Story 2 – Ant and Bear
A Puget Salish Story
A long time ago the world was different than it is today. First of all there were no people in the world, only animals. And something else was very different. It was always dark. There was no light in the world at all. No sun, no moon, no stars, no fire. The world was in darkness.
This was very hard on all the animals. They could not find their food or their way. All of the animals suffered. But it was especially hard on the Ant People. The ants always work and never rest. The darkness made it hard for them to do their work. They knew they needed something. They knew they needed light.
Ant woman went out to find Bear. Bear is the one who kept it dark all the time. She decided she would challenge him to a contest. If she won the contest she would get light for her people. If Bear won it would remain dark forever.
Bear said he did not want light. He liked the darkness. But Ant Woman challenged him to a dance contest to see if there would be light or dark. Bear thought, “I am Bear, the biggest and strongest of all the animals. There is no way a tiny little ant can beat me at any contest.” He accepted her challenge to have dance contest. Whoever danced the best and longest would win.
All the animals came to watch the contest. They wanted to see if it would be dark or light.
Whenever people or animals bather, there is food everywhere.
Ant woman came to the place. She saw the food and she was hungry for she had not eaten since she had left to home. But she knew that because Bear was so big and strong and she was so little she would have to do something special if she hoped to win. She decided she would fast. She would not eat during the whole contest. But her stomach was grumbling because of her hunger. She was wearing a little belt around her waist. She pulled it tight so she would not feel so hungry.
Bear saw all the food and he did not even think of the contest. He began to eat as much as he could. He knew he would win because he was so big and strong.
The contest began. Ant Woman went first. She danced her little dance and sang, “Day and light; Day and light” she dance very fast. When she was done she pulled her belt tight so she wouldn’t feel hungry.
Bear went next. He danced very slowly and sang, “Dark and night, dark and night”. When he was done dancing he began to eat again. This went on a long time. Ant and then Bear, Ant and then Bear.
Ant Woman danced her fast dance again, singing “Day and light, day and light.” When she was done she pulled her belt tight.
Bear got up and did his dance even more slowly because he was becoming full of food and tired. “Dark and night, dark and night.” He sang as he danced. When he was done he began eating again.
Ant Woman danced again faster than the first times. She sang “Day and light, day and light.” When she was done she pulled her belt tighter.
Bear stood up to dance, but he was so tired and full of food he fell to the ground asleep. Ant Woman won the contest, but she said to bear, “We will share. The Ant People will have day, and you will have night.”
This is why we have day and night.
The proof of this story is when you see an Ant look at her little waist. She got this little waist from pulling her belt tighter and tighter during the contest.
1. Why did Ant Woman win the contest even though she was so much smaller than Bear?
2. Why did Bear lose the contest even though he was much bigger and stronger than his opponent?
3. Did Ant Woman wait for light to come into the world or did she go and find it? What meaning is of this to you and your transformation?
4. In the end even though Ant Woman won she still sought to be fair and share the light and darkness between her and Bear. What does this say to you about who Ant Woman was?
1. She was respectful of the challenge and she did something special, out of the ordinary to insure she might win.
2. He was over-confident to the point of being arrogant. He could not imagine loosing and thus had no respect for his opponent, the contest, or the challenge.
3. Ant Woman, like Weget in the previous story, went to seek light and not wait for it to come to her. I must take active purposeful steps to bring light/change into my life.
She was respectful of Bear and his needs. Overall she showed great respect in everything she did.