A Karuk Story
A long time ago, up in the heavens, three acorn maidens were sitting down by the creek watching the water go by, when Creator came along and told these young girls, “It’s time to go now, time to journey to the earth. The human beings are being made, and you must be there, ready for them. For this journey, you must all have beautiful hats, but you must weave them yourselves.”
The three girls gathered all their materials. They collected hazel sticks, willow root, bear grass and maidenhair fern to make their designs. They knew that this was a special journey, for which they each needed a special cap.
They began weaving their caps, but it took them a while, as it does when you weave a basket. It takes time. They had been weaving for several days, when all of a sudden, Creator came back and said, “It’s time to go. The human being is being created now, and you must be there and be ready.”
Black Oak had not finished her hat. She picked up her big striped cap, which looked long because it hadn’t been shaped yet. That’s why even today, Black Oak acorns are striped and have a long cap on them.
Tan Oak Acorn had not cleaned the inside of her cap, so sticks and roots stuck out the side of it, going in every direction. She just wore it, wrong side out, once she’d finished. Today, when you see tan oak acorns, you can tell them by their caps, which have pointy things going out in all directions.
Post Oak Acorn had completed her cap, and it looked good. She’d finished and cleaned it well. Her cap was nice and round and perfect, just like it looks today.
Then they went. Creator told them to put their faces into their caps on the trip down to earth. The acorn girls shut their eyes and then turned their faces into their hats as they came down to the earth. They spilled out from the heavens into the human place.
Now when we look at acorns, we can see that they still have their faces turned into their caps, so that they will have a safe journey falling down from the tree.