Many know the story of Noa as told in the Bible. God had made people but they were stupid and sinful and he regretted ever making them. To punish them he wanted to drown all of them. Everyone was to die but if he could find one human who wasn´t all that bad he would spare him. This man turned out to be Noa. He built an arc and moved in with two animals of all the animal species that lived on earth. After some time the water receded and Noa sent out a bird to check things out.
Most people who have read the Old testament now sees the image of a white dove with a green plant its beak. The proof that the world was livable again. But, the first bird that Noa sent out was another bird. The black raven was sent out first. He flew all over the newborn world and saw many strange and wonderful things. But he didn´t bother to return. A bit willful, don´t you think? The better behaved white dove got ravens job instead. He returned to Noa and gave him the good news. In the bible you can read that the first thing that happened to Noa was being caught lying naked in his tent very, very drunk. Shameful.
Where did the raven go? My guess is north because we find him in many stories and myths here. Many Native American stories tell us how the raven travelled around the world in mythical times. He is described as a creative force, a culture hero but also as a trickster, an unreliable character with conflicting traits. The raven (as well as his mythological cousin Coyote) mirrors the weaknesses of man. Greed, envy, jealousy, lust and moral chaos. But he is not an evil being. The reason things go bad is caused by his thrill seeking and impulsiveness. In spite of all his immoral behavior he is often the hero in Native American myths. He kills monsters, frees prisoners and wakes the dead. His greatest gift to man was the bringing of light (the sun) and the fire.
In Scandinavia too the ravens were considered fine beings. Oden had a much better relation to them than Noa had. The raven didn´t care for Noa but to Oden both Hugin (Mind) and Munin (memory) returned every night to give their reports about the lay of the land. Oden is called the one who sees all and for that he could thank his ravens.