavens to the other, and he who lifts his eyes to the Milky Way beholds the maiden in her bridal robes. From thence she still directs the birds on their long migrations; from thence she still gazes towards midnight at the other end of the heavens, and waves her hand in greeting to the Northern Light. There she has forgotten her sorrow, and her former happy life reawakens in her heart. And when winter approaches, she sees with joy that the Northern Light visits her as a guest, and asks after his bride. Often he rises up to her, and, heart to heart, renews the bond of their love. But they may not hold their wedding. Uko has stationed the maiden in the heavens with her bridal robe and veil, and the bridegroom cannot carry away his love from her seat. Thus has Uko in his wisdom determined, and thus has the Milky Way arisen.