So, a little bit of this post is going to be about my father. Sorry about that.

But my dad is a collector of stories. All kinds of stories from so many different places. He can recall them with stunning accuracy while making them his own, a trait I both appreciate and inherited. My father is single-handedly trying to preserve the oral tradition of storytelling, I think.

He also has a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy themed Christmas tree. I’m just sayin’.

But around Christmas, there was always one story we’d hear. I don’t know where he came by it, but it’s one of my favorites. And I want to share it with you, because that’s what storytellers DO, we tell stories. As is implied by our name.

The story is from the mythology of the Native American Miwok tribe. While I have some N.A. blood in me (supposedly Crow, but my research shows that might not be the case…something else for me to discuss with my family over Christmas) it’s definitely not Miwok…and definitely not from my father’s side of the family. Still, it’s a story I consider MY family’s. And that’s what matters to me.

How Raven Stole The Sun and the Moon
(image by Nathalie Parenteau)
Once there was a great tribal chief with great power. He even had the power to take the sun and the moon from the sky. He kept them in a great chest, which he sat upon day and night to protect his treasures.

Coyote gathered all of the animals together and asked how they were going to return the sun and the moon to the sky. It was Raven, who was then a snowy white color, who promised to outwit the Chief and restore light to the world.

Raven flew to where the Chief’s cherished daughter was drinking from a stream. Raven turned himself into a pineneedle and dropped into her hand as she was drinking, so that she swallowed him whole. Upon returning to camp, the Daughter discovered she was pregnant.

When her child was born, the Chief found he could deny his grandson nothing. One day, the grandson approached and asked what the Chief kept in the chest he sat on. The Chief proudly told him it was the sun and the moon. The child demanded to see them, and the Chief hesitantly agreed, saying he would only open the box for a moment for the child to see.

But as soon as the box was opened, the child turned back into Raven and grasped the sun and the moon in his talons. He flew into the sky to replace the sun and the moon, but was burnt by their fire, forever turning his feathers a sooty black color.

And so it was that Raven stole the sun and the moon.

As I said, I collect stories and share them. If you have any you’d like to share with me, let me know in the comments. I’d love to see them.

(Also, let me know if you want more of the stories I’ve collected over the years. I have some great Norse myths. The Norse were fucking AWESOME.)