The Last Shaman

                                                     By 

                                                  Arthur 

 CHAPTER 14


CONTACT AUTHOR:

Artcart65@gmail.com

A LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR:

I have often been asked by the many readers if I was Native American
because of the traditions and ceremonies described in this story, the
answer is No, I am a New Zealander of mixed blood, and still live in New
Zealand, this story was created because of my lifelong interest in the
plight of the Native American, especially those who were fortunate enough
to be given Two Spirits by Wakan Tonka, or as we know him Ranga Rawa, the
Creator.

It was some years ago I was given the distinct privilege of being offered
the comradeship and brotherhood in the Raven Clan by a Medicine Elder of
which I felt I could not refuse, since that time we have been in constant
contact and all parts of this story pertaining to ceremony or traditions of
the Native American are first read and approved by him.

If there are some anomalies in the ceremonies I ask for your forgiveness,
it is not and never has been my intention to take such important traditions
lightly just for the sake of a story, for those youth that today live under
what they perceive as the cloud of Two Spirits, I ask you to look again,
you have been given a gift by the Creator, if you were not worthy in his
eyes or the eyes of your ancestors then you would not have it and you would
remain a sleeper just like those of one spirit, you are the keepers of the
balance, a Two Spirit person has never started a war nor have they ever
refused to offer help, that is because they are in balance.

For those readers who are not Native American, I would ask you to look
about, if you see one of those young men of Two Spirits that are Native
American, I ask you to put aside any thoughts of differences and extend a
hand to them if they need it, bigotry and repression are the marks of a
person with no balance, most often one with only One Spirit.

We are all children of the one Creator and we are legion, make an offer and
you will help your own balance.

Ka Kite Anou

Arthur




Liam left the trailer fully dressed, he was almost unceremoniously pushed
aside by the two boys as they entered the trailer hand in hand, Liam raised
his eyes but hid his smile, it was a new time and a new world, he would
have to get used to seeing his only Grandson with another boy, it was a
pity they could not have a ceremony of their own.

He well knew that in the old world the two boys would have been despised
and looked down upon by others but at least here and now, they had a
chance, a thought struck him and he looked around for Ravenhawk, he could
not see the boy but he did see the lonely figure of Manuel standing under a
tree with a faintly misty look in his eyes, Liam decided to join him, after
all, they were now practically family.

"Hi Manuel, how are you doing?"

"Ah, Senor Kelly, it is a sad day but I think it is also a happy day, were
it not for Consuela I would have sent the boy away but now I realize this
is a new time, we must change or there will be little future for any of
us."

"That's very true Manuel, I was thinking much the same thing myself and its
Liam not Senor Kelly, and we are practically family now."

"Yes ah... Liam we are family now, I have been standing here and thinking,
it is such a shame that the boys do not have a ceremony to join them
together, I know in the old world before the sickness it would not have
been taken kindly but now we must change."

"Again that was just what I was thinking, perhaps if we ask Ravenhawk he
will know what to do, it is his group after all."

"Yes, yes the Indio is very grown up for one so young, tell
me...Ahm...Liam, are you thirsty, this is meant to be a day of fiesta, a
man can not have a fiesta if he is thirsty?"

"You have something there Manuel but unfortunately my supply is in the
trailer and I don't think it would be a good idea to go in there just now."

"That is no problem, excuse me a moment; JESUS?"

The young voice came from behind the trailer, what the boy was doing back
there they had no idea but they were not going to ask.

"Si Papa?"

"Go to the tent and bring the two large folding chairs then ask your cousin
to find some of those Lemons and Limes, put them under the tree near the
truck, I will meet you there."

"Si Papa."

"Come with me Liam, we are going to have our own Fiesta while Consuela does
her cooking, it will be night time before it is all ready so we have time
to do what men must do in these times."

The smile lit up Manuel's face as he lead the way to where he had parked
the old truck under a tree, once there he reached into the back and took
down a carton and then looked around again and pulled out a bottle filled
with a yellow liquid, Liam knew what that was, this was going to be a long
fiesta but what the hell, it had been a long time since he had been able to
relax, taking care of Junior had been his main focus and now he no longer
had to worry.

Jesus soon appeared with two folding chairs, his cousin Maria held a plate
with six lemons and two limes on it along with a sharp knife, there was a
small bowl of what looked like salt in her other hand.

