|How Raven Wrecked a Wedding.|
Gead lived in Deep Dark forest and kept all the enemies of the realm at bay. He was a fair and much loved warrior. Whenever he returned from battle his father, Spirit Bear, would say to him. "Gead, it is time for you to marry. Remember there is only one wife for you - the fair Glorious who shimmers with all the colours of rosy dawn over Big Lake on a perfect Spring morning". Gead would always respond in this way, "Yes Father I know, but I have not yet earned valor enough at war. When I have been ever braver I will marry". So Gead continued to protect Deep Dark Forest until finally a date for the nuptials was set. Everyone in this magical realm became involved in excited preparations.
Gead allowed himself to relax and enjoy the preparations as he had achieved more valor than any warrior before him. He busied himself, composing his wedding vows, with the help of Raia who knows his heart better than any other. As the pair sat on the shores of Big Lake engrossed in this joyous crafting of words, Raven hatched a plan. Raven knew that Gead could marry no other than the fair Glorious. He thought that if Gead were to marry another then the wrath of Spirit Bear would see Gead exiled. Thus, Raia would be freed and could marry Raven. But Raven never thinks things through, and all his plans go awry. Or do they?
The wedding day arrived, and, under cover of her wedding veil, Raven transformed Raia into a jester. Imagine the horror gasped among all the forest folk when, after the wedding vows were spoken and the veil lifted, there was no Glorious, but in her stead, a jester. A ridiculous jester, with big lips, waiting for a kiss from Gead. Behind a nearby spruce tree a chipmunk thought she saw a smirk flicker over Raven's face. The fear of what would happen next was evident on the faces of all other guests. Not least Gead's. Spirit Bear was at once both furious and disconsolate, because certain promises cannot be broken. This was a most serious transgression.
Gead had been promised to Glorious since before Time began. What shame this brought to Forest Life, which was a comfortable, orderly existence with clear rules. Spirit Bear had no alternative. A punishment must be meted. He took the wedded hand of Gead and blew an ill wind. Instantly Gead felt all power leave him and his hand disappeared from his arm. Gead's mouth involuntarily clamped shut over the jester's springy throat and a violent whirly-whirly of choking red dust whisked the pair up and transported them to Old Mother Emu's Land of Many Suns. Here they stayed, inert as rock, for three hundred years. Gead's hand was unreachable on a distant plain, and jester's garish smile presented a fixed anomaly in this barren land. But what of Raven's plans to have Raia for himself?
After the unveiling of his trick at the wedding Raven had rubbed his wings with glee. "Ha ha", he thought as he sidled up to Raia, "Ha ha, my dear, a tasty morsel for me, now that you are mine". Raia, who can read the thoughts of all creatures took a moment to say, "Raven, you fool, I know what you have done. If you want to marry me you must do what is right and true, as I must do now too". With that Raia vanished in a puff of red dust.
Raia landed in the desert right behind Gead and jester. She kept Gead alert for three hundred years by draining her hearts into his soul of rock. Raia had nearly drained all her hearts and was close to despair when finally Gead had emotion enough to muster one single tear. It was this tear that ultimately drew the attention of Old Mother Emu who knew every drop of water that ever fell in her dry land of red and ochre. Old Mother Emu was so affected by Gead's emotion in her desert that she called upon Rainbow Bird to bring a key with which to free the unhappy pair.
Once free there was much rejoicing between Gead and Glorious who immediately resumed their wedding celebrations. Glorious was returned to all her former splendor and Old Mother Emu was especially pleased because accompanying the beauty of Glorious came the shimmering lights of rosy dawn over Big Lake on a perfect Spring morning. To this day this famous lake is visited annually by thousands of animals and desert folk, where they drink the clear water and become inspired for the better. Gead never regained full use of his hand and an imprint of it can still be seen on the desert plain, as clear as a signpost. In fact, Old Mother Emu chuckles about it on her perambulations. She knows how effective it is in reminding her kingdom about the importance of being honest and true.
Gead and Glorious were happy to stay with Old Mother Emu. They released Raia, who also decided to remain in The Land of Many Suns where she lives now, overflowing with hearts galore, happily married to - yes, you guessed it - Rainbow Bird.
Back in Deep Dark Forest, Spirit Bear heard on the desert wind whispering sounds of joyful celebration, and he realised that Raven had been deceitful once again. Although angry with Raven, Spirit Bear knew that his punishment of Gead was right, because as far as he knew Gead had been disobedient. Being true to oneself as best one can is important. Look at Old Mother Emu walking steadfast onwards and around the scorched desert plains. She is always wise, never doubting her own truth.
You may be wondering what happened to Raven's plan to have Raia for himself? Well - take a close look at the color of the feathers on Rainbow Bird's head. But did not this tale say that Raia can read the thoughts of all creatures? What will happen next?
Happy weekend (long one here) stitching, Gilly