The boys were gathered around the campfire. The much awaited for Spirit Quest would be underway for each of them soon. Most of them wanted to be great Hunters, others great Warriors, some wanted to be a Medicine Man, and some Trackers.
Ground Lion’s biggest dream was to be a great Tracker, like his father. He wanted to lead the tracking expeditions of the tribe. He wanted to be able to track the tribe’s next meal, their migration routes, and most importantly their enemies. However, he did not know if he would become the leader of such expeditions. At a very young age, Ground Lion, found out how no one was guaranteed to see Grandmother Moon‘s light or feel the Grandfather Sun‘s warmth.
A throat being cleared shook him from his musings. He glanced up and noticed several eyes were gazing at him. At once Ground Lion realized the Chief was addressing him. Several of the young men sitting around the fire snickered behind their hands, some bravely laughed aloud. Shamefully, Ground Lion looked down at his hands.
“I was saying we, the Council, have gathered to send each of you young men on your Spirit Quest. Nevertheless, before we start, we would like to hear of Ground Lion’s Spirit Quest. Some know this story, some do not, and some need to hear it again.” The Chief moved around the circle until he was standing in front of Ground Lion.
Ground Lion rose, taking the speaking staff from the Chief. The Chief returned to his place in the circle. Ground Lion stood a moment, taking in the faces upturned towards him. He turned back towards the fire and allowed himself to inhale deeply. The firelight lit his face and as he gazed into the fire, the words began flowing from him.
“I was not many moons old when my father and I were ambushed by the White Man. They came from nowhere, they came from everywhere and they were upon us quickly with their fire shooting rods. My father did not make a sound as we were tied and led away. We walked across Mother Earth until Grandfather Sun had come and gone, come and gone.”
The Elders of the tribe noted as they recalled the sad day when their Tracking Leader had been taken while fishing with the young man who stood before them now. The younger men around the fire had heard the stories, but never from Ground Lion. At the time of his capture, they were very young too and did not remember the incident.
“The White Man would make strange noises and when we would not respond, they would beat us. Father received many, many beatings…and yet, he made no noise. Many suns and moons passed until finally, not receiving what they were after, they killed Father. The fire rods made loud bangs and Father’s life ran from him painting Mother Earth with red ribbons.” Ground Lion shivered at the memory of his father lying there with the blood pouring from his body.
“They did not know what to do with me. I thought they would kill me too, but instead they put their loincloth on me and made a headdress. It was one of those things just thrown together with no pride or meaning behind it. Next, they made me show them how we use our weapons. When I refused to show them, they beat me.”
“Thankfully, the brave warriors from our clan found me before another moon passed. They killed all the White Man, set flames to their homes, and their scalps now hang on our walls. The warriors saved me and brought the lifeless body of my Father away. We returned here and the ceremony for Father was held the next day.” Some of the Warriors sitting around the fire remembered well what it was like to find the young boy being laughed at and the fallen hero‘s body being desecrated by lying there for many feet to step on. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to take the scalps of the ones who would do such a thing.
“There were times after that, I would have dreams that would wake me and I would tremble in fear. Even the dream catchers could not keep these dreams away. They haunted me and they chased me. Finally the Elders met and decided the recurrent nightmares were a sign for me to embark on my Spirit Quest.” The Elders nodded in agreement, but Ground Lion continued in his trancelike state. “In my Quest, I had the vision of being here and being among the White Man. I saw the ground lion making himself seem like his surroundings. I saw him protecting himself and being victorious over his enemies. I saw the child I was, the one I had to pretend to be to survive, and the one I was to become.”
“When I returned to this realm from my Quest, the Elders listened. Hence, I was name Ground Lion and I know now I will be like the Chameleon ~ blending into my surroundings to track, hunt, and help the tribe as much as possible.”
Murmurs rippled through the young boys as they digested the information they had just heard. In their eyes was a newfound respect for this brave and they watched him as he passed the Speaking Staff back to their Chief. They were impressed by the story of his Quest. Each wondered if his own Quest would be as revealing.
Challenge: Use the picture as your inspiration to write something -- anything, so long as it pertains in some way to the picture.