Long ago and many many sunsets ago there lived a man and his wife who had one daughter. Mother and daughter were deeply attached to one another, and when the latter died the mother was disconsolate. She cut off her hair, cut gashes in her cheeks and sat before the corpse with her robe drawn over her head, mourning for her dead.
After death came, so did people;a steady stream of those wanting to pay their respects, to bring food, those who were feeling the intense pain of loss. She never moved, never took her hand from her daughters, but when it came time to take her body to a burying scaffold, she would not hear of it. \\*//
She had a knife in her other hand under her robe, and if when the first group came for the daughter, the Mother did not hesitate to show it, nor her angst. Those who had been there touch, to cry,to offer love had now gone to another room or outside.
Now when anyone walked in, the Mother could hear them, was on guard, and as they approached her beloved daughters’ body;offered to come near the body the mother would wail, like a wolf on a cold dark night
“I am weary of life. I do not care to live. I will stab myself with this knife and join my daughter in the land of spirits if you take her from this space.”
Her husband, relatives and close friends tried to get the knife from her but could not. They tried to console her, but they could not. They feared to use force lest she kill herself. They came together to see what they could do.
They retreated to the kitchen and in hushed tones stated, “We must get the knife away from her,” they said as most shed silent tears.
At last they decided to called on a boy boy, a kind of simple one it seemed; yet with a good deal of natural shrewdness or intuition for such a young age. He was an orphan and very poor. His moccasins had uneven holes worn at the sole and he was dressed in wei-zi (course buffalo skin, smoked). He never made eye contact as he stood before the Elders but you could see him leaning in to hear the quiet conversation;it was not lost on him that death and sorrow was in the house.
“Nowboy,Go to the that room through the curtain of the mourning mother,” they told the boy, “and in some way dream up some magic to make her laugh and forget her grief. When you manage that, I want you to get that knife away from her real quick. Do you understand me? The boy nodded head, kicked the dirt floor with the tip of his moccasin and stood quietly. “Scoot now, you have important work to.”
The boy went to the curtain and gazed in,noting the Mother leaning over her daughter quietly crying from her place on the floor . The young boy; He sat quietly sat down after entering the curtain as if waiting to be given something.
The corpse lay in the place of honor where the dead girl had slept in life. The body was wrapped in a rich robe and wrapped with ropes.
Friends had covered it with rich offerings out of respect to the dead. As the mother sat on the ground with her head covered she did not at first see the boy, who sat silent.
But, when his reserve of silence had worn away a little he began at first lightly, then more heavily, to drum on the floor with his hands.
After a while he began to sing a comic song.
Louder and louder he sang until carried away with his own singing he sprang up from the floor and began to dance! At the same time gesturing and making all manner of contortions with his body, still singing the comic song.
As he approached the corpse he waved his hands over it in a blessing.
The mother put her head out of the blanket and when she saw the poor simple boy with his strange grimaces trying to do honor to the corpse by his solemn waving, and at the same time keeping up his comic song, she burst out laughing.
Then she reached over and handed her knife to the boy. “Take this knife child,” she said. He reached out for the knife and she placed it in his hand, but did not let go. She held his hand in hers with a firm grip, here eyes commanding his eyes as she spoke.
“Look at Me…You have taught me to forget my grief. If while I mourn for the dead I can still be mirthful, there is no reason for me to despair. I no longer care to die. I will live for me, live my life for my relations and hold my daughter’s life UP so that she too will live on in memories. I thank you for that, we will see each other more. Go for now, let them know I am ready for them to come for my beloved one/”
The boy left the room and brought the knife to the astonished husband and relatives. “How did you get it? Did you force it away from her, or did you steal it?” they asked.
“She gave it to me. How could I force it from her or steal it when she held it in her hand, blade uppermost? I sang and danced for her and she burst out laughing. Then she gave it to me,” he answered. “She wants you to know she is ready for you to come for her beloved now.” Then the boy bowed his head.
When the Elders of the village heard of the orphan’s story they were very silent. It was a strange thing for a boy to dance in a home where there was mourning. It was stranger that a mother should laugh in a room before the corpse of her dead daughter. The Elders gathered at last in council. They sat a long time without saying anything, for they did not want to decide hastily. The pipe was filled and passed many times. At last an Elder spoke. “We have a hard question. A mother has laughed before the corpse of her daughter, and many think she has done foolishly, but I think the woman did wisely. The boy was simple and of no training, and we cannot expect him to know how to do as well as one with good home and parents to teach him. Besides, he did the best he knew. He danced to make the mother forget her grief, and he tried to honor the corpse by waving over it his hands.”
The mother did right to laugh, for when one does try to do us good, even if what he does causes us discomfort, we should always remember rather the motive than the deed. And besides, the boys’ dancing saved the woman’s life, for she gave up her knife. In this, too, she did well, for it is always better to live for the living than to die for the dead. We shall ask the Mother if she would like to gift the knife to the boy and we as the Elders will take over in the care of him as our own blood, our own shared relative. We will allow him to dance in front of us carrying her to her sacred place if the Mother and Father wishes it to be done. Aho!
And for this we give thanks in our thoughts today, and so it is ~
Wherever you are whatever your struggles, know that there is light, there is HOPE in healing,
and we are with you… in all ways…
The Fire is burning brightly with thoughts on the wind to all our relations, we are with with some powerful angels…
Walk In Beauty,