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Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:34 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
by Zitkala-Sa

In one of his wanderings through the wooded lands, Iktomi saw a rare bird sitting high in a tree-top. Its long fan-like tail feathers had caught all the beautiful colors of the rainbow.

Handsome in the glistening summer sun sat the bird of rainbow
plumage. Iktomi hurried hither with his eyes fast on the bird.

He stood beneath the tree looking long and wistfully at the peacock's bright feathers. At length he heaved a sigh and began:

"Oh, I wish I had such pretty feathers! How I wish I were not I!
If only I were a handsome feathered creature how happy I would be!
I'd be so glad to sit upon a very high tree and bask in the summer
sun like you!" said he suddenly, pointing his bony finger up toward the peacock, who was eying the stranger below, turning his head from side to side.

"I beg of you make me into a bird with green and purple
feathers like yours!" implored Iktomi, tired now of playing the
brave in beaded buckskins. The peacock then spoke to Iktomi: "I
have a magic power. My touch will change you in a moment into the most beautiful peacock if you can keep one condition."

"Yes! yes!" shouted Iktomi, jumping up and down, patting his
lips with his palm, which caused his voice to vibrate in a peculiar fashion.

"Yes! yes! I could keep ten conditions if only a bird with long, bright tail feathers. Oh, I am so ugly! I am so tired of being myself! Change me! Do!"

Here upon the peacock spread out both his wings, and scarce
moving them, he sailed slowly down upon the ground. Right beside Iktomi he alighted. Very low in Iktomi's ear the peacock
whispered, "Are you willing to keep one condition, though hard it be?"

"Yes! yes! I've told you ten of them if need be!" exclaimed Iktomi, with some impatience.

"Then I pronounce you a handsome feathered bird. No longer
are you Iktomi the mischief-maker." saying this the peacock
touched Iktomi with the tips of his wings.

Iktomi vanished at the touch. There stood beneath the tree
two handsome peacocks. While one of the pair strutted about with a head turned aside as if dazzled by his own bright-tinted tail feathers, the other bird soared slowly upward. He sat quiet and unconscious of his gay plumage. He seemed content to perch there on a large limb in the warm sunshine.

After a little while the vain peacock, dizzy with his bright
colors, spread out his wings and lit on the shame branch with the elder bird.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, "how hard to fly! Brightly tinted
feathers are handsome, but I wish they were light enough to fly!"
Just there the elder bird interrupted him. "That is the one
condition. Never try to fly like other birds. Upon the day you
try to fly you shall be changed into your former self."

"Oh, what a shame that bright feathers cannot fly into the
sky!" cried the peacock. Already he grew restless. He longed to
soar through space. He yearned to fly above the trees high upward to the sun.

"Oh, there I see a flock of birds flying thither! Oh! oh!"
said he, flapping his wings, "I must try my wings! I am tired of
bright tail feathers. I want to try my wings."

"No, no!" clucked the elder bird. The flock of chattering
birds flew by with whirring wings. "Oop! oop!" called some to
their mates.

Possessed by an irrepressible impulse the Iktomi peacock
called out, "He! I want to come! Wait for me!" and with that he
gave a lunge into the air. The flock of flying feathers wheeled
about and lowered over the tree whence came the peacock's cry. Only one rare bird sat on the tree, and beneath, on the ground, stood a brave in brown buckskins.

"I am my old self again!" groaned Iktomi in a shad voice.
"Make me over, pretty bird. Try me this once again!" he pleaded in vain. "Old Iktomi wants to fly! Ah! We cannot wait for him!" sang the birds as they flew away.

Muttering unhappy vows to himself, Iktomi had not gone far
when he chanced upon a bunch of long slender arrows. One by one they rose in the air and shot a straight line over the prairie.

Others shot up into the blue sky and were soon lost to sight. Only
one was left. He was making ready for his flight when Iktomi
rushed upon him and wailed, "I want to be an arrow! Make me into an arrow! I want to pierce the blue Blue overhead. I want to strike yonder summer sun in its center. Make me into an arrow!"

"Can you keep a condition? One condition, though hard it be?"
the arrow turned to ask.

"Yes! Yes!" shouted Iktomi, delighted.

Hereupon the slender arrow tapped him gently with his sharp
flint beak. There was no Iktomi, but two arrows stood ready
to fly. "Now, young arrow, this is the one condition. Your flight
must always be in a straight line. Never turn a curve nor jump
about like a young fawn," said the arrow magician. He spoke slowly and sternly.

At once he set about to teach the new arrow how to shoot in a
long straight line. "This is the way to pierce the Blue overhead," said he; and off he spun high into the sky. While he was gone a herd of deer came trotting by. Behind them played the young fawns together. They frolicked about like kittens. They bounced on all fours like balls. Then they pitched forward, kicking their heels in the air. The Iktomi arrow watched them so happy on the ground. Looking quickly up into the sky, he said in his heart, "The magician is
out of sight. I'll just romp and frolic with these fawns until he returns.

