Pacific NW: Three Raven Stories

This story is part of the Pacific Northwest unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest, especially of Washington and Oregon, by Katharine Berry Judson (1910).

The Origin of Daylight
Nanaimo version of Tlingit legend

WHEN the earth was very new and young, it was dark and cold and gray. Even the stars were black. There was no light anywhere for Gull kept it in a small box which he guarded carefully.

His cousin, Raven, was tired of the dark. He wished for the daylight.

One day when Gull and Raven were out walking, Raven thought, "I wish Gull would run a thorn into his foot."

Hardly had he thought so, when, in the darkness, Gull stepped on a thorn. "Sqenán! My foot!" cried Gull.

"A thorn?" asked Raven. "Let me see it. I will take it out." But it was so dark Raven could not see the thorn. He asked Gull to open the box and make it light.

Gull opened it just a little way and the light was very faint. Raven said, "You must give me more light."

Gull answered, "Sqenán!"

So Raven pretended not to see the thorn. Instead of pulling it out, he pushed it in deeper and deeper, saying, "You must give me more light."

"Sqenán! Sqenán! My foot! My foot!" cried Gull. Raven pushed the thorn in deeper and deeper until Gull at last opened the box. That is the way the daylight came.

Owl and Raven

OWL and Raven were close friends. One day Raven made a new dress, dappled black and white, for Owl. Owl, in return, made for Raven a pair of whalebone boots and then began to make for her a white dress.

When Owl wanted to fit the dress, Raven hopped about and would not sit still. Owl became very angry and said, "If I fly over you with a blubber lamp, don't jump." Raven continued to hop about.

At last Owl became very angry and emptied the blubber lamp over the new white dress. Raven cried, "Qaq! Qaq!" Ever since that day Raven has been black all over.

The Spell of the Laughing Raven

At "dance place" when the Klamath Lake people danced, many people were there. Kemush, Old Man of the Ancients, went there. Then Old Raven laughed at them, laughed when they danced, and all people dancing there became rocks.

Gray Wolf entered Kitti above, from the north. There he stopped and lay down, although not yet having reached his home. In full dress, at that spot, moccasins with beads on toe, stopped and rested.

Then Old Grizzly approached Old Gray Wolf while lying asleep. And Old Grizzly stole from Gray Wolf his moccasins, beads also, and put them on to go to the fishing place.

Upon this, Old Gray Wolf, waking up, threw Old Grizzly down hill. He rolled him down over the rocks for having robbed him of moccasins and beads also. Thus killed he Old Grizzly.

Upon this, the Klamath Lake people began fighting the Northerners because Old Grizzly had been killed by Old Gray Wolf.

Then Old Raven laughed at them when fighting and they became rocks.

(500 words)

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