It was once and was not, that there lived a great forest, and on the edge of it a little girl. A stream roamed through this forest and it sang to her, as did the many birds that filled the trees. Now you may think that the wood is no place for a young child, but it was home to her. Whenever she was able, the girl would venture into the green and brambled woods. As time passed, she went deeper and deeper into this forest and she came to learn the habits and the secrets of the animals who lived there.
But her mother, a superb seamstress of practical persuasion, did not understand her daughter’s curiosity and made every effort to dissuade her. But the little girl was a willful child, with a true heart for the wild, and thus refused to be deterred. So it was, she began to slip quietly away into the forest while her mother’s head was bent over her sewing.
Now the mother loved her child more than anything and because of this, she could neither keep her locked indoors, nor could she bear for her to wander in the wild where untold dangers lurked. So, the girl’s mother thought to sew fine silk pillow cases hoping that each night would find her child dreaming safely upon them. With every stitch she whispered a prayer for her daughter’s well-being. But, when the girl slept, it was not her mother’s prayers that whispered to her; instead she heard the murmurs of the forest animals calling her into their world.
And so it was, that the girl began to wander deeper into the forest to find the fabled creatures who had summoned her in her dreams and her waking. With eyes and ears as sharp as her mother’s needles, she watched and listened. Often she left small offerings for the animals, tiny altars that she would build from her forest gleanings. The animals befriended her as they had no other human, and they began to tell her their names and their stories.
As the girl grew older, she discovered that she had inherited her mother’s gift with needle and thread. But it was not quilts, dresses, or linens that she was called to fashion. Instead, like the Raven, she gathered all manner of cloth scraps, string, ribbons, buttons, and broken bits of finery. And the animals gifted her with clumps of their soft fur and with their most delicate and most imposing feathers. From her ragtag collections and with these gifts, she began to create the likeness of each animal.