"Now Liam, I am sorry the beer is not very cold but after the first one we
will not know any difference and the Tequila is always ready, please take a
chair, this is not the sort of work a man does standing up."

Liam chuckled as he did as he was asked, he watched as Manuel expertly
opened the beer bottles then cut small wedges of Lime and pushed them in
the top, next he cut thin wedges of lemon onto the plate and placed the
salt close by, by this time Jesus had returned with three clean glasses,
Manuel smiled at his last surviving son and poured some beer into one of
the glasses then added a slice of lime on the side of the glass, he handed
it to Jesus then ruffled the boys hair.

"Just one or your Aunty will kill me like last time."

The boy smiled and blushed as he took the glass and sipped a small amount
before sitting on the ground at his father's feet.

"Isn't he a little young for alcohol Manuel?"

"Not at all Liam, it is better he learn now so there is little mystery when
he is older, this way I can watch over him and one glass will do little
harm, as we said, this is a new world, perhaps we can make a few less
mistakes than the last time."

Liam nodded his head, he never thought that the man who was little more
than a low wage worker could have so much good common sense, as he lifted
his bottle of beer with the wedge of lime in the neck to his lips, he
suddenly realized that perhaps he had been missing out on something all
these years, here he was, sitting under a tree with a one-time migrant
worker whom he thought was ignorant but instead he was being taught lessons
and had found a forming friendship with, this new world was indeed a time
for change.

Liam saluted Manuel with the bottle then put it to his lips just as Manuel
was filling two smaller glasses with Tequila, it was going to be a long day
and Liam couldn't care less, he leaned back in the comfortable deck chair
and sighed with satisfaction, it was good to be alive.

Both men were on their second tequila when they saw Ravenhawk walking to
one of the new cabins, as he saw the two reclining men he smiled and waved,
Liam waved back then called out.

"Ravenhawk, do you have a minute, there's something we would both like to
ask you?"

Ravenhawk changed his direction and walked towards the two men, he almost
smiled to himself when he caught sight of what they were doing, he moved up
and squatted down near them, he did not miss the fact that the young boy
was also drinking.

"What would you like Grandfather?"

Liam sighed, he would just never get used to the term.

"Manuel and I were both thinking about the boys joining up, we said it was
a shame they could not have a ceremony of some sort, it's just as we both
said, it is a new time, there should be new ideas."

"I agree Grandfather, yes there is something that could be done, I know
before the Christians would call it marriage but for this I think it should
be something more to the old ways."

"How so?"

"When two people came together there was a ceremony that joined them, we
had no word for it like "Marriage" but it meant that the two people were
joined together, only the white man called it marriage, it is their name
for joining, so, if you wanted it we could call it the `Joining' it would
be a short ceremony but just as meaningful."

"What do you think Manuel, does that sound about right for what we were
talking about?"

Manuel paused for a few seconds and contemplated what had been said, after
a short pause he nodded his head.

"Yes, that is just what we both want; we have no priest here, would you
perform the ceremony for us?"

"Yes of course I would, I think that perhaps Robert and Margret might like
it as well."

"Good then it is settled." Replied Liam, "when do you think would be a good
time?"

"Why not now? We have a fiesta and we have two couples, if we do this
before certain old men get to drunk then we will have more reason to
celebrate."

The laughter in Ravenhawk's voice made both older men smile.

"Then it's settled, we have our first joining in two hours, just enough
time for some old men to get a little tipsy." Liam laughed and saluted
Ravenhawk with his half empty bottle of beer.

Ravenhawk left the two men to go and find the others, he also had to make a
few preparations, he was not sure of the full ceremony but he would have to
do what he knew was right and hope that the ancestors would forgive any
transgressions, he went in search of Robert and Margret, the two boys he
knew where to find, it then struck him that he and Antonio had not really
been joined but then he thought that it made little difference, they had
been joined under the eyes of the Creator, that was enough for both of
them.

It took only a few minutes explanation for Robert and Margret to readily
agree to the ceremony although Ravenhawk knew that by the old traditions
they should really have been asked to spend a month in preparation, he felt
that this was a time when things could be changed, he knew a little about
the ceremony everyone used to call `Marriage' but he wanted this one to be
a fitting start to their new clan and a new revival.

Ravenhawk was undecided as to which one of several ceremonies he could use,
it had to be able to be performed at short notice but also had to be
acceptable to Creator and the Ancestors, Ravenhawk let his mind wander over
the few ceremonies that he knew of, those that required long preparations
would have to be put aside.

