Stories from my Grandfather – The Tale of the Wind Horse (Part 2) as told by Tipi Pinti

WHAT’S PLAYING: Emeli SandéNext to Me

 

(Continued from Monday, August 26)

As they traveled, Wind Horse listened to the Boy’s hopes that someday he would run with the leaves that blew across the ground. He felt the Boy’s yearning for someone to love. Yet who could ever care for a nameless, little Boy with a bad leg?

As he listened, love for the Boy grew in his heart, and Wind Horse knew that this would be his last rider. He nuzzled the Boy with affection and slowed down, for the end of their journey was near.

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The Boy looked up and saw the home of those who had gone before. He realized that this journey was the last one he would ever make, and trembled with fear. But as Wind Horse finally stopped, the Boy realized that all his wounds, hunger, need, and hurt were gone. And since Wind Horse made no move to leave, the Boy knew that at last, he had found the companion he had wished for all his life.

As Wind Horse and the Boy walked into their new world, the Choctaw felt great sadness. Even though they did not know what was happening, they felt the last Wind Horse pass from this world to the next, and wept with grief.  

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Wind Horse heard their cries of despair, but he had made his last journey. He knew that with the passing of many suns and moons, they would soon forget him and his race. He prayed to the Great Spirit to send a reminder of him to the Choctaw to comfort them.  

And, that is how horses came to us as gifts from the Great Spirit and the last Wind Horse.

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Stories from my Grandfather – The Tale of the Wind Horse (Part 1) as told by Tipi Pinti

WHAT’S PLAYING: Fun. feat. Janelle Monáe “We Are Young”

Once upon a time, when Day and Night were still deciding who comes first, there lived a horse—the fastest and gentlest of all Indian ponies—called Wind Horse, and his kind will never be seen in the world again.

The story begins this way:

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One day, when Wind Horse was feeling good from being free, he heard a cry for help. He ran to the edge of the forest and found a little boy who had gotten his foot caught in a bear trap. The child had managed to free himself but could not move, for the trap had crushed his foot. The Boy, who had no name, could not believe such a beautiful horse would come to him as a friend. He gave thanks to the Great Spirit and prepared himself for death.

Knowing the wound was fatal, Wind Horse bent to let the boy get on his back, so he could take him to the Sacred Hunting Ground, where he would no longer know pain, fear, or need. The thought of one so young going to the Sacred Hunting Ground made Wind Horse sad, but he did not want the boy to suffer.

 

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The Boy clung to Wind Horse’s back, the pain in his foot forgotten. All his life he had lived alone, for his parents were dead and no one else wanted him. Riding Wind Horse, he felt whole, as though he had finally found a family. They rode through time out of mind, the trail shifting to reflect the Boy’s life. The Boy saw himself caught in the bear trap, alone and weeping. Then the scenery changed and he saw himself smiling and happy with his parents. Soon, they travelled back to before the boy was born ad he didn’t recognize anything. As his life passed by, the Boy clutched Wind Horse tighter, frightened by what awaited them at their journey’s end.

Wind Horse was the last of a great race of horses who could share the feelings of their riders. He had never allowed anyone to ride him for too long, for once a bond was forged it could not be broken. He knew that if he continued this run, he would never again be free.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming up on Wednesday!

Stories from my Grandfather – The Redbird as told by Tipi Pinti

WHAT’S PLAYING: Slash feat. Fergie “Beautiful Dangerous

Once, when time was not quite old enough to be counted, there lived a lovely Choctaw maiden, who was very skilled in house and fieldwork. She could do all the things needed to keep her lodge in order, but lacked the one thing she longed for most—a mate.

One day, she spied a red bird sitting in a tree and sighed. “Redbird, will I ever find the one meant for me? Someone to care for, who will care for me?

Young-Native-American-Girl

The Redbird had no answer for the maiden, but heard the loneliness in her voice. Every morning for the passing of seven suns, the Redbird came and listened to the maiden’s story. As each day passed, the maiden’s loneliness filled the Redbird until he decided to do something about it.

