Brave crow battles sun at Grand Village

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 27, 2008

NATCHEZ — Decked out in a buckskin outfit adorned with beads and eagle feathers, Tom WarCloud spoke in a soothing, monotone voice as he weaved the tale of the crow and the sun to a group of captivated children.

WarCloud was one of several storytellers at Saturday’s 11th Moon Storytelling event at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.

In his tale, WarCloud told how the brave crow flew to the sun to beg him to light the dark side of the earth.

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When the sun refused, the crow flew around his cloak pecking holes in it.

In the sun’s anger he burned the crow, turning him from white to black.

And the holes the crow pecked have now become the stars we see in the night sky.

WarCloud then took out a flute and told the children the story how the woodpecker gave the Indian the gift of the flute.

Then WarCloud played a song on his flute.

The children, sitting cross-legged on the floor, were perfectly silent.

And to see so many children so entranced, so captivated and so quiet is rare.

After WarCloud told his tales and played his songs he used his platform to call his audience to find peace in their lives.

“Make peace with something or someone in your life,” he said. “Peace starts within each of us.”

Storytelling veteran Donna Bowman was also at the 11th Moon event.

As she got up to speak, she nonchalantly pulled a live alligator from a Tupperware container tucked under her chair.

“This is an American Alligator,’ she said.

The children’s unspoken vow of silence was officially broken.

With index fingers pointed skyward, they all squirmed as Bowman walked with the alligator, giving each one a chance to rub its stomach.

Not all of the children, however, where so enthusiastic.

Some scooted across the floor perhaps not realizing the creature, only about 8 inches long, posed no actual threat.

While the event was mainly meant to entertain children for an afternoon, some seemed to have derived a strong message — mainly from the words of WarCloud.

Jeannie Sanguinetti, 9, said she found WarCloud’s thoughts on peace to be cause for thought.

And she had apparently been giving his ideas some deep consideration.

“With wars you die for no reason. It’s not easy to live that way,” she said. “Everyone needs to try to live in peace.”