Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why the Crow Is Black, Quilt by Carol Switzer

One day, a crow and a hawk went hunting together in the bush. After traveling together for some time, they decided to hunt in opposite directions, and, at day's end, share the spoils of their hunt. About noonday, the crow arrived to a lagoon, a haunt of wild ducks. 

The crow prepared to trap the ducks. He took a long piece of hollow reed through which he could breathe under water, and tied a net bag around his waist for the ducks he caught. He submerged himself in the water, breathing through his reed. Without making any sound or movement, he seized a duck by the leg, quickly pulled it beneath the water, killed it, and placed it in his net bag. In a short time he had trapped a number of ducks so he left the lagoon and continued on his way until he came to a river. The crow was so pleased with his success at the lagoon, he decided to spear some fish as well before returning to camp. In a short time, he hurled the spear, and his unerring aim was rewarded with a big fish. The water was soon agitated by many fish, and the crow took advantage of this to spear many more. With his heavy load of game, he headed for camp.

The hawk was less fortunate in his hunting. He stalked a kangaroo for many miles, but lost sight of it in the thickly wooded hills. He tried to fish the river, but the crow had made the water muddy and frightened the fish. Again he was unsuccessful. At last he decided to return to his gunyah (camp) hoping the crow would have some food to share.

When the hawk arrived, he discovered the crow had already prepared his food and eaten, and had not saved anything for him. This annoyed the hawk, so he approached the crow and said: "I see you have had a good hunt today. I walked many miles but could not catch even a lizard. I am tired and would be glad to have my share of food, as we agreed this morning." The crow accused him of being lazy which made the hawk very angry. He attacked the crow and for a long time they struggled around the dying embers of the camp fire, until the hawk seized the crow and rolled him in the black ashes. When the crow recovered, he discovered he could not wash the ashes off. Since that time, crows have always been black.

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