One day, during his travels, the Redbird came upon a handsome Choctaw brave. The brave called to him and began to speak. Redbird heard the same loneliness in the brave’s voice that the maiden had shown and realized that these two lonely people had the same wish, to find another who would love and care for them, as they would care for their mate.

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On the fifth day of listening to the brave, Redbird feigned an illness. The brave became concerned, for the Redbird had become his friend. Each time the brave would approach Redbird, the wily beast would hop away, leading him further and further away from home.

In this way, the Redbird led the brave to the maiden’s lodge, where she sat outside. As soon as Redbird saw the maiden, he flew away. The brave realized that he had wandered far from home, and so went to the maiden to ask where he was.

The Redbird sat in a tree and watched the brave and the maiden. After their initial shyness, they were soon talking and laughing like old friends.

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Redbird saw this and thought that it was good. He had done all he could and now it would be up to the brave and maiden. As Redbird flew away, he thought of how Great Spirit had known that someday the two would find each other.

Now it was good that Maiden had someone who would see for her and Brave had someone who would hear for him and that they finally had someone who would care.

Stories from My Grandfather – Why the Flowers Grow

WHAT’S PLAYING: Smilez and Southstar “Tell Me

Long ago, when the world was young, there was a beautiful star named Bright Eyes, and she was the brightest star in all the heavens. After many years, another star entered the sky and hid Bright Eyes from view. This made her sad because people could not see her face.

So she called to her sisters, saying, “Come, let us go down to Earth where we can live with the people and make them happy. The new star has hidden my light and the sky does not need us any longer.”

ChoctawBelle

On their way to Earth, Bright Eyes and her sisters stopped on Mount Joy where Uncta, the Great Bronze Spider, lived and spun the finest webs. The maidens begged the Spider God to teach them to spin and weave, and he agreed. Soon, they were able to spin beautiful threads and weave them into fine cloth.

One day, Bright Eyes decided that it was time for her and her sisters to continue on their journey, and she turned to Uncta for help.

“Will you help us get to Earth?” she asked the Spider God. “We want to teach the people how to spin and weave.”

Uncta was sad to see the sisters go, but he knew that they would bring much joy to the people of earth. He wove a basket and used it to lower them to Earth.

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When Bright Eyes and her sisters landed, they became the Little Folk. They lived in the forest, working, dancing and playing. They taught the Choctaw how to make bright colors and use them in weaving their rugs and blankets. The Choctaw loved the Little Folk who helped them and Bright Eyes was happy again.

Whenever one of the Choctaw was sick, Bright Eyes and her sisters would go into the forest and pray to the Great Spirit to protect them. They told the people to pray to the Great Spirit as well.

All of the prayers went up to Sandlephone, who sat on a great ladder high in the sky. As soon as the prayers had come into his hands, they changed into lovely flowers. He closed the blossoms and dropped the seeds upon the earth while the perfume wafted on up to the Great Spirit.

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The Little Folk cared for the seeds as they fell and from them sprang the wild flowers. This is why the Choctaw do not pick flowers.

They are tokens of love from the Great Spirit.

The Ever-faithful Lily Wanda

WHAT’S PLAYING: Duffy “Syrup and Honey”

Once upon a time, the Choctaw held a Green Corn Festival to show love and gratitude to the Great Spirit who had given them so much. The Queen of the festival was Lily Wanda, the most beautiful maiden in the village.

When time came for the Chief to speak, he stepped forward and the people fell silent.

“My people,” he said, “The Great Spirit has been good to us. Green Corn Goddess has watched over our corn. Rain God watered it and Father Sun warmed it. We give them thanks. I have long wondered where Father Sun sleeps. Someone must journey to find the answer. This traveler will face great danger and hardships. He may never return. But, if he can find the place, he will be great among men.”

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After the Chief had spoken, the silence was unbroken but for the wind that sighed through the trees.

Finally, a brave young man named Oklawana stepped forward. “My Chief,” he said, “I will go and find where Father Sun sleeps.”

Lily Wanda cried out in distress. “No, no, do not go, Oklawana!” she said, pushing through the crowd to stand before her lover. “You will never return!”

