The Fire Stealers


A children's book.

This traditional Hopi story tells of the Hopis' first arrival in this world at a time when it is still dark and cold. Lacking the comfort of fire, they attempt to obtain some from another village that already enjoys its benefits. When a young warrior fails in this task, they command four animals to steal the fire. Of these, owl, gopher, and coyote try in vain. Only vulture succeeds in the end, thereby ensuring the survival and comfort of the Hopis.
The Fire Stealers is set in a mythic time when people and animals were still able to communicate and interact with each other and when animals were acquiring the appearance and traits with which they are now endowed. By emphasizing the dependence of humans on animals, the story affirms the vital connections among all living species.