Tuesday, November 15, 2011

 Little Brave
Gleefully, Little Brave runs beneath the branches of trees that are hundreds of years old. He climbs over moss covered  ones that smell strong of the good earth. He lives in a forest. The name of his tribe is of no importance here in this tale of wild and free living. Little Brave could be of any tribe of this earth and the circumstances would apply just the same.

     He at this moment in time is watching a hidden fawn. Its mother is not far away munching the grass near a large boulder. Little Brave does not wish to harm the fawn, but he does want to pet it. Inch by inch he quietly moves toward the baby deer. Now he stretches out a hand to the top of its soft head. It doesn’t move, at first. But then, it’s all legs as it lurches and tumbles forward fighting to rise and flee.

     Little Brave has never come upon so small a fawn before. He says, “Shush, little one. Quiet now.” The ten-year-old moves forward quickly and gathers the little animal to his chest in a tight embrace. It feels so warm in Little Brave’s arms. He runs a hand down the back of its head and neck. He places his cheek on the hot little head. He kisses it several times.

     He’d already decided he’d take the fawn with him when he left. He couldn’t give it up. It was too good of a sensation having the fawn in his arms. It would be his, belong to him alone. He would give it pony milk and care well for the little forest animal.

     And so the boy and the deer leave the mother deer while she contentedly munches sweet grass. Little Brave rubs his chin on the top of the deer’s head and talks in a low voice to sooth it. About half way home, Little Brave senses he’s being followed. It was more than sensing; he heard twigs pop, foot falls and grunting noises.

       At the next curve in the path, Little Brave speeds his steps and chances a glimpse over his shoulder. “No!” he breathes out to himself in a low, shaky voice.   “Oh no! Oh no!” Little Brave said aloud; and to himself,  he said over and over, “It’s a hairy man!” (Little Brave’s tribe called bigfoots, hairy men.) It wasn’t often one saw one of these giants. Little Brave had never until today seen one. He shifted the fawn to his other arm. He held it across the front of his body much like some women carry a baby but the fawn's legs pointed straight up. The fawn weighed more with each step Little Brave took. He was now on a steep grade going up. The crest was in sight.

     Cougar-like screams, too close, rattled Little Braves thinking. The distance to the top of the hill seemed forever. The fawn jerked all four of its spindly legs and fought to roll over in Little Brave’s arms as the screams vibrated the pungent forest air.

     “What was it with this hairy man? Did he want the fawn for his dinner? Did he want me and the fawn?” Little Brave’s brain wouldn’t stop with the questions.

     No help for it, he had to get rid of the jittery fawn to save himself. The giant’s odor was overwhelming. Little Brave knew she was very close. On the run, he dropped the fawn into a nest of thick moss. Next, he found himself flat on his stomach. He’d glanced back for just a long second. (This was when he took note that the hairy man was not a male but a female.) He tripped, stumbled forward and finally landed flat with chin in the hard trail dirt.

     As he fell, his eyes caught a whirlwind of activity. And then quiet. Dust and dark fur settled to the ground. Little Brave’s eyes stung from the dust (he told himself). His nose was running. He slapped at his eyes and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. Mortified that he was crying like a girl, he got to his feet and hurried with much courage to where he could see the hairy being back down the trail.

     The hairy female, bent from the waist, with palms forward, was gently shooing the frightened fawn back down the trail.

     A crazy thought came to Little Brave:  Could it be, that the female giant was returning the fawn to its mother?

The End

#2 Old Father Remembers a Hairy Man Sighting

(A story to be read to your children.)

Little Brave, not one to check his words, shared the story of the hairy man (woman) that had followed him along the trail. He did not tell his grandfather about the tiny fawn he’d snatched from under its mother’s nose. The warmth of the gentle being, he could almost feel in his arms still.

     Its ears flicked away huge mosquitoes while the whole time its enormous brown eyes seemed to beg, “Why won’t you help me? Can’t you please get rid of these awful pests?” Actually, he had several times puffed out a stream of warm air at them, when several landed on the shiny, wet nose.

     Today, Strong Hand, Little Brave’s grandfather, was quick with his words. In the past, when these two sat together by the fire, few words passed between them. Today was different.

     Strong Hand kept his eyes to the high, distant hills and tall trees while he pressed his grandson for information about the bigfoot or Hairy Man.

     “Did you see its face, young one?”

     “No, old father, I didn’t. First I saw of it, it was walking away.”

     Strong Hand shuffled his feet, bent and kneaded a swollen ankle. He dipped his chin constantly as he stroked the ankle through the soft deerskin, high-topped moccasin. The old man’s grey hair was free, unbraided, spilling onto his chest and almost to his waist in back.

     “You know, Little Brave, I’ve seen this being two times when I was your age and a little older.”

