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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


July 27, 2002 - Issue 66


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Thunderhawk - The O’Malley’s Vacation - Part II

by Geoff Hampton
click here for Part I
As the O'Malley's initial state of muscle freeze from fear quickly changed to natural instinct, they all screamed out loud, "Aaaaaaaah!" Then they quickly scattered in all different directions just as Papa O'Malley had instructed them to in time of extreme danger.

Thunderhawk and Blaze both took off from their nearby roosting spot at the same time. As they took to the air they both let out a loud, "Screeeeee!" There was actually little that they could do in this moment of extreme danger, but their commitment to the safety of the little mice was driving them to act, even though their lives could lost.

With all of the noise, panic and confusion, suddenly another loud sound added to the already eerie scene. The sound was loud and ferocious and all of the animals momentarily paused in fright. The coyotes stopped in their tracks with their ears intently turned to the direction of the loud sound. The mice stopped in their tracks and did the same thing. The two hawks landed in a tree and listened intently.

Suddenly the previous sound was accompanied by a very loud crashing sound, as though something very large was running through the brush in the direction of the coyotes and mice. It didn't take long for the source of the sound to be revealed. A very large Black Bear came out of the brush and immediately stood up its hind legs. It was huge!

The coyotes immediately felt fear running through their bodies like a bolt of lightening. The hair on their backs stood straight up and their eyes bulged out of their heads. In some cases a pack of coyotes may challenge a bear, but in this case the bear was far too large and it was very angry.

Thunderhawk immediately knew that the bear was the mother of the baby bears that the coyotes had tried to attack earlier. The mice just looked on in amazement. There was nothing for the mice to fear from the mama bear. From up in their safe spot in a tree the baby bears looked on with great interest. One of them yelled out, "Get ‘em mama!" The other little bear sort of laughed as it watched the mama scare the coyotes.

The enormous bear looked toward the sky and let another ear splitting roar. Saliva was pouring down the side of her jowls and her hair stood straight up. She was obviously in a state of rage and now the situation had changed dramatically. Thunderhawk and Blaze had become observers again. The O'Malley's were now also observers. The coyotes were now considering their options of escape.

In a flash the huge bear went back down on all four legs and was running and growling with eyes that looked fierce and saliva flooding from her open mouth. The coyotes took off running in different directions at one time, just like the little mice had earlier.

One of the coyotes realized that the bear was too close and was going to reach it before it could get away. The bear knocked the coyote into the air with one powerful swipe of her huge paw. The coyote let out a loud yelp from fear and pain. The other coyotes just kept running. They didn't worry for a second about their brother in distress. They just kept running and running, not even looking back.

As the bear knocked the coyote into the air, Fiona let out a scream. She said, "Oh no! That poor coyote!" Sean, Jr. said, "Are you kidding? Those coyotes were going to eat us alive and now you're feeling sorry for them?" Fiona said, "Yes I am. They still have feelings too you know!" Paddy said, "Oh brother! Get real Fiona. Those coyotes are devils. They were after those baby bears but they were too smart. Then they were after us and the mama bear saved us…" Before he could continue Fiona cut him off and said, "I don't care! They're still Mother Nature's creations! I feel sorry for them!" Paddy and Sean, Jr. just shook their heads back and forth in amazement. They were glad that the coyotes were getting what they felt was deserved.

The coyote hit the ground hard. The bear was right on it. The coyote rolled onto its back and did the best it could to seem ferocious. It growled and snapped its jaws at the bear while flailing its legs wildly trying to fend off the huge creature. The bear grabbed the coyote in its jaws and shook it like a rag doll. The coyote was howling in pain and fear. Suddenly the bear released the coyote and it flew through the air. It hit a tree with a thud and the beast let out a loud groan. As it hit the ground it came up running with its tail stuck deeply between its back legs. The coyote was covered with saliva from the bears attack and was bleeding from its hind quarters from where the bears teeth had found their mark. As it ran it the frightened and wounded coyote let out a continuous series of yelps and howls. The bear did not follow, but stood up on its hind legs again and let out another tremendous roar. Even the other coyotes, who had run far from the scene heard the frightening sound. They just kept running.

The mama bear stood for what seemed like an eternity to the little mice as it stared intently after the coyote. After a long time it let out one more loud roar and came back to the ground on all four legs. It looked up to where its babies were and sounded the all clear signal. The baby bears immediately scampered down from their perch and rolled all around on the ground by their mama. The mama bear began licking them and loving them as only a mama can. The baby bears were happy. Their mama had saved them from the terrible coyotes.

