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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 11, 2003 - Issue 78


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Thunderhawk - The Great Cross Country Adventure - Part 1

The little mice of Happy Valley had really been frightened by the close call with death for Paddy, Paden, Papa O'Malley and Pat but things slowly got back to normal. As the winter continued to pound Happy Valley the mice were forced to stay inside the homeground. It began to get really boring for the younger mice. They played Thunder Jack and Cowrate every day. It was driving the older mice crazy!

Blaze and Thunderhawk were now spending their days looking for what little food they could find. They remained near the homeground of the little mice to keep watch over them, but there was little to worry about due to the bitter weather conditions. Blaze and Thunderhawk enjoyed their time together and keeping each other warm. They were enjoying the winter!

Andrew Daly, the Apache Warrior, who had saved the little mice was in the process of planning for another cross country trip to see how the various tribes were doing with Cowrate that he had shared with them on an earlier cross country trek. He had enough supplies to begin the journey and his dogs were anxious to have some fun. He was going to travel light and the dogs would be valuable for many reasons on the long and dangerous winter foray.

As he planned his trip he decided to first go north to the area known today as Upper New York State. Then he would begin his westward trip from there and plan that exact route later. While he was planning he was thinking about the little mice that he had just saved. He thought that it might be fun for Paddy and Paden to come along with him. If it was okay with their parents then he would suggest that they accompany him on the first part of the trip. If that journey was too much for them, he would plan his westward trip in such a way as to return to The Great Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee and drop Paden and Paddy off at that time…then continue westward. He thought that it would be interesting and fun for the little mice and he could teach them the true meaning and value of Cowrate along the way.

One beautiful sunny day the little mice heard dogs barking and heading in their direction. This brought them to full attention, as the dogs almost certainly would represent a grave danger for the little mice. As they stared intently in the direction of the barking they saw Andrew the Apache approaching their homeground. He was obviously going on a trip by the supplies that he and his dogs were carrying. The dogs were barking and running around with their noses sniffing the air every once in awhile. It was a funny sight for the little mice and they began jumping up and down and calling out to their friend.

The commotion caught the attention of Blaze and Thunderhawk who had been snuggled up in their favorite roosting tree. They flew over and landed nearby to see what was going on.

Andrew the Apache bent down as all the little mice ran over to greet him. They were jumping up and down and they all wanted him to pick them up at the same time. Michayla said, "Pick me up! Pick me up!" Then Baby Shannon said, "No! Pick me up first! I'm the littlest!" Then Fiona said, "No! Pick me up first! I'm the oldest and the cutest!" There was lots of noise and it made Andrew the Apache smile. Paddy ran up his clothes and gave him a big hug. Paden then did the same thing. It was quite a sight!

As the excitement died down he told his dogs to be still and they did as he commanded. Andew the Apache asked for Virginia and Papa O'Malley, and Penny and Pat Pilgrim to come out and talk to him. All of the other mice looked at each other with very puzzled expressions. Paden and Paddy thought that they must be in trouble. They looked at each other and gulped a loud gulping sound.

As the adult mice went out to Andrew the Apache, all looked on in curiosity. They strained their ears to hear what was going on. Penny and Virginia began to vigorously shake their heads back and forth as a firm "no" response to whatever was being discussed. Thunderhawk and Blaze had an advantage in that their hearing was incredible. They understood what was being asked and looked at each other is surprise.

Pat and Papa O'Malley were not shaking their heads "yes" and there was a very long discussion. The little mice were flailing their arms up and down and aggressively talking to each other as in a possible disagreement. After a very long time Virginia and Penny seemed to be calming down and the conversation was obviously becoming more positive. Then they all turned and looked directly at Paden and Paddy. The two little mice gulped again as their eyes bulged out of their heads. Fiona said, "Uh oh! You guys are in really big trouble!" Baby Shannon sounded like she was singing a song as she said, "Hee Hee! Ha Ha! Paddy and Paden are gonna' get in trouble! They're gonna' get in trouble! They're gonna get in trouble! Nah…nah…nah…nah…nah!"

Paddy and Paden looked at each other and instinctively wanted to run. Then the adults started slowly walking over toward them. Paden whispered, "We're dead." As the adults approached, Papa O'Malley began to speak. He said, Paden and Paddy…Andrew the Apache is going on a very long journey. He asked for our permission to take you along…if you want to go." The two little mice looked at each other and started jumping up and down for joy. The other little mice started complaining immediately. Michayla said, "Hey! That's not fair!" I want to go too!" Then all the other little ones started saying the same thing…"Hey! We want to go too! That's not fair!"

