Raven Stories

Wii Gyet: How The Birds Got Their Colour

River Rocks

River Rocks

Many many moons ago all the birds were white as snow, very beautiful but it was very hard to tell them apart. Wii Gyet (Creator) could only tell them apart by the songs they sang and their different sizes.

Now Wii Gyet is well known for his trickster ways decided that he want to change the color of the birds so he could tell them apart much easier. After giving it much thought Wii Gyet decided that he would do it but he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to do it.

Walking along the banks of the Xsian (Skeena River) one day Wii Gyet looked into the water and saw the many beautiful different colors of the rocks on the river bed and an idea came to him. Just as he was about to finish his thought Raven flew over his head “GAAK GAAK,” cried Raven in his harsh voice.

Wii Gyet said, “There goes another one of those annoying birds. I can tell it’s raven by the sound of his awful voice. But it could very well be one of a dozen others because they all look the same.” Wii Gyet went back to looking at the rocks and noticed that hardly two of them were the same color. “That’s it!” he cried, “Now i know exactly what to do and I’m going to do it!”

Skeena River

Skeena River

The next day Wii Gyet gathered the birds together, and in his most flattering words, told them of his plan to give them each different colors so there would be no more confusion among them. He announced, “Now, each one of you will be beautiful. The small birds will be brightly colored like the rocks on the river bed, and the larger birds will look handsome and important, like those fine cliffs of rock I made last week.”

All the birds loved the idea and agreed to Wii Gyets plan. They all arranged themselves in a manner so they could see just what went on and how Wii Gyet was going to make the colors. The only bird who didn’t accept his plan in the proper spirit was Raven. Raven paced up and down whispering out of the corner of his beak, and glancing over his shoulder at Wii Gyet as though to make sure he couldn’t be overheard, and making a great show of the need for secrecy.

Now Wii Gyet paid no attention to Raven and went about his plan. All the birds were chattering amongst themselves, full of interest and pleasure, and delighted twitterings greeted each new design.

Birds of the West Coast

Birds of the West Coast

Some of the more inpatient birds crowded Wii Gyet and hummingbird hovered so close that Wii Gyet splashed him with bright red paint on his throat as he tried to swat him away, to this day hummingbird has a bright red throat. Time was passing and the crowd of birds hardly grew less. Wii Gyet decided he would have to use much broader strokes if he was going to finish what he started. So robin just got a red breast and blue jay was all blue and so on.

Raven still didn’t like what was going on. He would hop of to the paint box and peer in to grab a little of this color and a little of that color and fly off a short distance to examine them more carefully. Wii Gyet paid no attention to Raven at all and went right on working.

After some time, the paints had become so mixed up into puddles of brown and grey, so the larger birds appeared in those tints, and soon all these colors were used up to. The last color left was an off white and so the swans and geese had to be satisfied with that.

At last, Wii Gyet flung down his brushes, tired but happy. After all, it was his first time painting. A hot glow of triumph and satisfaction filled his spirit. As he laid down for a short rest his joy was spoiled by a gentle tug and the hoarse voice of Raven. “You haven’t done me yet,” hit his ears in a very rude tone, realizing this was Raven. He opened his eyes to see Raven smiling ever so politely.

“No, so I see, hmm,” agreed Wii Gyet, “and I’m more than sorry, because I’ve used up all my paints.” Raven quickly responded, “Well, I have a few odds and end paints myself.”

“Well then, bring them along and let’s see what we can do.” Raven flapped his wings and chuckled hoarsely as he waddled off, immensely pleased at all the attention he was getting. Upon Raven’s return he said, “I’ve been doing some thinking, and i was wondering if I could have a bright red head and neck something like woodpecker’s over there, but bigger and brighter.” Without a word, Wii Gyet painted Raven’s head a glowing scarlet.

Eagerly, Raven flapped over to still pool of water to take a look at himself. He turned his head this way and that, trying to see his reflection at its best. “It’s not the success I’d hoped for,” he finally announced. “Alright then, what do you suggest?” asked Wii Gyet. “An orange ring around my neck just below the red to soften the transition of colors, and a pair of grass green wings.”

“Well, well,” Wii Gyet responded. “You’re becoming quite an artist.” Secretly, Wii Gyet was very annoyed that Raven should show such knowledge of art since he had just discovered it himself. However, without hesitation Wii Gyet painted Raven as he had wished. Once again Raven went down to the still pool to look at himself, and again he was disappointed. “I don’t like it. It’s gaudy and ugly. What about a bright blue back and leave the under parts just off white?” Wii Gyet didn’t hesitate again and painted Raven just as he wished.


"Raven, you will be black, then."

Raven flapped off to the pool once again to look at himself. “Terrible, awful, this will never do, it’s no good,” he complained more loudly. “It gets worse and worse every time you paint me. You’ve made every bird in the forest look beautiful and have turned me into a rainbow ridden idiot.” Once more Raven jumped up and down furiously. Wii Gyet waited patiently for Raven to cool down and said, “What would you like me to try next?” Frustrated, Raven shouted in an arrogant voice, “Do whatever you like, you can hardy mess things up anymore than you already have!”

Still Wii Gyet kept his temper and asked, “I have one more color left. Would you like me to use that one?”

“Use it, yes use it, you bumbling fool!” shouted Raven, who was quite beside himself, for no other bird in his right mind would dare call Wii Gyet a fool.

“Well, hold still then, and stop jumping about,” Wii Gyet said while taking a deep breath of patience before he began painting Raven. “There! Now you’re black, Raven, all black, and black is what you will be till the cliffs tumble down, and the fish all die and the Old Man of the Rivers comes striding down the dry river bed carrying the very last drops of water in a little birch pail.”

THE END… or is it the beginning?