Alaska Native Stories

Raven Transforming Into A Pine Needle
By Nick Alan Foote

Raven Transforming Into A Pine Needle was inspired by the story of Raven and the Box of Daylight. This Tlingit story of Raven's transformation to bring light into the world via the stars, moon, and sun holds great significance for the Tlingit people.

Raven and the Box of Daylight
There once was a time when the world was dark. The sky was always black -- no stars, no moon no sun, for they were being hidden away from the world by a greedy Chief. Raven devised a plan to transform himself into a pine needle and drop into the water where the chiefs daughter was drinking. She became pregnant with him, and gave birth; the Chief spoiled his grandson.

Raven would cry constantly, until the old chief finally gave him the box of stars to look at. Raven's tears stopped with his curiosity of the wooden box his grandfather placed in front of him. He examined the intricate star design painted around the outside of it.

After a few minutes. As soon as his grandpa turned his back Raven through the lid up and off of the box and an a trail of million light started to escaped through the chimney and into the night sky.

After the last star had exited the box, he later cried for the box of the moon, and the old man gave it to him after blocking the chimney. Raven played with it, rolled it out the door and let it escape into the sky. Raven finally began crying for the box of the sun, and the old man gave it to him.

Knowing that he wouldn't be able to roll it out the door or toss it up the chimney (because he is being watched), he waited until everyone is asleep, changed into his bird form, grasped the sun in his beak and flew out the chimney. Raven tossed the sun into the sky and daylight flooded the world for everyone to share.