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by Finder

        Long ago in the days of the ancestors there was a warrior, named  Running Through Forest.

        Many seasons ago Running Through Forest received his name from his people. Long since any of his people could remember, there was not one foot race through the forest that he did not win.

        Running Through Forest was not a famous warrior and did not own any war feathers, yet all the people treated him as one of their own relations.

        Running Through Forest loved his people and through all the many seasons of his life he used his swift feet to hunt, protect, and to bring happiness to his people.

        His people loved to give gifts to each other and because Running Through Forest had so many friends, he owned many many things.

        One day the shaman of the people approached Running Through Forest and said, “Running Through Forest, I have overheard some young warriors talking about you. What they are saying is not good. They say that you are not a warrior and the only reason you own so much is because all the people give you things.”

        Running Through Forest was very concerned. He said, “I know these young warriors. They are brave and hard working. Why would they say such things about me?”

        To this the shaman replied, “When these warriors were younger their fathers were killed defending our village and so the fathers were not there to teach their sons the ways of honor.”

        Running Through Forest asked the shaman, “What can I do?”

        The shaman carefully asked, “Running Through Forest, these things that you own, how important are they to you?”

        Running Through Forest did not have to think long. He said, “Nothing is more important to me than the love I have for my people and everything that I own reminds me of the love they have for me.”

        The shaman was happy to hear this. The next day he went to the chief and asked him to call a meeting of the people.

        The chief knew the best way to gather his people together and he immediately announced a Pow Wow.

        The people loved Pow Wows, especially the children. They loved the drumming, dancing, telling of stories. News of the coming Pow Wow traveled fast throughout the people.

        When the Chief had gathered his people together he said, “Our shaman has something important to say.”

        The shaman told of his overhearing the young braves talking about Running Through Forest and called them forward in front of the people.

        The young warriors were ashamed. They did not think anyone had overheard them talking in the forest.

        The shaman asked all the people to be quiet because Running Through Forest had something to say to the young warriors.

        As the shaman handed Running Through Forest the talking stick, the people became silent, even the children sat down and were very still.

        “When I was young,” Running Through Forest started, “our people suffered many seasons where the Great Spirit sent us very little water. Because of this drought the wolves used to attack our village.”

         All the people were quiet and there were many who remembered those bad times and shook their heads in agreement.

        Running Through Forest continued, “During those bad times my father and I were protecting a group of children gathering water when we were attacked by wolves. My father was killed while I led the children safely back to the village. Because not one child was harmed getting back to our village, I was given the place among the people to always protect the children. So when the other warriors ride out to battle or hunt, I do not ride with them. My place is to stay in the village and protect it from attack while our warriors are gone.”

        When Running Through Forest paused, the young warriors, as one, let out a sigh. No one had told them about the place Running Through Forest had among his people. All the elders of the people held their breath for they knew what was going to happen next.

        As Running Through Forest continued, all eyes of the elders were on him. “You young warriors think that everything I own is important to me.” They shook their heads yes. He told them, “I can give away everything that I own, and I give it all to you to divide up between you. However, the one thing I cannot give you is the love that was given me with these gifts.”

        All at once the people jumped up. A quick little child grabbed the talking stick from Running Through Forest’s hand. The people started to get quiet and before long everyone, including the children, became silent again.

        Everyone listened to the little boy as he told of the gift he gave to Running Through Forest for helping him. He did not want Running Through Forest to give it away. One by one many people took the talking stick and told stories of why they had given Running Through Forest a gift. 

       When everyone had told their stories the shaman asked Running through Forest, “Did you receive any gifts from these young warrior’s fathers? And do you remember which gifts they gave you?”

       “Of course,” Running Through Forest answered. “I grew up with all of their fathers and even though they are no longer with us, I remember them through the gifts they gave me.”

        The shaman said, “It seems the people do not want you to give everything away that you own to these young warriors, yet everything now belongs to them.”

        The shaman turned to the young warriors and asked, “All the things that once belonged to Running Through Forest now belong to you. What will you do with them?”

        Now the eyes of the elders were focused on the young warriors as they decided to walk into the forest to talk about what to do. Not one word was spoken among the people while the young warriors were gone.

        When they returned from the forest, the oldest took the talking stick and began, “We do not want these things that belong to Running Through Forest. But we do want to learn about our fathers, and the ways of honor from the stories that Running Through Forest could tell us.”

        When they heard this the elders let out a sigh of relief because they knew the young warriors were being tested by the shaman and that the warriors were being honorable young men.

        And so it was agreed by all the people that each warrior would keep the things that once belonged to their fathers and Running Through Forest would tell them the stories behind every gift. Also the young warriors returned all the gifts that Running Through Forest had received from his people.

        All the young warriors knew they had just learned a great lesson. They also knew that even though Running Through Forest did not wear very many feathers he was truly a great warrior for his people; a ‘humble warrior”.

- the end -

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