Monday, January 11, 2010

How the Red Bird Got His Color

 Good morning to everyone on this cold winter's morn.  A chill is in the air, but they say it will warm up at the end of the week. We'll see how right they are.  I am so glad that you all enjoyed my story.  I wasn't sure if you would be bored or not.  For all of you who are interested in genealogy, I plan to gather together some of the free sites and post them.  When I first began my family history, there were so many free sites, but Ancestry has taken over a few of them, so there is not that many out there...but I promise to gather a list. Today, I would like to tell you the Cherokee tale of how the Redbird got its color.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Once upon a time there was a little bird that wanted to be noticed and respected...just like the Sacred Eagle.  But, this little bird was so plain, a little bird of earth-tone color who could not easily be seen by the others.  "Oh, but if I were red," he thought, "then they all would recognize me for my power and my beauty."  So, he went to the Elders in his clan council and asked if he could be red.  One of the elders explained to him that red was a sacred color, like the color black. and because it was a privilege, it had to be earned in a special way.  The little bird was told he needed to perform some special act to help others before he could wear the red color.

Well, a long time passed by, and the little bird still did not know who he was supposed to help...and one day, two of his friends--Raccoon and Wolf--had a disagreement.  It seems as if Wolf was always playing tricks on Raccoon, and although Raccoon really loved playing with his friend, he was tired of Wolf always getting the best of him.  So, Raccoon came up with a plan.  He knew that Wolf was a swift runner, but not always that smart.  "Hey, Wolf, I bet you can't catch me." Raccoon cried out as he sped away.  "My friend, I can always catch you."  replied Wolf, chuckling.  "Why, see?  I am even giving you a running start." Knowing that the water was icy cold and that Wolf was afraid of the rapids, Raccoon raced to the water's edge and instead of jumping into the water, he quickly climbed a tree.

When Wolf came to the river, he saw Raccoon's reflection there, and thinking that Raccoon had jumped into the water, he jumped in and tried to catch him.   "Oh, this water is so cold!" he cried out, "Help me, Raccoon.  I don't know how to swim."  But Raccoon knew that Wolf would be okay and watched as his friend floated down the rapids.  Finally, tired and exhausted wolf climbed out onto the river bank and fell fast asleep in the warm sunshine.  

After awhile, Raccoon very quietly climbed down from the tree and tiptoed over to the sleeping wolf and began to pack soft red clay on the eyes of the Wolf.   The clay hardened on the Wolf's eyes and when he woke, he began to whine, "I can't see.  Please help me.  I cannot see."  Now, the little brown bird had been perched on a small tree branch watching everything, and when he heard Wolf cry out, he flew over to help him.  The little bird said, "I am just a little bird, but I will help you if I can, but first you must promise me that you will play nice with Raccoon from now on.  No more tricks."  Wolf said, "I promise, if I can see again...and I will also take you to a magic rock that will paint your feathers red."  

So, the little brown bird began pecking away at the dried eyes of the wolf...and soon Wolf could open his eyes and see again.  True to his promise, Wolf said, "Thank you, my little friend.  Now jump onto my shoulder and I will take you to the magic rock."  And away they ran...into the woods until they came to the rock that was oozing red paint.  The little brown bird plucked a twig from a nearby tree branch, and chewed the end until it was soft and pliable...and he painted himself red. And to this day, Wolf continues to play fair with Raccoon, and from that day forward, it was easy to spot the beautiful little red bird as he flew through the forest.

Wonderful little tale, isn't it? We can learn so much from it. This is why I love Native American lessons.  This little story here provides us with values that we should  live by and lets us know that if we continue to seek and ask for something special, we may just receive it.  It is true that not all of us can be Sacred Eagles soaring through the sky, but we can have a kind nature or way about us by reaching out to help  others, to listen to what others have to say, and trying to get along those who cross our path.  Stories such as this, like our lessons in life, are repeated to teach us respect, dignity, and how to be in harmony with all things in life.


  1. Thank you for that story! It was inspiring!
    Love and light!

  2. What a lovely story!

    Especially since I so love Cardinals.

  3. Yes, I enjoyed the story of finding your path.

    "Trouble" is... :-) It brings up more questions to be asked/answered. Some day, perhaps...

  4. I thought of that tale because this morning I saw a beautiful little cardinal in the tree next door. Brooklyn has a great deal of wildlife despite being a part of the city.

  5. Beautiful story! It makes me long for the Spring Robins to come!

  6. A lovely story. I've enjoyed all the stories you've posted here, including the story of you. You're a very special lady, and a welcome addition to my daily reading.

    Looking forward to seeing if you post any genealogy links that I may have missed!