Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a raven named, Sligo. Sligo loved shiny objects and was always swooping up pretty things. All day long this little raven gathered glittering doodads with her talons and wings. High up into her tree she’d fly and decorate her nest with treasures. Filling her home up with coins, shiny paper, and other trinkets brought her such pleasures!

One day, Rilo, another little raven who lived nearby, spotted Sligo’s pretty doodads galore. He wanted her to share a few shiny items, or perhaps give him more! “Share something pretty with me!,” he demanded from the sky. Sligo was annoyed at his request, so she cawed back, “Why?” Rilo felt envious over items that rightfully belonged to Sligo. “It isn’t fair for you to keep such treasures all to yourself! Let me have some!,” screeched Rilo.

This comment ruffled Sligo’s feathers, so she squawked, “I have worked hard scavenging the land for beautiful things to add to my collection. You aren’t entitled to what’s mine, and I’ll only share at my own discretion.” With that she shooed him away. “You may leave now, as I dislike how you’re acting today.”

Rilo didn’t like Sligo telling him “no” one little bit. It made him so angry, he foamed at the beak and spit. He muttered under his breath, “We ravens have been taught that it is polite to share! I’m mad Sligo won’t let me into her nest to borrow something shiny from in there! I think she should be punished for not allowing me to take something fancy. I’ll go talk to an elder raven, like Nancy!” He flew from the treetops as quick as his wings would fly. He was headed deeper into the forest, when he spotted Nancy pecking at the ground nearby.

“Nancy!,” Rilo screeched, “Sligo has offended me! It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and she won’t let me borrow something of hers that’s shiny!” Nancy stopped pecking to listen to the story Rilo told. After he was finished tattling on Sligo, she cried, “No, that behavior won’t be tolerated for it’s rude and quite cold.” This time, Rilo and Nancy both took to the sky. They were off to reprimand Sligo, and so to her nest they did fly.

“Sligo! We have come to tell you that you acted poorly when you denied Rilo’s request,” squawked Nancy. “He ought to be allowed to play with something of yours that’s fancy.” Sligo beat her jet black wings defensively against her side. “Just because sharing is generally considered to be polite, doesn’t mean I always have to abide!  If something is rightfully mine, I do not have to give it to someone else to have or to borrow. It is mine, and I have the power to say, ‘no’,” replied Sligo.

Taken aback, Rilo and Nancy weren’t sure how to respond? It was then that Sligo’s mother returned from her journey to the pond. “What is happening here? Will someone please explain?” Nancy was more than happy to answer her, and so she began to complain. “Your daughter is the rudest raven I have ever known, for she refuses to share her shiny treasures with Rilo. ‘Sharing is caring,’ and so she shouldn’t say, ‘no’. This is very wrong of Sligo!”

Now it was Sligo’s mother’s turn to beat her jet black wings against her sides in defense. “Nancy, Rilo has no right to what is hers! Have you lost your sense?” Indignant, Sligo’s mother continued, “While sometimes it is the case that ‘sharing is caring,’ the Golden Rule is always applicable. For treating everyone and their belongings with respect is the only way for relationships to be amicable. I’m certain the two of you prefer to choose how and when your things are handled too. We can all agree it feels good to share, but only when it’s something we want to do. If someone, like Sligo, doesn’t want to share something that belongs to them, that is perfectly okay. Guilt, name calling, and pressuring someone is never right, especially so close to Valentine’s Day.”

Nancy and Rilo had trouble comprehending such a bold speech. “Are you stating that there are times when we don’t need to share with others?,” Rilo let out a disbelieving screech. “Yes, for drawing boundaries around such things is a healthy attitude to have. If my daughter, or anyone else, has a whole, they don’t necessarily need to give up half! Rilo, think about something that holds a lot of value to you. What if sharing it meant it could be damaged or broken, would you feel that sharing anyway was the right thing to do?” He considered this for a moment before he shook his head, “no.” She continued, “Then I believe you now understand Sligo. Her feelings against sharing something she worked hard for are justifiable. You and Nancy ought to respect her wishes and recognize her feelings are credible.”

Now it was Nancy’s turn to challenge Sligo’s outspoken mother. “But it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and sharing is a great way to show love and care for one another. I think your daughter is being selfish and should give something shiny to Rilo. What do you have to say to that, Sligo?” Sligo thought carefully for a moment, then cawed, “Perhaps I am being selfish, but the decision is mine. I don’t always have to compromise, even during the celebration of Saint Valentine. I do agree it’s important to show love and care for others, but never at my own expense. There are many other ways I can be loving that work for me, and won’t risk offense.”

“For example, Rilo and I can move on from this business of sharing and find a fun game to play. We can turn this experience around and find cheer today. You’re still my friend, Rilo, and I’m willing to bet I’m still your friend too. We can have different opinions about things and still remain on good terms, because that’s what real friends do. So what do you say? Shall we go on a scavenger hunt for shiny things that you can take home today?”

Rilo cawed happily. For he found he agreed with Sligo wholeheartedly. “I’m sorry, Sligo, I should not have demanded that you share and I’m sorry my behavior towards you wasn’t the best. I understand it was wrong of me to pressure you and to bring Nancy up to your nest. I value your feelings and now I know your shiny things really matter to you. From now on I’ll honor that and not ask you to compromise when you don’t want to.”

They touched feathers in a friendly way, and the matter was quickly forgotten about Sligo not sharing her shiny things. The excitement of finding his own, made the last of the bad feelings drift away under their beating wings. Nancy and Sligo’s mother also made amends. For this is what individuals do when they want to remain as friends.

So always remember that there will be times when sharing doesn’t feel like a good thing to do. That’s okay, as long as you remain loving and remember how important others are to you. Shining solutions can be found, just like when Sligo suggested a game to end bad feelings with Rilo. There are ways to end conflicts amicably, and if you look for them, they’ll show. Always remember to honor yourself and your feelings, just like Sligo. This is the best way to treat yourself with respect and that’s always the right way to go! Those who care for you will honor the boundaries you set. Be loving, yet firm, whenever they forget.