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One day a young man, whose name was Brave-One, went forth from the tribe of the Barren Hills to speak with his father who was a leader of the people. And this Chief’s name, who was the father of Brave-One, was Iis, which is to say; Wise-One. Many there were among the tribes of the Barren Hills, even other Chiefs, who sought out Wise-One for his council.
Now, when Brave-One went forth to meet with his father, Wise-One was returning from his daily venture to the top of the highest hill he could find. And the people of Iis’s tribe, as well as the people of other tribes who sought his wisdom, stood up from the foot of that same hill and went forth into Wise-One’s midst.
But it was Brave-One who first reached his father, and spoke quickly to him. “Father,” said Brave-One. “May I speak with you?”
Now Wise-One was not the sort to ignore the youth of his own tribe, and he was especially glad to speak with Brave-One. “What do you wish to speak of, Brave-One?” Said the wise man, walking beside his only son.
“I have seen that every day you go to the top of the highest hill you can find and are alone for many hours. I have also seen that the people who wait for you sit down at the foot of the hill and are silent until your return. As a child, I thought your absence to be a time of silence, but, now that I am a man I can only wonder: why is this so?”
The people trust me,” answered Iis. “And whenever I am gone out of their midst there are those who wait for me, but they can not follow, for I must be alone while I am upon the hill. So they wait for me and are silent.”
“But why are they silent?” Questioned Brave-One, not understanding, for he had seen also that none of those who sat in waiting for his father ever opened their mouths to speak.
“Because I have commanded: Those who wait for me, while I am alone, at the foot of whichever hill I sit upon, must be silent even as I am silent.”
“That is what you do while you are alone?!” Asked Brave-One in astonishment.
“It is.” Answered Wise-One, nodding his head.
“Why do you become silent?”
“To listen.” Replied Wise-One.
Not understanding, Brave-One spoke once more and continued to follow after his father. “But why must we who wait for you also be silent?”
“To learn.” Revealed Wise-One.
“I do not understand, father.” Decided Brave-One with a sigh.
“Then I will teach you.” Said Wise-One.
Then Chief Iis, with his son, went to the place where his tent had been set for that night. He sat at his fire and he lifted up the slab of meat which had been divided, from the morning’s hunt, unto his household. And Iis lifted up the Deer’s meat and gave thanks to Ihoan, thanking the Great Mystery for the life of the Deer which was given so that he and his own might live. Then a tenth of the meat and a tenth of the fat was cut off from the portion and cast into the fire. After that had been done, the rest of the meat was divided for Iis and for Brave-One and for Iis’s wife who had gone out with the other women to searcch for a source of water.
Brave-One sat also at his father’s fire and recieved his portion with thanks, and they ate together; father and son. And as they ate the sky grew dark, for Keo, the Crown of Fire, went down to his hiding place in the west; and Loe, the Crown of the Tides, lifted herself up into the sky and all the Wo-Keo revealed themselves in the darkness to marvel after Loe’s beauty. Then, while the coals of the fire were still glowing and both father and son had finished their meals, Wise-One began to teach Brave-One.
“When our hunt is successfull,” began Wise-One. “And we sit down to eat, what is the first thing we do?”
“Sometimes we stomp our feet,” answered Brave-One. “And we shout towards the Crowns, we yell at the heavens, giving thanks so that Ihoan can hear us; so that the Great Mystery knows that we are grateful.”
“And yet,” said Wise-One. “It is said that Ihoan hears even the smallest plea of the most gentle breeze. Why then, must we stomp our feet and shout towards the sky?”
“So that our little brothers and sisters can see it and learn how often one should be thankful for those things which are given.” Answered Brave-One with barely a moment of thought.
“You answer well.” Agreed Wise-One, a smile of pride finding itself on the man’s lips. “And when we do this it is said that we speak to the Great Mystery, is it not?”
“It is.” Answered Brave-One.
“That also, my son, is why I am silent; to speak with the Great Mystery. Yes, for a time I do speak; but, then I sit down and am silent.”
Brave-One, hearing this, looked up from the dying coals as his father spoke. “But how can one speak to the Great Mystery when he is silent?”
