In the beginning, there was no darkness. Only light. At the center of the Universe, there was only one tiny star, smaller than a candle’s fire. But even so, the tiny primordial light burned unhindered and lit up both the heavens and the earth. The gods would take turns watching the fire every time the Universe revolved around the star. One revolution, it was the young god Punka’s turn. Punka, the god of merrymaking, was loathe to watch over the star. He did not see the purpose in it, as the star had never gone out and probably never would. Chemall, the father god, saw Punka sulking and approached the youth.
“Cheer up, Punka,” he said. “All of us gods must take their turn, even me. You are doing a good deed, little one.”
Punka tried to find solace and guarding the little star, but he was distracted by the laughter of the other gods. He could only watch in irritation as they played through the endless meadows that stretched across the Universe. Danilas, the goddess of song, saw Punka pacing about restlessly and approached the young god.
“Cheer up, Punka!” she said. “When I was watching the Primordial Star, I would sing to myself and the time will just pass by before you know it.”
Punka tried to sing but his voice sounded horrible. He had always thought that he had a good singing voice, but he had always sung while he was drunk and making merry. Now, he was sober and miserable. Punka decided that he had had enough. He could not see why the other gods could just torment him like this while he suffered alone with the star. He snuck away and began to drink enough wine to fall into a deep, restful slumber.
When he awoke, the light around him was leaving. He could feel himself drifting away into the darkness, until he grabbed onto a piece of light.
“Help!” he cried. He saw Chemall and ran to him. “Help! The light is leaving!” Chemall grabbed little Punka by the throat. “Someone needs to step into the center of the Universe and become the star again. It should be you! I should throw you in right now! But no, this is my duty. I am responsible for all of you.”
He let go of Punka’s throat and Punka sighed with relief. “But I will throw you into the void, you little traitor!” Chemall seized Punka by the hair and flung him around his head. As he did this, he said, “So, you like to drink, Punka? Then I tell you this. If you survive the darkness and find some piece of light to cling to, a hunk of Earth, then I want you to know that alcohol will ruin the lives of you and your children for all eternity. When you drink it, may your memory be foggy and may you forget you merrymaking! And when you wake up, I hope your head is ablaze with fire and shame!”
The curse spoken, Chemall threw Punka into the void by his hair. Chemall then stepped into the center of the Universe and exploded into flame. He became the sun and the sparks from the explosion became all of the stars. When Punka landed on Earth, he drank every night as he watched the stars, and he felt his penance every morning when the sun rose in the sky.