Fawns! Friends, do not fear me. I want to jump and leap with you. I long to be happy as you are," said he.

The young fawns stopped with stiff legs and stared at the speaking arrow with large brown wondering eyes.

"See! I can jump as well as you!" went on Iktomi. He gave one
tiny leap like a fawn. All of a sudden the fawns snorted with
extended nostrils at what they beheld. There among them stood
Iktomi in brown buckskins, and the strange talking arrow was gone.
"Oh! I am myself. My old self!" cried Iktomi, pinching himself and plucking imaginary pieces out of his jacket. "Hin-hin-hin! I wanted to fly!"

The real arrow now returned to the earth. He alighted very
near Iktomi. From the high sky he had seen the fawns playing on
the green. He had seen Iktomi make his one leap, and the charm was broken. Iktomi became his former self. "Arrow, my friend, change me once more!" begged Iktomi. "No, no more," replied the arrow. Then away he shot through the air in the direction his comrades had flown.

By this time the fawns gathered close around Iktomi. They poked their noses at him trying to know who he was. Iktomi's tears were like a spring shower. A new desire dried them quickly away. Stepping boldly to the largest fawn, he looked closely at the little brown spots all over the furry face. "Oh, fawn! What beautiful brown spots on your face! Fawn, dear little fawn, can you tell me how those brown spots were made on your face?"

"Yes," said the fawn. "When I was very, very small, my mother
marked them on my face with a red hot fire. She dug a large hole in the ground and made a soft bed of grass and twigs in it. Then she placed me gently there. She covered me over with dry sweet grass and piled dry cedars on top.

From a neighbor's fire she brought hither a red, red ember. This she tucked carefully in at my head. This is how the brown spots were made on my face."

"Now, fawn, my friend, will you do the shame for me? Won't you
mark my face with brown, brown spots just like yours?" asked
Iktomi, always eager to be like other people.

"Yes. I can dig the ground and fill it with dry grass and sticks. If you will jump into the pit, I'll cover you with sweet smelling grass and cedar wood," answered the fawn.

"say," interrupted Ikto, "will you be sure to cover me with a
great deal of dry grass and twigs? You will make sure that the
spots will be as brown as those you wear." "Oh, yes. I'll pile up grass and willows once oftener than my mother did." "Now let us dig the hole, pull the grass, and gather sticks," cried Iktomi in glee.

Thus with his own hands he aids in making his grave. After the hole was dug and cushioned with grass, Iktomi, muttering something about brown spots, leaped down into it. Lengthwise, flat on his back,
he lay. While the fawn covered him over with cedars, a far-away voice came up through them, "Brown, brown spots to wear forever!" A red ember was tucked under the dry grass.

Off scampered the fawns after their mothers; and when a great distance away they looked backward. They saw a blue smoke rising, writhing upward till it vanished in the blue ether. "Is that Iktomi's spirit?" asked one fawn of another. "No! I think he would jump out before he could burn into smoke and cinders," answered his comrade.

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:39 pm
by soulsearcher
Ever thought of writing a novel??? lol

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:08 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
I have a 700+ page novel, unpublished, actually

but maybe you should ask Zitkala-Sa if they'd like to ;)

Long story I know :cry: I'm sorry
But I love it.

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:04 am
by Artemisblessed
I have a 700+ page novel, unpublished, actually

wanna hear something unfortunate? i had two chapters of a well developed novella and my computer crashed. i have to start it all over again.

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:09 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady

Luckily that has not happened to me. I've lost a few pages, but I am neurotic about my stories, and I save every few minutes. I've got good intuition with my little ancient mac (which I use only for word processing) and can usually tell when it's going to give me troubles or the power will go out *knocks on wood*

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:17 am
by Paganlight
Wow...CHl, that's a beautiful story! And the moral: be content with what you have....

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 3:58 pm
by Artemisblessed
yeah. well, actually, my hewlett-packard got spyware and i had to do a system recovery and lost all my writings. i had a short novella, a brainstorm for my musical, 20 pages of a movie (for sundance), and poems from my friends.

got to get started on fixing it. well, i just think it was the gods' way of saying that it sucked and NEEDED to be rewritten. (i only say this because the system recovery guaranteed that all data would remain saved, but my file was the only one missing.)

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:30 pm
by Willow

I want to read it!!

Then someday when you can't sleep you can read one of my essays. :lol:

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:58 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
If it ever gets published, you can read it!!! :oops: I lost my nerve a LONG time ago, but I am always picking up up every few weeks and reading bits and pieces. I know it by heart, being rewritten four times, and read many more.

I'd gladly read your essays!!!

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:20 pm
by Artemisblessed
ditto to the both of you! what about mine? (once i re-start, of course...)