Light and Darkness
An old folk tale, this was told to children in the evening before they went to bed. It shares some images with other Minor Asia myths, but its patriarchal subject matter places it after the Mesolithic Period.

“Zhuk” (In folk Armenian zhuk means time, used it in a rhythmic phrase “Zhuk and Time” i.e. “Time and Time”, meaning forever) controls light and dark on earth. Zhuk is an old white-haired man, sitting on a very high mountain. Zhuk and Time holds in his hands 2 balls of yarn, one white, and the other black. First he rolls the white ball down the mountain, and then he rolls the black. As he rolls the white yarn down one side of the mountain, he gathers the black yarn from the other side. As the white ball of yarn rolls down the mountain, sunrise begins. But when he gathers the white, and the black begins to roll down the other side, sunset begins and it becomes dark.

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.

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