The Flowering Tree

It seems that the People once lived all over the world. Each of them had heard about the Mighty Person who lived in the river. It was said that this person could solve any problem, no matter what problem it was.

Because no one wanted to admit to anyone else that he had a problem, everyone had to sneak up to the river alone if they wanted to listen to this Mighty Person. And everyone snuck down to the river to hear the Mighty Person speak, but no one talked to anyone else about this.

One day a Little Boy and a Little Girl came back from the river. This Little Boy and Little Girl told everyone about their journey.

“It was very strange,” the Children said.

“What was so strange?” asked the People, who gathered around the Children and pretended they knew nothing.

“Haven’t you seen what’s in the river?” the Children asked.

“No,” said all the People in unison. “What did you see there?”

“Didn’t you all sneak down to the river like we did?” the Children asked, surprised.

“Who’s ever said something so crazy?” the People asked angrily.

“Well, we” answers the Children who started to get scared.

“Never get it in your head to say something so terrible again.” People said incriminating.

The Children became even more afraid now. They saw that they had become strangers, even to their own mothers and fathers. This caused all the People to leave and leave the Little Girl and Little Boy alone on the prairie. That night they were afraid and only because everything seemed to be so terrible.

“Calm down, my Children” spoke a friendly voice suddenly to them. The Children looked up to see who had spoken. “Who are you?” the Children asked. “It’s me, Old Man Coyote.” said the voice. As he spoke, he entered the teepee and placed a bundle of firewood next to them. “And it’s me, Old Lady Coyote.” Spoke another voice tenderly. She sat down and started twisting an arrow in her bow to make a fire for them.

Before long, the fire provided warmth and light in their teepe. Right in front of them, on the other side of the fire, were an Old Man and an Old Woman.

“Who are you?” asked the Children, who was feeling a little better.

“We are your grandfather and grandmother.” The Old Lady replied, offering the Children some bison meat.

“And we are also the Mighty Person in the river.” Added the Old Man and offered the Children some sweet food.

“But we only saw ourselves when we visited the river.” Said little boy and little girl together.

“Yes, that’s true.” Replied the Old Man and Old Woman together.

“I don’t understand.” Said the Little Boy.

“All the People have visited the river, just like you.” Started the Old Woman.

“And all of them saw only themselves, just as you did.” The Old Man finished the sentence.

“How incredibly strange.” Said the Little Girl.

“I don’t understand,” said the Little Boy.

“They also thought it was strange.” Replied the Old Man.

“And they did not understand it either replied the Old Woman.

“Were you also their reflections, just like with us?” asked the Little Girl excitedly.

“And they did not believe their eyes.” Said the Little Boy exuberantly.

“Yes” said the Old Man, “you’re right. Now you must find the People and offer them these gifts.”

“What are these gifts?” asked the Little Girl.

“Those are two coyote skins” replied the Old Woman. “Tell them to put these on and they will never be hungry again.” And so the Kids did this. The next day they found the People and offered them the two coyote skins.

“What are they for?” People asked. “There are thousands of these hides to get laughed at.” “We need bison to satisfy our hunger, not such crazy skins.”

“Then put them on” the two Children encouraged the people and told them about their vision. But this only made people laugh harder.

In this camp lived two Kind People. One was a man and the other was a woman. They lived together in the same teepee. These two Kind People loved the Little Boy and the Little Girl and wanted to take care of them. They both stepped into the Circle of the People and put their arms around the two Children and adopted them. “I’ll wear one of the skins” the man told the Little Girl. “And I will also wear one of the skins”, the woman told the Little Boy. The Children gave the coyote skins to the man and the woman who adopted them, and the husband and wife put them on.

“There are bison in the north and in the south” the man told the People, because now he could see them. “There are bison in the west and in the east” said the woman because she could see them now. All the People got excited because they could also suddenly see the bison. “Let’s go hunting in the north” said some of them. “No” others quickly shouted, “the bison in the south are much fatter” “No! No! Others argued. “In the west they are much bigger.” “No! No!” Said the rest of the people evil. “The very best are in the east.” “Oh, please, don’t make such a big fight with each other” begged the man, the woman, the Little Boy and the Little Girl. “You’re just kiying yourselves. Put the coyote skins on and you’ll understand.”

But the People were very angry and they didn’t want to meet in the circle anymore to consult. “Kill these troublemakers!” the People shouted. And they all stewed on these four, who were in the middle of the camp circle. But when they arrived at the camp center, they noticed that the Little Boy and the Little Girl had become a forked Flowering Tree. They quickly looked back at where the man and woman who had adopted the two Children had gone, but all they could find were the footsteps of two mountain lions.

These tracks led north. The People were so angry that they hit hard against the flowering tree. “Let us follow the two mountain lions and kill them.” the people concluded together. They followed the tracks north to find the two mountain lions. They ran and ran, until suddenly the tracks of four lions had become. These tracks led the people back to the Flowering Tree with a large arch.

All the men and women sat down together around the Flowering Tree because they were so tired and started talking to each other. “Why are we doing this?” a few men and women asked the others. “We don’t really want to hurt or kill anyone” said a few others. “But why did you run like that?” another asked. “We only followed you” said those who were spoken to astonished. And they all started laughing.

Then all the People heard singing and they all looked up. There, sitting in the north, they saw a White Coyote singing. They also looked south and saw a Green Coyote. She, too, sang. Then they looked west and there was a Black Coyote singing his song. Finally, they looked east, and there was a Golden Coyote, and she was singing, too. The whole people sat down together quietly and learned from these four wonderful songs. It was the songs of Four Lions. Then the People looked around and saw that each of them was wearing coyote skin. They put their arms around each other and started dancing together to the Flowering Tree, in a large circle. The People were happy.