Once, not so long ago, there were two birds, Dove and Eagle. They were as one, very close, and would talk long and deep together. They made a vow to one another that they would always be together. But one terrible day, a storm came, and they were separated, and Dove flew alone, always searching for Eagle, but never finding him.
Now it came to happen one day that Dove met Raven, and they became good friends. Raven was clever and strong, and helped Dove live. And Dove respected Raven, for she could do many things that Dove could not. But Dove could sing, whereas Raven could not. Often, Raven pleaded for Dove to sing to her, and Dove always would.
After being many days together, Raven told Dove of a new and exciting place she had heard of. She wished to go to this place, for Raven was very inquistive, and she persuaded Dove to come with her, though Dove did not really want to go. But coming to this place, they found nothing but desert and got lost - or so it seemed - and became very thristy. Flying high, Raven spotted a pond, and said, "Let us drink here," and Dove followed.
Now, this pond belonged to Snake, and Raven knew this. Long ago, Raven had promised to bring Snake tasty food in exchanged for its rattle, for more than anything, Raven wished to be able to make music like Dove. But Raven did not intend for Dove to be killed, for Raven in truth liked Dove. Together, Raven thought they could kill Snake, and she would get its rattle. And Snake had no intention of giving up its rattle. And Snake really wanted to eat Raven, for it thought Dove was thin and frail, and wouldn’t be tasty. Both intended to cheat the other.
While Dove was drinking from the pond, Raven waited for Snake to appear. And all of a sudden Snake came sliding out with its teeth wide, and surprised Raven, and Raven was barely able to escape into the air, calling for Dove to do so, also. But Dove staggered and could not fly. What neither Raven nor Snake had realized was that the pond was poisoned from Snake having drunk of its waters. Now Snake curled its tail around sick Dove, trying to lure Raven closer. Alone, Raven did not feel she could kill Snake. And Raven was afraid that if she tried, Snake would bite Dove with its strongest poison, and Dove would die.
Suddenly, Eagle appeared, landing between them. Eagle was very powerful and could easily kill Snake. But when he went to try, Snake tightened its grip on Dove and said, "If you come closer, I will bite Dove. Kill Raven for me, and leave her body, and I will give you Dove."
Eagle turned to Raven, and Raven grew frightened. She said, "Dove and I are friends. She would mort wish for you to kill me."
But Snake said, "If Raven was Dove's friend, why did she bring her here for me to eat?"
Raven said, "That is not true." But Raven feared Dove would feel that she had been betrayed, would allow Eagle to kill her for Snake.
Eagle thought for a moment, and said, "I will let Dove decide if you are a friend, Raven, and whether I should buy her freedom with your death. But I have decided this: If Dove should die, both of you will die."
Raven and Snake waited, both striving for a plan of escape, both afraid, but Dove did not speak, would not choose. Hurt as she was, Dove began to sing. And Eagle similed ...