Ravenhawk started to go through his list, there was `The Right of Seven
Steps' but this one was long and he did not have the time for preparation,
next was the `Blanket Ceremony' this was one of the easier and quicker
ceremonies and was well liked by most tribes; next came the `Fire Ceremony'
this one was powerful but required more time to organize than he had at
hand.

Ravenhawk thought harder, there were many ceremonies he could now think of
but most took time to be ready and involved long days of preparation,
finally he cut it down to three possibilities, the `Blanket Ceremony' the
`Basket Ceremony' and lastly the `Wedding Vase Ceremony' each had its own
complications but each also could be readied faster for his needs.

Firstly he thought through the `Blanket Ceremony' for that he would need
two blue blankets and one white one and he doubted that they had any of
those colours, even though he may be able to find some cloth amongst the
bolts they had got for curtains and clothing but they were not blankets,
next was the `Basket Ceremony' where could he find four baskets for the two
couples to use, another problem.

Lastly there was the `Wedding Vase Ceremony' for this he would need a two
spouted vase and that also was a doubtful item, Ravenhawk put his thinking
cap on, there had to be a way, Creator would never have given him this
thought if there was no way to carry it out, as he sat and thought he did
not see Little Bear walking towards him, his shadow, Peter close behind.

Little Bear plopped his butt down beside Ravenhawk and looked up at his
Father.

"Poppa Raven?"

"Yes Little Bear?"

"What are you thinking?"

"I have a problem to solve so I am sitting here to let my head work it
out."

"What's a probim?"

"Ah yes, well Little Bear, it's a time when something that you need to do
seems to have no answer but you have to find one anyway."

"Oh, so what is this probim?"

"It's called a Problem, not a probim, well let me see now, we have two
couples that want to be joined together like being married but the
ceremonies I know need things I don't have and that is the problem."

"Oh, Ok, well what do you need, Peter and me can have a hunting game to
find them, it will be lots of fun, everyone else has things to do but we
have nothing, can we play the hunting a problem game?"

Ravenhawk could only laugh, trust a little boy to make it all seem so easy,
he finally decided he had little to lose, why not let the boys have some
fun, this was meant to be a day of celebration after all.

"Ok, Little Bear, here's the game, we have three ceremonies but I only need
to use one, now for each ceremony I need certain things and each one is
different but just as hard, do you understand that so far?"

"Yes, you want us to hunt for the problem things, what are they?"

Ravenhawk was almost laughing at the excited sound in Little Bear's voice
as the boy got closer to the game.

"Well you only have to find the items for one ceremony but I don't know
which one it will be, so if I tell you about all three then you can see
which of them you can find, Ok?"

"Yes, yes, tell me, tell me."

Little Bear was almost jumping up and down in his excitement.

"Firstly there is a need for four blankets, two must be blue and two must
be white, now if you cannot find them then you must search for four woven
baskets, not he shop bought ones but ones that are made in the old way that
looks like thin sticks woven together, if you cannot find them then there
is only one other, it is a very special vase that has two spouts, one on
each side, this one would be very hard to find but you must look all the
same."

"Ok, is that all, can we go hunting problems now?"

"Yes you can go and hunt for the problems now but remember that you only
have to find one of the three not all of them and you only have two hours
so you better get busy."

"Ok Poppa Raven, we'll find them I know we will."

Little Bear jumped up and ran off on his hunt with Peter close behind him,
as they disappeared Ravenhawk could only think of what to do if they came
back with nothing, he would then have a twofold problem, one, what ceremony
could he do without the items and two, how to make Little Bear feel better
if he could not find the items and became despondent at the failure, it was
going to be a long two hours, Ravenhawk set about sending a prayer to
Creator to ask for help for the little ones.

An hour had passed and the little ones had not returned with anything, at
that time he saw the door to the trailer open and the two boys step out,
Philippe looked serenely confident and very much proud of his bedroom
skills, he still had his macho swagger but now it seemed tempered with a
little humility, Liam looked as though he had been through an old fashioned
ringer, his bright red hair was well mussed and his face glowed brightly
but he looked well satisfied although a little unsteady on his feet, the
two boys were heading towards where the older men sat, before they went too
far, Ravenhawk called to them.

"Liam, Philippe, can I have a word, it won't take long?"

