Illustration first published in Spellbound: A Fantasy Magazine for Children Winter 2002
Coyote, Crow, and Star Weaver
The world was so lovely in the bright sunlight. The birds, insects, and animals loved to feel its warmth on their backs. The sounds they made were clear and bright, joyful in the shimmering sun.
That would change as the sun traveled high above their heads and disappeared behind the mountains. The sounds made by the birds would grow silent, the buzzing of the insects would grow louder, and the sounds made by the animals would sound sad or scary in the cold dark night.
One day coyote saw crow busy at the water's edge. Crow was pecking at sparkling things in the water.
"What are you doing crow?" asked coyote as he tilted his head to one side.
"I am picking out all of the shiny clear stones to make lights for the night sky," crow answered.
Coyote replied, "That is a wonderful idea. But how are you going to get them to stick to the sky?"
Crow stopped and stared at coyote. She ruffled her feathers and turned her head from side to side. She looked up at the sky and wistfully whispered, "I don't know."
"Crow, do not worry," said coyote, "I will walk through the woods and see if I can find a way to help you."
Crow went back to adding clear shiny stones to her pile as coyote walked off into the woods. Coyote looked first for long sticks that would reach the sky. None of them were long enough. He picked up a pinecone and tossed it into the air. It fell back to earth and bounced off his tail. He found a long vine and looped that around a pinecone twirling it and tossing it up in the air. That one got stuck up high in a tree. Coyote sat and scratched his head with his paw. None of his ideas worked.
He got up and started walking again. As he walked down the path he felt something sticky on his nose. It was a web from the weaver. He wiped it from his nose and walked on. Then he saw the weaver leap from a branch catching the wind and flying with it to another tall tree leaving a long sticky thread in her path. She then used it to add more strings to her weaving until she had made a beautiful web.
Coyote asked, "Weaver, could you reach the tail of the sun?"
Web weaver stopped and thought for a bit, "Yes, if the wind was strong, I think I could reach the tail of the sun."
Coyote explained crow's idea about lighting the sky.
The wind was perfect that night. The web weaver climbed to the top of the tallest tree and jumped grabbing the tail of the sun. Back and forth the weaver wove her web as the sun slowly tugged it behind the mountains. Coyote and crow began handing her the shiny stones.
Joyfully they placed the last stone and brought incredible twinkling lights to the night.
(This flash fiction story (500 words not including title) was written to go with my illustration and is published here for the first time.)