Friday, October 26, 2007

Coyote vs Raven

I ran out, grabbed the lunch box, and ran back. Through the three Jonesborough days it became my routine between session 2 and 3 - I walked down to the food tents, bought sandwiches and a bottle of water, and walked back to get a good place in the next tent.
The first afternoon I had absolutely no idea where to go; all the show titles seemed equally promising, so I decided to stick to one tent and see what happens. Well, I failed. On the way back from the food court, with the box and the bottle and my coat and my bag in my arms (I looked like a squirrel gathering for winter), I crossed the creek and - stopped. In the shadows of the Courthouse Tent there was a black, winged creature dancing for the sound of drums, turning and jumping, and I nearly dropped all the stuff I carried, and tripped over my own leg, hurrying to get a closer look.
When I am in a good mood, storytelling means tricksters for me. Not trickster tales (although I love them all), but the pure joy of mischief and fun, and wit and a tiny bit of magic, unruly art, colorful chaos. And Raven is one of the guys who immediately made my official Trickster Top 10 (and also the unofficial Guys to Sweep You off Your Feet Chart, but that's another story) as soon as I first read about him. And there he was.
Actually, it was Gene Tagaban, one of the New Voice tellers. And his voice, besides being new (well, every voice at the Festival was new to me), was deep and rich and... story-telling. Raven was not only on his drum (a beautiful one, though - I wonder what it is with me and drums...), but also in his blood. I sat and listened as he told the story of Raven and the Sun and the Moon and the Stars, and I thought: "Now, this is a trickster telling a story."
And the next one was a special treat for me. Raven tricks Coyote - I never ever heard two tricksters going against each other before, let alone two of my favorites (for Coyote is one nice piece of cake too), and (with the words of the storyteller) "It was GOOOOD!" The world of Native American tales is still all new to me - and I'm glad this was the first taste of storytelling I had.
(And, just to go with the trickster image, he has a good sense of humor too - made me laugh out loud, several times. Again, fortunately, this was not the last time I heard him telling...)
Last day, in the afternoon - the Festival is almost over, people like me gathering in the tents to listen to every bit of magic left for the last session... and there he was again, with Raven and Hawk bringing the fire (one of my favorite types of stories - the version I know is with Coyote, but he was still sleeping off the day before I guess... growing a leg back takes a while, even for a trickster:) He was the one who passed on the fire, and I'm most grateful to carry it with me wherever I go.

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