Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich

I finally finished Bernd Heinrich’s New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year in 1999 Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds (click here to read all my entries about this book) and wanted to share this humorous Eskimo tale that Heinrich used to end Chapter Twenty-One “Tulugaq“:

The practice of following ravens must once have been common, because it has inspired humorous Eskimo tales. I presume any truly humorous tale must have a highly serious antithesis. In “The Raven and the Hunter” tale, a raven tells a hunter who wants to settle near some seal breathing holes he has found precisely where to camp. The hunter foolishly heeds the raven and camps where directed. There in the night he is killed by a boulder falling from the mountain above. The raven then flies down and pecks out the hunter’s eyes, saying, “I don’t know why all these hunters believe my silly stories.”

Just one example of how Heinrich uses personal stories and mythology, not just science and research, to teach readers about ravens in this captivating book.


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