The Raven and The First Men sculpture, Bill Reid, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Photo – Author’s Own
March 6th – Viable creations
The Haida people live in British Columbia. To the Haida, Raven was the Bringer of Light and before Raven the world was nothing more than a gigantic flood.
Before time, the world was dark, and cold, and wet. There was nothing but water, and a rock, on which sat Raven, the maker of things. Raven knew he was maker of things, but there was nothing to make. Raven made himself aware.
With this knowledge, came loneliness, and a longing for something. Raven, maker of things, made the waters recede until there was land below, and his rock became a mountain from where he could look down on what he had made. Raven, bringer of light, created the day and his sister, darkness, and out of chaos came order. Raven stretched his wings and flew, tracing the edges of his world where the waters remained, skirting the tops of the trees he made grow along the coastlines, up to the north where the snows were born from the dying of the day. Raven’s wings beat shadows across the tops of the pine forests, and he was pleased with what he saw.
Raven was the magician, the transformer, and in his dreams he saw shapes that swirled and moved and spoke, and when Raven awoke he felt alone. He needed something to share his world with.
With the world came hunger, and Raven felt this for the first time. He flew high in search of food, almost to the house of the Sky-Father, and his shadow danced below him on the waters that sparkled in the sun he had made. And it was from here, looking down on what he had made that he heard a sound.
Curious, Raven swept down, and found the sounds were coming from inside a clam shell. Raven sang to the shell, as he had sung to himself on his rock in the before-time, and as he sang, to settle the sound, the shell opened and a small brown creature emerged, and then another, and from the shell stepped the first men, the first of the First People.
Raven watched the First people for a while, as Sun and her sister Dark and her cousin Moon came and went, but they didn’t please him: they were too similar, and Raven was growing bored, and hungry.
So Raven spread his wings again, and he flew from the sky to the rain trees in the south, where he found more of the first people, the same but different, trapped inside another shell, and Raven freed them with his song and brought them to the first First People, and watched as they learned to give names to the things that he had made, and to each other, and to the young they made, and Raven knew that this was good.
Inspired by a prompt from here.
Liked this? Why not buy the book? There’s lots more like this inside…click on the book cover to find out.