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
Long since any of his people could remember, there was not one foot
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
of his life he used his swift feet to hunt, protect, and to bring
to his people.
His people loved to give gifts to each other and because Running
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
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
To this the shaman replied, “When these warriors were younger their
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
asked him to call a meeting of the people.
The chief knew the best way to gather his people together and he
announced a Pow Wow.
The people loved Pow Wows, especially the children. They loved the
dancing, telling of stories. News of the coming Pow Wow traveled fast
When the Chief had gathered his people together he said, “Our shaman
something important to say.”
The shaman told of his overhearing the young braves talking about
Through Forest and called them forward in front of the people.
The young warriors were ashamed. They did not think anyone had
them talking in the forest.
The shaman asked all the people to be quiet because Running Through
had something to say to the young warriors.
As the shaman handed Running Through Forest the talking stick, the
became silent, even the children sat down and were very still.
“When I was young,” Running Through Forest started, “our people
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
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
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
them. My place is to stay in the village and protect it from attack
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
knew what was going to happen next.
As Running Through Forest continued, all eyes of the elders were on
“You young warriors think that everything I own is important to me.”
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
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
stick from Running Through Forest’s hand. The people started to get
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
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
“Did you receive any gifts from these young warrior’s fathers? And do
remember which gifts they gave you?”
“Of course,” Running Through Forest answered. “I grew up with all of
fathers and even though they are no longer with us, I remember them
the gifts they gave me.”
The shaman said, “It seems the people do not want you to give
away that you own to these young warriors, yet everything now belongs
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
do with them?”
Now the eyes of the elders were focused on the young warriors as they
to walk into the forest to talk about what to do. Not one word was
among the people while the young warriors were gone.
When they returned from the forest, the oldest took the talking stick
began, “We do not want these things that belong to Running Through
But we do want to learn about our fathers, and the ways of honor from
stories that Running Through Forest could tell us.”
When they heard this the elders let out a sigh of relief because they
the young warriors were being tested by the shaman and that the
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
tell them the stories behind every gift. Also the young warriors
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
feathers he was truly a great warrior for his people; a ‘humble