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“Real writing and learning happens through revision.” – Laurie

“Real writing and learning happens through revision.” – Laurie

“Raven's Joke” from Earth Logic
Copyright © 2004, Laurie J. Marks

Raven's Joke

One day, Raven was bored. He left his home in the cliff that can be found at the end of the world, and went flying back and forth over the forest, until he noticed a woman sneaking through the trees. The woman was trying to shoot a deer to cook for her three daughters, who had big appetites.

Raven flew up ahead of the hunter until he saw the deer, which was lying in the cool shade waiting for sunset. Raven shouted, “Run away, deer, as fast as you can, for there is a hunter’s arrow aimed at your heart!” The deer jumped up and ran into the forest. Then the hunter was very angry and cried, “You are an evil bird, for because of you my daughters will go hungry!”

Raven was ashamed of himself, and said, “You are right to be angry with me. So take your bow and arrow and shoot me, and take me home for your daughters’ supper.” So that is what the hunter did. She killed the Raven and cooked him in a soup.

Even though the girls ate the soup, they were still hungry, and no matter how much they ate, they stayed hungry. And the hunter, their mother, who was tired because she had been hunting all day, stayed tired no matter how much she rested. And their neighbor, who was very old and sick, never died. And the summer never turned to autumn. And the harvest never ripened. And nothing ever broke, but the things that already were broken could not be mended.

One day everyone in the world came to visit the tired hunter and her three hungry daughters. “Did Raven trick you into killing him?” they asked. The tired hunter told them exactly what had happened. Everyone became very upset with her, and said, “Didn’t you know that Raven is the one who decides everything? He may be mischievous and hard-hearted, but without him we cannot go forward with our lives. You should have thought of what you were doing. Now we will never see our children grow up, and whatever we are now, that is what we will always be, and nothing will ever change.”

They all thought and thought, and then the hunter’s youngest and hungriest daughter said, “I know where Raven’s bones are.” So they dug all Raven’s bones out of the ashes of the fire. The middle daughter took some string and glue and put all the bones together the way they were supposed to be. Then, the oldest daughter found all the Raven’s wing and tail feathers and glued them on the bones. Finally, the hunter took the arrow that had killed the Raven and smeared the bones with the blood that was still wet on the arrowhead. And then, all the people of the world began to laugh. “Hey, Raven,” they said, “That was a pretty good joke!” Raven, of course, could never resist a good laugh, so he began to laugh too. “Ha! Ha!” he said, “That was a good joke!” And then he flew on his bone wings to the river to eat frogs and snails until he got fat and looked like himself again. The hunter shot a deer and her daughters were no longer hungry. The harvest ripened, the old neighbor died, and the world continued its journey as it should, from summer to winter, from life to death, and from foolishness to wisdom.

EARTH LOGIC, copyright © 2004, Laurie J. Marks