In the Anishinabe Re-Creation story re-told by Anishnabe storyteller Basil Johnston in his work Ojibway Heritage, there has been a great flood and most life on Earth has perished, with the exception of birds and water creatures. Sky-Woman survives and comes to rest on the back of a great turtle. She asks the water creatures to bring her soil from the bottom of the waters so that she may use it to make new land. The water animals (the beaver, the marten, the loon) all try to help her and fail. Finally, Muskrat volunteers, much to the scorn of the others. Though ridiculed, Muskrat, the most humble of the water creatures, is determined to help. So he dives down while the animals and sky-woman wait.
“They waited for the muskrat to emerge as empty-handed as they had done. Time passed. Smiles turned to worried frowns. The small hope that each had nurtured for the success of the muskrat turned into despair. When the waiting creatures had given up, the muskrat floated to the surface more dead than alive, but he clutched in his paws a small morsel of soil.” Basil Johnston
The muskrat has a great deal to teach us about ourselves. As I read the piece that you can find here (Muskrat Magazine), I could see myself writing a modern short story, with Muskrat as the main character, teaching us all how we should strive to embody the sacred teachings. Read the article, and let me know what you think in the comments below.