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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 7, 2002 - Issue 69


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Thunderhawk - The New Neighbors

by Geoff Hampton
Dancing MouseSummer had been filled with great adventure and the creatures of Happy Valley slowly began their fall routines. Little Paddy had become obsessed with the bravery of Thunder Jack and every day he pretended that he was the super hero. Paddy couldn't forget his own bravery during his trip up to Deals Gap and he was convinced that Thunder Jack's Spirit had entered his little body.

As September rolled over into October the O'Malley's were thrilled because they were about to get some new neighbors. The new neighbors were moving to Happy Valley from an area called Sevierville. The new family was named Pilgrim. The momma and pappa Pilgrim were named Pat and Penny and they had three grandchildren with them named Ian, Michayla and Paden.

Paddy O'Malley and Paden were very similar and their friendship would become very strong. Michayla and Fiona were close in age and they would become great friends also. Ian was more like Sean, Jr. and their friendship would become strong as well.

The Pilgrim family was a welcome addition to the community. They were known far and wide for being the most generous and loving creatures anywhere. In addition, Pat was a highly skilled builder and his expertise would be very helpful around the homeground. Penny was an incredibly loving creature and she was wonderful with all the little ones. It was a really exciting beginning to the fall season.

The fall season in the Great Smoky Mountains is filled with great beauty and abundant food supplies. This particular year, conditions had been ideal and the mast crop was tremendous, providing plenty of food for all the creatures. The leaves began their change from summer green to spectacular fall colors of orange and red. The mountains looked to be ablaze in the splendid display of Mother Nature's beauty. The mice of happy valley loved to see the beautiful colors of the fall season.

One beautiful morning the little O'Malley and Pilgrim mice set out to look at the beauty of the fall from a point called Look Rock. The adult mice were going to be busy and they allowed the little ones to go alone but cautioned them to be careful.

Fiona and Michayla were put in charge of the group as they set out very early in the morning. The little mice acted very low key as they left the homeground and the older mice smiled as they watched the little ones fade slowly from sight. The older mice just shook their heads back and forth with smiles as they thought about how grown up they all seemed at that moment.

Flying DragonAs the little ones moved away from their homeground Paddy and Paden began to grow restless. They wanted to have fun and Fiona and Michayla were being too strict. Paddy started telling Paden the story about Thunder Jack and the Devil Dragon. Paden was really interested and found the story to be fascinating. Paddy told Paden that he really was Thunder Jack and that the super hero had actually entered his body. As the story progressed, the two little ones began moving at a faster pace and started to get ahead of the others.

As Paden and Paddy came up over a little rise, Paden screamed out, "Look! A tuwtle (that was how Paden pronounced turtle)!" Paden loved turtles so he was really excited. The turtle heard the little mouse and said softly, "Oh No." Into his shell he went.

Paden and Paddy went running over to the turtle. The turtle was huge compared to the little mice, but Paden always wanted to "take them home". As Paden and Paddy started running Michayla and Fiona shouted at the same time, "Hey! Stop! Your supposed to stay with us!" Paden screamed back, " There's a tuwtle! There's a tuwtle!" and kept on running. Michayla shouted, "Paden! You're gonna' get in trouble!" But Paden just kept running toward the frightened turtle.

Thunderhawk and Blaze were roosting nearby and heard the commotion. This meant that any predators nearby would have heard the little mice also. The two hawks took to the air and flew toward the direction of the noises. It didn't take them long to see the little mice. They saw that there was no immediate danger so they began a long slow circling movement high above the little mice so that they could keep an eye out for danger.

Turtlle HidingAs Paddy and Paden ran up to the turtle it had completely enclosed itself in its shell. The two little mice began knocking on the shell. Paden, "Oh Mr. Tuwtle! Hey! Mr. Tuwtle!" Paddy laughed out loud and jumped up on the poor little turtle's shell. The turtle was stressed out. It hated being bothered like this. The turtle opened the front of its shell and let out a loud, "Hisssssssssss!" The little mice laughed at the sound.

