Raven and Fox Make the Redwood Tree

“Come, gather ‘round kids,” Grandpa called. “Your mama says you got time for one more story before bed.”

Nine children scramble for a spot closest to the old man’s rocking chair; the best seat in the house when he’s not in it. They are immediately quiet as they wait for him to begin.

“In the age before men,” Grandpa started, “the Great Spirit finished painting the sky, placing the stars and hanging the Sun and the Moon at opposite ends from each other, and placing Mother Earth in between.”

Mother Earth was unhappy. She believed that because she was not decorated like Brother Sun or Cousin Moon, that she was in fact ugly.

The Great Spirit listen to her plea and took pity on her. So he planted white trees in her, which pleased her very much.

However, Raven and Fox were up to no good. They were looking to play a joke on Mother Earth.

So the two spent the next two-weeks dancing, singing and making bad medicine. When they finished, Raven flew to the top of each white tree, pouring the bad medicine on the branches, poisoning each tree, while Fox did the same around the stumps.

Soon the beautiful white trees the Great Spirit had made for Mother Earth went from shiny, smooth bark and glittering leaves to a dull red bark and branches covered in sharp needles. The bark grew hard and thick with deep grooves and bumps, while the needles turned a dark green and the trees grew to towering giants.

Ashamed, Mother Earth cried, and the more she cried, the greater the trees grew and she wished them to be gone. But Great Spirit had other plans.

He called them beautiful, foiling Fox and Raven’s cruel joke, convincing Mother Earth that she possessed a rare beauty in the trees that he now called, ‘Redwoods.’ Being wise, the Great Spirit also created more white trees calling them ‘Ghost Redwoods’ to fool Raven and Fox should they ever decide to play another joke on Mother Earth.

“Since then Ghost Redwoods have stood side-by-side in the forest with their much taller brothers, guarding against any possible bad medicine the two old jokesters could come up with,” Grandpa finished.

He pulled out his pipe, filled it with tobacco and lit it as his grand-children each gave him a kiss and hug goodnight. He had jus’ enough time for a few puffs of the corn-cob before he had to go to bed himself.


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