Oklawana turned to Lily Wanda. “I must go. Our chief wishes it. I will return with great honor and claim you for my bride.” He took her hand. “I leave my wampum belt with you. It tells the story of our people’s councils. Guard it well until I return.” Then he made four bundles of sticks for the four seasons of the year. “Count these for me as the seasons pass.”

Unable to speak, Lily Wanda nodded and took the belt and sticks. The next sunrise, she watched her sweetheart start his long journey.

Young-Native-American-Girl

Every day, Lily Wanda prayed to the Great Spirit to send Oklawana back. She counted the bundle of sticks as the seasons passed. In the evenings, she sat in her doorway watching for his return. In time, she went up on the mountain and built signal smokes to guide her lover home.

Seasons passed and Lily Wanda grew old. She still counted the sticks and guarded the belt. She watched and prayed. One day as she prayed at the mound of Nanih Waiya, a stranger came to her.

“I saw the signal smoke and came to you,” he said. “Lily Wanda, do you remember me? I am Oklawana who went in search of the sleeping place of Father Sun. I have come back to you.”

“That is not true,” she replied. “Oklawana has been dead for many years. You are some other.”

“Is this the belt he gave you?” he asked, pointing to her waist.

“Yes, I have kept it for him but he does not return.”

“I gave you the belt. Don’t you remember me?”

“No, you are Halvah, the story-teller. Let me be.” With these words, Lily Wanda died of a broken heart.

Oklawana caught her as she fell. He carried her body to the village and found that no one knew him.

nanihWaiya

“I followed Father Sun day after day, season after season,” Oklawana said wearily. “Finally, I saw him sink into a great blue lake, and I could not follow him. I have wandered many years trying to find my people, but you do not know me. My Lily Wanda did not know me. Now she is dead.”

Then he sank to the earth in despair and died of grief.

The people buried him and his faithful Lily Wanda together.

Stories from My Grandfather—Origin of the Ants

WHAT’S PLAYING: Timbaland feat. Justin TimberlakeCarry Out

Long ago, when the world began, Hashtali—The Great Spirit—fashioned people and grasshoppers from the same yellow clay.

They woke in a deep underground cavern and walked to the surface through a long tunnel, emerging from the passage together. But the people were so much bigger than the grasshoppers, that they could not see the insects in the dark and trampled many of them, including the Great Mother Grasshopper.

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Fearing they would be wiped out, the grasshoppers called out to Hashtali for help. The Great Spirit—who hears the cries of all living things—took pity on the little ones. He made the tunnel smaller and turned the remaining people into ants so that they could no longer trample the grasshoppers.

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The ants you see today are the descendants of those people. Don’t step on them!

Stories from my Grandfather – The Migration Legend

WHAT’S PLAYING: David Guetta feat. Sia “Titanium

In ancient times, the ancestors of the Choctaws and Chickasaws lived in a land far to the west under the rule of two brothers, Chahta and Chikasa.

There were many Choctaws and Chickasaws in those days. Their territory became overcrowded, making it difficult for the people to find food. A great prophet had a vision of a land far to east with fertile soil and abundant game where the people could live in peace and plenty. And so, the entire population resolved to make the journey eastward in search of that happy land.

The people split into two groups, marching a day’s journey apart. The prophet led them, bearing a sacred pole. Every night, he would plant this stick in the earth in front of the camp. And each morning, when the people rose, the pole would be leaning in the direction they were to travel that day.

They continued this way for several moons. One night, the people led by Chahta set up camp on the west bank of the Nanih Waiya Creek by the mound, while those led by his brother, Chikasa crossed the creek and camped on the eastern side. That night, a great rain fell, flooding the Creek and rendering it impassable for several days.

The next morning the pole was still standing erect, indicating that the people had at last found their new home.

After the waters had subsided, Chahta sent messengers across the creek to bid his brother’s party to return, as the oracular pole had proclaimed that the long sought-for land was found. Chikasa’s party, however had proceeded on their journey, and the rain had washed away all traces of them so that the messengers could not follow.

This is how the Choctaws and the Chickasaws became two distinct, though kindred nations.