Raven Hides the Sun


Raven felt terrible. It was the longest night of the year, and he’d stayed up late with raucous companions. Cawing old songs until his throat was sore. Drinking intemperately. Laughing fit to rouse the roosters. Raven’s white feathers, which he was so proud of, were all soiled and stained. (Now you must remember this was back in the Early Days, when Raven had white feathers.) Well, here it was, well on in the wee hours and Raven was flapping around in the night woods trying to find a comfortable place to perch.

It was dark as Toby’s arse and Raven kept flying into obstacles. He was muttering to himself about the careless habits of trees, and their blasted urge to clutter up the airspace, and his feet were hot, and hurt where he’d been stamping them to keep time. He was thinking how nice and cool it was to drag them along in his slipstream when..

BANG – he smacked into another blamed over-reaching pine bough, careened into a nasty thicket of juvenile fir, and came crashing down into a tangle of brambles.

GROCK,” he shouted. Lying there on the frozen ground, feathers all askew, Raven could hear the spruces creaking in the breeze, and (way off) the howling of Mother Coyote calling her kinfolk home to early breakfast. Raven was all alone in the dark, frigid and miserable.
“That’s it,” Raven mumbled. “No more reach out and trip you woods. No more tangle vines. No more yapping yahoos. I’m outta here.” So Raven flew up to the very tip-most peak of the utmost rock at the very top of the cliff at the Edge of the World.

CRONK,” but it was bitter up there, with the night wind keening in the rocks, and the indifferent stars. And Raven started feeling even sorrier for himself. It was too blessed cold to sleep, and he hopped from one foot to the other, punctuating his jig with croaks and gripes.

“Why me?” he moaned. “The whole world is against me.” Raven shook his wings and shivered all his feathers angrily as he stamped. “Did I ever peck at the trees. NO! Did I every slash at the vines? NO! Did I ever laugh at the winds? NO! But here they all are, beating up on ME! O poor me.”

Raven tried to hide his head under one wing, but it was still too raw and nasty to sleep. The hour was getting late, however, and the Night Wind began to sigh more gently. Raven could feel the chill settling down into the valleys, flowing down along the watersheds, as the air stilled. He stopped jigging back and forth. Raven’s head was nodding, and his eyes slowly closing.

But out there in the absolute stillness at the very Edge of the World a tiny scintilla of light began to peek out from under the covers of night – and it caught Raven’s eye.

Raven wasn’t sure if he was dreaming. It was such a fascinating thing, this speck of brightness. Now Raven loves a pretty bauble, and he has many a treasure trove of stolen shininesses.

“This is just what I need,” Raven muttered to himself. “I deserve a nice little sparkly treat, after all the cruel nastiness everyone has shown me tonight.” But he was too stiff and sore and sleepy to bother.

Even so, just as Raven’s eyelids closed, his spirit awoke in the Dreamtime, and began putting on his cloak of many feathers. Raven was particularly proud of his magic dream cloak, the way its white feathers glittered in the darkness, and he strutted about, admiring his glistening self over his shoulders. Then he remembered that shiny spark. Raven spoke an incantation to his cloak, and it lifted him up into the air. And Raven glided down the sky to the very Edge of the World.

The tiniest dazzle of Dawn was just squeezing itself out into the open when Raven swooped down and swept it up under his wing.

GROK. GROK,” Raven crowed delightedly, and he sneaked back to his perch on the cliff overlooking the Edge of the World, checking furtively over both shoulders to see no one was watching.

“There,” he chuckled. “Now I have something nice to reward me for being so special.” Raven wrapped himself up in his magic cloak, with the Morning under his wing. Raven slept.

Out in the World no daylight shone. The morning birds awoke, but there was no Sun to sing to. Early creatures heading for the day shift scratched their heads and wondered. The expectant trees began to droop. Raven slept.

In his dream Raven was all warm and toasty. The tiny sparkle had grown into a small fiery ball, and Raven’s cloak made a nice tent to hold the heat. Raven stretched out his sore and frozen feet to the warmth. Raven slept.

Out in the World the day people got up but there was no day. Folks started murmuring and calling their relatives. Pretty soon everyone was yammering about “What about?”, and “What’s happening?, and “What if?” And the sound of all that clamor rumbled around and around until it echoed in the rocks of the cliff at the very Edge of the World. Raven Slept.

Even the Dream Raven was well and truly sound asleep now. Warm and comfy. He didn’t smell the thin stench of smoldering feathers pluming out from under his cloak. Didn’t feel where the brightness was biting his side. Raven Slept.
Then the mutterings of the World got louder and louder. Raven stirred and grumbled in his sleep, ruffled his feathers. Just enough to set the whole works aflame.


POOF. Raven leapt up terrified, cast off his burning cloak, and danced around in a circle, squawking and stamping.
That pretty little bauble of light was no longer a small fiery ball. It had grown into a blazing incandescence, big enough to light the World. When Raven threw off his cloak, the Sun jumped into the Sky, and the Day dawned. All the creatures rejoiced, and the trees lifted up their branches to the Sun.

As for Raven, he had been scorched wicked, and all his feathers burned. Which is why Raven’s feathers are now black, and why he has such a miserable attitude.