Eagle Kachina (ACEO Original)
Illustration By Van Fleet Street Design To Purchase or see more of her work, please go to www.vanfleetstreetdesign.etsy.com

Our gusdi, Ron, 1 Egg Man, opened our Wednesday Night Campfire Story with this lovely blessing:

Oh Great Spirit, as we gather here around our campfire
Awaiting the start of another Story Time
We ask that you look down at us, your children
Who live here on Mother Earth and hear our prayer:
Because, Our Creator, we learn to believe
With the highest respect,
The law you had set forth.
We ask that you bring to us, this day,
Good spirits from the four directions:
East, South, West, North
So that when we put our minds together for this gathering,
We will be of one heart before we leave
Bless us with understanding, strength and compassion
And may we always walk the Red Road in Balance and Harmony.
It is all osda.

FIRE- AN ABORIGINAL MYTH
As Told by Howling Caterpillars

The Aborigine People have lived in Australia for many thousands of years. In the Old Days, they lived by gathering wild food and hunting. Their tools and houses were very simple, but their ideas about the World and religion were very complex.

In the Aborigines’ religion, Great Spirits created and shaped the World during a lost time called the “Dream Time”. The Aborigines say that the Spirits of the Dream Time didn’t die, but became a part of Nature. Aborigines believe that the Spirits still live today in the Plants and Animals all around them.

This story from the Dream Time tells about the Great Spirits who first possessed Fire.

Think of Fire.
Think of warmth on a cold night.
Think of bright flames, chasing away the shadows.
Think of hot roasted food, dripping with delicious juices.
Yes, Fire is happiness and comfort!
Ah, so now imagine a World without Fire.

There was no Fire long ago in the Dream Time.
In those days, Great Spirits walked across the Empty Land.
They made Rivers, Rocks, Plants and Living Creatures.
In the Beginning, this whole new World was cold and dark.

Suddenly, a Flame appeared!
It lit up the Night like a dazzling flash of Sunlight.
But, before it could grow and burn more brightly, seven greedy hands reached out and snatched it away!
These hands belonged to seven Spirit Women called the Karak Karak Sisters.
As soon as they saw the first flash of Fire, they wanted to keep this precious, beautiful thing all for themselves.

A Spirit Man called Wakala heard about the Karak Karak Sisters’ secret.
He made up his mind to steal it from them.
One day, these Women were walking past his camp.
“Hello there!” called Wakala in a friendly way.
“Come and sit with me!”
“Come and share my meal!”

The Karak Karak Sisters liked Wakala. The next day they went out to gather some food for themselves, and let Wakala walk beside them.
They didn’t realize that he was only pretending to be friendly because he wanted to discover their secret.
Wakala watched the Spirit Women use their digging sticks to find Roots and Insects in the ground.
He saw that each time they swung the sticks down, the ends flashed with hidden sparks of Fire.
So THAT was where they kept it!

That night, Wakala and the Women sat talking again.
“Tell me, “ said Wakala, “What is your favourite food?”
“Nothing tastes nicer than fat juicy Termites,” said one.
“Mind you, we like most things,” said another.
“But not Snakes.” said a third.
All the Women shrieked.
“Ugh, no! Snakes are terrible, squirmy, scary things!”

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Wakala fell asleep laughing quietly to himself.
The next morning he went off alone and caught a big bundle of Snakes.
He didn’t kill them.
He hid them inside a Termite nest.
Then he called to the Karak Karak Sisters. “My friends, come and see what I’ve found you!”

When they saw the Termite nest, the excited Spirit Women ran to it.
They began to tear it open with their bare hands.
But what a shock!
Before they could reach the juicy Termites, the Snakes came wriggling and hissing out at them!

“Aaagh!” how the Spirit Women screamed!
They attacked the snakes with their digging sticks.
Wham! Bam! Whack! Smack!
They forgot all about the Fire they had hidden inside.
So each time they hit a snake, a piece of the flame fell away from the ends of their sticks.

