Wak and the Raven
Before you read the story
- What makes a good sheikh or judge?
- Is it right for a sheikh or judge to take more for him or herself?
- Do you know a great sheikh?
- Do you respect that person? Why?
Now read the story
Once upon a time, there was a Sun God. His name was Wak. The Raven was Wak's messenger. He used to fly from the earth to the sky and from the sky to the earth with messages in his beak. In those days, the Raven was a great sheikh. He was all white, and there was not a black feather on him.
Now the birds could not live together peacefully. They fought every day over their food. The little birds tried to take the meat from the big birds. The big birds tried to steal the seeds and fruit from the little birds. They could not agree.
At last, they called a meeting.
"We must share our food between us," they said, "or there will never be peace. We need a judge to help us. Let's ask our sheikh, the Raven. He can tell us what to do."
The Raven listened carefully to all the other birds.
"I will ask our master, Wak, the Sun God," he said, and he flew up into the sky.
The other birds waited for the Raven for a long time. At last, he flew back to them.
"Listen," he said. "Wak has given me the answer to your question. Let the big birds eat only meat. Let the small birds eat only fruit and seeds."
"But who is a big bird? Am I big?" asked the partridge.
"And who is a small bird? Am I small?" asked the parrot.
The Raven thought for a moment.
"If the birds are bigger than me, they are big birds," he said. "They can eat meat. But if they are smaller than me, they can only eat fruit and seeds."
"And you?" a little bird called out. "What will you eat, Raven?"
The Raven smiled.
"Oh," he said, "I am in the middle, not big, not small. Also, I am your sheikh and the messenger of Wak. I can eat meat and fruit, and anything I like."
The other birds were angry.
"You have cheated us!" they said.
They tried to catch the Raven, but he flew away from them. He went up, up into the sky, to find his master, Wak.
"Wak!" he called. "Wak! Wak! Help me!"
On he flew, closer and closer to the sun. The heat burned his feathers, and they became black. Now there was not a white feather on him.
From that day, the Raven's feathers have always been black, and he still calls out, "Wak! Wak! Help me!"
Exercises for Wak and the Raven
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