The Flowering Tree
It seems that at one time the People were living scattered out all over the world, and each of them had heard about a very powerful Person who lived in the River. It was said that this Person could settle any problem, no matter what it was.
Because no one really wanted to admit to anyone else that they possessed problems, everybody had to sneak down to the River alone when they wished to hear this powerful Person speak. And everybody did sneak down to the River to Hear the powerful Person, bu no one ever spoke to anyone else about it.
Then one day a little boy and a little girl returned from the River. The little boy and the little girl began to talk to everyone about their Journey.
“It was a very strange thing,” the children said.
“What was it that was so very strange?” the People asked as they gathered around the children, pretending they did not know.
“Have you not seen what is at the River?” the children asked.
“No,” the People all answered. “What was it that you Saw there?”
“Have you all not sneaked down to the River, just as we did?” the children asked in surprise.
“Who ever said such a silly thing?” the People asked angrily.
“We did,” the children answered, becoming frightened.
“Never say such an awful thing again,” the People told them accusingly.
The children became even more frightened. They Perceived that they were strangers even to their own mothers and fathers.
This caused all the people to move away, leaving the little boy and the little girl alone upon the prairie. That night they were all alone and frightened. They cried, because everything seemed so terrible.
“Calm yourselves, my children,” a gentle voice suddenly said to them. The children looked to see who had spoken.
“Who are you?” the children asked.
“It is me, Old Man Coyote,” the voice said. As he spoke, Old Man Coyote entered the children’s Lodge and set down a bundle of firewood beside them:
“And it is me, Old Woman Coyote,” another voice said to them softly. She sat down and began to turn an arrow within her bow to make them a fire.
Soon there was a warm fire and there was light within their Lodge. Sitting across the fire from them were an Old Man and an Old Woman.
“Who are you?” the children asked. They were now feeling better.
“We are your Grandfather and Grandmother,” the Old Woman answered, offering the children some buffalo meat.
“And we are also the powerful Person at the River,” the Old Man added, offering the children some sweet foods.
“But we saw only ourselves when we visited the River,” the little boy and the little girl said together.
“Yes, that is true,” the Old Woman and the Old Man answered together.
“I do not Understand this,” the little girl said.
“How very strange,” the little boy said.
“The People have all visited the River as you did,” the Old Woman began.
“And they saw only themselves, just as you did,” the Old Man finished the words.
“How very strange,” the little girl said.
“I do not Understand,” the little boy said.
“They too thought it strange,” the Old Man answered.
“And they too did not understand,” the Old Woman answered.
“Were you also their reflections, as you were ours?” the little girl asked excitedly.
“And they did not Trust their Eyes,” the little boy said with excitement.
“Yes,” the Old Man said,” “you are right. Now you must find the People and offer them these Gifts.”
“What are these Gifts?” the little girl asked.
“They are these two Coyote Robes,” the Old Woman answered. “Tell them to put them on and they will not be Hungry any more.”
And so the children did this. They found the People the next day and offered them the two Coyote Robes.”
“What are these for?” the People asked. “There are thousands upon thousands of these Coyote Robes to be had,” they laughed. “What we need to satisfy our Hunger are buffalo, not these silly robes.”
“Put them on,” the two children coaxed the People. And as they coaxed the People to put on the Coyote Robes, they spoke to them of their Vision. But this only made the People laugh even harder.
Within this camp their lived two Kind People. One was a man and the other was a woman. They were living together in the same Lodge. These two Kind People loved the little girl and the little boy, and wished to care for them. They both stepped into the Circle of People and put their arms around the two children, adopting them.
“I will wear one of the robes,” the man said to the little girl.
“And I too will wear one of the robes,” the woman said to the little boy.
The children gave their robes to the man and the woman who had adopted them, and the man and woman put them on.
“There are buffalo to the North and to the South,” the man said to the People, because now he could See them.
“And there are buffalo to the West and to the East,” the woman said, because now she too could See them.
The People all became excited, because they too could See the buffalo.
“Let us hunt them in the North,” some of the People said.
“No,” others quickly shouted. “The buffalo are much fatter in the South.”
“No! No!” still others argued. “They are bigger in the West.”
“No! No!” the rest of the People said angrily. “The best ones of all are to the East.”
“Please! Please! Do not fight among yourselves,” the man, woman, little boy and little girl pleaded. “You are only Tricking yourselves. Put on the Coyote Robes and you will understand.”
But the People were very angry, and they would not come together in a Circle to Counsel.
“Kill these trouble makers,” the People shouted. And they rushed in all together upon these four who were sitting in the middle of the Camp Circle. But when they reached the center of the Camp Circle, they discovered that the little boy and the little girl had become a Flowering Forked Tree. They quickly looked for the man and the woman who had adopted the two children, but all they found of them were their tracks. They were the tracks of two mountain lions. These tracks were leading to the North.
The People were so angry that they struck at the Flowering Tree.
“Let us follow the two lions and kill them,” the People then decided together. They followed the tracks to the North to find them. They ran and ran, until suddenly the tracks of the two lions became the tracks of four lions. These led the People in a Great Circle back to the Flowering Tree.
The People sat down together around the tree because they were so tired, and they began to Talk to one another.
“Why are we doing this?” some of the asked the others.
“We do not really wish to hurt or kill anything,” said some others.
“Then why were you running?” asked still others.
“We were only following you,” those spoken to said in amazement. And they all began to laugh.
Then the People all heard singing, and they looked up. There, sitting in the North, the saw a White Coyote and he was singing. They also looked to the south, and sitting there was a Green Coyote. She too was singing. Then they looked to the West, and sitting there was a Black Coyote and he was singing. Finally they looked to the East, and sitting there was a Gold Coyote and she was singing.
The People sat there quietly all together and learned these four beautiful songs. They were the Songs of Four Lions. Then the People looked all around and saw that each of them was wearing a Coyote Robe. They put their arms around each other and began to Dance toward the Flower Tree together in the Great Circle. The People were Happy.
(Seven Arrows; Hyemeyohsts Storm)