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Raven


The Raven, like the Manabozho, also is a trickster. In his gluttonous search for food and sex the Raven is a transforming monster, a randy jester, and frequently a shamed fool. In various legends he injuries parts of his anatomy when attempting to steal food or get sex, while in other versions he assumes different animal and human forms to gain sexual favors.

The legends of the Raven usually circulated in the Northwestern region of the United States. In one series of these stories the Raven is tricked by a fisherman to steal bait from a hook. When doing so the Raven loses his beak. He sulks shamefaced, with a blanket over his face, around the fisherman's village until he recovers his beak. In some of the more rescue stores the Raven has a penis so long that it coils over his shoulder like a lasso. He succeeds in seducing beautiful women, and men; some of his amorous capers are humiliating and painfully exposed. They serve to illustrate the fundamental paradoxes of human life.

In a Tsimshian Indian, British Colombia, legend the Raven gives light from heaven to the frog people on earth. This theft-of-fire motif is similar to Prometheus. Within the story there are inferences to gluttony and seduction. A.G.H.


Sources:

Taylor, Colin F. Native American Myths and Legends. New York. Smithmark. 1994. pp. 88-89
Leeming, David, Jake Page. The Mythology of Native North America. Norman. University of Oklahoma Press. 1998. pp. 54-55



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