In the very beginning, when the world was new, the Great Spirit gave each bird and animal a cedar-wood box containing a special gift. One by one, the animals opened their boxes.
The first box contained water, enough to make all the seas and all the rivers. The second box contained all the mountains and hills. The third box contained the seeds of all things that grow. The fourth box contained the wind to carry the seeds far and wide.
So, all the boxes were opened. All except one. This last box had been given to the Seagull. He kept it safely tucked under his wing. 'It was given to me, it's mine!' he said.
Now, this box contained all the light for the world, and because Seagull refused to open it, there was nothing but darkness on earth.
The other animals pleaded with Seagull, but he held the box tight.
'If there's no light, how will the grass grow, and what will I eat?' asked Rabbit.
'If there's no light, how will I know if my breast is red?' asked Robin.
'If there's no light, how can I tell night from day, summer from winter?'
'If there's no light, how will I know friend from foe?' asked Brown Bear.
The more they pleaded, the more important Seagull felt. The more they asked, the tighter Seagull held on to his box.
At last, the cunning, crafty Raven tried his hand. 'What do you have there in your box?
'You know what's in the box, and it's mine!' said Seagull.
Raven smiled sweetly.
'Oh Seagull, you're so generous, and smart, and handsome, won't you let us see inside the box?'
‘Certainly not. Go away!'
'Please, please, Seagull, let us see the light,' pleaded Raven.
'No, it's mine, you're not having it!' said Seagull.
Then Raven got a little angry, and cawed and screamed at Seagull. But that didn’t work either. Nothing worked.
So Raven went away on his own, and he thought and thought. And as everyone knows, when Raven thinks very hard, he can make things happen.
'Seagull is causing so much trouble for everyone, he deserves to have a thorn stuck in his foot!'
'Ouch!!' cried Seagull all of a sudden.
'What's the matter?' asked Raven.
'My foot! I's so sore. It really hurts!'
'Here, let me have a look.'
Raven felt till he came to the place where the thorn was, and then do you know what he did? He pushed it in further!
'I'm so sorry Seagull, but I can't really see what I'm doing. It's too dark. Can't you open your box, just a little?'
Seagull reluctantly opened the lid of his box, ever so slightly. Some tiny specks of light floated out, and up into the sky, and became the stars.
Raven took Seagull's foot once more, and felt around, and pushed the thorn in even deeper.
'Ouch! That hurts!'
'I'm really sorry Seagull, but there's still not enough light. You need to open your box a little more.'
So Seagull lifted his wing, and opened the lid a little wider. This time a soft sliver of light shimmered out, and became the moon.
Raven took Seagull's foot once more, felt for the thorn, and this time he gave such a mighty push that Seagull screamed and flapped open both his wings. The box fell down, the lid burst open, and suddenly ... the sun streamed out in a great burst. And so, at last there was light.
And to this day, if you visit places where Seagull lives, you’ll often see him standing on one leg, and screaming, 'Ow! Ow! Ow!'.
— Adapted from a story by Robert Bela Wilhelm in 'A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers', William J Bausch, Twenty-Third Publications (1998).