American Indian Myths: The Crow Brings the Daylight

Crow flying in the daylight.

By Catherine Turner

Narrative First Retold By

Original Version

Imagine never having daylight. Imagine never being able to see the beautiful earth and its people. A long time ago at the beginning of Earth, the Inuit tribe lived in the far north. They had never seen daylight. The only one who had never seen daylight was Crow because he traveled to the south, but the tribe did not believe him. The tribe wanted to have daylight because they knew they could protect themselves better and hunt longer and farther.

The tribe begged Crow to go to the south and recieve the daylight, so he decided to go on the journey. He was very tired from his journey and came down to rest. He went into a lodge where the head chief lived and their was a box that glowed. There was a boy and the Crow flew in his ear. "Why are you crying?"the chief asked, kneeling beside the child. The chief gave the glowing box to his daughter. The glowing box was tied with string and she gave it to the little boy. Then the boy went outside to play. As soon as the Crow saw the boy alone he swooped down and stole the box of light.

The Inuit tribe saw a spark of light through the darkness. The Crow dropped the box of light, and it exploded on the ground. In return causing light to appear everywhere. The tribe was so joyful about their fortune, but there was a twist, they could only have light for half the year because the Crow only obtained one box of light. It would need to rest six months to regain its strength and the darkness would return. In the end they were very thankful for what they recieved from the Crow.

The Crow stealing the ball of light from the tribe.
crow giving the ball of light to the people in the north.

Interpretation By Catherine Turner

Original version

Crow Brings the Daylight

The myth Crow Brings the Daylight explores the reason why Alaska has light for half the year and is in darkness for the other half of the year. When the daylight is revealed the animals are filled with joy and the result depicts that all is well and the essence of the myth creates a successful nature. The value of the box of light showcases the stealing of something because when you steal, it never ends in a positive light.

The Inuit animals of Alaska never had light, and Crow said he could bring the tribe light. So he set off on the journey to receive the light from the south.
"In the far north, the Inuit saw a spark of light coming toward them through the darkness. It grew brighter and brighter, until they could see Crow flapping his wings as he flew toward them. The people gasped and pointed and called in delight.The Crow dropped the ball, and it shattered upon the ground, releasing the daylight so that it exploded up and out, illuminating every dark place and chasing away every shadow. The sky grew bright and turned blue. The dark mountains took on color and light and form. The snow and ice sparkled so brightly that the Inuit had to shade their eyes. The people laughed and cried and exclaimed over their good fortune." (S.E. Schlosser 18)After Crow latched the box of light and delivered it to his tribe, the box of light stands for the happiness of his tribe, but what they did not comprehend was that their luck was about to run out.

Before one may steal they shall feel an accomplishment by pursuing this crooked task. "But Crow told them that the daylight would not last forever. He had only obtained one ball of daylight from the people of the south, and it would need to rest for six months every year to regain its strength. During that six month period, the darkness would return. The people said: "Half a year of daylight is enough. Before you brought the daylight, we lived our whole life in darkness!" Then they thanked Crow over and over again.To this day, the Inuit live for half a year in darkness and half a year in daylight. And they are always kind to Crow, for it was he who brought them the light." (S.E. Schlosser 20)Stealing is never the answer, and if you do the wrong it will eventually catch up to you. In this case the tribe still can’t receive daylight for the second half of the year.

Some people may interpret this myth completely different, as showing how much the people of the north value the light of the sun they scarcely have just for some months. "Soon the yearning for Daylight was so strong that the Inuit people begged Crow to bring it to them. Crow shook his head. "I am too old," he told them. "Daylight is very far away. I can no longer go so far." But the pleadings of the people made him reconsider, and finally he agreed to make the long journey to the south."(Ultimathule 2) This shows the mistakes of people because of desperation for something they need.

The Inuit tribe’s despair of having light from the sun caused them great agony. They begged the Crow to snatch the box of light from the south. Indeed they were extremely appreciative for the light they received, but it also wasn't theirs to take. Since the Crow stole the light. In return the tribe still only has light for half a year. In the end doing misguided actions will lead to some kind of downfall.