     Little Brave knew this and waited to hear the story again. A story  his grandfather had told him many times before. For it was a fact that these beings make a deep hard impression on a human. It can seem to be just a dream in the remembering and telling of it.

     Little Brave knew this well. He still woke at night while safe in the family’s tepee thinking of the female Hairy Man that he saw.

     The old man shivered. Little Brave took his blanket from his own shoulders and draped it lovingly across the well-muscled shoulders and arms of his mother’s father.

     “Go on, old father, tell me more.”

     The elder smiled and touched a hand to Little Brave’s knee. He knew the boy could recite both sightings in full detail; the stories he knew so well. He loved this child that let him indulge the adventures of his youth.

     “The warm spring rain had finally stopped. I decided to run to the little creek not far from camp. I had it in my mind to spear a fish for the evening’s meal. It was late in the day. Running as fast as the trail would allow, I rounded the last bend in the trail and came to a jarring halt. There before me, its back to me, on its knees, a Hairy Man; he was drinking from the stream. His hand cupped, he dipped from the creek the cool water. He was a scraggly stinking thing and massive in size!”

     The old man, coughed, chewed his bottom lip and continued, “He, and it was a he.” He smiled, dipped his chin at his grandson to let the boy know that he recognized it as a he from observing its privates.

     “He must have heard me as I crunched the gravel when I stopped suddenly because he swung his head, as big as a large bear head, around and caught sight of me. Next he was on his feet, facing me, hands clenched. Well, you know the story. I turned and streaked like blue lightening back to my mother’s skirts!”

     They both chuckled. The blanket slid from the old man’s shoulders from the jostling laughter. Little Brave again arranged the blanket across his old father’s shoulders.

The End

                         #3 Bigfoot Wakes

The very many birds on the ground and in the tall pine trees rivaled the fast flowing creek for merry summer sounds. Little Brave busied himself with turning over rocks in the cold splashing water. He searched for crawdads.

     For the past while, an unfamiliar noise came from a downed tree several feet away. “No doubt an animal, but what animal?” the young boy asked himself.

     Little Brave inched his way across the creek to the other side. The noise had, of course, grown faint as he neared the opposite bank. He squinted hard his dark brown eyes at the log from where the noise had come.

     A strong wind gusted. A limb high up in a near tree cracked, broke off, and tumbled to the ground, splashing in the creek just three feet from where Little Brave stood.

     He now could see a shadow move at the log. The wind quieted. The near birds chattered not. A far off woodpecker kept to his work, unconcerned. A lone buzzard circled overhead.

     Little Brave slipped on a wobbly rock. He threw his arms out to balance himself. The pictures his eyes registered whirled crazily. When he found again with his eyes the log and moving shadow where the huffing and grunting had been, nothing looked as it had just a few seconds ago. The scene was so altered Little Brave wasn’t even sure if it was the same downed tree he was looking at.

     But then, the log seemed to move. That could not be; it must be the animal, whatever animal it was.

     Frightened now, Little Brave backed up slowly. The shadow animal loomed now. Its black fur glistened in the dazzling sun, now that it stood out in a clearing and out of the forest darkness.

     The big animal snuffled and blew out air in a great noise. He gave the impression of just waking from sleep.

     Little Brave, so shaken at what he was seeing, slipped again on the wobbly rock and fell backwards hard onto his rump.

     The animal swung its massive spiky-furred head around searching for where the noise had come. It took one step forward. Little Brave sprang to his feet and scrambled under a near blackberry thicket. He clawed his way through to the other side.

     The hairy man (bigfoot) seemed to yawn. Next, he kneeled, doing this by falling loudly onto his knees with long grunts, onto the gravel at water’s edge. Then he scooped, seemingly with great satisfaction, the water to his open mouth from the icy creek.

     He paid no mind to Little Brave now peeking over the top of the blackberry thicket at him.

                              The End

#4 Little Brave and Square Jaw

(To be read to your children.)

When Square Jaw was very young, he was mauled by a big black bear. When recovered, everyone said he was strangely different than before he was attacked. One thing everyone found odd was that he refused to wear moccasins. He did not find this strange. The reason he gave was that the warm sand along Eagle Creek was just too good to not feel it on his winter-chilled feet. Square Jaw, now thirty-eight, seldom left the warm sandy area of Eagle Creek. Most nights he’d sleep there too. He didn’t find this strange either. But his tribe did. Square Jaw “The Odd” as he had become known, had many oddities. These oddities, however, are not what this story is about.

     Ten-year-old Little Brave often spent time with Square Jaw. Little Brave enjoyed the warm fine sand under his feet, as well. And Square Jaw was his mother’s oldest brother. So, that made Square Jaw family. And what’s more, Little Brave did not think his uncle “strange” at all.

