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Cliff of Destruction

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Over the Cliff of Destruction

There was an ocean of grass as far as one could see. But the Sioux knew more than just the prairie. They knew the secret treasures of the plains: buffalo.

The Red Buffalo tribe was a nomadic tribe. They followed the buffalo herds. To the Red Buffalo’s, buffalo was their main source of food, clothing, and important tools for farming, sewing and for knives. To get those things, they needed to hunt for them. The Red Buffalo had the advantage of using a cliff.
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Today was a special day for Rolling Hills. Today was his first buffalo hunt. He was excited but also afraid. Once a man from their tribe had fallen off his horse and was trampled in the stampede. The sharp hooves of the buffalo killed him. Rolling Hills knew that the tragedy had brought ill fortune to the tribe. If a man was killed during the hunt, it was a sign of bad luck and that the spirits weren’t pleased enough. Rolling Hills pushed his fears aside and joined the hunt with bravery and confidence.
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“Mama!” complained Ginger, a yearling, “Why can’t I go with the other yearlings to the cliff? We’ll be careful!”

“Never my son! You will not go near that cliff. Listen and I will tell you a story about my childhood.

I was two years older than you at the time. Some inexperienced Indian boys tried to scare us off the cliff. They raced at us with frightening masks. We all ran to the cliff’s edge. The boys didn’t scare us far enough. I stopped at the very edge with a few others, watching the whole herd plunge to the ground below. It was terrible. My mother and father ran off too. Every cliff is the cliff of destruction. Every cliff, I tell you.”
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All the hunters formed a semi-circle around the herd. They raced at the herd with frightening masks. The herd galloped to the edge and plundered to the depths below. None escaped except a few hearty ones below. The cliff wasn’t big but big enough to break bones.

Ginger was one of the few young ones who managed to survive. He only suffered broken legs. He remembered his mother’s words, “Every cliff is a cliff of destruction.” Ginger saw it plain and clear. He saw all the dying buffalo. His own dead mother’s words rang in his ears like piercing, clanging gongs, “cliff of destruction, cliff of destruction, cliff of destruction…”



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