In the earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on the earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen -
all you had to do was to say it.
Nobody can explain this:
That's the way it was.
- after Nalugiaq (from Magic Words: Songs and Stories of the Netsilik Eskimos by Edward Field)
Native American olla from Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. The exact date is unknown, but it's believed to be old, and the traditional "heartline deer" design even older.
Enchanted is what they were
in the old stories, or if not that,
they were guides and rescuers of the lost,
the lonely, needy young men and women
in the forest we call the world.
That was back in a time
when we all had a common language.
- Lisel Mueller (from "Animals Are Entering Our Lives")
Doe and Deer Jars, made of blown glass, by American glass artist William Morris, based in the Pacific Northwest.
Deer in Trees bowl by American ceramicist C. Bacon, based in New England.
Deer and Doe porcelain boxes by English ceramicist Eleanor Bartleman, based in Devon.
Long ago the trees thought they were people.
Long ago the mountains thought they were people.
Long ago the animals thought they were people.
Someday they will say, long ago the humans thought they were people.
- from a Native American (Tulalip) story recounted by Johnny Moses
The deer photographs above are: young fallow deer (by UK photographer Josh Smythe); a deer buck at Dunham Massey Deer Park, in north-west England, during the rutting season (rubbing antlers in grass is a common rutting behaviour); an early morning doe and deer encounter; and two white-tailed deer-people.