     Little Brave enjoyed hearing the stories that Square Jaw liked to tell. Especially did he enjoy the stories of when Square Jaw was a little brave. And often these stories included Little Brave’s mother. Just a few of the stories were happy stories. When Square Jaw and Little Brave’s mother were very young, it was often difficult for the tribe to find enough game to kill or fish to net. All members of the tribe from young to old often spent their days hungry; often, all they could think of was getting something to eat.

     Square Jaw could sense Little Brave felt sad when he heard the “hungry” stories, so he concentrated on happy stories that included the games with which the young ones of the tribe occupied themselves.

     One story, Little Brave knew he would always remember. That was the story of his mother learning to swim. Square Jaw was much older than his mother and Square Jaw was an accomplished swimmer by the time Little Brave’s mother decided that she would like to learn to swim.

     “How hard can it be?” she laughed, when her brother offered to teach her.

     The very first lesson was extraordinary. Little Brave’s mother was standing waist deep in the creek when something brushed her knee. It touched her knee for a long time. Whatever it was, was big and long. Giggling she plunged her face in the water to see if she could see it.

     “Stop playing,” Square Jaw shouted so she could hear him under the water.

     Little Brave’s mother couldn’t believe it. A huge fish hovered on the bottom of the creek not too many feet away. “Square Jaw, come on let’s get it. A big fish, right there,” she said. She pointed near where Square Jaw stood.

     Square Jaw squeezed his nose and motioned with a hand he was going under the water after it. Little Brave’s mother again plunged her face into the cold water to watch. She was thinking, “That fish would really taste good for their evening’s meal.”

     Just as Square Jaw completely went under the water, the water churned and turned dark. Square Jaw popped up and yelled for Little Brave’s mother to hurry to the bank, for a hairy man (bigfoot) was in the water and after the fish. Square Jaw stumbled through the water on his way to the bank. Not far from it, he whirled around and realized his sister was not following. He dove into the water and almost bumped heads with the hairy man. The massive animal had the squirming fish in his huge black hands.

     When Square Jaw broke the water’s surface, his sister had found her way to the bank, sobbing. She was so frightened. In fact, it was the next summer before she allowed Square Jaw to give her another swimming lesson. And, neither she nor Square Jaw considered this “odd.”

The End

Monday, November 14, 2011

#5 Little Brave, the Robin and Big Fist the Bigfoot

(Best read to your children.)

It was the time of the year wildflowers shot up over night. Yesterday they were not here and today whole meadows wave with their glorious colors. Little Brave stood admiring the blue, gently swaying flower heads before him. The fragrant meadow he gazed upon belonged to Big Fist the white-eyed bigfoot.

     Little Brave wished to walk straight through the middle of the meadow, taking in close-up the beauty of the newly “painted” scene, running the tips of his fingers across the dew wet petals. But he would not. Big Fist would surely pounce. Maybe even run him down. And then who knows what the mean ole bigfoot would do to him.

     These bigfoot animals were not always to be feared, his elders had told Little Brave. But, they cautioned, when alone, it is the wise choice to swing wide of them. He was alone now. And so he would not take the middle path through the blue field.

     He turned, thinking himself very wise, to the high path skirting along the bottom of Baker Mountain. The fine dirt and rotting pine needles were cool on his bare feet. A fat robin kept flying and landing just ahead of him as he made his way along the animal path of Baker Mountain.

     A waterfall splashed into a moss green pool at Little Brave’s right as he passed. At first glance, Little Brave did not notice Big Fist sitting on a rock several feet to the left of the waterfall. The big shaggy animal dangled his feet off the rock and dipped a big toe of one of his feet into the emerald water.

     The robin that had flown ahead of Little Brave landed softly at Big Fist’s knee. And then it hopped up onto the wide hairy leg. Big Fist seemed to smile as he flexed the thick muscles of his leg, playing with the bird. The robin flapped his wings in exaggerated motions and tipped from side to side as if he wanted Big Fist to think he was in danger of taking a tumble from the rippling leg.

     Little Brave felt to laugh, but did not; he didn’t want to alter the extraordinary scene before him. But a dry limb snapped, alerting Big Fist to his presence, when Little Brave shuffled his feet to get just a little closer to the pair. The robin, in a feather-shedding flurry, flew across the waterfall’s face and landed in a near pine. Big Fist sprang into the green pool and swung his huge white eyes around, searching for what had made the snapping noise.

     Little Brave dug his feet into the path and sprinted to the bottom of Baker Mountain as fast as he could. Curiously, he had noticed before he took flight, that matted in Big Fist’s tangled coat were blue flowers here
and there. And mostly they were visible in a line around his neck. Did Big Fist know how to make flower chains? Or did Big Fist have a girl pal that made a flower chain for him?

     “This time of year was certainly filled with curiosities and beauty,” thought Little Brave.

