In the days long past, when the Earth and the people on it were still young, all the Ravens were white as snow. In those ancient times the people had neither horses, firearms, or weopons of iron. Yet they depended upon the Buffalo hunt to give them enough food to survive.
Hunting the big buffalo on foot with stone-tipped weopons was hard, uncertain and dangerous.
The Ravens made things even more difficult for the hunters, because they were friends with the buffalo. Soaring high above the Prairie, they could see everything that was going on. Whenever they spied the hunters approaching a herd of buffalo, they flew up to their friends and pearching between their horns and warned them “Caw, caw, caw cousins, the hunters are coming. They are creeping through that gully over there, they are coming up behind the hills, watch out! Watch out! Caw, caw, caw!” Hearing this, the buffalo would stampede and the people would starve.
The people held a council to decide what to do. Now, among the Ravens was a large white one, twice the size of the others, and he was there leader. One wise old Chief got up and made this suggestion, “We must capture this big white raven and teach him a lesson, it is either that or go hungry.” He brought out a large buffalo skin, with the head and horns still attached. He put it on the back of a young Brave and said, “Nephew, sneak among the buffalo. They will think you are one of them, and then you can capture the big white raven.”
Disguised as a buffalo, the young man creapt among the herd as if he were grazing. The big shaggy beasts paid him no attention. The hunters marched out from their camp after him, their bows at the ready. As they approached the herd, the ravens came flying in, as usual, warning the herd. “Caw, caw, caw cousins, the hunters are coming to kill you.
Watch out! Watch out! Caw, caw, caw!” And as usual, the buffalo stampeded away, all that is, except the young hunter in disguise under the shaggy skin, who pretended to go on grazing as before.
Then the big white raven came down and pearched on his horns and said to the ‘buffalo’, “Caw, caw, caw brother, are you deaf? The hunters are close by, just over the hill! Save yourself!” But the young brave reached out from under the buffalo skin and grabbed the raven by the legs. With a rawhide string, he tied the big birds feet and fastened the other end to a stone. No matter how the raven struggled, he could not escape.
Again the people held a council. “What shall we do with this bird, who has made us go hungry time and again?” Was the question on everyones lips.
“I’ll burn him up!” answered one angry hunter, and before anyone could stop him, he yanked the raven from the hands of his captors and thrust it into the fire, string, stone and all. “This will teach you!” he cried to the bird.
Of course, the string that held the stone burned through almost immediately, and the big raven managed to fly out of the fire. But he was badly singed, and some of his feathers were charred. Though he was still big, he was no longer white. “Caw, caw, caw!” he cried, flying away as quickly as he could. “I’ll never do it again; I’ll stop warning the buffalo, and so will all the Raven Nation. I promise! Caw, caw, caw.”
Thus the raven escaped. But ever since, all ravens have been black.