Catbird peered out through the ivy covering the door of the nursery hut. She could see the forest, glinting in the back. Oh, how she wished she could be out there…! She looked down at her three children, who were playing some sort of tickle game with a feather and a bit of moss. Two more weeks, she told herself. Then, the triplets would be four, and someone else's concern.
"Children," she said, clearing her throat for attention. They all looked up. "In two weeks, you'll be moving out of the nursery-"
The children all interrupted with cheers of joy.
"But before you do, there's something I need to tell you. It's a story. The story of how Yagatzwe came to be…"
"Once upon a time, there were four sisters. Their names were Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night. Every day, they passed the time by creating things such as the sky, sun, moon, clouds, and stars. They were very proud of their creations, but there was no one but each other to appreciate it. So they created the Earth, and then a man to live on the Earth. His name was Birch. All four sisters loved him very much, and he loved them all back.
"He lived for forty years, roaming the newly created Earth and searching for a perfect place to build. Finally, he found a valley hidden between two mountains, with a river running past it."
"That's Yagatzwe! Our village! Our village!" Shouted Pebble, the smallest triplet.
"Shh!" scolded Tide, the second youngest. She wanted to listen.
Catbird paused, waiting for the nursery to become silent again, then continued. The eldest, Junebug, had already nodded off.
"He built a village to house many people, yet he was alone in the enormous, silent world. He was the only living thing, and it saddened him. So he asked the sisters to send him companions, and all but one was happy to do so by creating animals. Well, except for one.
"Day was coming to resent Birch. He was talented and handsome, and all of her sisters loved him. She was jealous, to be honest. She wanted to walk on the Earth, but she would just burn it. She wanted to be the center of attention, but no one cared about her talents. It was all, Birch is the greatest! So, when Birch asked for animals, she had the perfect one.
"She sent a pair of Beasts into the forests with one intention: Kill.
"They worked all too well, and within a month, he was dead."
"WHAT?" gasped Tide, the only triplet still awake. Catbird smiled grimly.
"The sisters grieved endlessly for their fallen companion, and to honor him created more humans in a surprising fashion.
"Out of every birch tree -named after Birch, of course- stepped a human, and in Yagatzwe- which was surrounded by birches- our ancestors began to populate Yagatzwe.
"A month later, Day accidentally let it slip that she had killed Birch. The other three sisters condemned her to live in the sky forever, never allowing her to speak with humans.
"And that, my friend," Catbird said with a flourish, "Is why we inhabit Yagatzwe, and although our leader occasionally gets visions from Dawn, Dusk, and Night, we have never gotten one from Day."
There was clapping from outside the nursery, and Catbird peered out of the ivy curtain. Her husband, Shaft, stood in the doorway, smiling.
"You're a great storyteller, Catbird."
"Thanks," she said with a smile. All three children were asleep.
"Look," said Shaft, "I know that Mothers normally aren't allowed to do this, but I have written permission from Sunstep to go for a hunt together."
"No way…" she grinned.
"Yes way," he said, pulling her out of the nursery. The couple grabbed their bows and slipped silently into the woods for a hunt.