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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 25, 2003 - Issue 79


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Thunderhawk - The Great Cross Country Adventure - Part 2

Dancing MouseAs Paden and Paddy heard the sounds of their family and friends slowly fade away, their little minds were filled a thousand thoughts all at one time. For awhile they were completely silent. Then Paden suddenly yelled out, "Hey Paddy! My saddles better than yours!" Paddy yelled back, "Hah! Your saddle is UG-LY! Mine is way better!" They both smiled at each other and Andrew the Apache just smiled and slowly wagged his head back and forth at the two funny little mice.

As the group made its way through Miller's Cove they saw lots of deer out in the fields. The dogs and Andrew the Apache stopped at the edge of a field to watch the deer. They were so beautiful. They were also looking a little bit too skinny and Andrew the Apache knew that this bitter winter would take heavy toll on the deer population. In fact, he knew that many had probably already died.

Deer HerdAs they watched they saw two first year fawns running and chasing each other. One of the does was trying to get them to stop. She knew that the youngsters were burning up valuable calories and it would endanger them if the winter continued to be so severe.

Paden and Paddy were watching and laughing at the little fawns. As they looked on Paden said, "Hey! What do you call a male deer?" Andrew the Apache looked at Paden and said, "They are called bucks. The females are called does and the young ones are called fawns." Paden then said, "Well how come there is only one buck and he only has one horn on his head?" Andrew the Apache smiled and said, "The horn is called an antler and every year the bucks antlers drop off during the winter." Paddy said, "Huh? Their horns…I mean their antlers drop off their heads every year?" Andrew the Apache smiled as he shook his head up and down in a "yes" movement. Then he said, "Then in the springtime, the antlers grow back again." The two little mice looked at each other and smiled. Paden said, "That's really cool!"

As they looked at the one antlered buck it suddenly shook its head back and forth violently and the antler fell off. Paden and Paddy looked at each other with a look of astonishment and said, "No way!" at the same time. Paddy said, "That was soooooooooo cool!" Then Paddy said, "I want it!" Paden said, "Hey! No way! I saw it come off first and its mine!" Then they both started arguing. Then the dogs started barking and the deer all ran away.

Bounding DeerAndrew the Apache said very sternly, "Hush!" The dogs immediately stopped barking and the two startled little mice went silent and meekly looked at their human friend. He said, "You two must learn a great deal about nature. During this trip I will teach you many important lessons. Here is your first lesson. What you just caused to happen by your silliness may cause some of those deer to die terrible deaths. You see, when they run like that they waste valuable energy that is difficult to replace in the winter. They are already malnourished and weak. Also, the commotion may have attracted any nearby predators and the deer will be weaker than before and may not have enough energy to safely run away when they really need to."

Paden and Paddy's shoulders drooped in sorrow and their little ears drooped down as well. They both looked down and were very sorry. Andrew the Apache said gently, "Listen you two. There was no way for you to know that before, but now you do. That is how you learn. You also need to know, and this is not intended to make you feel worse, but simply to help you have a better understanding of the consequences for the deer. When an animal dies of starvation it is a horrible death. They grow very weak and their bodies stop functioning right. They fall on the ground and if a predator doesn't find them and kill them quickly and mercifully, they just lay there in agony until they pass out of consciousness and then finally they leave the physical world. It is horrible." The two little mice made a gulping sound that was followed by and apology. Andrew the Apache said, "Your apology is not for me. You didn't hurt me. You just need to learn this lesson and never forget it." The little mice began sobbing and shook their heads up and down to say "okay". Then Andrew the Apache said, "Now that the lesson is over, who wants the bucks antler?" Both little mice brightened up and said quietly, "I do!" Andrew the Apache said, "Up dogs." The dogs got up from the ground. Andrew the Apache made a sound like a grunt and nodded his head forward and the dogs began to move out into the field in the direction of the fallen antler.

Deer and EagleFrom high above Thunderhawk and Blaze had watched and listened to the entire scene. Thunderhawk said, "Wow! I am impressed with Andrew the Apache. He is really teaching those little mice about Mother Nature!" Blaze raised her eyebrows and shook her head up and down to agree with her mate.

