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Main > Canada folktales > Fairy tale "Sparrow's Search for the Rain"

Sparrow's Search for the Rain

I will be helpless if I have no one to lead me." So the two set out together, Whirlwind leading old Rain along by his side. Where they went no man knew, for they had told nobody of their destination. They were gone for many months before the people missed them very much. Then their absence began to be felt in all the land, for there was no wind and there was no rain.

At last the Chief summoned a council, and the decree of banishment against Whirlwind was revoked. The people decided to send messengers to the two wandering ones to tell them what had happened and to bring them back. So they first sent Fox out on the quest. Fox went through the land for many weeks, running as fast as he could over many roads, in and out among marshy lake shores and over high wooded mountains. He searched every cave and crevice, but he had no success. Not a leaf or a blade of grass was stirring, and the country was all parched and the grass was withered brown and the streams were all getting dry. At last, after a fruitless search, he came home and shamefully confessed that his quest had failed.

Then the people called on Bear to continue the search. And Bear went lumbering over the earth, sniffing the air, and turning over logs and great rocks with his powerful shoulders, and venturing into deep caverns. And he made many inquiries, and he asked the Mountain Ash, "Where is Whirlwind?" But Mountain Ash said, "I do not know. I have not seen him for many months." And he asked the Red Fir, and the Pine, and the Aspen, which always sees Whirlwind first, but they were all ignorant of his whereabouts. So Bear came home and said, "Not a trace of either of them have I found."

The Chief was very angry because of the failure of Fox and Bear, but the wise man said, "The animals are useless in a quest like this. Let us try the birds. They often succeed where the animals fail." And the Chief agreed, for the land was in great distress. Many fishing-boats lay silent on the sea near the coast unable to move because Whirlwind was away, and the wells and streams were all dry because Rain was absent, and the grass and the flowers were withering to decay.

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