By Anna Freiberg
Illustrated by Lorenz Freiberg
Have you ever seen a grown loon, swimming solitary on a pristine lake or river?
Well, this is the story of how that loon grew of age, and all the others too.
Not all that long ago, there lived a loon with his father on the riverside. The loon was soon to come of age, which meant he could swim on the river alone, move to his own place and begin a family.
It was a few days before this however, that his father told him what he must do. “First, you must collect for me some of the water from which we drink and swim in every day.”
The loon pondered this for a moment; he could not understand why his father would ask him such a trivial task. But he decided to obey – as a good loon should – and so he collected the water and returned. Upon his arrival, his father exclaimed “This water is dead, torn from the river it has lost all its life! Try again.”
Now the poor loon was thoroughly puzzled, he had never heard of water being alive or not, it was just, well…water. Nevertheless, he went down to the water again, where a salmon was gleefully flopping about.
“Excuse me,” began the loon “do you know how to collect water?”
The salmon giggled.
“Um, I- ” the loon started again.
“Collect water? How silly! All you do is take some and go.”
“Actually I’ve already tried that and-” the loon attempted again, but the disrespecting salmon had already flitted away.
Feeling slightly hopeless, the loon swam along the river until he saw a bald eagle, perched in a majestic cedar tree. “Do you know how to collect water without harming it?” He asked it. Now, as eagles know a bit more about bird traditions, being birds and all, the eagle didn’t ridicule the loon for his question instead asked him whether he was becoming of age, (she had to do something similar when she became of age) and then said, “Sorry honey, I am a bird of the air, not water, but I know that the air likes it when you are gentle with it.”
The loon, not helped by this comment, trudged along feeling utterly confused and sorry for himself. Suddenly, he saw a gruff grizzly bear fishing on the banks of the river for salmon. With the last amount of confidence he had left- the loon asked,”I don’t suppose you know how to collect water without harming it?”
“Why of course,” said the bear as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, “You have to ask it.”
So the loon asked the water if he could take some, and the water complied. He took it back to his father where he smiled and declared, “You are now a responsible, adult loon. I am so proud of you.”