Thunderhawk looked at Blaze. He said, "Well Blaze, that mama bear did our job for us this time. I'm glad because that situation was going to be tough." Blaze nodded her head in agreement. The she said, "Those coyotes hopefully learned an important lesson today." Thunderhawk slowly nodded his head in agreement. Then they both looked back to where the little mice had been scattered. They saw Papa O'Malley stand on his hind legs and let out a piercing whistling sound. The other mice knew that that the sound was the "all clear" and "reassemble" signal. They all scampered over to where Papa O'Malley was standing.

All of the little mice started speaking excitedly at the same time. Papa O'Malley said, "Okay children. Settle down now." Virginia said, "I am very thankful that the mama bear got here when she did! That was too close!" All the other mice nodded their heads in agreement and said, "Umm Hmm!" Then it was time to get moving again. Cades Cove was still a long way off.

Papa O'Malley led the way as the little mice continued on the journey to Cades Cove. Up the mountains they climbed. As they came to another clearing, Papa O'Malley stopped suddenly said, "Shhhh!" All the little mice stopped and tried to get into a position to see why Papa O'Malley had stopped them.

As they all peered into the field before them they saw what Papa had seen. There was family of whitetail deer playing in the field and the little mice were always amazed by deer and the way that they played together. It was still July and so the little fawns still had their fawns. The little bucks were starting to get little "buttons" on the tops of their heads, which would one day become their antlers. The fawns loved to play. They would run around and chase each other. It was so funny to the little mice. The fawns were learning about survival from their mamas and they would play practice the lessons they were taught. If one thought it heard something it would become deathly still and look in the direction of the sound. Its ears would become erect and point in the direction of the sound. If the breeze were blowing in such a way that it carried scents from the direction of the sound the baby deer would sniff the air for signs of the source of the sound. Deer have incredible senses. Their lives are devoted to survival, so their ears, nose and eyes are very powerful.

If the fawn decided that there was danger, or decided to "pretend" that there was danger it would stamp its foot on the ground. When a deer stamps its foot on the ground, it releases a scent that other deer can smell. This way deer that come along later they will smell the scent and know to be on guard for danger at that location.

The other deer with the fawn know that this is a warning sign. The older deer knew if there was really danger long before the fawns, so they wouldn't pay much attention to the stamp. However, the other fawns would react as if it were a real warning. If the fawn decided that there was danger. One of the next actions an alarmed deer will take is to act as though it is eating and then quickly raise its head and stare intently in the direction of the perceived danger to watch for movement. It was comical to the little mice. Then, the deer will make a "snort" alarm sound that sounds very unusual. It is like a harsh loud hiss. The little mice laughed when the fawn snorted. It sounded so funny to them.

Then one of the button bucks decided to practice fighting with the fawn that was acting alarmed. The button buck ran over to the other fawn and "butted" it in the hindquarters with the top of its head. The fawn that had been butted let out a loud bleet sound and started running really fast in a circle. The button buck ran after it and they ran and ran around their mama. Suddenly the fawn being chased stopped and turned toward the button buck. It stood on its hind legs and began kicking at the button buck with its front hooves. The little button buck did the same thing. The O'Malley's laughed and laughed at how funny the little deer looked as they "fought". Then it was time for the little mice to move on.

Far over head Thunderhawk and Blaze slowly circled as they watched over the O'Malley's. They also enjoyed watching the antics of the young deer. They really enjoyed watching the little fawns play fight. They both smiled as they watched. Suddenly Thunderhawk spotted something that he couldn't believe. He hadn't seen Running Deer since he had been a young bird and the Cherokee had saved his life. Blaze had never seen the man before so she didn't know what Thunderhawk was doing when he suddenly let out a loud, "Screeee!" and dropped into a steep dive. The O"Malley's heard the loud call of the hawk and looked up to see the huge raptor diving in their direction. They all screamed out loud. Thunderhawk flew right onto the ground next to a Cherokee man that the mice hadn't seen up ahead. They were amazed as the man let out a loud yelping sound of joy and picked the huge hawk up into his arms.

Blaze was a little confused. It looked like something friendly was happening to her mate but she wasn't sure. She swiftly flew down and let out a menacing, "Screeee!" Thunderhawk, who had been so excited to see his Cherokee savior of so long ago had momentarily forgotten about Blaze. He immediately let her know that it was okay and that this man was Running Deer. Blaze immediately flew over to Running Deer. Running Deer was smiling broadly. He knew instinctively that this was Thunderhawks mate. He marveled at how beautiful Blaze was. She wasn't as large as Thunderhawk, but her markings were unusual and extraordinarily beautiful. She had a beautiful red blaze of feathers around her head and neck that whitetail hawks do not usually have. Running Deer walked over to Blaze and put Thunderhawk back on the ground and picked her up lovingly with both hands. As he held her in front of his face their eyes blooked deeply into each other as if searching each others souls. He smiled as the beautiful hawk turned her head back and forth and looked at him first with one eye and then the other.