Pat said, "Shhhhhhh! Stop it. You sound so silly. Paden and Paddy just had a very bad experience and if it wasn't for our friend Andrew the Apache, they would have left this world and gone to the Spirit world. Now. Paden and Paddy. Would you like to go with him?" Paden looked at Paddy and they both yelled, "Yes!" at the same time. All of the other little mice made an, "Ohhhhhhhh!" sound and looked dejectedly towards the ground. Paddy looked at Andrew the Apache and said. "Thanks! When do we leave this chicken coop…well…uh…I mean…when do we leave this wonderful home of ours?" Penny smiled and wagged her head back and forth in a slightly disapproving, but humorous way. She knew that these two little ones were bundles of energy and the trip would be good for them. Then Andrew the Apache seemed like he was deep in thought. He cupped his right hand under his chin, looked up to the sky to the left and said, "Hmmm. Let's see." Then after keeping them all waiting in suspense for a couple of minutes he said, "How about right now?"

Paddy and Paden looked at each other and uttered, "What? Right now? Are you joking? Let's go!" So it was settled. They would go along and they would leave right away.

Thunderhawk looked at Blaze who was shrugging her shoulders as if to say, "I don't know what to say." Thunderhawk said, Do you think that we should go along just in case?" Blaze said, "Babe…do you have any idea how far that trip is and how long it will take? Even if they only go through the first part of the journey and return here before heading out west it will take from now until the end of the summer." Thunderhawk pulled his face up tight and started grinding his beak as he thought about the scenario. His eyes were looking at the little mice and then at Blaze, then back to the little mice and then back to Blaze. Finally Blaze said, "You know what?" Thunderhawk replied, "No. What?" Blaze said, "I think that you should go and leave me here…" Thunderhawk cut off her sentence by grabbing her tightly in his huge wings in a passionate embrace that was clear in its meaning. Then he said, "Don't be foolish. I'm taking you with me. Even if I have to tie you up and carry you on my back!" Blaze laughed a cute little knowing laugh and blushed. She said, "Okay big boy. I'm guess I'm goin' with you!" Thunderhawk smiled and said, "That's my girl!"

And so the great adventure was set. Paddy and Paden would go along with Andrew the great Apache warrior and his dogs. Andrew the Apache had already made two cute little saddle looking objects that fit around two of his dogs. Paden and Paddy could ride if they wanted, or walk along side as they went. All the other little mice were so jealous. Paden and Paddy had huge grins beaming across their cute little faces.

All the little mice were there to bid them goodbye and wish them a safe journey. Paden and Paddy were so excited that they couldn't keep still. They were running up the tails of the two dogs who had the saddles and arguing about which saddle belonged to who and who was kick who's butt if they didn't get quiet and listen.

Andrew the Apache smiled and sighed as he looked over at Pat and Penny Pilgrim and Virginia and Papa O'Malley. Penny simply smiled a wry smile and said, "Hey! You had the idea! We just went along with it! Now you've got your hands full with two wild little mice!" Andrew the Apache laughed and shook his head up and down in a knowing manner. He nodded his head as if to say goodbye and all the little mice jumped up down and said, Goodbye! Goodbye! Have fun!" Then Baby Shannon said, "Hey Paddy! Don't forget to bring me back a present!" Paddy just laughed and shook his head up and down as if to agree. He and Paden were in their saddles and feeling like kings! Their faces had the largest smiles imaginable spread from ear to ear.

Thunderhawk let out a shrill "Screeeee!" which caused Andrew the Apache to look up at he and Blaze. Thunderhawk shook his head up and down in an aggressive manner. Andrew the Apache smiled, as he seemed to know what the hawk was saying. Then Andrew the Apache gave Thunderhawk a thumbs up sign and the two hawks took off and followed from high above. Andrew the Apache marveled at the beauty of Blaze and her huge mate. The pair was quite a sight.

As the group faded into the woods, all the little mice let out sighs. Each had their own thoughts about what had just happened. The older mice were excited but worried about Paden and Paddy. The little ones were all very jealous. None of them could even begin to imagine just how dangerous this trip was really going to be. The trip between Eastern Tennessee and Upper New York State was long and filled with many obstacles and many predators and many hostile humans. It was the dead of winter and the farther north the group traveled, the worse the conditions would become.

Pat and Penny went inside and prayed to the Great Creator to keep them all safe. Even if everything went well on the journey it would be a long, long time before they would hear from them again. Then, if the first part of the journey went well, they would then leave for the even longer trip to California. That would take the entire year…even if everything went well.

As they faded into the trees, Paden and Paddy were looking back at their homeground. It was really exciting, but in some ways it was really scary. Each one of them had a little tear in their eye as they watched their family fade into the distance. This was a very strange feeling for them and they had no way of knowing about the extreme dangers that lay ahead in their journey. Nonetheless, the long trip had begun.

The End - Part 1

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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