An Apologetic Snakes An Indians Fate

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Luiseno Indians of southern California were a nomadic people, full of honor, courage, and mysticism. Their tribe was peculiarly full of myths and legends.

This is the first story in a collection called "Local Myths & Legends of Southern California"


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Submitted: January 29, 2015

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Submitted: January 29, 2015

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The Luiseno Indians of southern California were a nomadic people, full of honor, courage, and mysticism. Their tribe was peculiarly full of myths and legends.

This is the story of one of the Luiseno boys. The boy was only eight or nine, but he had the courage, and fault of a grown man. His grandmother, one of the few elders remaining tried to teach him well. Despite her efforts, one day he had taken a fishing basket from one of the villagers. The lady saw him with it, and when she asked if it was hers, he lied and told her no. She fetched his mother and his mother made him apologize and give it back.

The boy didn't understand why he had to apologize, he just did as his mother told him. So after his mom let him go, he went and asked his grandmother what apologizing was. He was more concerned with why he had to do it, than what it really meant. So she told him, \"Little one, when you do something wrong, to someone who deserves it not, the spirits put a mark upon you. It is a mark that you can not see, nor touch, nor smell. It is a mark that only beasts can see, and Bayo is the beast that guards this village.\" \"But grandma who is Bayo?\" \"Bayo is the beast with four legs, a tail, and and a mouth full of teeth.\" \"Grandma what does he do if he sees my mark?!\" \"Ahhh, I see you did not mean what you said to that lady.\" \"Well.\" \"Well if you don't listen close, Bayo will come for you when the mark weighs heavy on your heart. You'll fall asleep, and he will take you away.\" \"Grandma no!\" \"There's only one way to get rid of the mark.\" The little boy nodded \"Well little one, when you feel your chest grow heavy, and your mind becomes weary. You must place your hands across your heart, and ask the spirits for forgiveness. If your voice rings true and clear, then Bayo will hear you, and lick the mark up off your soul, and you'll be given safe passage back to your bed.\" \"That's it?\" \"If your voice rings true, and clear, that is all.\" \"I can do that.\" The boy got up and headed off into the oak groves waving back at his grandma.

The boy was walking down his usual path, winding through the tall brown grass and scrubby oaks. Over large round granite rocks, and under the limbs of greatly aged great oak trees. He thought to himself that he wasn't sorry. He had fetched the lady the grass to weave the basket. He was just to shy to ask if he could have it. He thought he really did deserve it. Before too long he began to feel tired, sooner than he usually would. He was rounding a bend up on a ledge. The path was dirt and the grass was gone. He fell to his knees and he put his hands up to his chest. He fell right flat on his back, and heard a rustling coming from the bushes. He heard a growl, and a snarl. He though, it must be Bayo, and in a flimsy and shaky voice he said, \"I'm sorry, please forgive me.\" His eyes were shut, but he could hear the sound of four large paws approaching. The growling came back, and the boy tried to say something, but he was as stiff as stone.

The growling faded, as did the weight on his chest. Soon thereafter he could lift his eye lids, but when he did, a wretched snake had slithered up to him. They sat eye to eye, the big rattlesnake with red diamonds half way down it's back. The boy pleaded, \"I said I'm sorry!\" \"Ssss, but you know not yet what you've done to me.\" \"Wait, but I've done nothing to you.\" \"Issss that sssso? Then who but you, layssss on my nesssst?\" The boy stands up and finds the burrow has fallen in. \"I didn't mean to, it's not my fault.\" \"Ssss I know not what you meant to do, but but you crusssshed my nesssst, that much issss true.\" \"Well I told you I didn't mean toooo.\" \"I ssssee this mark issssn't your firsssst.\" \"What do mean? Bayo came and licked mine off!\" \"If he licked yourssss off, then why have you two?\" \"This can't be, I did as I was told.\" \"Did you ssssay what you meant?\" \"Well.\" \"Ssss, fear not, I can help you now.\" The boy leaned in close to hear what the snake had to say. \"If you lay your hand in the ssssand.\" The boy looked at the snake and said, \"Then what?\" \"You must lay your hand in the ssssand.\" So the boy lays his hand in the sand, and before he could say a thing. The snake put it's teeth right into the boys hand. The boy collapsed and the snake said, \"I'm ssssorry!\" As the boys eyes faded to pale, empty, glass he saw another red diamond appear on the back of the snake.


© Copyright 2019 Ernest Twain. All rights reserved.

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