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

Raven and the Geese

The geese kept steadily on and on. After a long time Raven began to fall behind. His wide-spread wings ached, yet the geese kept steadily and untiringly on. His vanity was no longer gratified by admiring remarks from his companions, for he was flapping heavily along. Sometimes he would glide on outspread pinions for a time, hoping to ease his tired wings, but he fell farther and farther behind.

Finally the geese looked back and the brothers said, sarcastically, "We thought he was light and active." The father goose said, "He must be getting tired. We must not press him too hard. We will rest."

The geese sank upon the water close together, and Raven came laboring up and dropped upon their backs, gasping for breath. In a short time he partially recovered and, putting one hand on his breast, said, "I have an arrow-head here from an old war I was in, and it pains me greatly; that is the reason I fell behind."

He had his wife put her hand on his breast to feel the arrow-head which he declared was working its way into his heart. She could feel nothing but his heart beating like a trip-hammer with no sign of an arrow-point. But she said nothing, for her brothers were whispering, "We don't believe that story about the arrow-point! How could he live with an arrow in his heart?"

They rested two or three times more, he sinking upon their backs as before; but when they saw the far-off shore before them father goose said, "We can wait for you no more," for they were eager to reach the land and find food.

They all arose and flew on, Raven slowly flapping along behind, for his wings felt heavy. The geese kept steadily on toward the shore, while he sank lower and lower, getting nearer to the dreaded water. When the waves were almost touching him he shrieked to his wife:

"Leave me the white stone; it has magical powers. Throw me the white stone."

Thus he kept crying until suddenly his wings lost their power and he floated helplessly on the water as the geese gained the shore.

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