Folk Nuggets


The Sun-Child
and How Humans Learned to Sing

Many years ago the sun was a boy and his name was Arevamanoog. Every day Arevamanoog traveled across the sky, fighting the heavenly dragons that threatened the existence of the universe. And every day he vanquished them all because he was fire. His hair was fire. His eyes were fire. His clothes were fire. His boots were fire.

“Armenians consider the Lake Van area (now in Eastern Turkey) the cradle of their poetic and musical heritage.

Throughout the nation's four thousand years of known history, many legends have been told about Lake Van and its surrounding majestic mountains.

Arevamanoog is one of them.”

But when evening came, it was also time for Arevamanoog to rest. All living things on the planet were casting shadows, creeping towards one another, overlapping and finally engulfing everything into complete darkness. And this was when Arevamanoog plunged into the purple depths of Lake Van, and slept in the cradle of his mother’s arms, the sweet flowing hum of her lullaby coming and going, coming and going through the water, rocking him to sleep.

I sing oror*,
You close your eyes.
Your ruby cheeks
Turn into roses.
Light of my house,
My heartís desire,
Soon you will be
A shining star.

Lake Van

Vana Dzov [Photo by Alidz Agbabian]

At dawn, Arevamanoog had regained his energy and was ready to spring out from the depths of the lake. For his new day and his new journey, angels from heaven brought down a set of new fiery clothes. The waters of the lake started storming, preparing for his rebirth. And as he gushed out of the lake, the water on his body and his set of new clothes of fire clashed, then burst into a thunder, shooting fireworks of lightning and mist into the sky. The mist then turned into innumerable tiny pearls of dew, and gently settled on everything on the planet. The mountains surrounding Lake Van raised their heads and then bowed down before the beauty of the rising sun. And as the dew also sat on the feathers of the mighty rooster, he woke up, stretched out his wings and crowed:

The day is new
The light is with us
And goodness is in the air…

The day is new
The light is with us
And goodness is in the air….

To all the living creatures on the planet, the rooster heralded the coming of the morning light—the birth of Arevamanoog. And when the rooster awakened all the other birds, they too started chirping, early, early, every morning.

To this day, every morning as the dew settles on the flowers, the trees and feathers of the birds, the rooster is the first one to herald the rising sun, and awakens all other birds, which start…

Chirping, chattering
Trilling, whistling

And chuckle

And hoot
And hoo
And coo

And then again

The birds have started singing many, many years before us and we, in turn, have learned singing from them. Tomorrow morning at sunrise lend an ear to the birds. Their songs are still with us.

*Oror means lullaby in Armenian

Lake Van at Sunset