How Raven stole fire and became black

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Many ages ago when the world was still young and the, Raven and Great Eagle lived near each other far in the north country on the shores of the Great Water in the west. They were very good friends and they always worked in harmony and they had much food and many servants in common. Great Eagle was strict and stern knew no guile; he was always very open and frank and honest in his dealings with others. But Raven was a sly fellow, and at times he was not lacking in treachery and deceit. But Great Eagle did not suspect him, and the two lived always on very friendly terms. In these far-back times in the north country all the world was dark and there was no light but that of the stars and all the people lived in cold and darkness.

Great Eagle was given the Sun and all the fire to look after which he kept in boxes, but he was very stingy. He would give none of them to anyone else, and he never let them out of the boxes.

Great Eagle had a beautiful daughter who fancied Raven, for Raven was a handsome white bird who loved Great 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 two boxes, Great Eagle noticed Raven taking notice that Great Eagle would lure him away of the boxes whenever he got close to them. Raven was curious and one day sneaked away from Great Eagle while visiting Great Eagle's daughter and saw the Sun and fire.

And he said, "It is not fair that Sea-gull should keep the daylight all to himself locked up in a box. It was meant for all the world and not for him alone, and it would be of great value to all of us if he would sometimes let a little of it out." So he went to Great Eagle and said, "Give me some of your fire. You do not need it all and I can use some of it with advantage." But Great Eagle said, "No. I want it all for myself. Besides it's much to dangerous for you to handle." and he would not give him any of it.

Raven was ashamed of Great Eagle for hiding them, and knew what he must do.

Soon afterwards Raven gathered some prickly thorns and burdocks and scattered them on the ground between Sea-gull's house and the beach where the canoes were lying. Then he went to Great Eagle's window and cried loudly, "Our canoes are going adrift in the surf. Come quickly and help me to save them." Great Eagle sprang out of bed and ran half-asleep on his bare feet. But as he ran to the beach the thorns stuck in his bare flesh, and he howled with pain. He crawled back to his house, saying, "My canoe may go adrift if it pleases; I cannot walk because of the splinters in my feet." Raven chuckled to himself, and he moved away, pretending to go to the beach to draw up the canoes. Then he went into Sea-gull's house. Sea-gull was still howling with pain; he was sitting crying on the side of his bed and he was trying to pull the thorns from his feet as best he could. "I will help you," said Raven, "for I have often done this before. I am a very good doctor." So he took an awl made from whale-bone and he caught hold of Great Eagle's foot, with the pretense of removing the thorns. But instead of taking them out he only pushed them in farther until poor Great Eagle howled louder than ever. And Raven said, "It is so dark I cannot see to pull these thorns from your feet. If only there was a bighter light source I could soon cure you. A doctor must always have a little light." So Great Eagle unlocked the box and lifted the cover just a little bit so that a faint gleam of light came out. "That is better," said Raven. But instead of picking out the thorns he pushed them in as he had done before, until Sea-gull howled and kicked in pain. "Why are you so stingy with your light?" snapped Raven. "Do you think I am an owl and that I can see well enough in the darkness to heal your feet? Open the box wide and I will soon make you well." So saying he purposely fell heavily against Great Eagle and knocked the box on the floor. The cover flew open and Raven pick up the sun and flew straight out the window.

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.

Raven went back to the village and publicly mocked Great Eagle for being so foolish as to let the sun be stolen from him. After Great Eagle was as mad as he could be Raven went to him and mock him in his face. Great Eagle said, "Raven you must be punished for your crime, what punishment will it teach you your lesson?" Raven replied, "Please do anything but don't burn me alive."

Great Eagle with great glee in his eyes realized that that was exactly what he must do. Great Eagle took fire out of the box and set Raven aflame, charing all of his feathers and turning them the darkest black. But before Great Eagle could take back fire from Raven Raven flew away the knowledge that he has tricked Great Eagle one more and that he could give fire to the world offsetting all the pain he was experiencing.

Raven tried to take fire off of himself but every time to grab fire to pull it away it would ignite him. He ask for help to ease his pain, which he was sure they would give him since he had brought daylight to the world. But everyone was tired of Raven's tricks or was too afraid of Great Eagles wraith if the ended his punishment.

Raven endured great suffering until he pulled himself together and start to brag about how fire keep him warm and gave him light at night. Soon greed over took them and feeling Raven didn't deserve fire stole it from him.