                               The End

#6 Little Brave’s Missing Fish

Little Brave dipped his toes into the green pool. This pool was his favorite pool of all those scattered along the trail to his home, a warm tepee. It was now the part of the day the sun set over the tall swishing pines to the west. The sun twinkled between the branches and the pool at his feet darkened by the second. The pool was now as black as the pony his father rode.

     Unbeknown to Little Brave, an animal watched him. The animal was not a bear. It was not a mountain lion. It certainly smelled like a skunk, but it was not. It was the animal his people called Buk-Was. Little Brave had only seen one of these towering beings himself a few times, but often he heard about them while sitting in a circle as the elders told their tales of an evening.

     Buk-Was sniffed the air. He couldn’t decide what the little human smelled like. But it was a good smell to his nose. A fish, its gills just barely moving, twitched along side of the young boy’s leg. The leg hopped up and down as the youngster paddled his feet in the green pool. “Perhaps it was the fish he smelled,” Buk-Was said to himself.

     The boy hummed merrily and glanced to the top of a pine where a dark bird landed, sending a dry branch tumbling to the forest floor. Just as the branch hit the floor not many feet from the boy, Buk-Was snatched the fish up and crammed it into his mouth. The big animal rose to full height, turned and crashed through the brush straight behind the boy's back.

     Little Brave, startled, and hopped from the bank of the pool, into it. The black water came to his waist and caused him to shudder. All he saw of the Buk-Was’s presence were the branches of small trees and thick brambles crashing back together from where the big body parted them in hasty flight.

     Where was his fish? His eyes swung around searching. No fish! The skunk odor now was thick in the air. “Must have been a skunk that took it,” he said to himself. Then he added, to account for the high brush moving and clashing back to its original configuration, “Or maybe a bear helping a skunk to swipe my fish. Now that’s a story to tell the elders.”

     He scrambled from the chilled black water. He at once began putting together his story he’d tell the elders tonight. Unaware, Little Brave trampled over the huge Buk-Was foot prints all along the trail back to the clearing where his tepee home sat─now in the dark evening shadows.

The End


#7 The Breaker of Arrowheads

Little Brave sits splashing his bare feet in the narrow but deep creek that snakes along the edge of his tribe’s camp. His feet are almost too cold. But he keeps splashing them anyway.

     In his clenched hand he holds an arrowhead, a broken arrowhead. It was his last one. Today he was to have gone hunting with his father. Now he could not. He would be required to stay behind and prepare himself a supply of arrowheads, and no doubt be pressed into some woman’s work.

     The arrowhead that he held, now biting into his palm, had been broken by his cousin, on purpose. The cousin, Big Ears, was jealous of Little Brave’s hunting feats. Little Brave seldom came home without meat. Big Ears often had nothing to show for his time in the woods while hunting. So out of jealousy, Big Ears broke Little Brave’s last arrowhead.

     Little Brave watched his cousin walk into the near woods, the last in line of the hunters. Tears stung at Little Brave’s eyes, but he would work hard to not let them fall onto his cheeks. The evening sun twinkled at the top of a tall fir as it fell into dusk on its way into night.

     The tears in Little Brave’s eyes made the distant trees waver. The air was heavy with mouthwatering smells of drying deer meat. Still, he splashed his numb feet in the icy water. Something ahead of him, some animal, was working its way down one of the fir trees about twenty feet away.

     He looked up, spotting the heavy rump and legs of what appeared to be a black bear, slowly coming closer to the ground. He had no arrowhead for his arrows. A rock, he’d look for a rock and dispatch the animal that way.

     A smooth rock he lifted with both hands. He quickly turned to face the bear still about ten feet up the tree. What was he looking at? He saw very clearly fingers on the bear’s paws. A bear with fingers? A creepy crawly feeling shot through his body.

     The animal let go of the tree’s trunk and landed on all fours. It whirled around, still close to the ground, breathing loudly and bearing yellow teeth. It wasn’t a bear. It was one of the hairy men of the forest.

     Was the smelly thing advancing on him? Little Brave rose to his full height and backed slowly away. He stumbled over a boulder. His eyes left the animal for what seemed only a second. While Little Brave fell, the animal sprinted into the forest using the same trail his father and Big Ears took. Little Brave did not know where the animal had gone.

     This day got worse because Big Ears came from the day’s hunt with a story of his own about spotting a hairy man. The only good thing about the whole wretched day was that Big Ears yet again did not bring home meat. He came home only with a story of a hairy man.

     These hairy men were seldom seen by anyone. So, it was with great mirth that Little Brave kidded and poked fun at his cousin. And he did not tell anyone of his own sighting of a hairy man. He just didn’t want to endure the laughing that he knew it would bring about.

     He preferred laughing at Big Ears’ story and that the young hunter and breaker of arrowheads had again arrived home empty handed.

                                The End