This story was given to me in meditation by an ancient Indian Chief, ‘Calling Horse’.
Love your Life, Perfect Your Life, Beautify all Things in Your Life, Glory in Your Strength and Beauty
This Law was unspoken ‘common sense’ in most tribes, but some would quote it often.
Everyone knew the uplifting benefits of making an effort to produce beautiful artifacts, be they clothing, tents, tools or pots.All were appreciated both by the maker and the user, if true skills and craftsmanship were used in their making.
Likewise when people made an effort with their appearance, they could hold their heads up high.They were clean and handsome and admirable.A child would adore its parents and would wish to copy their sheen and style.Parents would train their offspring in the traditions of producing the clothing of their tribe.
I can tell you a story about a couple in my tribe, her name was Blue Bird and his, Red Fox.Their families used to joke about their possible betrothal.‘Will Red Fox catch the Blue Bird?’ they would ask.
Blue Bird’s family said she would not willingly be plucked of her feathers, as she was a strong and willful girl.However Red Fox was determined to catch her and for her to be pursuing him in the chase.He thought if she chased him, he would be able to agree, but if he chased her, being stubborn, maybe she never would give in.
It was a time of feasting, spring was in the air and several young braves had love and pursuit on their minds.So indeed did the young unmarried girls in the tribe.There were four braves and five girls all hoping for a match.This meant that one of the girls was going to be disappointed.Blue Bird was determined that it would not be her.
Over the winter when there was less to do by way of gathering plants, she made a special effort with her clothing.She carefully dyed the skins and cut and shaped them so perfectly that the other girls came to ask her to show them how to produce the same effects.She helped them, but she did not give away all of her secrets.Her grandmother had told her: ‘Some things must be kept in the family and handed down, mother to daughter, father to son. Not everyone needs know about your skills and techniques.It is not a matter of life or death whether you can look more handsome than the others in the tribe, but it will help you to secure the husband you desire.’
Blue Bird knew her grandmother was right.She showed the other girls how to dye their clothing, but she did not tell them quite all of the herbs that she used.She showed them how to create patterns on their tents, but she did not share her very finest needles and yarn with them.
When the feasting began the young men held competitions to show who was the strongest.She noticed that Yellow Cloud had the most stunning headdress and clothing, and that he seemed to be performing for her.She watched Red Fox out of the corner of her eye.She had always admired him but did not want to let him know, until the moment she saw him dancing towards another young girl known as Prairie Flower. A feeling arose in her which she hardly recognised.It was a feeling of panic and fear of the loss of him. She walked quickly to her tent, her eyes brimming.Her grandmother had been watching the proceedings. She knew exactly what was in the girl’s heart.
‘Be proud but be clever,’ said her grandmother.‘Stand behind Prairie Flower, not too close, and hold this token in your hand, almost as if you were offering it to him.Look at him; do not take your eyes off him.He will come to you.When he does, give it to him, touch his hand and look into his face.Then he will know that you have chosen him, and indeed that he has chosen you.’
Blue Bird took the token and walked proudly into a space behind Prairie Flower. Her black hair glinted in the sunlight, her garments draped over her shapely figure in the most flattering way. She looked at Red Fox, how strong and graceful he was! He might not be the most handsome young man, nor the best dressed, but she knew he was kind and amusing, strong and brave. She would be happy with him. She caught his eye. Not looking away she lifted the love token almost imperceptibly towards him. He did not need a second invitation.With a huge leap of joy and triumph he left the dancing braves and swept Blue Bird off her feet. They both shrieked with laughter as he carried her around the dancing circle. Soon all the young men were carrying a maiden. Only Prairie Flower sat alone, a single tear coursing down her cheek. One of the boys too young to take a wife respectfully approached her.
‘Prairie Flower, next year I will be choosing a wife, and if you would like to wait for me I would like to choose you.’
The girl’s father came over and said, ‘There is plenty of time for you to find a husband, Prairie Flower, and plenty of time for you to learn how to beautify yourself and your home. Go and talk to Blue Bird, she obviously knows a thing or two.’
‘Yes, Father,’ replied the young girl. ‘I shall continue to enjoy my life in your tent. I am not unhappy that I was not chosen. Next year my hair and my dress will be as beautiful as Blue Bird’s, and I will decorate your tent so that it rival’s the Chief’s tepee.’
‘You are a wise girl,’ said her father.‘Others may have entertained jealousy and anger in their hearts, but you know how to perfect your life with love and acceptance. Your mother has taught you well.’
‘Love your Life, Perfect Your Life, Beautify all Things in Your Life, Glory in Your Strength and Beauty‘