Copyright 2001 Julie Weathers
All Rights Reserved
Young Pretty Elk stood in front of the lodge, surrounded by people and possessions. The proper amount of mourning time had passed and today was the give away. All of her dead husband’s belongings had been given away. The women of the tribe had cooked for days, preparing gifts for the poor.
“Young Pretty Elk did well,” said Lone Wolf. “I think I will tell stories of her beauty and generosity in years to come.”
“Yes,” agreed Snake. “I was with her when she traded hides for blankets to give to the old people. She could have traded for things she needed, but she wanted people to remember Spotted Horse and think kindly of him.”
“They will. He was a great hunter and warrior. She is a good woman. There will be a great many young men who will try to marry her.”
Lone Wolf was very happy with his world. He missed Spotted Horse, who was not only a good friend, but also a great inspiration for stories. It made his job easier. Young Pretty Elk had presented him with an old horse who would make the journeys from camp to camp as they followed the buffalo much more pleasant. He had no need for fiery war ponies or fast hunting ponies. The old horse was the perfect gift.
He looked at Snake and smiled. If she was nice to him, he might even let her ride the horse.
She glanced at him and caught him smiling at her. “What are you grinning at, old man?” she asked as she swatted him with her hawk feather fan.
She would walk the rest of her days.
“The last gift I have to give is my most precious,” Young Pretty Elk said. “Lame Deer, come here to your mother. I wish to give this child to Lone Wolf and Snake to raise. Lone Wolf has agreed to teach this child to become a story teller. I want him to live with them so he can be a great one.”
The people laughed and cheered at her generosity. They crowded around her and held her.
Lone Wolf looked at Snake was fanning herself calmly. “Did you know she was going to do that?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied without looking at him. “I asked her to do it. I could not give you children and we are too old for many children now if I could give them to you. We can take one child. You need someone to teach your stories to. He is a good boy and he is smart.”
Lame Deer smiled shyly at them as he led the old horse closer. His possessions were gathered in a small bundle.
Lone Wolf patted the boy on the head. “Let me hold your clothes,” he said. “Help that old woman get on the horse. She is so feeble she will probably fall down on the way back to our lodge.”