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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The First Woman"

The First Woman

"You will be very lonely by yourself," said Raven to Man one day. "I will make you a companion."

He went to a spot some distance from where he had made the animals, and, looking now and then at Man as an artist looks at his model, he made an image very much like Man. He took from the creek some fine water grass and fastened it on the back of the head for hair. After the image had dried in his hands, he waved his wings over it as he had done with all the live things, and it came to life and stood beside Man, a beautiful young woman.

"There is a companion for you!" cried Raven. "Now come with me to this knoll over here."

In those days there were no mountains far or near, and the sun never ceased to shine brightly. No rain ever fell and no winds blew. When they came to the knoll Raven found a patch of long, dry moss and showed the pair how to make a bed in it, and they slept very warmly. Raven drew down his mask and slept near by in the form of a bird. Wakening before the others, Raven went to the creek and made three pairs of fishes: sticklebacks, graylings, and blackfish. When they were swimming about in the water, he called to Man, "Come and see what I have made."

When Man saw the sticklebacks swimming up the stream with a wriggling motion, he was so surprised that he raised his hands suddenly and the fish darted away.

"Look at these graylings," said Raven; "they will be found in clear mountain streams, while the sticklebacks are already on their way to the sea. Both are good for food; so, whether you live beside the water or in the upland, you may find plenty to eat."

He looked about and thought there was nothing on the land as lively as the fish in the water, so he made the shrew-mice, for he said, "They will skip about and enliven the ground and prevent it from looking dead and barren, even if they are not good for food."

He kept on for several days making other animals, more fishes, and a few ground birds, for as yet there were no trees for birds to alight in.

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