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September 28, 2011 / 74



(c) 2000, Michael E Picray

Huddled in his tattered blanket the old Indian seer shivered, even though the temperature was over 90. The tourists clattered their way down the dusty pueblo street without regard for the amount of noise they made, even though the old man seemed to be asleep. They were only about 20 feet away when one of the young ones noticed him.

“Look! A real Indian!”

“Be careful, Mae,” their father warned. “He might be mean. A lot of these Indians are drunks. Besides, he might carry a knife.”

“I want my pitchur took with him. I wanna hold a tomahawk like I’m gonna hit him with it and get my pitchur took!”

Mother, the “voice of reason” spoke. “No. He’s just a dirty old man. Get away from him!”

The girl stomped her foot in the hot dusty street. “NO! I SAID I want my PITCHUR took!”

“Now, Mae…” Father said.


From the folds of the ragged cloth emerged what looked like a face. It had eyes, a nose, a mouth. Between and around these features was a wasteland of miniature arroyos and gullies cut by time and trouble. Like a deadly snake, it was the eyes that caught and held the girl’s rebellious spirit. A zephyr blew and ruffled hair un-noticed as silence fell and froze time itself. After what seemed like eons of silence, eons of time where the wind blew and wore down mountains; the waters flowed and made seas; the sun itself burned out and rekindled, the old man spoke from the depths of his wisdom.

“Anybuddy got a quarter? Hey?”

The spell was broken. The family wandered off in a daze. The wise old Indian watched them go.

“Cheapskates,” he said, then went back to sleep.

Down the dusty hot streets of the pueblo came an ancient white bear from the land of the Indian’s birth. It stopped and sniffed at the old one’s body, then hoisted it and turned back North. The  Shaman was going home.


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