Then the other little mice came running up to the turtle. Fiona yelled at Paddy to get off the turtle's back and Paddy came down at once. Michayla yelled at Paden and told him it was time to move on. Paden mumbled and grumbled about taking the "tuwtle" with them, but it was clearly too large and heavy. The turtle just sighed with relief.

As the little mice moved on into the mountains they urged Paden and Paddy to settle down. It was really difficult because they were both so excited to have each other as a new friend but the Thunder Jack story had them both feeling rowdy.

Ian and Sean, Jr. were having a great time together. They were low key but having a great time looking at all the interesting things along the way. Little Baby Shannon was spending the day with Ian and Sean, Jr. and was also having a great time.

In the fall, lots of different things begin to happen in Mother Nature. The snakes start to get sluggish as their metabolism begins to slow for the long winter ahead. The adult deer begin to get ready for their mating or rutting season and the bucks begin to shed the velvet from their antlers and strengthen their necks by rubbing their antlers on trees. They begin to play fight to also help strengthen their necks for the rutting/mating season because they will have terrible fights over does who are ready to mate.

Buck rubbing AntlersThe bucks are also very territorial and they make a line of scrapes (they claw the earth and put their scent over the scrape in branches and in the scrape itself) to let other bucks know that they are violating a claimed territory and to provide a spot where a doe in estrus (ready to mate) can wait for his return. When the bucks play fight or work their scrapes they make more noise than usual. Real fights are very noisy!

As Paddy and Paden began to reach the top of a rise they heard an unfamiliar noise. It was strange and it scared them at first. Paddy said, "Don't be afraid Paden, Thunder Jack is with us." Paden shook his head up and down in agreement. Then the two mice foolishly ran toward the sound at full speed. Fiona and Michayla called out in vain for the two to stop and wait.

As the two little mice reached a spot where they could see the source of the noise they saw a large buck thrashing the brush with his huge antlers. He made a strange snorting sound as he intently attacked the brush. It was a strange sight. Then the big buck went over to a large tree and began aggressively attacking it with his antlers. The two little mice felt their mouths drop open wide in amazement. Then the buck went over to some low hanging branches and started thrashing them with his antlers. He then paused and dug at the ground underneath with his paws. Then he began rubbing his mouth and face on the branches.

Bucks ClashingAs the other mice caught up they were started at the sight of the huge buck. Paden asked, "What is he doing?" None of the little mice knew that he was working on a scrape in preparation for mating. Suddenly they heard an aggressive sounding snort from their left and the big buck's ears went straight back in a way that made the deer look very angry. Then another large buck walked out of the forest. He was snorting and his ears were pinned back as well. Michayla said, "Uh oh!" Just as she did the two bucks attacked each other. This was no practice. They viscously attacked each other with their antlers. The sound was very loud. The little mice looked on in frightened amazement. The battle lasted about ten minutes and then the second buck slowly began to move away from the first buck. Then the little mice moved on. That had been a very interesting sight that none of them had ever seen before!

Paden and Paddy again began moving ahead of the others. Thunderhawk and Blaze continued to watch over them from high in the brilliant sky. As the two little ones moved on they were playing "Thunder Jack" and were not being cautious at all. As they both jumped over a large rock they heard a scary sound. It was at first a slow rattling sound. They both turned and saw a huge timber rattlesnake right behind them. They yelled for the others to be careful because of the snake. The snake continued the slow warning rattle as the two mischievous little mice looked on. Suddenly Paddy yelled out, "Thunder Jack isn't afraid of some stupid snake!" Fiona yelled, "No Paddy!"

Paddy ran too close to the snake and the rattle immediately went from a slow deliberate warning to a very fast buzzing sound. The snake recoiled in an aggressive stance and struck at the little mouse. The other mice screamed but Paddy laughed. He said, "No snake can get Thunder Jack!" Paden now joined the other foolish mouse and he ran too close to the irritated snake also. As it struck at Paden the other mice screamed again. It missed again but the others started crying and begging the two mice to get away from the huge snake.

