Fox-Shadow

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The American Indians tell of connections between animal and the human spirit. Can those spirit connections reach out for help? This is a simple story that say they do.

Submitted: November 21, 2016

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Submitted: November 21, 2016

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One morning a young Indian girl went to help her mother fetch water from the river. As they were filling the skins the girl looked across the river and saw a fox staring back at her.

"Look Mother, a fox is watching us," the girl said as she pointed at the fox.

The mother, who is called Blue-Feather because that is the first thing Blue-Feather's father saw after seeing his newborn child for the first time. As he left the teepee he saw a Blue feather, possibly from a Scrub-jay, lying on the ground. It is a tradition that they used to name all their children. If he had seen a deer running, then her name would have been Running-Deer.

Blue-Feather looked across the river and replied, "That is only a tree, silly child. Are you trying to make fun with your mother?"

"Oh no Mother, honest, the fox sits on its haunches and it is half hidden by that tree trunk. It has been watching us for some time now," The child replied.

"Whatever you say child, but that fox is not going to help us carry water. We should be watching what we are doing and not the fox," Blue-Feather said while filling the last skin.

 

As the two carried the water-filled skins back toward the village the girl saw the fox again.

"See Mother, do you see the fox over by that sagebrush?" The girl questioned as she tried to point in that direction; which is a tough thing to do while carrying a water skin.

"No, I see nothing but sage, tumbleweeds, and cactus," Blue-Feather replied.

"Besides, that couldn't be the same fox. How could it cross the river so quickly?" She asked, while rather upset that her daughter was not paying attention to the task at hand.

As they neared a rock cluster the girl saw the fox again.

"Look Mother, there on top of those rocks, surly you can see the fox walking in circles."

"The fox is walking in Circles?" questioned the Mother.

"Yes, in circles on the tops of those rocks," replied the girl.

Blue-Feather then stated, "That is not a real fox, cats walk in circles, dogs walk in circles, but foxes do not." With that said the Mother set her skins down on the ground and took the skin that her daughter was carrying from her. Then she said, "Go see if the fox is there. If it is a real fox then it will run away, if it is a spirit then it will fade away, but if it is your imagination then you will know when you draw near."

The girl ran toward the fox and the fox did not run away, but as soon as she was within a few feet, it vanished. The girl was so disappointed and was about to turn to return to her mother when she saw the fox lying on the ground.

The girl yelled to her mother for help, saying, "I think the fox has died."

Blue-Feather came running and as soon as she examined the fox she said that it was true, that the fox was dead.

"This fox has been dead for some time and it looks as if a Rattle-snake was the reason."

The girl objected and said, "But Father said foxes are too smart and too fast for the snake. How could that have happened?"

"There is only one way," said the Girl's Mother, "this mother fox was protecting its young from the snake. She put herself between the snake and her den to protect her baby. Now, we must look for the den. There may be a pup still alive, maybe two."

Mother and daughter searched the area and the Mother soon found the den. In the den was two tiny fox pups, frightened and hungry.

Later that night, while sitting near the campfire, Mother and Daughter fed the two pups a mixture of goat's milk, honey, and corn meal.

"Will they grow strong eating this?" The child questioned.

"Yes, for a while. Then we will add meat to their diet, meat, fish, and wild berries," the Mother replied.

The Girl thought for a while and then asked, “How did I see a fox that was already dead."

Blue-Feather replied, "The spirit of the mother fox must have had a connection to you, maybe your spirits are intertwined somehow."

"But why choose me? You are older and wiser than I, so you would have been a better choice to mother the pups," the child stated.

"Are you saying that you do not want this responsibility?" Blue-Feather asked.

Her daughter replied, "Oh no, I am honored to have been chosen by the fox and I will do my best to care for her babies. I was just concerned that she had made the wrong choice."

"Do not be concerned, the spirit of the fox picked you for a good reason, of that I am sure. You will act as mother to her puppies until it is time for them to return to their place in nature, as they should.

You will watch after them, protect them, and keep them fed properly. I will help you for a time and your Father will help you too. He will show you how to teach these pups to hunt for food on their own,” Blue-Feather said.

"Hmmm," said the girl as she thought about all her Mother had told her. Then she said, "I will name them River-tree and Sagebrush, after the first two places that I saw their mother."

The girl's Mother replied, "Those are good strong names and they are in keeping with our traditions. You have chosen well, Fox-Shadow." 

 

J. E. Falcon  ---  11-21-2016


© Copyright 2017 JE Falcon. All rights reserved.

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