Salish - Mink and Cloud
Mink had many wives in his lifetime. He wanted to marry many things. One day he was watching the clouds in the sky and one cloud was very beautiful, soft and white and gentle.
"I love you," Mink said to Cloud. "I want to marry you."
"I can not marry you," said the little white cloud. "You do not know what I am like when there is a storm. I am not always soft white and fluffy. Sometimes when the wind is strong I am grey thin and ragged. Sometimes I am scattered into small pieces all across the sky. You would have a hard time keeping me together in those times."
"Please let me marry you," Mink insisted. "I will love you even when you are grey and thin and ragged. I will hold you together in all of the storms."
Finally one lovely sunny day Mink and Cloud were married.
They floated together for many days. They floated in the warm blue skies and they floated in the cool starry nights.
But one day a wind storm came and the little white cloud started to break up in small pieces of fluff. Poor Mink did not know what to do. He began jumping from one small cloud piece to another, but each cloud piece became thin and wispy. Mink had nothing to stand on, nothing to hang onto.
"Help!" he yelled as he fell to the ground.
He landed on a pebble beach and was knocked out cold. He lay on the rocks for several hours. In time, flies came and settled around his mouth.
Later that day a group of children came down to the beach to play. "Look! Mink is dead!" one of the girls called when she found Mink's body lying flat and still on the ground. The other children gathered around Mink. They were shocked to see Mink's face. Some of the children started to cry. "Poor dead Mink," they crooned. "Poor dead Mink."
Suddenly Mink sat right up straight. "Who is dead?" he demanded; and scared the children half-to-death.
"We thought YOU were dead," they explained. They were happy to see that Mink was alive. It was wonderful. They played with him awhile, and they ran off to do something else.
Mink was alone. He sat down on a large rock and thought and thought. "I will never marry a cloud again," he said. "I will never marry a gull or a raven or anything that flies. I will not marry a rainbow or a star. From now on I will find a wife on the ground."
Mink stood up and looked at the sky. Cloud was becoming full and fluffy again, but Mink knew their marriage could not work. "Good-bye!" he called to her, and she smiled wisely.
Mink set off to search for a new wife.