Indigenous Arts & Stories - Raven and The Pink Salmon

Raven and The Pink Salmon

2015 - Writing Winner

It was well into August when the pink salmon returned to Raven’s village. He saw the boats and the people leaving to get their feed for the winter and he saw them come back with their fish totes filled. Raven knew he had to get fish for the winter. He knew that if he didn’t he would starve.

Read Morgan Hill's Raven and The Pink Salmon

Morgan Hill

Hartley Bay , BC
Hartley Bay
Age 17

Author's Statement

Raven and The Pink Salmon was based off of raven’s in nature. Ravens are known as tricksters, traditionally and in nature. I chose to write about a raven and a kingfisher because I belong to the raven clan and find raven’s to be really interesting animals; they’re smart and tricky and I respect that. Because I belong to the raven clan I have a personal connection to the animals. Kingfishers are also close to my heart as they are my grandmother’s favourite animals. She goes on and on about how beautiful they are and what great fishermen they make, which is why I chose to make one into one of my characters. I used a pink salmon because it’s a main source of food for not only my family but most aboriginal communities. These animals were a perfect fit for my story, weaving tradition throughout the story by using my crest as a character and including one of the main sources of food for aboriginal people.


Raven and The Pink Salmon

It was well into August when the pink salmon returned to Raven’s village. He saw the boats and the people leaving to get their feed for the winter and he saw them come back with their fish totes filled. Raven knew he had to get fish for the winter. He knew that if he didn’t he would starve. But Raven didn’t have a boat. He had friends with boats, but even better he had a friend that would give him fish for free. So Raven ambled over to Kingfisher’s house and invited himself in tenaciously. He sat at his friend’s table and picked greedily at the candy that Kingfisher’s wife had on display.

“Raven,” said Kingfisher as he strode into the kitchen, wearing his fishing gear, “I was just about to leave. Do you need something?”


Raven unwrapped a hard candy and popped it in his mouth, “Actually,” he said, “I do. I need fish for my dinner, but I don’t have a boat.”

Kingfisher tilted his head and grabbed a candy, “You’re always welcome to join me and my crew on my boat, Raven. Go get your gear, we’ll leave right now.”

“That is a good offer,” said Raven, “but I’m afraid I can’t go today. Last night I fell, I can’t bend over; I’ll be no use on a boat. Just bring me a fish when you come back and I’ll help you when my back heals.” And to make his lie believable, Raven put a hand to his back and rubbed it, groaning. He saw Kingfishers look of pity and knew he’d get a fish.


A few hours later Raven was woken by a knock on the door. “That must be Kingfisher,” thought Raven as he stood and dragged himself to the door. He opened the door and was greeted by his good friend Kingfisher and a good pair of fish.

“Raven,” said Kingfisher, sadly, “We didn’t get much pink salmon this trip and I could only spare two. I hope this’ll be okay.”

“This will be fine, Kingfisher. Next time you go fishing, just take me back some more,” Raven shrugged, grabbed his pink salmon from Kingfisher and quickly said, “See you later, Kingfisher,” and closed the door.

Kingfisher went home to his children and wife. They worked as a family to clean and freeze their scarce amount of salmon, as they do every year. Raven worked on his two fish alone and slowly, like he does every year. When Kingfisher and his family were done they only had a few containers of pink salmon. Unlike Kingfisher who froze his catch, Raven cooked his fish right away for his dinner that night.


After Raven finished gorging on his salmon, he found himself full and his eyes seemed to close without consent, “I have had a long day and worked very hard,” thought Raven to himself, “I deserve a long nights rest.” And so that’s what Raven had.


A few days have passed; Kingfisher and his family weren’t in the village. They went on a fishing trip. They need more pink salmon, but the fish have moved away from the village and so Kingfisher’s family followed them. Raven wasn’t concerned. Kingfisher’s family will be back soon and that is when he will ask for more food.


Raven went hungry for days and quickly grew thin. Because Raven had no more fish to eat he slept more than usual. He napped all day and slept all night, he slept until Kingfisher returned days later.


