Raven Steals the Sun: A Legend of the Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest

Raven Steals the Sun linocut print 150dpi

Raven Steals the Sun; linocut print/ Montana Black

 

Long ago, near the beginning of the world, Grey Eagle guarded the sun, moon, stars, water, and fire. But Grey Eagle hated people. He hated them so much that he kept these things hidden away, and the people lived in cold and darkness.

Grey Eagle had a beautiful daughter who fancied Raven, for Raven was a handsome white bird who loved Grey Eagle’s daughter in return. He was invited to the longhouse of Grey Eagle. Raven looked about the walls of the lodge and saw the sun, the moon, the stars, water, and fire.

Raven was ashamed of Grey Eagle for hiding them, and knew what he must do. When no one was watching, he stole all these things from the lodge of Grey Eagle. He flew with them right up the smoke hole of the long house. He flew and he flew, higher and higher.

He hung the sun as high as he could in the sky. It made so much light that he was able to escape all the way to an island far out in the ocean. When night fell, he flew again, this time fastening the moon up in the sky and hanging each star in its own place around the heavens. Then he flew back over the land, still carrying the water and the fire.   

When he reached the right place, he dropped the water, creating the source of all fresh water – rivers, lakes, and streams. 

Raven flew on, still carrying the stick of fire in his beak. As he flew, the smoke blew back on him, turning all of his feathers the darkest black. When his beak became too hot, he dropped the fire on some rocks, concealing it within them. Still today when we strike two stones together, drops of fire will spark out.

And still today, we see the black feathers of the raven, darkened forever because he brought good things to this world.