The Raven’s Story… And my mother’s letter to the children – Inspired by the events of Sandy Hook
The Raven’s Story
Once, it is said, there was a great dark forest that grew here, a forest so dense with thick, tall trees that the light only shown through at a certain time of the day at a certain time of the year when the sun rose to a certain spot in the sky. Then, at that time just before the dread of winter came to the land, all the animals howled with joy and the people too celebrated with all their hearts.
The animals – the deer and the beaver, the mosquito and the moose – had lived together in peace for as long as could be remembered – and they were happy to share what they knew with the humans who had only recently settled in their new town at the edge of the forest. The humans had brought many good things with them that the animals had never seen or heard before. They particularly enjoyed the young children who laughed and danced and who came to the forest holding hands and looked at everything with such open eyes. In truth, the children so delighted the animals that they even convinced Mosquito to keep from always biting them – and when he did to make his bites as small as possible.
Things went on this way for a very, very long time until one day a big, black raven flew into the forest from a faraway place. She brought a terrible message. The people where she lived had found a way to sharpen stones and make them fly very fast, she told them very quickly herself. At first, they shot these arrows (that’s what they called them, she said) one by one, at birds, at bears, and sometimes even themselves. That was bad enough, but they usually missed and so no one was too alarmed. But then, the raven said hopping from one foot to the other, they created a new kind of weapon, one that shot hundreds of arrows at a time.
The animals of the forest were stunned to hear such a thing, and although they had many questions, they all sat silent and let Raven continue her story. She shuttered suddenly before speaking again. “I have heard it on the wind,” she cawed softly, “that all of you here have, like us, become very fond of the human children.” “That’s true,” nodded the animals all at once. “I’m sure you watch over them just as we do,” said Raven, “and that you help them when you can.” Everyone agreed again, including Mosquito who had once buzzed in a little girl’s ear just to warn her that she was stepping too close to a hornets’ nest.
“Well,” said Raven, “one day we saw from a distance that a human with a crazy look on his face had grabbed hold of that new weapon and was marching furiously to the place where the children gather to learn. By the time we arrived, he was just about to start shooting. I flew right at his hands and knocked the weapon out of them. Deer ran up and with his antlers kept the man from getting it again. Then Moose pushed him away and Beaver made a big pile of mud to bury the weapon so deep no one could ever use it again. And even the mosquitoes played a part, too. They chased the man so far that he finally jumped in a lake!”
The animals – especially Mosquito – laughed as they imagined that, but soon became serious again. Why had Raven come if the weapon had been destroyed and the danger had passed? they wondered. Raven answered there unspoken question. “The humans of our forest seem to have forgotten about peace. Many of them no longer come to see the light when it shines, and only think about what they might get for themselves. I am afraid that they will only make more terrible weapons in the future and few will care what happens because of them.”
But then Mosquito piped up. “Not the children,” he said. “They will always want to laugh and dance and be friends. Let’s invite the children everywhere to come together in the forest in the winter when the sun shines, and in the spring and summer and autumn too. Everyone would be so happy that no one would think of hurting anyone else. Then all of us – animals and humans – will be safe.”
When Mosquito was done, Raven spoke for all of them. “From the smallest of the small often comes the greatest of wisdom. The ravens will take this new message to every forest and every new town where the humans and their children live,” she promised, and lifting her wings, flew away into the sky.
And that is how I heard this story, from a raven, and now I’m sharing it with you. Oh, and, she told me one thing more. “You don’t have to wait for a certain time of the day at a certain time of the year when the sun rises to a certain spot to see the light. You only need to look up.”
For the Children
I hope this letter will bring comfort. I too was a child when my life was shattered by events that I had no control of. I was only ten years old when the second World War broke out and my life was turned upside down.
And yet I managed to go on and have hope and felt that most people are good. You must let sunshine into your heart. A happy and healthy heart survives everything.
Do not fear the future. Have faith in humanity and try to improve whatever you can. Be charitable and gracious and have compassion. I am eighty-four years old and still hoping for peace in the world.