Wise OwlNative American Story Loosely based on an Iroquois MythThere is an old saying,"wise as an owl". Peopleare always saying that, butthe truth is, owls were notalways wise.Retold by Lin DonnIllustrated by Phillip Martin
Once upon a time, a long time ago, the Everything-Makerwas very busy, making all the animals and all the plantsand all the rocks and caverns and everything else thatcovered the earth.Owl waited for his turn. He hadbeen given a voice, two eyes, ahead, a body, and strong wings."I want a long neck like Swan,"Owl told the Everything-Maker. "Iwant red feathers like Cardinaland a beak like Hawk."
"Yes, yes," mumbled the Everything-Maker. “Whatever you want. But you must wait your turn." The Everything-Maker looked sharply at Owl."Your eyes are open again. You know that no one is allowedto watch me work. Turn around and close your eyes. I haveno time for you now. I am busy creating Rabbit."
The Everything-Makerturned his attention back toRabbit who was shakingwith nervousness. "Andwhat do you want, littlerabbit?" the Everything-Maker asked encouragingly."Long legs and ears,"Rabbit spoke softly. "Andfangs. Could I have a fangor two? And claws. I would dearly love to have claws!"
The Everything-Maker smiled."I think we could manage someclaws and fangs." He smoothedRabbits long legs and ears."Silly Rabbit!" Owl hootedloudly. "Why dont you ask forsomething useful, like wisdom?“"This is your last warning, Owl,”frowned the Everything-Maker.“Be quiet and wait your turn."
Owl glared at the Everything-Maker. "You have to do it,"he hooted. "You have to give us what we ask. I demandwisdom!""I warned you, Owl!"shouted the Everything-Maker. He shoved Owlshead down into his body,which made Owls neckdisappear. He gave Owl ashake, which made Owlseyes widen in fright. Hepulled Owls ears until theystuck out from his head.
The Everything-Maker snapped, "I’ve made your ears big,the better to listen and your eyes big, the better to see. Ihave made your neck short, the better to hold up yourhead. I’ve packed your head with wisdom. Now, use yourwisdom and fly away before you lose what I‘ve given."Owl was no longer a fool. Heflew quickly away, poutingand hooting.
The Everything-Maker turned back to Rabbit,smiling gently. "Claws," he reminded himself.But Rabbit was gone. Rabbit had hoppedhurriedly away, too afraid of the Everything-Maker to stay for his fangs and claws.
Owl knew if he angeredthe Everything-Makeragain, he would lose allthat he had gained.Even today, Owl onlycomes out at night,when the Everything-Maker is fast asleep.As for Rabbit, his claws and fangs arewaiting. Perhaps someday ...
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