All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
A fox Tail for Me
The pale dirt swirls up from beneath my worn feet. We have walked a long way. Warm breath tickles the back of my neck, making my body tremble as the vapor cools and clings to tiny hairs. I rest a comforting hand on the mane of my mare, Chesca. I can see it in his eyes. Can he see it in mine? I can feel the almost acidic fear, fester within and escape just a little with each breath. It lingers between us, waiting to attack.
Just over the hill dances smoke. We must be getting closer. My hand creeps down to my most prized posession hanging at my side. Beside me, the tribal women walk carefully behind their mates, cradling babies to their chests and humming with hope.
As we approach the village, the entire Watinuba tribe gathers around a smoldering fire in front of us. Their gaze meets the stare of my people and then slides across our our bodies; picking out distinctions and deciding if we pose any threat. The Watinuba are dark complected as we are, but appear bald. We, men and women alike, wear pony tails well past our shoulders. I look down at my deer skin pants. I am just a boy. I barely know how to use a bow and arrow to the skill level of the weaker elders.
The fire licks up the wood and throws shaddows back in fear. We introduce ourselves to the chief. He is easily recognizable, for he wears a full headdress of majestic feathers. He also clings to a squirrel tail, as do all of the Watinuba.
“We are the Eloke. We have traveled many miles to ask for your hospitality and support,” our chief said confidently. “Our village was overrun by the English on the coast. Please accept us and we shall help defend your tribe.”
The chief of the Watinuba deliberated with the other council members, as anxiety pulsed in our veins. After much thought and consideration, they accepted. Together, we were able to lay the foundations of several wigwams for our people. By that time, the moon was high in the sky and happiness was boiling in our blood. As I made my way to the heart of the celebration, people stared and a finger shot out, pointing at my side. Whispers echoed into the night. A hand now grasped my shoulder from behind. Instinctively, my hand slid to my side. Slowly, I spun around on my heels. Chief Omi of the Watinuba, stood firm faced, in front of me. “Young one, you cannot wear this as long as you are with us.” There was no hint of humor in his tight, glistening eyes.
I removed my fox tail from my pants. I ran my fingers through its silky hair and thought of my grandfather. He was the greatest warrior for the Eloke. Someday, I hoped to be like him. So did he. That is why he gave me his lucky fox tail. It is a symbol of loyalty to the Eloke; my family.
I drew my hand back to my chest, clutching the fox tail tight. I am not sure what Omi saw in my eyes, but he must have seen my resistance, for he then added “We do not honor the sly and deceitful fox, but the careful and preservative squirrel. Now give it to me.”
To this, I leaped back. Quickly, I scanned my people. All of their fox tails had been removed and replaced with a squirrel tail. Didn’t they burn with shame?
Gathering all of the courage of my grandfather, I spoke. “I choose to wear my fox tail because I am an Eloke. You cannot take away my pride. If I cannot be myself, I will not remain here. It is your choice. Shall I leave, or shall I stay? One day, I will be a fierce warrior. If I leave, then you’d better prepare. For, I will unleash my all on you and you will be sorry.”
To this, Omi burst into uncontrollable laughter. I kept my face composed even though embarrassment and panic seeped into my sinking gut. “What makes you so great?” he managed to hiss between chuckles. “My culture, my tribe.” I replied. With my remaining confidence, I strode away. I was almost invisible in the night, when my people began to follow me in awe of my bold display.
So, when Omi realized that he truly needed our assistance for his tribe’s survival against the foreigners, we were waiting. We could see it in his eyes; feel the desperation that drew beads of sweat to his temple as his eyes searched frantically to find us in the dark. Because we were ready to defend our culture, and our people, we were strong.
Now, as I watch my people mingle effortlessly with the Watinuba, I smile at the sight of the fox tails. I realized it was not physical strength that made my grandfather the greatest. It was the courage and pride in his heart. I believe I am on my way to living up to his expectations. Because, only a fox tail is for me.