Hot or Cold?
Her hair was snow white, her hands gnarled, and shoulders stooped. She shrugged the wolf skin higher up onto the back of her neck pulling it taut across the front of her. She could not move closer to the fire tonight. It was her position to sit away from the fire, high on the rocks.
She was an Elder now. She had proved herself on the last migration journey. She had found good clean water when no one else could. She had always been able to smell it, not unlike sister horse. The smell of water wafted on the breeze for her.
When she had dared to interrupt the Elder’s gathered for decision making, she had blurted out the secret she had kept all those years, she could smell the water. Not only could she smell the water, she could tell if it was good water.
Those old men had looked upon her with eyes milky with age. They had looked into her soul. Not wanting to take the tribe on a wild goose chase. The Elders had decided to send a few strong braves with skins to fill and return. She had the young men to water. Good, clean, healing water. The tribe had been saved. That was the last time she was known as Woman With Club Foot. Her new name became, Nose of Tears.
Many had perished from lack of water on this journey. The creeks and rivers they had normally stopped by were dried up. The flowing underground well was fouled. It had been a sorrowful trek for her kinsmen.
Nose of Tears looked out over her family, huddled in the drafty cave. The wind picked up a pile of leaves, tossing it at the people hunkered down for the evening. The bats eyed them warily. This was not her favorite cavern to camp in, as they traveled north for the warm months. The wind was funneled and blew out the camp fires as they were started over and over again. The wind then picked up the smoke from the fires blowing it into everyone’s eyes.
Nose of Tears was to tell her story tonight. She was so proud. She would be even more proud if Running Wolf had been able to witness this. Her husband had been lost on this sad trip. He had protected the tribe from a large bear. He had not survived killing the bear with his hunting knife. She proudly wore the claws of the bear around her neck.
Nose of Tears was waiting. Waiting for the tribe to settle down, wrap the babies in furs for the night, stoke the fires one last time, and turn their attention to her.
Noting she was waiting and that the tribe was anticipating, she nudged the young boy sitting next to her, “Would you please pick a spot? Are you hot or cold? Move back away from the fire, just a bit, pull the robe over you and you will be comfortable.”
Approving, Nose of Tears cleared her throat and began her story. The story of how she saved the tribe.