Raven Steals the Light

At the beginning of time, before even the dawn. An old man lived in a house surrounded by darkness, for at that time no light existed. Well, it existed, alright. He had it all kept in a tiny box. The tiny box was kept inside a slightly larger box and that one as well. There were many boxes inside each other. He didn’t want to let the light out because he was afraid of what he would see.

One day Raven flew into a tree near the house. It was pitch dark and if he wanted to eat, running into things was a common occurrence. Stumbling into the house, he heard a whisper telling of the box of light. Raven schemed up a plan.

When she needed water, the old man’s daughter glided effortlessly through the darkness to the river with her water-skin. Raven turned into a pine needle, dropped into the river, and floated into the container unnoticed. She drank him. Some time later, she noticed she was growing. When Raven was born, the darkness hid his mixed heritage. They didn’t know he was the Raven in disguise. The old man loved his grandson and spoiled him rotten.

When the Raven-child was still a toddler, he asked his grandfather what was in the box. Grandfather told him it was not for him to see. Raven-child threw a huge temper tantrum and Grandfather let him see what was inside the first box. This went on for months until they were finally down to the last tiniest box containing all the light in the world. Grandfather had had enough. He said,”Good! Open the last box so you can see what a baby you are.”

Raven-child opened the box and scooped up the light. He transformed back to his Raven self and flew up the chimney. He soared over the forests marveling over their beauty. He continued all day across the world. So amazed and entranced was he at all the sights, he didn’t see the Eagle fly up and reach out to take the light. Just as the Eagle was poised to get the light, Raven jerked, dropping most of the light to the east where it rose as the Sun. The remaining chunk of light fell to earth and broke into a large hunk and too many small ones to count. They rebounded into the sky and were seen at night as the moon and stars.

As the sun rose over the cabin, the old man and his daughter mourned the loss of the child. Until, they went out and saw the wonder of the world.

Adaptation of an old creation myth of the Pacific Northwest culture.

Pen and Ink drawing by Mar Startari, 2019

Maria Startari-Stegall