Friday, February 25, 2011

green willow(short story) part 3

A few days later, Winter Dove died. As was custom,
the village stopped their lives to pay honor to hers.
A huge fire was lit at the edge of the river nearby
and Winter Dove's body, wrapped in heavy blue and
brown blankets and adorned with her jewelry, was
laid atop the burning logs. In this way, Green Willow
became the medicine woman of the village now.

For a time, life was peaceful. Four seasons passed
with no worry to speak of. Green Willow carried on,
training Quiet Fox as an apprentice. But as the frost
disappeared from the grass and the leaves returned,
an ill wind settled upon the forest. Green Willow
could sense it, taste its bitterness even on the
mint leaves she was collection to make poultices.
"It's a strange world. One can sense danger before
it comes and yet we rarely take care to avoid it."
she said to herself, still kneeling in the grass
in a quiet clearing. Oueichi flew overhead in a
slow circle, and she watched him fly lower and lower
until he perched in front of her. "And where have
you been to, mischievous one?", she asked with a
grin, looking at the feathers of her inseperable
friend. Whuhooo...he replied, dropping
what was caught in his beak. She stared at it in
wonder at first, afraid to pick up the shiny belt
buckle. After a minute, she did so, tucking it into
her bag. Running at breakneck speed, she reached
the village in time to see Proud Hawk and five
warriors. He turned and greeted Green Willow with
a look of amusement. "And what makes you fly faster
than the light young sage?", he asked in a light
tone. "Father of the village, I fear a change is
coming." she replied, holding out the belt buckle.
Proud Hawk took it and viewed it with a somber look.
The sky above began to darken ominously.

Later that night, Proud Hawk called a council of
elders to discuss what should be done. "What has
worried us most is almost here. The pale skins."
he said quietly. "We should slaughter them all as
they did with the nations to the north!" Red Dog,
a fierce warrior yelled. "It may be best to leave.
Move in towards the mountains." Brown Turtle said.
"This is our home. We should fight as long the
spirits give us our breath. We can meet them in
the clearing just beyond the river. Seed the field
with their bones." Tall Oak, Proud Hawk's lead
general said in a low rumble. The debate went on
and on until Green Willow said in a voice strong
and clear, "I will go meet them." The tent fell
silent. "Medicine woman, you cannot joke at a time
like this!!" Red Dog said with a derisive laugh.
"Leave this talk to those who do not fear blood."

"And who among you does not have this fear? Who
else but one who was born to heal? Loud words do
not win other words nor battles. And these pale
skins...if the tales are to be believed, are not
a normal enemy. I only ask to try." Green Willow

"If you should perish-", Brown Turtle began.

Green Willow stood up. Oueichi, who had not moved
at all during the council, spread his wings
mightily as he perched on the rafter. He swooped
down and landed on her outstretched arm. "It is my
duty to this village, to this tribe to do what
must be done to save it. My life is a blade of
grass; if the wind takes me away, then something
more beautiful will grow in its place. Such is the
way of this world." Proud Hawk drew himself up
and took a puff of his pipe. After a minute, he
looked at Green Willow with pride and a touch of
sorrow. "What we have heard is the spirits' own
wisdom. Green Willow, you may go forth. This
village owes you its life. It took one who heals,
again, to show us that everything changes and that
this is another life we must all lead. In your
place, Quiet Fox will be our medicine woman. May
she live up to your name. With this, Proud Hawk
stood up and bowed. The other elders and warriors
followed suit.

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