The two boys turned towards Ravenhawk and came over, they both had lost the
previous sour look of animosity that they had carried for days, all their
problems had been solved while Ravenhawk's had increased.

"What would you like Ravenhawk?" Philippe asked as he put one protective
arm around Liam's thin shoulders.

Ravenhawk began to describe the idea of having a ceremony of `Joining for
the two new couples, he told them that the older men approved and asked if
is what they would like, Philippe was quick to answer.

"Yes, it would mean that no other man could take Liam away from me, it is
not the law of the church but I think it would be a good idea, we will do
it."

It seemed Liam had little say in it at this stage but Ravenhawk had to ask,
this had to be a partnership and not seen as a one man band, he thought he
would have to sit down with the two of them at some stage and tell them
what it really meant to be joined like they were going to be, they had to
realise that in the old times the joining of two men meant it was a
partnership which could benefit everyone but first he would have to break
through Philippe's macho streak, just another little problem to solve.

The two boys had left Ravenhawk to join the men under the tree, Ravenhawk
had warned them about drinking alcohol before the ceremony, as he turned
his head he saw the two small boys coming towards him with their arms
loaded, it seems they had been not only lucky but inventive in their quest.

Ravenhawk waited while the two boys placed their loads on the ground in
front of him, Little Bear had four small wicker baskets that at one time
might have held something like Easter eggs, inside the top one was a double
glass bottle about eight inches high with two spouts, it was now empty but
looked as though it had held some liquid at some time in the past.

Peter was carrying two cream coloured blankets and two chequered blue and
yellow ones, it seemed they had been busy, where they had found everything
Ravenhawk could not guess in his wildest dreams.

"Well Little Bear, Peter, you certainly know how to solve problems, good
work but tell me how you found them all?"

"It was easy Poppa Raven, we just asked Poppa Tonio, he asked Consuela and
she helped us look around, the funny bottle was high up on a shelf and
Poppa Tonio had to get it down for us, the blankets come from Consuela's
tent, they are not the right colour all over but we thought it might be ok
if you think so, the baskets we found in the lean-to shed they were in a
big box with lots of party stuff."

"You both did really well, I thought you might only find one of them but
you found them all, which ones do you think we should use?"

"Can we use all of them Poppa Raven?"

"No, we have to do it right so we can only use one of them."

"Oh, Ok."

Little Bear turned to Peter and they began to whisper to each other, even
though Ravenhawk could hear every word he sat silently waiting for them to
make up their minds.

"Poppa Raven, we've decided."

"Good and what did you decide?"

"We think it should be the blankets, is that good?"

"Yes Little Bear, that's really good, so the blankets it is, now I want you
to go back inside and get your best clothes ready, the nice new ones that
Poppa Tonio beaded for you, you as well Peter, dress in your best clothes
for the ceremony."

The two boys ran off leaving everything on the ground for Ravenhawk to pick
up, he would now have to go to a quiet place and say the prayers of thanks
to Creator and the Ancestors for this day and for providing everything for
the first joining ceremony.

With the prayer of thanks finished, Ravenhawk went back to the cabin
carrying everything with him, he would now have to get into his own full
regalia and prepare the circle for the joining of the two couples, the word
had gone out quickly of what was going to happen and everyone else was busy
trying to get their best clothes out to wear.

Ravenhawk was very careful when taking out his Grandfathers long Eagle
feathered bonnet, this was the first time it had seen the light of day
since he had packed it carefully back at home, as he hung it to air out and
settle the feathers, he began to dress in his Medicine shirt, beaded
Leggings and moccasins, next he checked his medicine bag for everything he
would need, there was still a lot to do and time was running out.

When Ravenhawk was ready to leave the cabin he felt as though he was
carrying an extra twenty pounds, the bonnet was heavy on his head, it was
the first time he had worn it but he wanted the spirit of his Grandfather
to be with him during the upcoming ceremony, he also wore one string of
beads from each of his Uncles and a single strand of medicine elders beads
from his Grandfather.

With his medicine bag over his shoulder and carrying a single Eagle feather
and a small stone bowl in his right hand and his Chanupa in his left; he
stepped outside, the four blankets were neatly folded just outside the
stone circle where everyone else was waiting, all dressed in the best
finery, it was time to begin.

As Robert was one of those being joined and the drum not having gone
through all of the sweats yet, Ravenhawk did not expect to have any musical
instrument available but, much to his surprise, Peter stood beside Little
Bear with Roberts wooden block and stick, he then remembered that both of
the Arapaho boys had been taking lessons.

