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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Raven and the Geese"

Raven and the Geese

For a long time Raven lived alone, but finally became tired of it and decided to take a wife. It was late in the fall and he noticed that the birds were going south in large flocks. He flew away and stopped directly in the path taken by geese and other wild fowl on their way to the land of summer.

As he sat there he saw a pretty young goose coming near. He hid his face by looking at his feet, so that she would not know but that he was a black goose, and called out, "Who wishes me for a husband? I am a very nice person."

The goose flew on without heeding him and he looked after her and sighed. Soon after a black brant passed, and Raven cried out as before, but the brant flew on. Again he waited and this time a duck passed near, and when Raven cried out she turned her head a little.

"Oh, I shall succeed this time," thought Raven, and his heart beat fast with hope. But the duck passed on, and Raven stood waiting with bowed head.

Very soon a family of white-front geese came along, consisting of the parents with four sons and a sister. Raven cried out, "Who wishes me for a husband? I am a fine hunter and am young and handsome."

As he finished speaking they alighted just beyond him, and he thought, "Surely, now I shall get a wife." He looked about and found a pretty white stone with a hole in it lying near. He picked it up and, stringing it on a long grass stem, hung it about his neck.

As soon as he had done this he pushed up his bill so that it slid to the top of his head like a mask, and he became a dark-colored young man. At the same time each of the geese pushed up its bill in the same manner, and they became nice-looking people.

Raven walked toward them, and was much pleased with the looks of the girl and, going to her, gave her the stone which she hung about her neck. By doing this she showed that she accepted him for her husband. Then they all pulled down their bills, becoming birds again, and flew away toward the south.

The geese flapped their wings heavily and worked along slowly, while Raven on his outspread wings glided along faster than his party, and the geese gazed after him in admiration, exclaiming, "How light and graceful he is!

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