Grandmother was in her lodge praying, but her concentration was disturbed by a squabble outside. Crow and Bluejay were having an argument about which tree belonged to who.

"Caaaw-caaaw," screamed Crow. "Kaaack-kack," yelled Bluejay. They were both speaking at once, and could not hear each other's point of view.

Grandmother was getting upset by the two squawking birds, and asked Creator to quiet them. Creator let
Grandmother know that she should go out and speak with the birds herself. Creator knew that a great gift was coming to the people and Grandmother would be part of it.

When she couldn’t get the attention of the screaming Crow or yelling Bluejay, she called upon Eagle, perched on the top of a nearby tree. "Brother Eagle, can you chase off this noisy pair?” asked Grandmother. With a mighty flap of his wings, Eagle leaped from the limb and glided towards the noisy pair. He called a warning as he came close, but they were so busy fighting they did not hear, so Eagle yelled louder.

"Caaaw-caaaw," Crow screamed, so surprised he nearly fell off his perch. "Kaaack-kack," yelled Bluejay as his wings flapped up a storm. Suddenly they both felt Eagle’s sacred wing, and saw a feather fall! Oh my, what had they done?

Crow swooped down and caught the feather before it landed on Mother Earth. As he returned he heard, "Oh brother Eagle we did not hear you so near. I am truly sorry for the injury I have caused you."

Crow was surprised to hear such honourable words from his rival. He held Eagle’s feather in one claw and spoke with dignity, "I have done many naughty things, brother Eagle, but I think this may be the worst. I too am very sorry.”

Bluejay was also shocked to hear Crow speak such wise words. Crow passed the feather to Bluejay to give it back to Eagle. They both knew that this mistake would not have happened if they had not been fighting.

Bluejay said, "I am ashamed, brother Eagle, that my loud talk and harsh words were more important to me than solving our problem." He looked to Crow for a sign of understanding. Crow took the feather back from Bluejay and said, "We not only tore from your wing a sacred feather, but also disturbed Grandmother in ceremony. We ask for your forgiveness."

Eagle watched all this with wise eyes, the lesson of listening had been learned by his little brothers. He saw understanding in Grandmother’s eyes also. Eagle told Crow, "Give my feather to Grandmother, She can dress it with beads and leather to make it beautiful. She will keep it in her lodge to teach others the lesson you learned today."

Eagle then turned to Grandmother, “You have seen its power, Grandmother. Tell all the people that when they come together at any gathering where ears might be shut, to bring out the feather and let only the holder speak. This will be done in an honourable manner, letting everyone have their say. The feather will be known as the Talking Feather."

As Eagle spoke, Crow brought the feather to Grandmother. She was very honoured to have learned this lesson and she took the feather to her lodge. From that day on, the story of the Talking Feather has been shared.

Updated: 27 Mar 2016 Print Page