Near where I live on Vancouver Island in Canada, there is a First Nations legend which has been told many times. But its message of goodwill is still applicable in today's world. It goes like this.
One Christmas Eve soon after the establishment of Fort Victoria in the 1840s, a large bird appeared in the western sky. It swooped down over a native Indian village on the outskirts of the old Fort, roughly where the Parliament Buildings stand today in the inner harbor. The great black bird headed straight for a small baby sleeping in its papoose basket, picked up the infant in its beak and soared off into the sky.
The baby's mother was grief-stricken and frantically called for help among her tribe members as she ran to and fro in a distraught state. She soon managed to rally assistance, not only from her own tribe but from others who saw her despair. Fur traders, Hudson's Bay Company men and nearby settlers all rallied to help her. A large party of people then set off in the direction the bird had taken, continuing the search far into the night, carrying flaming torches to light their way. Men of all colors and creeds banded together to walk through the dense forest surrounding the Fort in order to help the woman find her child.
Early on Christmas morning, the missing child was discovered. He had been placed on the summit of a small hill a few miles from the Fort and had been covered in leaves to keep him warm. He smiled up at his mother as though trying to reassure her that he was quite unharmed, despite his adventure.
It was said that from that night on the small hill became known as Christmas Hill and this is confirmed by mention of it on some of the very earliest surveyors' maps of the area. Unfortunately the legend was forgotten over time and even the name of the hill was changed to "Lake Hill."
In 1937, however, a family built a house on the summit of the hill and decided to resurrect the legend by calling their home "Christmas Hill."
The hill is fifty feet lower than nearby Mount Tolmie and less than half the height of Mount Douglas to the north. From the summit you can look down on Swan Lake to the south and on Lost Lake in the opposite direction. Despite being so close to the city, this rocky little hill soon became an area of rural beauty and a nature lover's haven for botanists and bird lovers.
If legends are to be believed though, it was another bird, raven-like in appearance, that had once stolen a child away from its mother and then carried it with gentle care to place it where it would easily be found. But what was the purpose of this act?
Perhaps it had simply been to teach mankind the importance of working together in times of need towards an ultimate goal, regardless of color, creed or race.
It was an important message delivered those many years ago in the mythical form of a legend, but a message that is still important today. In times of trouble, sometimes against all odds, the incredible power of the human spirit for caring, always manages to come to the fore - if we all stand together.
At this time of miracles, I wish all my book readers and blog followers a very happy Christmas and may the New Year be kind to each and every one of you.