The Way of the Crow



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Crow did a lot of travelling, and, eventually, reached a place where fox, wolf, wolverine, mink, and rabbit were fishing in a river. At that time the world was dark, and animals were able to talk like people do now. Crow asked the animals for fish, but nobody listened to him. They totally ignored crow. He was persistent, and threatened to bring "daylight" if they refused to give the fish. This threat only served to make the animals laugh. Yet, the laughter was brief, for Crow began to open the box, allowing a single ray of light to escape. He continued until little by little the light escaped completely. The animals were very scared, scattering to hide in the bushes, where they turned into their present forms. Crow then commanded the sun, moon, stars, and daylight to go to the sky so that no one person would ever own them again. They would be available to everyone.

Upon bringing light to the world, Crow realized sea lion owned all the existing land on the earth. This land was an island, surrounded by water which covered the rest of the world. Crow wanted land, too! So, he made a plan. He stole sea lion's son. When sea lion demanded to have his son back, Crow asked for sand or beach in exchange for the child. Sea lion consented, and gave him the sand which Crow scattered in the ocean. This sand became the land masses of the earth.

After completing the task of making the earth, Crow spent much time walking, and flying about the world. This made him very lonely. So, taking poplar bark, Crow made a carving of a person, and breathed life into it, saying "Live!" He made crow and wolf people too. Those people were very shy - crow man and woman were too shy to talk to each other, as were wolf man and woman. Crow realized this was a terrible situation, and that he must change things. He got crow man to sit with wolf woman, and wolf man to sit with crow woman. As a result, crow marries wolf, and wolf marries crow. "That's how the world began."5 (This symbolizes the establishment of kinship rules, and the beginning of the world in the sense of man and woman living together and populating the earth.)

Those stories among Yukon Native peoples form part of a greater cycle of legends, explaining the heroic and creative deeds of Crow, and the many adventures which assist people to understand the world as it now exists. The stories make wonderful reading for children and adults alike, stirring the imagination to ponder the mysteries of life.

In fact, having a basic knowledge of crow legends helped me to forge a closer relationship with Spirit. The legends made me aware of the recognition crows were accorded in traditional cultures. They alerted me to the value in recognizing the clever, resourceful nature of birds and animals, and using such recognition to teach cultural beliefs and social values. I realized what a wonderful opportunity had presented itself to my life. The trickster, the creator of the world was standing in front of me, in the form of a small black bird! I would be a first-hand witness to his intelligent, cunning nature. Perhaps in some way he would bring the legends to life for me. This expectation brought me closer to Spirit. I was eager to discover new things about crows, to understand them, and to enjoy our lives together.

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