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Beshkno the Adik

01/29/2013

The signs were all there for the young Adik boy.  The Great Sprit had visited him in a dream.  He had seen a vision on the plains that told him of a possible future as a great warrior for his clan and tribe.  This was his 14th summer, the day he had been born was coming soon, and this fall would come with the Hunter’s Moon, or Blood Moon.

He would be invited on the hunt with the men, and if he could bring back a deer or buffalo, then he would be granted an adult name and he would be allowed to sit in on meetings and go on other hunts.

The clan would have a feast for him, and he would be celebrated as a man who has left his boyhood behind him.

The night of the hunt, he dressed and his mother painted his face in the fashion he had seen in his dreams and visions, to bring him luck in his quest.

His father instructed him to only loose his arrows if he was assured of a kill, to not waste any on reckless boyish pride.

He took in all these instructions with his signature calmness and stoicism as nothing ever rattled this Adik.

When the sun had left the sky, and gone to its slumber, the clan’s hunters set out by the light of the Hunter’s Moon.  Their scouts had found a group of buffalo nearby, and there was hope that they had not wandered too far so that the hunt could go quick and smooth.

The moon lit their way as they crested a hill, and saw the black shapes standing still in the clearing below.  None were moving, and the men thought the animals might be asleep and the hunt would be much easier than previous hunts.

They slunk down the slope into the clearing and slid through the tall grass, making no more sound than a mild breeze as they inched closer and closer to the herd of huge shaggy beasts.

The hunting group had gotten within 15 feet when for some reason the herd got spooked.

The animals began to run in every direction and the men had to leap to their feet and shriek their hunters’ cries or they would be trampled under sharp hooves.  Not all made it up fast enough, and the screams were sounds the youngster would remember for many nights to come.

At first, he tried to stay close to his father, but in the confusion, he was separated from the entire group and he stumbled from the clearing and fell to his knees near the water hole.

He heard a grunt, and raised his head to look directly into the eyes of a massive buffalo standing only feet away on the opposite side of the water.

The beast was breathing heavily through its nostrils and its tongue hung out from one side of its mouth.  The boy could see an arrow buried in the huge animals back, which meant it was in pain, and thus ready to charge at any movement or inkling of any kind.

He had lost his first arrow in the initial excitement, and so he gathered another arrow from his quiver as slow as he could without alarming the beast, and he slung it on his bow.

The beast perked up its ears and started to move slightly in a way that the boy took as threatening.

He raised his bow at the same time the buffalo charged across the water.

TWANG!

The fires reached high towards the sky and the women sang songs, both in mourning of the men who had fallen to the hooves of the mighty buffalo, and of praise for the men who had come home with meat for the winter.

The Blood Moon had served the Adik clan well this year; they would have meat for the snowy season and well into spring the next year.

The clan member who had gone out to hunt as a boy had come back with one of the bigger buffalo and the men were prepared to anoint him with his adult name and proclaim him a man.

He halted them and told them the story that he was not the first to strike his buffalo, he had only finished someone’s hunt and he did not think he deserved an honor that was not his to take.

For his virtue and ability to give back what he had rightfully earned, the clan decided he had indeed achieved what he had set out to do.

He was a man, and would from this day forth be called Beshkno, which meant bald eagle.

The women and children sang songs to honor Beshkno of the Adik.

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