The Boy and the Rain Cloud

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A boy asks a Rain Cloud a question and finds his own answers.

Submitted: April 04, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 04, 2016



Near the tribal fire sat the Elder as the children and adults gathered around.

"Tell us a story of long ago," said a child of five.

"Yes, a very old story!" Others chimed in.

Then the area grew quiet, except for the crackling fire and the occasional howl of wolves in the distance.

The Elder looked around at all the faces filled with anticipation and began.


Long ago, before the horses roamed free among the valleys and hills, before we had wheels on our carts and guns to hunt with.  In a time when we lived in the sides of mountains and found protection there; in those days the Navajo talked to nature as I talk to you tonight. 

On a morning among the first days of spring, on a hill overlooking the great bowl in the earth and where black rocks are spread among the red clay earth, a rain cloud floated in the sky. This was not a very large cloud, it was small in many ways and it did not storm when it rained; it just sprinkled gently, but consistently, which allowed the ground time to absorb all the water that it gave.

And on that day the cloud stopped over a hill and started raining.

As the cloud began raining a young Navaho boy had just finished planting seed in the village corn field.

The boy watched the cloud rain for awhile and then ran up the hill and into the rain. He stood in the refreshing rain for a few minutes and after catching his breath the boy called out to the cloud. "Why do you rain on a hill? Your water would be better placed on the freshly planted corn seed, then the seed would sprout quickly and would grow tall and produce many ears."

The cloud paid him no mind and just kept raining.

The boy took a stick from the ground and tossed it at the cloud.

"I'm sorry, were you talking to me?" The cloud asked. "I often take naps when I'm raining," it remarked.

"Yes I was and I wanted to know why do you rain on this hill? It seems to me that your water would be better placed on that corn field, then it would grow tall and produce many ears," the boy repeated.

The cloud made a humming sound for a moment, like that of the hummingbird, and then it asked, "How will that help the rabbits, the mice, the birds, and the bugs that seek shelter among the brush. And how will that help those that eat the scrub brush and other plants that grow on this hill?"

"Why should I care? Those creatures are of no help to me," replied the boy, "my concern is to water and tend to the corn field."

The cloud laughed, "Boom, Boom, Boom," like thunder, and then replied, "Such answers come from those without wisdom. Go gather wisdom and come back to me with a wiser answer, if you do not then I will not rain on your cornfield until summer has past."

"And where would I find wisdom,” Snapped the very angry boy?

The cloud laughed again, “Boom, Boom, Boom," and answered, "Well, I suppose that that will be the first wisdom that you acquire, the knowledge of where and how to find wisdom."

With that said, the cloud went back to napping and would not talk to the boy any longer.


As the boy walked down the hill he stopped long enough to wipe the rain water from his hair and face. Suddenly he felt something on his feet and when he looked down he discovered a great many ants that were gathering water from his feet and ankles.

The boy reached down and picked up one ant and asked the ant, "Why are you taking water drops from my feet when there is a whole hill to get water from? Don't you see the cloud raining on the hill? "

To which the ant replied, "The hill is made of earth and the earth absorbs the water as fast as it touches the ground. And for that reason there is no time to gather that water before it soaks into the ground. But your skin does not absorb the water so we are able to easily drink in the droplets and carry them away."

"I don't understand," said the Boy, "If you are drinking the water, then how do you carry the water back to your nest?  That does not make sense to me."

"Inside our bodies we have something like what you call a pouch. We fill the pouch and then take it back to the nest for others to use," explained the ant.

The boy thought about that for a moment and then informed the ant that he was going to start walking again. He told the ant that they should vacate his feet before he did, so they didn't get squished. Then the boy waited long enough for the ants to get off of his feet and he continued down the hill.


After some time the boy was back at the hill, this time he brought his brothers, sisters, and cousins from the tribe with him; he also brought deer skins.

The children opened the skins, just as the first Boy instructed, and they held them in such a fashion, so rain water would collect in them. When the skins became heavy with water, the skin stretched into a bowl shape. At that time the children carried the skins that were full of water down the hill and they spread the water on the areas where the corn seed was planted. All of them did this many times until the Rain Cloud stopped raining.

"Did you acquire wisdom in order to give me a better answer?" Questioned the Rain Cloud.

The Boy replied with a sharp tongue, "I had no time for that. I needed to water our seed so I brought my brothers, sisters, cousins, and these skins, and we filled them with rain water. Then we carried the skins, filled with water, to the corn field and watered the corn seed; no thanks to you."

"My, my," said the Rain Cloud, "where on earth did you get such an good idea? Did you think of that all by yourself?"

"I sure did, well, an Ant sort of gave me the pouch idea, but I thought up the rest all by myself."

"Why didn't you water the seed with river water, as you do most of the time?" the cloud inquired.

"I suppose we could have watered the seed from the river, but the clay pots full of water are very heavy and we would have had to make many more trips. Besides, the rain water always seems to make the seed grow faster and the corn grows bigger ears; it tastes sweeter too," explained the Boy.

"So a little bitty Ant gave you an idea that saved you a lot of time and work?" The rain Cloud said with a chuckle.

Then the Cloud asked, "Wouldn't you say that you did acquire some knowledge after all, and it came from a creature that you thought useless?"

"Well, when you put it that way, I guess I did," the boy replied.

"Then what is the answer to my question, how will raining on the corn field help the rabbits, the mice, the birds and the bugs?"

"Raining on the corn field won't help them, they need the rain too," said the Boy. "And I guess that I could learn other things from them too, if I just pay attention.


With that said, the rain cloud moved over to the corn field and started raining again.

The children ran down the hill and the first Boy said to the Cloud, "What are you doing? We just watered this field!"

You Missed Some Spots," the rain Cloud said, then it laughed, "Boom, Boom, Boom!"


D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  04-01-2016



© Copyright 2018 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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