Myth & Lore

Page 31

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Loons Gift
By CinnamonMoon


This story was passed onto me from my dear friend, Advent (Gary Ness) and I love it.

There was an old warrior who lived in a village by the lake. Too old to do men's work, he would gather wood for the camp with the women. They had gathered all the wood near the camp and needed to follow the shore to where the forest started to harvest more. The sun was setting and they still did not have enough wood so the old man went deeper into the forest, losing sight of the lake and his way back to it. As dusk settled in everything began to meld together and he was confused.

His arms full of wood, he wandered around in circles growing very tired so he sat beneath a tree resting his back. It would be dark soon, the wild animals would come out, and he knew his life was in danger. Wolf and Bear could claim it and he began to grow frightened so he started to pray. "Spirit, please show me the way home." But nothing happened and he started to doze off fighting sleep. Suddenly he heard the call of the Loon. He knew this was a bird of the water, it's call came from the lake and he tried to follow it as fast as he could. But Loon stopped calling.

Again the old man felt the exhaustion take over and again he rested by a tree, this time the fear was not enough to keep him from falling asleep. He'd no sooner slipped into slumber than once again Loon called and woke him. He listened to be certain which direction the call came from and he heard it again, he followed the call but it stopped as before and all went silent.

The old man sat beneath the shelter of another ancient tree, listening to sounds that told him the wild creatures were stirring and moving about. His fears rose considerably, and he knew that it may be his last night. The women had returned to camp without him and the people of the village were worried. It was too dark to send out a search party, so they lit a huge fire in hopes that he would see it and find his way home. He did not come forth.

Once again Loon called out into the night and once again the old man listened intently to the cry. It was closer than before and it continued long enough for him to follow until he heard the sound of lapping water. The shoreline was near and he followed the water's voice when the Loon grew still. Suddenly he broke free of the density of the trees and the lake was before him. He had stepped into the night to realize that he was much further from the encampment than he thought but he knew the shoreline would take him home and the fire blazed to show him the way.

It was Loon who had saved his life, and the debt of gratitude he felt needed to be repaid. He saw the Loon sitting on the water looking back at him and he had nothing to give, he was old, no longer did he earn his way and his belongings were meager. Setting down his bundle to address Loon and offer his thanks, the necklace his grandfather had made for him fell forward and hit him in the chin. His hand went to it and touched the fine shells beaded together by hand, traced the craftsmanship of his Ancestor, and then lifted the necklace off over his head.

Raising his arm, the old man tossed the necklace high into the air and out over the lake. As he did Loon lifted his head and caught it around his neck. The old man gathered the wood and made his way back to the camp where many gathered to celebrate his safe return and listen to his story. He had given his only possession that remained from his family heritage, given what meant most to him, and to this day Loon wears the beaded necklace as a reminder. Its gift received, and given for its haunting voice calls into the darkness to guide those who are lost, Guardian of the veil between Earth and Water. It wears that necklace in pride, with humble honor.


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INDEX Page 5
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INDEX Page 7
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