Saturday, 7 April 2012

small birds: spring transformations

The Cry of the Chickadee
James Ratt illustration
"During the night, they heard footsteps around the cabin and they were very frightened.

They could hear growling and barking and howling as wolves came closer to the camp.

The boys picked up their bows and arrows and waited at the back of the cabin ready to protect themselves. But nothing appeared and the barking and howling faded as the sun rose in the east. The boys waited until the sun was high in the sky before they went out to look for their little sister.

They cried and cried for her”, , !”

Suddenly they started to shrink in size and grow feathers. They were changed into two tiny birds. They flew into the camp and picked at the meat until they were full with food. Then the two little birds continued to stay in the camp because there was food available for them.

Suddenly he heard someone outside calling, “, !” 

He was so happy that he jumped up and hurried out of the cabin thinking that it was his sons. But all he saw were the two little birds. 

“Why are you crying like that, little birds?” he asked.

The birds chirped, “Oh, father! We have lost our little sister.” 

Then the birds started crying again and flew into the forest. That is why chickadees cry differently in the spring than they do the rest of the year. It is the cry of two little brothers searching for their lost sister."

Excerpt from "The Cry of the Chickadee," as told by Ida Ratt



The Gift of Language and Culture website,
The Cry of the Chickadee
TOLD BY: Ida Ratt
EDITED BY: Minnie McKenzie
COLOURED BY: Charlie G. A. McKenzie
© Lac La Ronge Band Education Branch 1983
Edited & Revised: 2005

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