On the night they returned, Kingfisher knocked on Raven’s door. “Raven! Open up, its Kingfisher!”

Raven groggily and lazily dragged himself to his door. “Kingfisher, I am so happy to see you,” Raven said, “I am a poor man, I have no food in my freezer and my good friend left me for days on end. Tell me you have brought me a fish in apology. You have left me to starve for days, you have to bring me a fish, Kingfisher, you have to.”

“I’m sorry, Raven,” said Kingfisher, “our trip was unsuccessful, I don’t have food to give. I’ve come to see how you are and to tell you we are home safe. But I see you are thin, I see you are starving. I will bring you one pink salmon, Raven,” said Kingfisher out of pure pity.

Raven waited for Kingfisher to return, and when he did, a pink salmon in hand, Raven nearly cried with joy. They talked only for a minute before Kingfisher went back home and Raven cooked his fish. “I can now sleep a happy man,” thought Raven, and that is exactly what he did.

Raven played by this routine very often. It wasn’t long until winter had begun and the stock of salmon was near depletion in Kingfisher’s household. Soon they’d run out, but Raven kept on taking their fish.


One day, Raven was feeling hungry, so off he went to Kingfisher’s house as per usual. He invited himself in and sat at their table and took their candies. “My good friend Kingfisher,” he said, “I have come to have another pink salmon, if you don’t mind.”

“I’m sorry,” said Kingfisher, “I don’t have any pink salmon to give.”

Raven looked at his friend, confused and surprised, “You don’t have one for your good friend?”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t.”


“Then what will I eat during the cold winter?” Asked Raven, “What will you and your family eat?”


“We have no more salmon,” said Kingfisher glumly, “We’ll have to eat something else. You’ll have to eat something else.”

This is something Raven could not do.


The days got cold and the nights got colder and Raven got hungry and Kingfisher’s family got hungrier. Kingfisher couldn’t let his family go hungry. He’s a good man, a good husband and a good father and even though he’s a good friend to Raven, he had to get sneaky and go behind his friends back.


One day, early in the morning, when Kingfisher knew Raven would be asleep he took his boat and crew out across the way where they knew deer would be living. They went hunting and they got some meat for all of their freezers. It wasn’t much meat, so Kingfisher couldn’t tell Raven about his expedition.

The next morning, when Raven was sleeping, Kingfisher gathered his crew and they went out hunting. They got two deer that trip. This was a fair bit of meat but not enough to share with Raven, so Kingfisher kept his catch a secret.


Kingfisher and his crew went out hunting twice more and got a deer both times. They’ve concluded that they will have enough to keep their families going healthily for quite a while, so they took the next day off. Kingfisher knew that Raven would ask for food and Kingfisher also knew what he must do.


This was the day that Raven decided it’d be a good day to visit Kingfisher, as Raven was hungrier than usual. So Raven wandered over to his good friend’s house and sat at their table and ate their candies. “Kingfisher will let me eat his food, he always does,” thought Raven to himself.


“Raven?” Asked Kingfisher, “What are you doing here?”

“Kingfisher, I am very hungry,” said Raven, “I have no food in my freezer. I need some food, do you have any to give?”


“I do have food,” said Kingfisher, tilting his head, “but none for you.”

“But you are my good friend, Kingfisher,” Raven pleaded.

“I am your good friend, but you are not my good friend, Raven,” Kingfisher sighed, “You have taken my family’s food and left us hungry for the winter. You have tricked us and that is not what good friends do. Even though you are not my good friend, I am yours. My crew is going hunting tomorrow. We know where there are deer; you are welcome to join us. We won’t give you the meat if you don’t help us.”


Raven felt the guilt and the shame rise from his stomach to his heart, and he couldn’t find any words to say, which doesn’t happen to Raven very often. He looked down at his feet and his cheeks went red.

“We’ll leave in the morning, Raven, and you best be there,” said Kingfisher.


And so Raven was.