21 October 2011

Stole the sun and moon

The ornate details of the Wilderness Lodge are not often overlooked, however, just due to their massive quantities the exploration of the individual items can be daunting. Today, we’re going to look at one of the two totem poles (well, three if you count Humphrey’s totem pole). Each of the fifty-five foot tall totem poles are hand carved and depict a handful of myths and legends of the Native Americans.

Featured up one pole are (from bottom to top) tales of the Whale Chief, Frog, Mountain Lion, Wren and his bow, Wren’s knot hole house, Supernatural Bear Cub Twins, Dolphin, Salmon People, Painted Box of Light and Raven (Who Stole the Sun and Moon). Below is the stories of the Raven Pole.
At the bottom of the Raven pole sits the Whale Chief. His ancient north Pacific myth is told in this way: Whale Chief was asked by Mountain Lion if he could marry Whale’s beautiful daughter, Dolphin. Whale Chief refused and Mountain Lion was so angry that he scratch Whale Chief’s throat, leaving scratches so deep they have remained there on many whales until this very day.

Frog, the communicator, listened to the deep words of Whale, then went up and told them to Mountain Lion and all the other animals and humans that the Whale Chief had decided to hold an archery contest. He would set up a mark, and the animal, bird or human that came closest with its arrow to the center would be allowed to marry his daughter, Dolphin. This caused great excitement in the mountains, in the forests, along the beaches, and especially in the sea.

The whole world remained dark at this time, so Whale Chief had large torches set up and lighted so each archer could clearly see the target. Wolf tried first and missed. Bear tried and missed. Eagle tried and hit the edge of the target. Beaver, Otter, Kingfisher and all the others tried. A few sent their arrows very close to the center of the mark, but none were perfect.

Whale Chief looked around when he heard a small voice calling to him.

“Will I be allowed to try?” asked Wren who was the smallest of them there.

“You are very small,” said Whale Chief.” Our bow is much too large. Have you a bow?”

“Oh, yes,” said Wren, and he held up a large spruce needle and another smaller one for his arrow.

“Very well,” said Whale Chief. “You may now take your turn.” Wren had to hop up into a nearby bush, for his bow was taller that he was. Wren took careful aim in the torchlight and sent his needlelike arrow flying straight to the center of the mark.

“You’ve won! You’ve won!” Whooped the Whale Chief, and he clapped his enormous flippers together until it sounded like thunder.

Mountain Lion roared, Wolf howled, Bear grunted, Eagle screamed, Otter snapped, and Kingfisher shrieked, and they all together started to chase small Wren.

Wren snatched up his spruce-needle bow and flew up into a knot hole of an old tree, a safe place where most wrens have nested ever since and where wild animals could not catch them.

Hooits, the Bear Chief, and his wife had two small cubs who were supernatural. That is to say, they were able to transform themselves so that they could choose to live in the animal or human world – as bears or as humans. Whenever these two lived as humans in a village, you could always see the face of a small bear in their hands.

Wren did marry Dolphin and they lived with the supernatural bear cubs on a small island where beautiful Dolphin would leap out of the water for joy while her small husband sang for her and did his wonderful hopping, skipping dance and practiced with his bow.

“I miss the Salmon people,” beautiful Dolphin told her husband, Wren. “They go out travelling to the farthest northern oceans for so long."

“I’ll go tell Frog,” said Wren. “He’ll know how to find them.”

“Yes,” Frog agreed.

“I’ll find them for you.” And he put his mouth beneath the water and he called, “Karrumph, kaarrumph! I’ll call them back into these shores, these islands, and these rivers.” And so he did with one more loud, “Kaarumph!”

And the Salmon people returned. They came leaping up into the rivers and over the waterfalls, so eager were they to be back home. The humans did not throw stones into the rivers near the Salmon people, and they sang to the young Salmon as they left the river to feed and grow large and shiny in the ocean. And the animals and the humans knew that they would return to the very river where they had been born.

Now Raven undertook his greatest trick, the task that changed the darkened world. He flew up through the heavy clouds and blackness until he reached the Sky Chief’s house, then he dove down through the smoke hole and landed near the fire where a small child helped him find the box. With his beak, he cleverly untied the double cords and knots that tightly bond the painted box. Raven flung aside the lid, and with his powerful black beak he lifted out the moon, breaking many chips of stars out of the cedar box. The he flung them all into the dark night sky, where they have spread their light. Then he reached into the box again and flung on the fiery ball of sun as a gift to all animals, birds, fish and humans. That’s how light came down from the Sky Chief’s house and has brightened the whole world ever since.


Ben in RI said...

Wow that is an amazing story! Thank You for sharing that with us. Wilderness lodge is my families favorite Resort to stay in, and this will be a nice added touch to our next trip there.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Ben, as a child of Fort Wilderness, I feel like the Wilderness Lodge is the adult version of that experience (Port Orleans - Riverside, the Alligator Bayou section has a similar feel for me). And stayed tuned, we'll be talking about the other totem pole in a couple of weeks.