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Traps

Healing Circles writer Roger Fernandes (University of Washington) is from the Lower Elwah S'Klallam reservation located on the Olympic Peninsula. An educator for 30 years, Fernandes has developed the structural model for our curriculum project which is using Hero's Journey stories to teach people health and wellness. He especially acknowledges elders as that primary source of guidance saying, "It's a very important aspect of the journey."

"You need an elder to guide you - to help you to figure things out. In the story, Elder appears to help you. "And so that's the hero's journey of transformation - of transforming from one person who's alone, confused and wandering into a person who has a place in their culture and has an understanding of who they are."

Octopus and Crow

A long time ago, there was Crow.

Crow is a very smart bird, but he is so smart he believes he doesn’t have to listen to anybody. He tells everyone, “I don’t have to listen to you, because I am so much smarter than you.”

A long time ago, all the animals warned each other about a terrible monster that roamed the beach when the tide was out. They said if you were on the beach when the tide was out this terrible monster would grab you.

Crow said, “You animals are crazy. There is no monster on the beach and I know it. I am smarter than you, and you should listen to me. There is no monster down there.” The animals said, “Oh no Crow, there is a terrible monster that appears when the tide is out. Everyone must stay away from the beach. Crow again said, “Your crazy, there is no monster down there. I know this for a fact and I will prove it to you. I will go down to the beach now and the tide is out. I will prove to you there is no monster.”

So Crow flew to the beach and the tide was out. He began walking along the beach, calling out, “Monster! Show me where you are at! Show me who you are!” But there was no answer, no sound at all. Crow said, “I knew it, there is no monster here. Those animals don’t know anything.” He called out again, “Monster show me your face, I want to see who you are.” There was no sound at all and Crow said, “I knew it. I was right and they were wrong.”

Then he saw a tidal pool and something was moving at the bottom of it. Crow hopped onto the rocks next to the pool and looked in to the water. He could see something moving at the bottom of the pool. He watched and he watched and he watched. Then a big head came out of the water with two big eyes looking right at Crow. It was Octopus Woman.

She looked right at him and said, “Crow I am so happy to meet you. Everyone talks about you, your really famous.” Crow said, “That is true, everyone knows who I am.” Octopus Woman said, “But Crow noone ever told me how good looking you are. You are so handsome. Can you come closer to me so I can see how beautiful you are?” Crow said, “Sure.” And he hopped up on a rock right next to Octopus Woman.

She said, “Crow, I heard you were handsome, but noone ever told me what powerful legs you have. You must run faster than all the animals with those legs.” Crow said, “Yes, with my legs I can even run faster than deer.” She said, “May I touch your legs with one of my arms to see how strong they are?” He said, “Sure, go ahead.” So she wrapped one of her arms around his legs and pulled tight.

She said, “Crow, your tail feathers are so beautiful and black and shiny. You must clean and comb them everyday.” He said, “Yes, I do.” She said, “May I touch your tail feathers with one of my arms to see how clean and shiny they are?” Crow said, “Go ahead.” So she wrapped another arm around his tail feathers and pulled tight.

Crow said, “Hey, the tide is coming back in. You’d better let me go. I don’t want to get all wet.”

Octopus Woman said, “Crow, don’t worry about the water. In fact, I was going to ask you to stay for dinner. I am going to have dinner really soon and I would love for you to be here.”
Crow said, “Dinner! What are you having for dinner?”

She said, “It’s a surprise Crow, a big surprise.” And Crow said, “I love surprises. Okay I will stay.”

Then she said, “Crow that belt around your waist. Where did you get such a beautiful belt?” Crow said, “My friend Bear made it out of bones and shells and gave it to me as a gift.” She said, “May I touch it with one of my arms to see how Bear made it?” Crow said, “Go ahead, knock yourself out.” So she wrapped another arm around his waist and pulled tight.

Then she said, “Crow, your wings are so big and powerful. You must fly higher than any of the birds.” Crow said, “Yes with my wings I can fly even higher than Eagle.” She said, “May I touch your wings with one of my arms to see how powerful they are?” Crow said, “Go ahead, I guess.” She wrapped another arm around his wings and pulled tight.

Crow called out, “Hey, the tide is coming back in and my feet are wet now. You’d better let me go. I don’t want to get all wet.” Octopus Woman said, “Crow, don’t worry about the water. Remember dinner is real soon and you have to be here.” Crow said, “Alright.”

Then she said, “Crow that necklace around your neck is so beautiful. Where did you get it?” Crow said, “Eagle made it for me and gave it to me as a gift. Let me guess you want to feel it too?” She said, “May I please?” He said, “Alright.” So she wrapped another of her arms around his neck and pulled tight.

She then said, “Crow, your shoulders are so big and strong. May I touch them to see how strong they are?” He said, “Go ahead.”

But then he cried out, “The water is up to my waist now, I am getting all wet. You have to let me go.” She said, “Crow, don’t worry about the water. Remember dinner and you have to be here real soon.” Crow said, “Alright.”

Then she said, “Crow the feathers on top of your head. They are so beautiful. May I touch them with one of my arms to see how beautiful they are?” Crow said, “Alright, I guess”. She wrapped another arm around his head and pulled tight.

Then she said, “Crow your beak is so black and shiny. You must sing better than all the other birds.” And Crow said, “Let me guess, you want to touch my beak to see how black and shiny it is?” And she said, “Yes, may I?” and he said, “Alright.”

Now all you could see was the very tip of Crows beak. Everything else was Octopus arms. He could barely speak, but he said, “Now the water is up to my neck. I am getting all wet. Let me go. You said we were going to have dinner real soon. When are we having dinner?”

And Octopus Woman said, “I am having my dinner now Crow.” And Crow said, “You said it was a big surprise. What are we having for dinner?” And she said, “You are my dinner Crow. Then she dragged him under the water and he was never seen again.

Poor Crow.

Story Questions

  1. Why didn’t Crow listen to his animal friends when they warned him about a monster?
  2. Was there a monster on the beach?
  3. Why did he let her wrap eight arms around him? Why didn’t he see the trap?
  4. What was the bait in the trap Octopus Woman laid?
  5. What could the monster be a metaphor for? Drugs? Alcohol?
  6. How might this story relate to the way people become trapped by drugs and alcohol?