Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BLUE (11/09/17)
- TITLE: The Bluest Man
By Donna Powers
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There, they were tested in hunting, fishing and combat skills.
At the end of these tests, the young men received rewards. By these rewards, all would know the extent of their skills.
Little Cloud’s tribe worshipped the Sky Spirit. After all, the sky gave them sun and rain to help their food grow, so they gave its Spirit devotion. To show their devotion, they wore blue.
In the reward ceremony, the young men were therefore given blue ribbons and gemstones. They would bring these to their chosen brides - who would weave them into headdresses for the men.
Little Cloud’s chosen bride was Morning Rain. When Little Cloud had gone to the grove, he’d been determined to win many blue ribbons. He knew Morning Rain deserved to hold her head up proudly; as she stood beside her blue-bedecked husband.
But alas, Little Cloud wasn’t skilled in those things treasured by the tribe. His father had been killed when Little Cloud was four, and no one had taught him these skills.
When he stood in line at the rewards ceremony, he despaired that Morning Rain would have such an unadorned husband. When the elders handed him only one small blue ribbon, he saw the scorn of the other young men. Even the elders turned their heads away - except for old Sunset Mist, who looked upon him with compassion.
But Little Cloud wanted no compassion. He wanted only a plethora of blue ribbons for Morning Rain. So, although he saw Sunset Mist whispering with the other elders after Little Cloud’s small ribbon had been presented, Little Cloud paid that no heed.
As he sadly trudged home, he saw the other young men glance at him and whisper to each other. He dreaded seeing Morning Rain.
But when he reached her, he saw only love and pride in her eyes. Even when he proffered his small ribbon, she only smiled with love and devotion. He gratefully sank into her loving embrace, even as he wondered aloud how she could accept such a dismal failure as a future husband.
“Failure?” responded Morning Rain, when he said this. “No, Little Cloud. You bring only honor to our upcoming marriage.”
He asked her, “How so? I have only one small ribbon for my headdress. Surely you dread becoming wife to such a man.”
“I do not despair,” she answered. She placed her hand on his shoulder. “Don’t you know? Have you not heard?”
He was confounded. “Have I not heard what? Of course, I heard the other men; whispering of my failure as I trod home.”
She shook her head. “Ah no, Little Cloud. For today you have become one of the most honored men of our tribe. For look! Sunset Mist has brought you something!”
Little Cloud was astonished when he looked- for on the hearth was a lush assortment of blue ribbons and gemstones. And there stood Sunset Mist next to the pile.
“What does this mean, Sunset Mist,” cried Little Cloud. “Why have you brought these? Surely they cannot be for me.”
The old man laughed. “Ah, Little Cloud. You believe only certain skills can bring honor. Yet when you men were being tested, only you were able to grind herbs to heal Bright Lightning’s wounds, or to relieve Summer Storm’s fever. Only you knew which herbs could be safely made into drinkable tea or to season the food.”
Little Cloud scoffed. “But those things are not significant. My mother has taught me from childhood how to use herbs. What honor can those bring?”
Sunset Mist smiled. “They have brought honor to you; for you will become our tribe’s next medicine man.”
“But… me? A medicine man?”
Sunset Mist nodded. “Yes, Little Cloud. For many years, I have asked the Sky Spirit to direct me to the one who will care for the tribe. My bones are old, but I could not step aside - until now. The tests showed me you are the one to replace me. I’ll train you, and you’ll take my place when the Sky Spirit gathers me into the eternal wind.”
Little Cloud smiled tearfully. He walked over to the sumptuous blue array and proudly carried the blue adornments and lovingly laid them at Morning Rain’s feet.
Looking into each other’s eyes, they linked hands; lifted the ribbons skyward, and rejoiced.
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