How Raven Brought Light to the World

Long, long time ago when the world was new and all was twilight and the powers were new and fresh, Raven was exploring the new world.  He flew and hopped and walked all around touching the trees and rocks learning all he could from each of them.  One day he saw a beautiful young woman come down to a clear stream to drink, he was captivated by her so he followed when she walked back to her home.  He perched up by the smoke hole so he could watch and not be seen.  Inside the house were the beautiful young woman and an old man, and many cedar boxes full of treasures.

Raven is by nature curious, gluttonous, and possessive, he wants to take and keep every pretty thing he sees, and if it is tasty he wants to eat all of it.  He hatched a plan to get into the house and see what was in all those big boxes, he waited by the stream for the young woman to fetch water again.  While he waited he preened his beautiful white feathers and admired himself in the stream.  When the young woman came to get water again he waited until she was about to drink, then he flew up behind her and transformed himself into a spruce needle and fell into her cup and she swallowed him!

photo of Raven and the sun handcarved Earrings

Raven and the Sun handcarved Earrings

As time passed the young woman became pregnant then gave birth to a peculiar little boy with a very large nose.  The boy grew rapidly and was soon walking around the house getting into every thing.  He was, of course, Raven.  He became his Grandfathers pride and joy.  Grandfather could not deny him any plaything partly from love and partly because he had the most annoying cry of any baby ever heard before or since on the earth.  His Grandfather was cleaning and dusting the boxes that held his treasures, and the top of the biggest and most beautifully carved and painted box was opened for just a second and the house was filled with brilliant light.  Raven began to cry for the brilliant light, but Grandfather said “No!”, so Raven cried and cried.  His cries were so annoying that finally Grandfather relented and opened the box and let him see the great ball of brilliant light that resided in the beautiful box.

Photo of Raven and the Sun handcarved Pendant

Raven and the Sun handcarved Pendant

Raven allowed himself to be satisfied with just looking at the beautiful light this time.  Soon he was pointing at the box and crying to get Grandfather to let him see the light again.  Grandfather did not want this baby to play with his precious light so he held out as long as was possible with such a piercing and grating cry going on.  Finally to gain a little peace he opened the box again and let Raven touch the great ball of light.  Grandfather was watching carefully as Raven stroked and cooed over the light.

Photo of Hand carved Bracelet Raven Transforming

Hand carved Bracelet Raven Transforming

The next day and the next it was the same, Raven could only be shut up by letting him play with the great ball of brilliant light.  It soon became routine, Raven would cry and point at the box, Grandfather would open the box and take out the light and Raven would play happily with the light for a long while.  One day soon thereafter Raven became fussy and kept the whole house awake most of the night.  Next day everyone was cranky and wanted to take a nap, so Grandfather took out the light and gave it to raven to play with so they could get some needed rest.  As soon as everyone’s attention was elsewhere, Raven transformed himself back to his Raven form, grabbed the ball of light in his beak and flew out the smoke hole of the house.  Several things happened all at once.  Grandfather woke with a roar revealing himself to be the creator of the earth.  Raven in his haste had forgotten the large fire burning in the hearth and had not understood that the great ball of light was only cool enough to handle while in the Creator’s house, so as he passed out of the smoke hole he was covered with soot and smoke, then the great ball of brilliant light began to get hot!  Raven flew as high and as far as he could until the heat became unbearable, then he threw the ball as hard as he could.  The ball broke into two large pieces and many many tiny chips.  The largest piece became the sun the other large piece is the moon and the tiny chips are the stars.  Raven was burned so badly that he remains black to this very day!

As you can see Walker Goldsmiths has many depictions of Raven available.

Photo of Cast Raven and Sun Ring

Cast Raven and Sun Ring

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2 Responses to “How Raven Brought Light to the World”

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  1. Janet Walker says:

    I like that part about Grandfather waking with a roar revealing himself to be the creator of the earth… very “Grandfather-like”! Like ya been there, done that !! 🙂

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