Ravenhawk checked that everyone was ready, once confirmed he began the song
of opening the circle to the tapping beat of Peter's block, after his third
circumference he stopped in front of Robert and Margret where he took up
the two blue checked blankets and then lay them over their shoulders, once
that was done he lead them into the circle through the Eastern position to
the central fire place carrying one of the cream blankets.

When he was at the fire place, he called for Peter and Little Bear to join
them, when the two boys were standing alongside, Ravenhawk began the prayer
of thanks to Creator and the Ancestors, as he finished the prayer, which he
had translated into English so the others could understand him, he nodded
to Little Bear and Peter and began the song of fire lighting.

Once the fire was alight and Little Bear had watch over the herbs that had
to be sprinkled, Ravenhawk started the prayers for the four directions, as
he turned to each of the directions, he would sprinkle a mixture of Tobacco
and ghost sage on the fire and use his single Eagle Feather to carry the
prayers upward so all the spirits could hear them.

With Little Bear watching over the cleaning of the fire surround and using
his small stick broom to keep it clean, Ravenhawk then began the song he
had thought out for the joining, using a length of tanned deer skin as a
thong he tied the left and right arms of the couple together as they stood
facing each other.

Peter kept a slow tapping on the block as Little Bear scooped some live
embers into the stone bowl that he had got from Ravenhawk then handed it to
the teen, Ravenhawk added a small amount of tobacco, ghost sage and dried
cedar bark to the smouldering embers, as the smoke rose he used the single
Eagle feather to brush the smoke towards the couple while saying the prayer
of joining.

When Ravenhawk had finished purifying the couple with the scented smoke he
reached forward and removed the two blue blankets and, as they both turned
to stand side by side he laid the cream blanket over both of them as a sign
of their now being joined, they would keep the blanket as a sign of their
joining, the two blue blankets would have to be reused by Philippe and
Liam.

For the last item in the ceremony, he took out his Chanupa and, along with
the song of Pipe Filling, he lit it and presented it to the couple to his
left, after taking a small puff, each of them then said the vows they had
practiced only an hour ago, for them this had to be real as none could tell
a falsehood while smoking the Chanupa, they had been told this by Ravenhawk
when he discussed their vows with them.

As neither Robert nor Margret had any relatives apart from young Peter,
Consuela and Dean had volunteered to stand as witnesses for them, when
Ravenhawk lifted his head and nodded to them, they walked through the East
position which was the direction of the beginning as well as the place of
the Earth Mother and so she also would watch over the couple.

The pair were lead away under the single blanket by Dean and Consuela, as
they left, Ravenhawk picked up the two blue blankets and went out of the
circle to place them over the shoulders of Philippe and Liam, behind him
Little Bear was still watching the fire and, as he sprinkled more herbs
onto the flames, he said the small prayer he had been taught.

As Ravenhawk was about to take the two boys into the circle, Dean and Karl
approached him, with a little embarrassment they asked if they also could
be joined, Ravenhawk now had a quandary, he had only one cream blanket
left, when he said as much, Robert and Margret told him the boys could use
theirs and, when some time in the future they had time they would go in
search of proper white blankets for all of them to keep, these ones all
belonged to Consuela and Manuel, they would need them for their own beds.

Ravenhawk agreed to carry out the ceremony for the two boys after Philippe
and Liam had been joined, by this time the sun was well down and there was
still a way to go, Ravenhawk escorted the two blanket covered boys into the
circle through the Eastern position and towards the fire, as before he
began with the prayer to Creator and the Ancestors, after that the ceremony
followed the same as for the first couple.

Liam Senior and Manuel wanted to be the witnesses for the two boys but
Ravenhawk had to explain to them that they could not enter the sacred
circle because they had been drinking alcohol, the two older men were
disappointed and looked a little embarrassed but admitted they were the
last ones that wanted to spoil it for the boys, it was Antonio and Karl
that stepped forward to do the honours, Liam and Manuel waited outside the
circle but were ready to give both boys a huge hug when they exited.

The final ceremony for Dean and Karl went through the same, they had Robert
and Margret stand witness for them, by this time it was more than an hour
after dark, Liam senior had fired up the large new generator and placed
three light stands around the area for light, when all was finished and
Ravenhawk had gone through the ceremony of closing the sacred circle,
Consuela called that the food was ready.

