Crow had a nest and she had been already sitting on her eggs many days. But she got tired of sitting there, and she flew away. While she was gone day after day, Hawk came by. She found nobody sitting on the nest. Hawk said to herself, "The person who owns this nest no longer cares for it. I am sorry for those eggs lying in that empty nest. I will sit on those poor little eggs and they will be my children." She sat many days on the eggs and nobody came to the nest. Finally the eggs began to hatch. Still no Crow came. The little ones all hatched out and the mother Hawk flew about getting food for them. They grew bigger and bigger and their wings got strong. So at last the mother Hawk took the little ones off the nest.
After all this time, the Crow remembered her nest and she came back to it. She found the eggs all hatched and the Hawk taking care of her little ones. One day she met Hawk out feeding with her little ones. "Hawk." "What is it?" "You must return these little ones you are leading around." "Why?" "Because they are mine." Hawk said, "Yes, you laid the eggs to be sure, but you had no pity on the poor eggs. You went off and left them. There was no one to sit upon them and I came and sat upon the nest and hatched them. When they were hatched I fed them and now I lead them about. They are mine and I shall not return them." Crow said, "I shall take them back." "I shall not give them up. I have worked for them and for many days I have fasted sitting there upon the eggs. In all that time you did not come near your eggs. Why is it now when I have taken care of the little ones and brought them up and they have grown that you want them back?" Crow said to the little ones, "My children, come with me. I am your mother." But the little ones answered, "We do not know you. Hawk is our mother." At last when she could not make the little ones come with her, she said, "Very well, I shall take this to court, and we shall see who will have the right to these little ones." Hawk answered, "That is good. I am willing. We will go to court."
So mother Crow took the mother Hawk before the king of the birds. Eagle said to Crow, "Why did you leave your nest?" The [paragraph continues]
Crow hung her head and had nothing to say. At last Crow said, "When I came back to my nest, I found my eggs already hatched and the Hawk taking charge of the little ones. I have come to ask that the Hawk be required to return the children to me." Eagle said to Mother. Hawk, "How did you find this nest of eggs?" "Many times I came to this nest, and found it empty. No one came for a long time, and at last I had pity upon the poor little eggs. I said to myself, 'The mother who made this nest can no longer care for these eggs. I should be glad to hatch these little ones.' I sat upon them and they hatched. Then I went about getting food for them. I worked hard and brought them up and they have grown." Mother Crow interrupted mother Hawk and said, "But they are my children. I laid the eggs." Mother Hawk answered, "It is not your turn. We are both of us asking for justice and it will be given to us. Wait till I have spoken." Eagle said to mother Hawk, "Is that all?" "Yes, I have worked hard to raise my two little ones. Just when they were grown the mother crow came back and asked to have them back again, but I shall not give them back. It is I who fasted and worked, and they are now my little ones." The king of the birds said, "The mother hawk is not willing to return the little ones to the mother crow, and if you had really had pity on your little ones, why did you leave the nest for so many days, and now are demanding them back? The mother hawk is the mother of the little ones, for she has fasted and hatched them, and flew about searching out their food and now they are her children." Mother Crow said to the King of the birds, "King, you should ask the little ones which mother they will choose to follow. They know enough to know which one they will take." So the king said to the little ones, "Which mother will you choose? "Both little ones answered together, "Mother Hawk is our mother. She is all the mother we know." Crow cried, "No, I am your only mother." The little Crow children said, "In the nest you had no pity on us, and you left us. Mother Hawk hatched us and she is our mother." So it was finally settled as the little ones had chosen that they were the children of Mother Hawk who had had pity on them in the nest and brought them up.
Mother Crow began to weep. The king said to Mother Crow, "Do not weep. It is your own fault that you have lost your children because you left the nest. This is the final decision of the king of the Birds that they shall go with the Mother Hawk." So the little ones stayed with mother Hawk, and Mother Crow lost her little children. 2
On a high bank two crows had nests near each other. They used to go hunting together. One stayed away a long, while. Her little ones suffered from hunger. When the other crow came back with her food she fed her own children and then she used to go to the children of the other crow and give them food too. They grew stronger and they knew this other crow as their mother. As they grew up, they got used to the other crow in their mother's place.
At last their own mother returned. Her little crows had already flown from the nest. She said, "I wonder where my children have gone. I have brought buffalo meat for them." They were at the neighbor crow's nest with the other little crows. The mother passed by where they were all together. Her little crows said to their foster mother, "Look, somebody is going to our nest." She answered, "That is your mother, children." "No, she is not our mother. You are our mother." The (newly returned) crow went to the other nest and said to the other crow, "I've come after my children." "Did you remember your children? I shall not return them to you for I have brought them up." "But I was the one who laid the eggs. I made them in the nest." "I suppose it didn't hurt your children to leave them alone all this time. I cared for them. I won't give them up." "I will have them back." "I won't give them up." "I will have the judge settle this between us." "All right, we'll see who will get back these little ones." "I won't ask here. I will ask way across to the south where the king is."
She went off crying. The little crows that she had hatched did not want to go back to her, so they stayed with the mother who had brought them up. The mother crow went off and flew south. She got to the king's house and there was a soldier outside. "Do you want the king?" he asked. "Yes." So the soldier said to the king, "King, they want you out-doors." The king said to her, "Who are you?" "I am Crow." "What is it?" "I am bringing suit. Another crow has taken away my children." "Is that so?" The King brought her inside. As she went in, they told a soldier outside to go for the other crow and all the children. He brought them into the king's house and told them to sit in a row. The king said, "You are ready now. Here are the children of both; it is your turn to answer whatever I ask." He said to the little crows, "Which is your mother?" The little crows said, "This is our mother." The mother that had left her children spoke up and said, "She took them from my nest when I was away hunting." Her two
little crows said, "We don't know her as our mother. This is the only mother we know. She fed us and brought us up. She is our mother. It was just yesterday this (stranger) crow came back. She came to get us and wanted to take us to her nest. We don't know her as our mother. This mother that came with us brought us up. We know her as our mother." So the crow took the two little crows away and kept them as her own children.
133:1 Informant 1. Notes, p. 236.
134:2 This judgment would hold good in human society too. If a mother neglects her child and another takes him in, even it the mother comes back and claims him she would not be likely to get him back.
135:3 Informant 2.