How Trees Got Their Leaves

In the days before the trees had leaves,
Coyote said, the trees were always cold.
And so they asked the birds to come and build nests
in their branches, and the black beetles to come
to live under their bark, and the red and gray squirrels
to fill up their empty places.
When Raven flew into the forest, one day,
the pine and the cedar trees called out to him,
“Please build your nest on our limbs.”
and the maples and the oaks cried out loudly, too,
“No! No! You must build your nest on us!”
After Raven had thought for a while about their requests,
he pulled some of the smallest, softest feathers
from his breast and from his wings.
and gave enough for every tree in the forest
to hold on the tips their smallest twigs.
Because the trees were afraid of being cold again,
they held on so tightly to Raven’s black feathers,
that they squeezed the green, yellow and red colors out
of them, and the feathers he had plucked from his wings
flew away each fall, but the ones he had taken
from the place that was closest to his heart,
stayed green on the pine and on the cedar trees all year long.
And that, Coyote said, is how trees got their leaves.