- Last Record: 2013-01-10 15:30:56 -0600
- Joined: Jul 07, 2011
(For Gaby -- this is a Native American folktale)
In the beginning, before the People, Rainbow Crow was the loveliest of all birds, with bright feathers and a beautiful singing voice. The world was warm and peaceful in perpetual summer. Then the Creator thought up the idea of snow and ice, and winter came. At first the novelty enchanted the animals, but soon the small animals got covered in snow drifts, and food became scarce for everyone.
The Wise Owl had the idea to send someone up to Heaven to ask the Creator to unthink winter, and get it warm again. Rainbow Crow got the job. He flew for three days and nights. He flew longer and higher than any bird had ever flown, through the very stars, until he found the Creator. The Creator was quite busy and didn't notice him. So Rainbow Crow began to sing and his lovely song soon caught the Creator's attention.
The Creator was most pleased by Rainbow Crow, and offered him a gift. "For my gift, may I ask that you unthink Snow and Ice? We are cold and hungry." The Creator told him, sorry, once a thing was thought, even He could not unthink it. But then the Creator took a stick, poked it into the Sun until it flamed, and gently placed the cool end into Rainbow Crow's beak.
"This gift is called Fire. It will keep you warm, and help you to find food. But it will burn quickly so hurry back to the world."
Rainbow Crow flew as fast as his wings could carry him but as the days passed the stick grew shorter and the fire got closer and closer to his body. His tail feathers caught fire and the smoke burned his throat and lungs. Burning, smoking, he plummeted to the Earth like a meteor. But such was his cleverness that he managed to keep the stick lit. His lovely voice was gone, replaced by a harsh caw. His brilliant feathers were sooty and burned, but with his sacrifice he saved his fellow creatures from winter.
Despite the respectful treatment and gratitude everyone showed him, the loss of his beauty saddened him. One night, while sitting off by himself, the Creator came to him on a breath of wind. "Don't despair, brave Crow. When People come, and they will, no Man will ever cage you for your fine song. He will never hunt you, as you will taste of smoke. The other animals will never harm you, out of respect for your deeds. You will be free for all eternity. And if you look closely, you can still see the beauty you once had."
And it's true. If you examine a crow feather very carefully, you will see it has a beautiful rainbow colored sheen.