The table from inside the cabin had been manhandled out onto the veranda,
there Consuela had piled it high with food, it was not long before everyone
was back in a full festive mood, the chatter was mainly about the ceremony
and toasting the happy couples, of course this meant everyone, even the
stern Consuela, had to at least drink one glass of tequila for the toast,
as Liam Senior had foretold, it turned into a long night of fiesta, the
next morning would show the results of the first true happy party since the
sickness.

Ravenhawk was the only one that would not drink tequila, he had closed the
sacred circle but he wanted to perform the second sweat lodge for the
necklaces and drum, he had put the two younger boys to bed early and told
then they had another ceremony to work on the next day, after the initial
disappointment at missing some of the party, they readily accepted his
advice and went to their beds.

The next morning, after the morning prayers to Wakan Tanka; Ravenhawk was
inside the sweat lodge, the two younger boys were at their places around
the fire and tending the stones with prayer and herbs, the rest of the
people in the clearing were still asleep from their late night revelry,
only Antonio and Consuela had arisen with Ravenhawk as the first glimmer of
a new day broke over the trees.

The second sweat ceremony took the same form as the first, the third would
be the same be held the following day, the last of the four would be held
the day after that and would be the final stage for the necklaces and drum,
Ravenhawk would then be able to present the necklaces and the drum for use,
he was looking forward to the giving out of the necklaces, it would be a
symbol of their new clan and should bring all of them together in a final
gesture of gift giving.

Ravenhawk had already planned how he would give out the items, it would be
done as a ceremony of gift giving, Ravenhawk thought it would be a good way
for everyone to be together and feel the special occasion as one that truly
brought them all together as one clan, he wanted it to be remembered by all
of them as the time they became one people.

When he was finished, Ravenhawk left the sacred circle open, he had
previously told the others that it would be better if they avoided walking
into or through the circle until the sweat Lodge ceremony was over and they
had respected his request, they knew the circle meant a great deal to him
and showed the respect by keeping away.

Ravenhawk emerged from the second sweat and took the two boys with him
after offering the final prayers, it was time for the boys to eat and to
see if anyone had made it out of bed yet.

In the cabin only Antonio and Consuela were up and about, the smell of
cooking food was heavy in the air as the three walked in the door, the two
boys headed straight for Consuela, they were hungry and knew she would not
keep them that way for too long, Antonio was only too happy to have his
Warrior back and encircled him with his warm arms as they heard the two
boys asking for food from Consuela.

Slowly the others began to rise from their beds, some more worn than
others, Manuel and Liam Senior both looked the worse for wear and were
given stern looks from Consuela as she placed food in front of them, her
look alone was enough to keep both older men silent, of the newly joined
couples, Philippe and Liam Junior were the last to arrive for breakfast.

It was noticed by all that Philippe was sporting a swollen cheek and puffy
right eye, there were no signs on Liam Junior but the arrogant and macho
swagger of Philippe seemed to be missing, Ravenhawk smiled to himself, it
seemed the boys had worked things out on their own, Philippe seemed to also
be a lot more concerned for Liam now than he had been before the Joining
Ceremony.

The talking was subdued due to the slightly seedy feeling of the older men
but it was also seen that the two women had made it plain that this sort of
party would not happen too often in the future, both Robert and Margret
glowed with a new persona as they sat side by side to eat.

After breakfast, it was time to start making more permanent plans, there
was now a lot to do and they had to start to think about the burgeoning
clan, there were new cabins to be built and it was talked over that
Consuela should really have a better place for cooking and tending such a
large number of people for meals, it was Karl that suggested they build a
special place for Consuela with ovens and long tables for the others to sit
at.

It was Liam Senior that suggested Dean should sit down and see what he
could design for the building they would name as the canteen, it was to be
Consuela's domain so she should be included in the design process, it would
mean that Antonio would have to be with them because of the language
difficulty.

Manuel decided he wanted to look for a good place to plant a crop, there
was little ideal planting time left and he wanted to at least get corn into
the ground, there would be other vegetables as well but he wanted the corn
in first, Liam Senior offered to go with him to find a suitable place for
their new garden, slowly the others found projects for the day, Margret had
caught the two boys before they could escape, it was time for their
lessons, they were quickly joined by Jesus and Maria, after Consuela had
spoken to them.

Margret took the four youngsters out and away from the cabin, she knew that
Karl and Dean would want some peace while they worked on Consuela's new
kitchen and dining hall.