This was just what Wakala wanted.
He darted forward and snatched up the flames for himself, between two pieces of bark.
“I’ve got it!” he shouted.
“Fire is mine now!”

When the last Snake lay dead, the Karak Karak Sisters stood there, trembling.
Their digging sticks had gone cold, so cold–for all their Fire was gone.
They could see Wakala running off with it, like a dark shadow carrying bright fragments of the Sun.

Slowly, slowly the Karak Karak Sisters turned cold too.
They did not want to stay on Earth where bad men played tricks on them.
So they lifted up their hands until the wind caught them and carried them up to the Sky.
There they turned into stars.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Wakala was really enjoying Fire.
He rubbed his hands in its warmth.
He threw great chunks of meat into it, until they were sizzling hot and delicious to eat.
He felt very pleased with himself.
But he was just as selfish as the Karak Karak Sisters.
Every day, other people came and begged him, “Hey, Wakala, please lend us some Fire!”
“No!” he yelled at them all, “Wah! Wah! Wah! I won’t! It’s all mine!”

Soon, the other people grew so jealous and angry that they started a big fight.
They attacked Wakala with stones and spears.
In return, he hurled burning coals at them.
What a fool!
The coals set fire to the grass–a huge spreading Fire!
With a great cheer, everyone rushed forward to catch some of this wonderful Fire for themselves.
Then they ran off in every direction, carrying it back to their own camps.

Wakala couldn’t believe what he had done.
He was so angry with himself that he jumped into the roaring flames and let them burn him right up!
But that wasn’t the end of him.
For out of the ashes, he came to Life again.
He was ash-black himself now–a black crow–still calling “Wah! Wah! Wah!”

Ever since then, yes, since the Dream Time, the Karak Karak stars have shown in the night sky, and Wakala the Crow has called his miserable “Wah Wah Wah!” through the day.
And ever since then, Fire has belonged to everyone.

WHEN MEN RECEIVED FIRE
As Told By Howling Caterpillars

This myth is from the Kayapo-Gorotire people of Central Brazil.

Noticing that a pair of Macaws had built their nest on top of a steep rock, a Native man took his young brother-in-law, Botoque, with him to capture the nestlings. Botoque climbed up an improvised ladder but he could only find two eggs in the nest. His brother-in-law insisted that he take them, but as the eggs fell down, they changed into stones which hurt the older man’s hands. This made him furious and he dismantled the ladder and went away.

Botoque remained caught on top of the rock for several days. He grew thin, hunger and thirst plagued him. Eventually, he spotted a Jaguar carrying a bow and arrow and all kinds of game. The Jaguar saw the hero’s shadow and, after trying in vain to catch it, looked up and asked what had happened, repaired the ladder and invited Botoque to come down. Botoque was afraid and hesitated, but in the end he came down and the Jaguar, in friendly fashion, suggested that if he would sit astride his back, it would take him to its home to have a meal of grilled meat. In those days, those days the Natives were unacquainted with Fire and ate their meat raw. So at the Jaguar’s house Botoque ate his first meal of cooked meat.

The Jaguar’s wife, who was a Native, disliked the young man, but the Jaguar, being childless, decided to adopt him. The wife gave him old wizened pieces of meat to eat and scratched him in the face when he complained. The Jaguar scolded his wife to no avail. One day it gave Botoque a brand-new Bow and some Arrows, taught him how to use them and advised him to use them on the woman. Botoque killed her by shooting an arrow into her breast. He fled in terror, taking with him the weapons and a piece of grilled meat.

He reached his village, where he told his tale and shared the meat. The Natives decided to get possession of the Fire. When they arrived at the Jaguar’s home, noone was there and the game caught the day before was still uncooked. They roasted it and took away the Fire. For the very first time it was possible for them to eat cooked meat.

But the Jaguar, incensed by the ingratitude of his adopted son, who had stolen the Fire and the secret of the Bow and Arrow, was to remain full of hatred for all living creatures, especially human beings. Now only the reflection of Fire could be seen in its eyes. It used its fangs for hunting and ate its meat raw, having denounced forever cooked meat.

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