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Why Owl Lives in the Dark: A Wiyot Story

This version of the legend was written by our Wiyot volunteer, who prefers to remain anonymous.

A long time ago, Owl used to live in an Indian village. He had a wife and children there. But when he went hunting, he never caught any deer. All his family had to eat was acorns. They were starting to starve.

One night, Owl's wife realized her husband didn't look scrawny like the rest of the family. So she closed her eyes and pretended to fall asleep. Once Owl thought she was asleep, he got up and took some meat out from under his pounding stone. Then he ate it by himself. His wife saw everything.

The next day, as soon as Owl went out hunting, his wife took the meat out from the hiding place. She and her children had a feast. The children got their strength back immediately, and went outside to play.

When Owl came home, he saw them playing there and got mad. He yelled at his wife, but she wasn't scared of him. "I found your meat," she said. "You were hiding food from us. You let your own children starve. I'm throwing you out. Get out of here or I'll call my brothers."

So Owl went away and never lived near people again. Ever since then, owls live in the dark and eat at night.

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More stories to read:

 Native American owl legends
 Legends about selfishness
 Legends about fathers

Learn more about:

 Wiyot stories
 The Wiyot language
 The Wiyot Indians

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