Ravenhawk left them all to go and look over the horses, he was quickly
greeted by the Pinto and he saw that the Pinto Mare had also now dropped
her foal, she must have dropped it during the night as it now stood
reasonably firmly on its thin legs, the other foal was close by but kept
well under the eye of the large Morgan Mare, the Appaloosa seemed to be
above the others as he grazed alone just a short distance away.

The gelding and two Wagon horse seemed content to slowly graze where they
pleased, all the horses seemed to be happy to make their own herd and
stayed always within sight of each other, Ravenhawk smiled, Wakan Tanka did
his work in mysterious ways.

Over the next four days everything seemed to have sped up, Karl's design
for the new building to be known as the Canteen was nearly finished, much
to the surprise of all those concerned, Consuela had insisted that the
kitchen had wood fired stoves, she said she was not happy using electricity
and in the long run the wood fired stoves would last much longer.

Slowly the design was improved and the final plan was then put up for
everyone to look at, Liam Senior had accepted the task of deciding what
materials would be needed and how to source them as well as any extra tools
they might need, it was a big construction for such a small number of
people and so it was decided they needed to make another trip into the town
for supplies.

Manuel and Liam Senior had found a nice small clearing only ten minutes
from the cabin where he could plant his garden, everyday he was away and
worked on setting up his garden area, once all was planned he wanted to
also go into town to see if he could find some machinery to turn the earth
and begin planting.

On the morning of the fifth day, Ravenhawk said the sweat lodge ceremony
was at an end, it was time to present the gifts to everyone, to this end he
got a blanket and laid it on the ground inside the still open sacred circle
as everyone gathered outside, Little Bear and Peter were at their place
tending the new fire after all the prayers and songs had been said or sung.

Ravenhawk sat behind the spread blanket facing the East, it was from this
position that the others would all enter the circle, laid out on the
blanket were the necklaces and the midsized drum, at the four corners of
the blanket were placed the four red topped stakes with the single raven
feather tied to each as well as a string of small green beads and one black
and one red ribbon tied to each.

Ravenhawk had created a new song he called `The Song of Gift giving' just
for this occasion, he used it as the final song before giving out the
necklaces and the drum, he did not start the song until everyone was
standing inside the circle, it was to be the final song before he gave out
the gifts, after that he would close the circle and the time for work would
begin, there was so much still to do if they were going to be a family.

When the song had been sung, it was Little Bear that got to select the
first necklace, all of the name tags had been removed and only Little Bear
knew which one belonged to which person, only he seemed to know the
difference in each article, the first one he selected was the specially
made one for Ravenhawk, with steady hands he reached down and picked up the
necklace with the five river polished red stones, next he turned to
Ravenhawk and solemnly placed it over Ravenhawk's head and settled it
around his neck then stepped back.

Ravenhawk suddenly felt a familiar feeling run through him, it was a
combination of slight dizziness, shortness of breath and the feeling of
someone watching him from afar, it was the touch of Wakan Tanka, the
necklace was to his satisfaction.

It was Little Bear that then lifted the next necklace and whispered into
Ravenhawk's ear who it belonged to, the next one was for Antonio, one by
one the small boy took great care to select each necklace and whisper the
name, Ravenhawk would call the person forward and Little Bear would place
it around their necks, when it finally came to the drum it was no secret
who it belonged to.

It was obvious to Ravenhawk that each person was also touched by the hand
of Wakan Tanka as he watched the strange look come over their faces as soon
as the necklace settled around their necks, each member of the new clan was
now being protected by the hand of Wakan Tanka, it was a good start to the
new clan.

Robert solemnly stepped forward to take hold of the drum and beater, the
beater had been carved by Peter, how he knew what to do none of them knew,
it was just something he began to do with a crooked stick one day when
playing with Little Bear.

After the last gift had been given and Ravenhawk had finished the ceremony
of closing the circle, there seemed to be a calmness come over the
assembled people and the clearing, it was as though this time was meant to
be remembered in all their minds, it was Little Bears high pitched voice
that broke the spell.

"Poppa Raven, can we play now, no school today please, please?"

Ravenhawk and everyone else laughed when they heard him, there seemed to be
little that held his attention to long but after all he was still just a
little boy and time was different for him, almost as one they felt the
spell broken and began to talk amongst themselves as to what needed to be
done.


TBC.


Artcart65@gmail.com


 

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