Meanwhile, the O'Malley's were creeping closer to get a better look at such an unusual sight. Baby Shannon said, "What are those hawks doing papa? Isn't that Thunderhawk? And…isn't that other hawk the one that you scared away when it was trying to kill Paddy?" Papa O'Malley said, "I really have no idea. I have never seen anything like it before! But…yes…that is Thunderhawk…and I…aaaah…think that you're right! That other hawk is the one that tried to eat Paddy!" The little mice all looked in amazement.

Thunderhawk's reunion with Running Deer was wonderful. He was so happy that Blaze had been able to meet the man who had saved his life so long ago. It felt great to Running Deer also who had wondered many times what had happened to Thunderhawk.

After their visit Thunderhawk gave Running Deer a playful peck on the leg and took off. Running Deer smiled and waved goodbye to the two whitetails as they soared into the sky.

As the hawks flew away it dawned on Papa O'Malley that it was very strange that Thunderhawk was so far from Happy Valley. He thought about how strange it was that Thunderhawk had mysteriously appeared so many times when he and his family were in trouble. In that the other hawk was with Thunderhawk several times, he wondered if maybe she hadn't been trying to kill Paddy the time that he had run screaming toward her and she flew away. It was all very confusing.

That night as the little ones slept, Papa O'Malley confided his thoughts to Virginia. As she listened it dawned on her that he was right! It was awfully strange that they kept having these experiences with Thunderhawk. They talked about it for a long time but couldn't figure it out. It just didn't make any sense. Finally they gave up and just went to sleep.

The next day was the big day. They would finally be in Cades Cove. The little ones were excited and up earlier than usual. Poor papa and Virginia were very tired from staying up late discussing the coincidences about Thunderhawk. Paddy and Sean, Jr. were jumping up and down on the two sleeping adult mice trying to awaken them. "Come on you sleepy heads! Let's go! This is the day we've all been waiting for! Come on! Come on!", said Paddy.

Papa O'Malley started to be angry but Virginia immediately cleared her throat with an, "Ahum!" sound and a stern look at papa. He immediately knew what she meant and he got into a friendlier space. He said, "alright…alright…let's go. The last one to Cades Cove is a rotten egg!" All the little mice giggled and started running as fast as they could go. Baby Shannon shouted, "Paddy's going to be a rotten egg!" Paddy shouted back, "I am not! It's going to be Colleen!" Colleen shouted back, "Papa…Paddy called me a rotten egg!" Papa and Virginia just smiled.

As the little mice crested the last rise they were able to see Cades Cove in all its splendor and beauty. They all stopped and just stared down at it. It was so beautiful. They all felt tingling sensations creeping over their bodies as they just looked on and enjoyed the majesty of the moment. In the distance they could see tee-pees and smoke rising from the fires of the Cherokees who were camped there. They saw deer grazing in a field. As they looked around they saw a flock of wild turkeys making their way through another field nearby. They looked at the beautiful mountains surrounding Cades Cove. It was all so wonderful. Papa O'Malley happened to look up and as he did he noticed two familiar looking hawks circling high overhead. He was amazed and nudged Virginia. As she looked at papa he signaled with his head for her to look up. As she did her mouth fell open in disbelief. As she looked back at papa he just sort of sheepishly smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "I don't understand it either."

The O'Malley's had a wonderful time in Cades Cove and their trip back home was not nearly as eventful as their journey getting there. The whole way back to Happy Valley papa and Virginia kept looking up and seeing the two hawks. Their minds were flooded with questions that they simply could not answer. The Great Creator never intended for any creature to be able to understand everything.

As the O'Malley's arrived back home they were exhausted. They all slept peaceful since they were so tired, but papa and Virginia would never forget the strange sights they had witnessed with the two hawks.

Thunderhawk and Blaze were glad to be back home also. They had seen pap and Virginia looking up at them in puzzling ways. They just smiled and went about their business.

It had been a wonderful time for the creatures from Happy Valley. The Great Creator had been watching with interest also. When all were back home safe and sound the Great Creator smiled also. All was well once again in Happy Valley.

The End

© 2002 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is also the Director of Marketing for Indian Voices newspaper and may be reached by E-Mail at Hampton also has a regular wellness/fitness management column at

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