“I am not the only one who is speaking, for it is as I have said; I speak with the Great Mystery. Even as you and I now speak is how Ihoan and I speak with one another, when one of us speaks then the other must be silent and pay close attention to the words of whom he speaks with. That, my child, is why I command the people who wait for me to be silent; so that I may teach them not only to speak but also to listen, for men often speak too much. “My son, hear my words: in order to truly hear the voice of the Great Mystery, to hearken unto the words of Ihoan, we must be silent; or else, we create too much noise and the sound of our own foolishness will endure by the memory of our own children, all while the sound of wisdom is forgotten. Now do you understand?”
“I believe I do!” Exclaimed Brave-One with delight and the dying flames stirred for one last moment among the coals. “This means, then, that you speak with the Great Mystery?”
“Yes.” Said Wise-One.
“And he listens for you, and you for him?”
Excited by the thought of this, Brave one quickly asked. “Tell me, father, what does he sound like; with what words-with what voice has he spoken to you?”
“He does not speak to me with words, Brave-One, I sit always in silence. At times, however, his voice sounds as though it were a great storm of thunder. At other times it sounds as though it were a gentle breeze.”
“Again, father, I do not understand. If you sit always in silence and he speaks not a word, then how can you hear the voice of the Great Mystery and know whether his voice is as a gentle breeze or a fierce thunder storm?”
“Recount to me, my son, the creation of the worlds.” Said Wise-One while stirring the coals of the fire with a fallen tree branch.
Then Brave-One, as the embers rose into the night sky to join thsemselves with the Wo-Keo, began to speak of the things which had come to pass before he had even been born.
“Long ago,” began Brave-One. “The voice of the Great Mystery spoke into the darkness of an eternal night, there came forth light, then Ihoan called into existence everything that is; he breathed upon the earth and set it into motion. And when he made man of the earth he breathed into him mouth to mouth and set his own spirit, the breath of the Great Mystery, within him, so that the man was of Earth and Sky...” Brave-One might have continued, but his father nodded at him, content with only that much of the story being told, it was all that his son need remember.
“That is how I speak with the Great Mystery,” said Wise-One. “How I hear the words of Ihoan; for if the voice of the Great Mystery has called all that is into existence, then the echoe of his voice remains within them; the clouds, the sun, the rain, the grass, the trees, and especially within Man, to whom the Great Mystery delivered his own breath. His voice is in all that it has called forth, one need only to be silent and listen. Now, my son, Brave-One, whose mother named you Ikadda, do you understand?”
“Yes, father, I do.” Answered Ikadda, gazing up towards the stars and moon, towards Loe and the Wo-Keo who shone all around her.
Then Iis gazed upon his son’s face and in the silence which passed between them there came a great, faint, echoe of the voice from within Iis's son; perhaps the greatest and yet faintest echoe which Iis had ever heard. If anything can be compared to that stirring of Ihoans words, of the Great Mystery’s breath, within Ikadda; it would be compared to a gentle breeze which went before, and followed after, a great storm of thunder. Feeling this, Iis knew that his son had been chosen, for while Wise-One sat upon the hill-top he asked of the Great Mystery, as he always did, that Ihoan reveal to the people a refuge better than any that they had known before. But rather than seeing the sun shine, or the rains fall, or the clouds stir, for the first time ever, there was only the silence which answered him. And now Iis looked upon his son, and became glad in his heart, for he now knew that Ikadda would be the one to lead the people of the Barren Hills to a refuge better than anything that had been found before, and perhaps would ever be found since. Knowing this Iis dismissed his son and went to sleep.
Now, after Iis went into his tent to sleep beside his wife, Ikadda wandered into the darkness and away from his father’s dying fire. Then, in the darkness of night, Ikadda went to sit in that high place where his father had sat so many hours ago. For a moment, Ikadda spoke out into the darkness, and then grew silent. Then did Ikadda look out upon all that was before him, upon all that is, and he began to listen.
And it would come to pass, from that day forth, Ikadda, in his youth and old age, went up to the hill-tops whenever he could to listen for the voice of the Great Mystery and the creation which had been brought forth beccause of it. Every day Ikadda grew in wisdom, for he did as his father taught him and remembered the voice of the Great Mystery; hearkening unto the words of Ihoan, rather than the voice of his own mouth and the vanity of his own understanding.
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