The people of the HoIlow
had a always been good. The Camps who passed them sent signals of
friendship and slept safe on the open earth.
Now no more. Hand had
taught the boys to strike.
Travelers woke to wail
over their dead. They ran for their lives into the tall grass, holding
their hands over the mouths of the little ones. Blood ran everywhere. It
fell into the River, and even today this River is called Red.
The horror spread into
the Hollow. Children ran for fear when they saw the dripping scalps. Women
and girls spat on the tracks where the boys walked. The old men called for
a Council and for the Medicine Man.
"How can we make up for
what our Sons have done? How can we wash our Hollow from this crime? What
will be our Sacrifice? We want our Hollow to be as it was long ago.
Wicasa Wakan listened to
the old men. He went to his own lodge to listen to Wakantanka. He sat with
his whistle and rattle and burning sweetgrass. He did not sleep, but his
eyes were closed. He waited for Thunderer to bring him a message.
And Hand did not sleep.
He and his killers lit a big fire in the middle of the camp. They leaped
and killed again and again. They bragged and shouted to the girls, "Lift
up the tipi walls and follow us out into the grass. Your children will
have our blood in them and everyone will tremble when they call out."
But the camp listened
only to the Holy Man and prayed with him. An evil had come into their
Peace, and only Thunderer could cleanse it from them.
A wind stirred . The
whistle and rattle in the lodge stilled. Ate, Father, had heard his
people. He had accepted their sacrifice. His messenger was coming.
Through the smoke holes
women saw the dark wings of Thunderer. A flash and then another come from
Sudden fear touched the
shoulders of Hand. He crouched and shook like a water reed. Madness took
him, but he could not escape. He ran and ran, but the wings of Thunderer
beat him back into the flood that rained from the cloud.
Vines reached out for him
and took him by his ankles. The water rose to his screaming mouth and to
his gaping eyes. He was too evil to cry for mercy, and the talons of
Thunderer ripped out his sight, so he would never see the Happy Hunting
Wakantanka did not take
all the sacrifice offered to him by his people in the Hollow. Most sat in
their tipis and went to God with a prayer.
But one was saved. By her
father she was called Fawn.
When the Wicasa Wakan had
began his prayer Fawn slipped into the door of her mother's tipi. Her hair
was black as a raven and long. With a bone she began to comb it and oil
it. She set it into two braids and tied the ends with a bit of ermine.
From her bundle she drew her tassled dress and high white moccasins. Her
Medicine was calling her to flee the rising water.
Up and up the steep slope
she flew. The water rose higher behind her. All the world was covered. On
the top of the highest hill she stood bright and smooth-skinned in the sun
light. She was alone, the only one of her tribe not touched by man or by
the evil that Hand had brought to her people.
She began her song, and
the Great Spirit behind the Sun listened:
"I am grieved for the
evil that my brothers did. Your beautiful land is destroyed. I stand alone
with you. Let me sing my song, before I join my sisters. You were good to
us before evil entered our Peace. Now I grieve. I ask your kindness. Ate
make this ground, where I stand, holy again. Remember this little spot and
send your love here. From this ground make a new people and they will
worship you always. Now I go to you."
Her song and her great
grief made Fawn drop to the ground and she slept. The eye of Wakantanka
saw her, and he sent a white cloud to cover her. She slept many days, and
the cloud covered her.
She could not feel it,
but from the cloud new life stirred in her. She felt no pain either, but a
motion awakened her. It was a child hungry for her milk.
A tall brave looked down
on her and touched her face.
Below her the Hollow
was clean and bright again. Only the memory lingers--Sica
day even this bad name will be changed and be forgotten. Gentle smokes
will rise again. It will be called by its old name -- Mokoce Waste. (Good