in Myths and Legends
There is an old
legend that the eagle alone among animals can look into the
sun. According to the translation of St. Augustine, "The
sun invigorates the eyes of eagles, but injures our own."
Athapaskan myths portrayed eagles as the deliverers
of people from famine. A prince who gave an eagle a salmon
during time of plenty was repaid in the lean year that followed
by grateful eagles who first dragged salmon, then sea lions,
and eventually whales to shore in gratitude for the prince's
kindness. Such legends were probably inspired by the sight
of eagle parents carrying food to their nests.
Native North Americans believed the
thunderbird, a mythical super eagle, was responsible for creating
thunder and lightning by beating its wings. Native
Americans and Eagles
A Kwakiutl legend has it that the eagle once had
very poor eyesight. Because it could fly to the highest treetops,
however; a chief asked the eagle to watch for invading canoes.
Anxious to assist, the eagle convinced the slug, which in
those days had excellent vision, to trade eyes temporarily.
The slug agreed, but when the eagle's sentinel duties were
finished, the eagle refused to trade back eyes. Thus, goes
the legend, not only is the eagle's sharp vision accounted
for, but also the slowness of the slug.
The Navahos have a myth telling how eagles originated
when a warrior, Nayenezgani, slayed a monster who lived at
Wing Rock. Afterwards, he turned to the beast's offspring,
who were now alone in their nest. Rather than have them grow
up evil, he turned the youngest into an owl and the oldest
into an eagle, who would be a source for feathers for rites
and bones for whistles.
The Comanches myth of eagle creation began when the
young son of a chief died and was turned into the first eagle
as an answer to his father's prayers. The Camanche eagle dance
celebrates this legend.
The Pawnee believed the eagle to be a symbol of fertility
because they build large nests high off the ground and valiantly
protect their young. They honored the eagle with songs, chants,
Aztecs and related tribes established in the valleys
of Mexico, revered the eagle as a strong symbol, with feathers
used by that society's elite.
Chamrosh is a bird in Persian mythology said to live
on the summit of Mount Alburz.
It is the archetype of all birds, said to rule and protect
all avifauna on Earth. According to the Zend-Avesta, Persia
is pillaged every three years by outsiders, and when this
happens, the angel Burj sends Chamrosh out to fly onto the
highest mountaintop then snatch the pillagers in its talons.