Monday, July 18, 2011

The Talesingr: The Tale of the Seven Bird Spirits

The Tale of the Seven Bird Spirits

There were once seven bird spirits full of self-importance. All believed that he or she was the most powerful, and they argued day and night driving away the peace of the forest. To decide once and for all who was the greatest among them, they proposed a contest. Because the bird spirits had power over the seven winds, they would each harness the strength of one and for a whole month would blow as hard and as fierce as wind has ever blown since the beginning times. At the end of seven months they would hold a council and each spirit would cast their vote.

First, the wind of the summer morning blew, bringing the smell of first greening, of fruit budding and herds returning. Then the wind of winter morning blew, bringing the smell of hardship and hunger, and the earth froze and the herds did not come. Then came the wind of summer afternoon, bringing the scent of the sea-of-sand and no-water, and melted the frozen earth and all was turned to mud and slush. And the wind of winter evenings, endless and cruel, froze the mud like rock and the trees were bare. Then the scorching wind from the home of the sun burnt all before it, and the trees burst into flame, till the blackened stumps were frozen by the wind of the tomb of the sun, bringing darkness and death. For six months the people of the forest, human and animal and growing thing, endured the contest of the winds. And the people knew if the seventh wind, the wind of the spirit place, was unleashed, all the spirits of the ancestors, good and bad, would be hurled into the world of the living. All was chaos, and the people feared starvation...or worse.

So a great council was called, and the chiefs and Dreamspinnrs of all the tribes, human and animal and growing thing, met in circle to say what must be done. And the oldest and wisest sat among them and listened and said nothing, as they shouted and argued for a whole journey of the sun. But in the end they fell silent, for none knew the answer. Then the oldest and wisest opened her eyes and touched two fingers to the geisan on her chin, and spoke. “I will dream.” She went to her hut and lay on the reindeer hides, and slept. And in her dream she wove seven nets, made of hair from all the people of the tribes, to make it strong as the tribes. And into the nets she wove the thorns of the Martuk tree. She spoke no word but the spell of net weaving. She did not eat, nor drink, nor could she lift her eyes from the work. And when she had finished, she bound a strip of cured fish skin across her mouth, for to speak one word would cause the nets to break. She tracked the bird spirits to their meeting place, and waited for them to sleep. And when the curved moon rose and the fire sank low, she threw the nets over the bird spirits. They woke and struggled to free themselves, but the harder they fought, the deeper the Martuk thorns bit into their skin and tore away their feathers. They begged and pleaded to be released but the oldest and wisest said nothing. When all the feathers had fallen away from their skin and with them the power over the winds, all that remained were strange creatures like wizened human children, and they crawled away into the caves of the snow mountains and were not seen again.

This was the dream of the oldest and wisest, this was done, and order was restored.


All text and images © Christina Cairns 2011

‘The Talesingr’s Children’ 
is a story invented by Christina Cairns, and all accompanying ‘anthropological information’ was found hidden in an old wooden box with aged brass handles, in the attic in a corner of my mind that doesn’t get dusted very often. Or perhaps it’s all true...............................

For a stunningly beautiful illustration of 'The Tale of the Seven Bird Spirits', please visit Lecte's Etsy Store.


Valerianna said...

Christina - you're so on a roll! I'm enjoying these stories so much, and feel so very entwined with them! They truly are "Bone Stories", thank you! I'm so glad that my spiral stone is there with you to pick up some magical story and send it back to me in my dreaming....

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

Wow! I'm finally getting around to catching up a bit here in blogland... wonderful, powerful, mythological stuff... a story that feels spoken from ancient ancestral beginnings...

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