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Seagull & the Coming of Light

2006-07-08 17:59

  When the Great Spirit made all things, the First People were given gifts in carved cedar boxes. The First People were the animal people who were here before us.

  In one box there was water. And when that box was opened, all the water came out of the box and rose to the sky in the shape of clouds. It then fell from the sky as rain, and formed the streams and rivers that flowed out to the sea.

  Another box contained all the mountains. They were taken out, and placed where they still stand to this day. Yet another box contained all the seeds of things that grow. And another box held the wind, which blew out, and blew the seeds to the four corners of the world.

  Each of the First People opened their boxes, that is, all except Seagull. And in Seagull's box was all the light of the world. But Seagull clutched the box tightly. And so it was: In the beginning there was only darkness.

  The animal people all asked Seagull to open the box. Seagull refused, squeezing the wooden box tightly under one of Seagull's wings. And so the First People asked Raven —— who was Seagull's cousin —— to try.

  Raven tried everything: asking, begging, demanding, pleading, coaxing, flattering. But nothing worked, and Raven grew ever so angry at Seagull's refusal. Raven thought this thought:

  “Seagull is making it hard for all The People. Seagull is causing so much trouble. It would serve Seagull right if Seagull had a thorn stuck in Seagull's foot.”

  And since whatever Raven thinks, happens, Seagull suddenly cried out with pain.

  “My foot, my foot, something is stuck in my foot.” And Raven offered to help, as if Raven didn't know what had happened.

  But when Raven reached for Seagull's foot, and found the thorn there, Raven did not pull it out. Raven pushed it in.

  “Oh, I am sorry, Seagull, but I can't see what I am doing. If I only had a little bit of light.”

  And so, Seagull lifted the lid of the box just a crack, to let out as little of the light as possible. And all the specks of light lifted into the heavens. And Raven was the first to see the Stars. And they were very beautiful.

  Raven now reached for Seagull's foot again, and once again pushed the thorn deeper. Seagull cried out, flapping one wing but holding the box tightly with the other. Raven said, “I'm sorry, but there is not enough light. Open the box some more!”

  And so Seagull lifted the lid a bit more, just enough to let out a round, pale light. It floated up to the sky. And Raven was the first to see the Moon. And it was very beautiful.

  Raven reached down for Seagull's foot one more time, and pushed the thorn deep. Seagull cried out! Both wings went up, and Seagull dropped the box.

  The lid flew off, and out shot a great ball of fire. It shot up, up. high into the sky, and even Raven could not look at that light so bright, that great light which is the Sun.

  And so it was that the first day came. And in the beginning, There was indeed Light.

  From: Nootka People of British Columbia

  Rewritten by: Dr. Wilhelm

  http://www.storyfest.com/tales.html

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