“I’m really angry with Midas!”
Sparrow-Girl had arrived in the late afternoon to a distraught dove and a spotted owl who had just awakened and had began to cry again.
After hearing the story of the lost owl babies, Sparrow-Girl said that it was time she told the raven myth that had been handed down to the First Nations people.
“Ravens aren’t all bad, you know,” she began.
Megan opened her eyes a little wider, and Munro shrugged his sleek shoulders.
“Long long ago,” Sparrow-Girl began,” it was the raven who created the world. There are many stories telling of this. Some of the First Nations people honor the raven by carving his likeness on totem poles. The story I like best is the one my grandfather told me where the world was in darkness after the creation and the raven brought light to it. Do you want to hear it?”
“Yes,” replied Munro,” but it’s hard to believe that ravens ever did anything good.”
“Well, the first raven began to feel sorry for the people groping around in the darkness and he thought and thought and came up with a plan. He made himself very small and turned himself into a hemlock needle and floated on a gourd of water the chief’s daughter was about to drink.”
Megan stared and listened intently. Knowing that Sparrow-Girl could transform herself, Munro could readily believe that a raven could do so, too.
“And then?” coaxed Munro sidling closer on the perch.
“When the chief’s daughter drank the water, she became pregnant and in due time her child was born. The chief cut a basket in two and used half of it for a cradle for the baby. People still put babies in a basket when they are tiny.
After a while the baby learned to crawl and he was allowed to play with everything in the dim house of the chief and his daughter. They both spoiled the child dreadfully, letting him do whatever he wanted to do.
When he learned to walk, the Raven child heard some fishermen squabbling down by the river and he toddled down to find out what all the noise was about.
“That tribe over there have something called “daylight”, one of the fishermen told him, “and so they can catch more fish!”
Raven Child went back to the hut where he knew there were three boxes that were kept tied up. He begged to be allowed to play with them. At first, his grandfather said no but Raven Child threw a huge tantrum and so the chief untied the first box. Raven Child grabbed it and toddled down to the river. There he opened the box and light flooded the world as quick as lightening. The fishermen were very happy.
Back in the hut, the chief and his daughter were happy too because at last there was light in the world. They would no longer have to stumble around in the darkness.
There were two more boxes in the corner and Raven Child demanded them too. The second one contained the moon and it was tossed up through the smoke hole in the roof. The third one contained millions of stars and Raven Child tossed them like marbles up through the smoke hole.(1)
“So that’s how we got the sun, moon and stars” said Sparrow-Girl, “and other myths tell us that the first raven gave the people fresh water, salmon and fire....all good things.”
“But Midas is selfish and greedy and steals,” said Munro.
“Yes, most ravens are like that,” said Sparrow-Girl, softly.
“Can they change?” asked Megan, thinking about starting a new family.
“Of course, everybody, human or animal can change,” said the sparrow cheerfully.
“They just need to learn.”
Sparrow-GIrl stroked Megan’s feathers and touched Munro lightly on his head. Then she flew down to the ground and took on her human form.
“I’ll be back tomorrow,” she promised, “I have more to tell you.”
“What about Midas? What should I do?” Munro was worried.
“Listen to your heart.”