An Indian Legend

May 18, 2010
By blonde_with_a_brain PLATINUM, Centerville, Ohio
blonde_with_a_brain PLATINUM, Centerville, Ohio
26 articles 0 photos 1 comment

A long time ago, not far from these parts, the Indians ruled the land. In one particular tribe, the chief was very old and very tired, but also very wise. His name was Golden Feather, and he knew that he wasn’t going to be around very much longer. Now, the tradition was held that after a chief died, his oldest and strongest son was to take his place. But Golden Feather had no sons. He had only six lovely daughters. Five of them had married off to handsome men in neighboring villages, but Quiet Breeze, the youngest and most beautiful, had not been offered even once. What could Golden Feather do? He thought and thought, until he couldn’t think anymore. Finally, he knew what to do. Golden Feather held a series of contests. Each able man in the village was tested in strength, intelligence, in archery, and on horseback.

This is where Light Foot comes into the story. He was the youngest of the men in the competition, having lived only sixteen summers. Though he was the smallest, he was also lean, sturdy, and very quiet. The final test was one of a footrace. Light Foot and his opponent were He was also one of the final two in Chief Golden Feather’s contest. Light Foot and his opponent were given the task of going to a neighboring village and borrowing some of the red hot coals from the fire there. The men were told to then return to camp and use them to light a fire as soon as possible. The first to succeed won not only the title of chief, but a marriage to Quiet Breeze, as well.

When they were sent off into the woods that crisp autumn day, Light Foot was off like that! He dashed through the forest, and down the trail. It was a long road, but he ran and ran until he finally made it to that neighboring village. When he reached his destination, the peoples greeted him with cheers, and showed him to the fire circle. He carefully took three of the hottest coals he could see, placed them in his pouch, thanked the men, and ran off into the forest.

Light Foot was making very good time, it felt like before he passed his opponent, Dark Fox, who was just arriving. He kept running, thinking not of the trail before him, but what he had already passed.

Then, the boy heard small cries coming from the side of the path. He looked, and saw two small children crying. They were cold, tired, and had lost their way. Well, Light Foot had to stop and think for a moment there. If he helped them, he would lose precious time. But then, he realized that he was so far ahead of Dark Fox that he could easily afford the delay. So, he helped the boy and girl start a fire with his precious coals and pointed them in the right direction. Before setting off again, he collected his coals, which glowed red hot once more.

It felt as if he had barely gotten up to pace, when once again, he heard a shout for help. This time, it was a young widow with her infant. Their fire had gone out and they were desperate for help. Knowing that he would need to compensate for his lost time, Light Foot followed the woman to lead him to her tiny home. He relit the fire, collected a little wood, returned the precious coal to his pouch, and went on his way. When he reached the main trail, he saw Black Fox racing on his way to the finish line. But Light Foot just kept going, eventually catching up to him and they ran side by side.

The sun was just beginning to set when the two heard a final, low call for help. It was not loud, nor was it frightened, but it was desperate. A blind old man sat by the edge of the road; cold, hurt, confused, and alone. Both men stopped, trying to decide what to do. Now, you gotta remember, they had been running side by side for hours, and were both pretty tired at this point. The village was only a few minutes away. Black Fox looked at Light Foot for a moment, and Light Foot stared right back. Who would move first? What would they do? Then, an owl hooted loudly, startling both and suddenly Black Fox was gone. Light Foot watched him for a moment, then went slowly to the beggar. It turned out to White Eagle, who had been old for as long as everybody could remember. He had no family, no tribe and he lived by himself in a tiny hut off the trail. Well, needless to say, Light Foot helped White Eagle back to his home, built one more fire with those precious coals, and covered the wound. And, of course, before he left, he took his beautiful, glowing coals with him. Light Foot took his time getting back to camp. He knew he had already lost, and he was very tired.

But when he reached the edge of the village, he saw the crowd cheering for him! It was long after dark now, but Black Fox’s fire wouldn’t catch! There was still a chance! As fast as he could, Light Foot gathered kindling, wood, leaves, and got started on his. Before long, a pretty little fire was crackling merrily before him. That’s how Light Foot, the youngest and smallest of all eligible men in his tribe, became chief and married Quiet Breeze; for the wise Chief Golden Feather knew that the only way that the coals could be used again was if they had been reheated at least once along the way. Light Foot and Quiet Breeze grew to love each other, lead their village through wonderful seasons of peace, and had many children. The End.

The author's comments:
This is my version of one of my favorite classic Native American legends. I first heard it at Marmon Valley Farm, courtesy of Wrangler Matt Wiley.

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