Paddy said, "Hey Paden! It's the Devil Dragon! We must kill it!" Paddy laughed and said, "Kill the Devil Dragon!" Fiona shouted, "You idiots! Stop it right now!" They didn't stop. They thought this was great fun. They ran around the snake and across its back. The snake struck widely and continued the rattling.

From high above Thunderhawk and Blaze saw what was happening. Blaze said, "That snake is going to kill those foolish mice." Thunderhawk nodded his head up and down in agreement. Suddenly he pinned wings back and went into a fast steep dive.

RattlesnakePaden ran by the snake again , but this time he stumbled. As he rolled over he saw the snake's beady eyes looking at him and its head was drawn back to strike. He screamed and closed his eyes. All the mice screamed. Then suddenly a loud piercing "Screeee!" came from above. In a loud thud the huge hawk landed on top of the snake with its talons grabbing the rattler by the head and back. All the mice screamed and ran for cover. They watched in amazement as the hawk savagely attacked the snake with its beak and then flew into sky with snake in its talons.

As Thunderhawk flew up to his mate she slowly shook her head back and forth at the stupidity of the little mice. They both knew that if it hadn't been late in the fall the mice would have been killed by the snake. They were grateful that they had been able to help.

After a few minutes Fiona climbed up on a rock and sounded the all clear and reassemble signals. The other mice came to her immediately. Paddy and Paden had their heads and shoulder drooped down in despair. They knew that they were going to be in really big trouble.

Fiona and Michayla "let them have it". Michayla said, "You idiots! You almost got killed! Even worse, you put us all in danger. If you get killed because of your stupidity then that's one thing, but you have no right to put all of us in danger like that!" Fiona chimed in, "I am so angry at you two right now. What about that hawk? With all of your nonsense in playing some stupid game with a snake that could kill you we didn't even have any way of knowing that a hawk was about to attack. What if that hawk had wanted to eat mice instead of a snake? At least one of us would be gone right now! There is no excuse for that kind of behavior. If you two can't stop being careless then we need to just go home right now and forget about look rock!"

Mountain ScenePaden and Paddy both looked at the ground. They had tears in their eyes as they finally realized just how foolish they had been. They both tearfully apologized to other mice. For the rest of the trip they were kept separate from each other.

As the little mice reached look rock they all said, "Wow!" at the same time. The view was so incredible. Mother Nature was ablaze with fall colors. From look rock it seemed to the little mice as though they could see forever. It was so beautiful. The little mice just stared in awe for a long time with each one reflecting on different things. It was a wonderful moment. Then Paddy broke the silence, "Hey Paden! Look way over there. That's where Deals Gap is!" Fiona said, "Stop it Paddy! I don't want to hear another word about Deals Gap or Thunder Jack or the Death Dragon or anything else! Just stop it right now."

Paddy's sudden burst of excitement turned to sorrow and he looked back at the ground as his shoulders drooped in discouragement. Fiona said, "Why can't you just enjoy this wonderful moment with all of us and not get silly again. You already know that you and Paden are going to get into big trouble when we get home!" At this, Paden's eyes and shoulders drooped also.

The trip back was uneventful with Ian and Sean, Jr. having a wonderful time together with Baby Shannon. Michayla and Fiona were intent on keeping Paden and Paddy under control so they went home in silence. Each keeping close by one of the mischievous little mice. Paddy and Paden were silent and reflected upon what they might face when they got home. Thunder Jack was far from their thoughts at that time.

As the little mice crossed the last field approaching their home Paddy and Paden became noticeably upset. They knew that they would be in big trouble. They begged Michayla and Fiona not to tell on them. Fiona said, "This is something that you need to learn from. That was not funny and you could cause us not to be able to go out by ourselves anymore. You two will deserve whatever punishment you get!" Michayla was nodding vigorously in agreement.

Our StarPaden and Paddy did get in big trouble. Thunderhawk and Blaze were relieved when the little mice arrived back at their homeground. The Great Creator shook his head back and forth and smiled as he watched the little creatures return safely to their homes. It turned out to be another interesting day in happy valley and all was well once again!

The End

© 2002 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is also the Marketing Director for Indian Voices newspaper and is a regular columnist for the wellness business Website He can be reached by E-mail at

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