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The Journey of a Little Indian Girl
                                                                  No Voice ©

          Whispering flower knelt beside the brook.  Leaves and twigs floated around the protruding rocks.  She could hear the sound of the water rushing past, forcing its way between the glistening rocks and ripples.  It seemed to echo between the banks and the overhanging trees that framed each side.  On her knees, she leaned forward over the water until she could see her reflection clearly.
           Eyes like a fawn's greeted her own, set like jewels in a round olive face.  The dark hair framing her face, hung, embracing the water as the current tugged at the ends.  Touching her finger to the water's surface caused a ripple in her reflection.
           "Oh!  Where's my mouth!  I have no mouth!"  Alarmed and distressed she rose.  Quickly and silently she disappeared into the forest.  The underbrush pulled and tugged at her as she made her way through the thick underbrush The overhanging branches scratched at her, but she was determined to find her way home.  How could I have gone so far?
           Finally, she found her way to the Old Forest where the trees were close and the smell of fir needles comforted her.  Huckleberry bushes spread their delicate plumage and little maidenhair ferns dotted the moss on the carpet floor.   Comfortable, familiar sights met her just beyond the  rise.  All the sounds of village life reached her ears.   Children were playing and dogs were barking. Busy mothers chanted and the aroma of meat hanging over an open fire told her the evening meal was nearly ready.
           She ran through the trees, past the children playing, straight for her grandmother.   "I have no voice!" She cried, out of breath.
           "Don't be silly, child, of course you have a voice, just listen to you."
           "You don't understand!  I have no voice!  The face in the water has no mouth!"
           After a few well-chosen words, grandmother calmed the child and the evening meal began.   The sun hung low in the western sky and village life buzzed with preparations for the Fire of Harvest.  Their time of giving thanks for the generous earth.   As soon as the stars appeared, families began arriving in their small groups.  More wood was added to the already crackling flames which flew high above them.
           Crying Cloud's voice rose with the flames, repeating the treasured stories long into the night.  Soon, small children fell asleep in their mother's laps and No Voice leaned tight against her grandmother.  She listened with wide eyes as her grandmother told of marvelous things that happened long ago.
           "Tell about the man on the donkey, Grandmother, please!"  The child pleaded.
"Oh yes," said the grandmother, "The gentle one.  He came when the snow was on the ground, riding on a very small donkey.  He sat at our fire with us and told us stories of long ago.  About a man who came to die for us so that we could live forever.  He was gentle and kind and we could feel His love."
           "Tell about raggy baby, Grandmother!"
           Grandmother looked at the little girl with a tear glistening precariously.  "As He was about to leave," she continued, "His eyes rested upon me and He reached out and placed a cloth baby in my arms.  ‘A raggy baby for the little one,' He said."   The old woman's audience sat very still waiting for the end of the story.   "I loved her much for a long time and then I put her away to save for my favorite granddaughter."
           The child leaped to her feet.  "Grandmother, I'm your only granddaughter!"  Joyful with the gift, she threw her arms around the old woman's neck and then she remembered, "Grandmother, this is your raggy baby—"
           "Yes child, and now she's yours.  Love her much and she'll speak to your heart." No Voice hugged the limp raggy baby tight against her and then snuggled deep within the offered lap.  
          The fire crackled less but no one noticed.  Little ones asleep in their mother's arms, were being gently rocked and old men talked about the changing seasons.  No Voice listened with wondering eyes until her lids grew heavy and then she could see the way clearly down toward the brook.  It was a stir in the morning air and brilliantly colored leaves that led her back over the hill and through the carpeted forest to the pool.  
           In this early morning hour, she did not stop there, but, was drawn further upstream to the High Rock.
           "I've come from far away," she said to the High Rock, "In search of the All Knowing One.  You see, just like my baby, I've no mouth, so I have no voice."
           "You are wise indeed, to direct your search toward the All Knowing One.  The way was long and lonely and hampered with many difficulties."
           "Please," said the girl, "carry my plea on a swift wind to the ears of the All Knowing One."
           "The All Knowing One hears you always," said the High Rock.  "Speak out child,  your voice on it's own, rides on the wind."
           She knelt on the High Rock, looking up toward the spots of blue visible between large limbs on towering trees.  Her lower lip quivered as she became aware of the awesomeness of this Holy Place.  Quickly she stood, slipped off her slippers and knelt again.  Then there was a voice, gentle and kind.
           "With your own eyes, child, look up to the Sun and see the love that embraces all things and the way that love keeps all living things and their needs in perfect balance.  Fill your heart with this love and you too will become a fountain of water flowing— and you will discover your voice, and you will again be Whispering Flower."
           Grandmother prodded her.  "Come child, the fire is small and the stars are dim.  A warm deer skin is waiting.  Look at your sleepy eyes.  You‘ve been dreaming again, haven't you?"

                                                                                                            Sheryl Hamilton Chaney