A shiny black rat, living in a starry night sky, drowsily crept along to the sky’s center where the moon sat still. The rat sniffed the air and then gently brushed the moon with soft whiskers before stopping to let out a big, loud yawn. It was nighttime which meant that the moon was now fully grown. The rat sniffed at the air again, this time while looking up at the white gray ball. It smelled like Muenster, but looked more like Swiss with its bumps and craters, for the moon was made of cheese and the rat was ready to eat.
Nibble after nibble, the rat munched her way round and round, around the edge of the moon until it was small enough to fit between her paws. She sat back on her hind legs and patted her tummy as she finished the last few morsels of moon. More awake now, the rat quickly stretched herself out from nose to tail before continuing on her way across the sky. Night had half passed and her work was only half done.
Filled with energy from the moon cheese, the rat began her next task of drawing out the sun. She peeked behind the curtain at the other end of the sky where the sun hid warm and bright. She then wrapped her long dark tail in a noose around the sun so that she could drag it to where the moon had been. Pulling and pulling until quite out of breath, the rat towed the sun into place. Her work was finished. And that was how she came to be called Morning.
Four animals lived in the sky, and all had work that needed to be completed everyday. Morning disposed of the moon while the stars still showed and drew in the sun so that the stars could rest. Each day she would nod as she passed by the bright-eyed Midday, a cheerful yellow canary who guided the sun to its noontime position in the sky. Midday then greeted his friend Afternoon, an easygoing lady basset hound whose task was to track down the stars so they could light the night sky when the sun went away. Once the stars were in place, Afternoon barked loudly to let Night the owl know it was time to tuck in the sun.
Each night Morning woke up to find that the moon had grown back again. She had to eat all of the moon cheese to make room for the sun. Then Midday could do his work, followed by Afternoon and Night. Yet, something bothered Morning. The more she thought about it, the bother grew and grew; until, finally she twitched her nose and asked herself, “Why is it that I have two tasks whereas the others only have one? Midday flaps his wings to guide the sun. Afternoon uses her keen senses to round up the stars. Night just has to put the sun back behind its curtain. But I must eat up the moon and then pull out the sun with my tail. It’s not fair that I should have to do more work than anyone else.”
And so one night Morning decided that she would not eat the moon cheese. She walked past the moon without so much as a sniff. “Today,” she chittered to herself, “I will pull out the sun and do no more. I will have only one chore—just like the birds and the dog.” Behind the curtain, the rat wrapped her tail around the sun and pulled. For some reason it was more difficult to move the sun than ever before.