As the group reached the fallen deer antler, Paden and Paddy could see some blood around the base where it had been attached to the buck's head. Paden said, "Hey! That deer was hurt! I see blood on that horn…I mean antler!" Andrew the Apache said, "Don't worry my little friends, it is natural. The antler was ready to fall of or the buck wouldn't have been able to get it to fall so easily. However, during the time that the antler is attached to the buck's head, it is a part of its body and there will be blood vessels around the base of the antler. That is the reason for the small amount of blood. The deer is okay and the blood does not mean that it was hurt. By the way, do you two know how healthy it is for you to eat the antler?" They both shook their heads up and down to say, "Yes." Paden said, our parents taught us that. We have chewed on antlers before. It's not really too tasty, but we do know that it has good stuff in it that we need!" Andrew the Apache smiled at their answer. Then he said, we'll just take it with us do that you can nibble on it a little bit every day." Paden and Paddy said, "Cool!"

As the group continued on their journey they came to a thick patch of woods that they would have to travel through. The dogs came to an sudden stop about 110 yards into the woods. Their noses were sniffing the air. They smelled something and Andrew the Apache was on full alert. The group stayed still for a long time. Paden and Paddy were getting nervous. They looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders as if to say, "I don't know what's going on." Andrew the Apache bent down low to the ground very slowly as he looked intently into the woods to their left. Paden started to ask him a question and he immediately help up his arm as if to say, "Keep quiet." Paden stopped talking immediately.

HoundAfter a very long time, Andrew the Apache slowly stood back up and signaled for the dogs to move forward. They moved to the left toward the area that Andrew the Apache had been so intently looking at. Then they came to a spot where the dogs were sniffing the ground and the air like crazy. Paddy said, "What was it?" Andrew the Apache said, "It was a very large mountain lion. It is very hungry and we are wise to avoid it. It is fortunate that we were downwind from it or it would have known we were here before we knew it was here and that could have been very bad. Paden and Paddy looked at each other and gulped. Then Paddy said, "Is it gone now?" Andrew the Apache said, "I think so. We will move off more to the left in case it circles back. Sometimes they will do that to try to surprise prey that may have seen them first initially and then when the mountain lion circles around, it is able to surprise its prey and get a good meal."

As they traveled through the last part of Miller's Cove they finally came to the Little River. Paden said, "Whoah! I've never seen the Little River frozen before! Paddy said, "Me neither!" Then Paddy said, "Hey! Maybe we'll see our good friend Freddy Prince!" Paden said, "Yeah! Cool!"

Fro PrinceAndrew the Apache asked, "Who is Freddy Prince?" Paden said, "He's our friend. He's a huge frog who lives around here. He might be going to try to scare us. He always plays practical jokes on us like that." Andrew the Apache chuckled as he said, "My little ones…frogs go underground and sleep through the winter." Paddy said, "What the? You mean he's sleeping right now?" Andrew the Apache shook his head up and down to say "yes". Paden said, "Why does he do that?" Andrew the Apache said, "Frogs have a different kind of blood than you or me. They would die in the cold weather, so The Great Creator made it so that they go underground in the fall and they sleep until spring."

Paden said, "Whoah! You mean they sleep the whole winter?" Andrew the Apache nodded his head "yes". Paden and Paddy looked at each other and laughed. Paddy said, "Can we find him and wake him up to play a little joke on him like he would probably do to us?" Andrew the Apache said, "Even if you could find him, if you woke him up in the winter he would die. You don't want that do you?" They both said, "No!" at the same time. Andrew the Apache shook his head up and down to approve of their decision.

The Little River looked so beautiful. There was snow and ice everywhere. There were stretches of water where the stream was visible, but the current was very fast there. The sound of the rushing water broke the stillness of the cold winter air with such a beautiful sound.

Paden and Paddy ran down off the dogs and ran toward the stream. Andrew the Apache yelled out, "Stop!" It was too late. Paddy tried to stop but since he was running so fast he slid on the ice. He screamed, "Help!" as he slid toward one of the spots near a big rock where the water was rushing very fast. Paden was able to stop in time but watched in horror as Paddy slipped into the fast current and was washed from sight under the ice.

The dogs were barking and Andrew the Apache quickly threw his supplies to the ground and rushed to try to save little Paddy. From high above them, Thunderhawk and Blaze said, "Oh no! They looked at each other and then both flew lower to try to spot the little mouse to help if they could.

IciclesSuddenly from another opening a little further down the stream, Paddy appeared. He screamed out meekly, "Helpppppppppppp!" The ice cold water had already taken a great deal of his strength. He struggled to hold onto the icy rock as Andrew the Apache ran toward him. Then the water took him under the ice again. It was a terrible situation and Andrew the Apache knew that the little mouse would die quickly in those frigid waters. It looked like the end of the line for poor little Paddy.

The End - Part 2

© 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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