On a night when thin white clouds
passed slowly in front of a fat yellow moon, three young boys made
their way in silence to the slopes of a great mountain. The boys,
like many before them came searching for a dream.
The boys hoped to dream a dream
of power: to dream of the mountain lion, or the grizzly or the wolf.
Any of these would bring many lessons to the dreamer. Any of these
would bring him strength and skill. And so, as the boys made their
way up the mountain, they hoped for such a dream.
short way up the foothills, one boy stopped. Here, where the water
sang to him, he chose to stay. So here he built his fire and stared
into its flames until sleep came to him and his eyes closed. And
when he dreamed, he dreamed of a huge black bear sitting by a river.
And when he awoke, he knew that he would learn many things in his
lifetime from the bear.
up the mountainside, the second boy stopped. Here, where the stars
danced for him, he chose to stay. So here he built his fire and
watched its flames until sleep came over him and his eyes closed.
And when he dreamed, he dreamed of a white-headed eagle flying through
the sky. And when he awoke, he knew that in his lifetime the eagle
would teach him many things.
The third boy did not stop until
he reached the very top of the mountain. The boy was tired and hungry
from his climb, but he did not eat or rest. He built his fire as
the others had, and he looked long into its flames before sleep
overcame him and his eyes closed.
when he dreamed, he dreamed only of a small brown acorn lying in
a shady grove.
When he awoke, he knew only
that the dream he had hoped for had not come. For what kind of power
could there be in an acorn? What was its strength or skill? It could
not help him hunt or fish. It could not make him swift or strong.
What lessons could it teach him?
The boy took his questions to
the wisest man in his village. The wise man said to him: "To each
a different gift is given, and to each a different dream does come.
To one comes the eagle, to one comes the bear. To one comes the
elk or the fox. The owl and the field mouse- Each has its power.
The hawk and weasel- each is a teacher. Each has a gift it can share."
"Are these words true?" The
boy asked. "Even for an acorn?"
The wise man nodded. "Even for
an acorn they are true. So I say to you: Be happy with your own
gift, and be at peace with your own dream. For in the smallest acorns
there is a thing that is mighty, and the seasons will show you the
wonders it holds"
Then, slowly, the wise man opened
a worn leather pouch he hade at his side. From it he brought forth
a single shining acorn. This he placed in the boy's hands, saying,
"Go now, and plant this. Grow as it grows."
And this the boy did. Into the
earth he put the acorn, and then he watched with wonder. He saw
the acorn struggle as it pushed its way out of the ground, and he
saw the first of its branches and leaves appear. He gave it water,
and a stick to lean on when the winds blew hard. He sang songs to
the little tree. For many seasons he did these things.
all these seasons the boy was at peace with his dream. He was happy
just to care for the tree and grow as it grew. He was happy until
the day he heard the people of his village talking about the boy
who had dreamed of the bear. "See how strong he is!" "See how many
fish he has caught!" "Like a bear he fishes, like a bear using only
his hands!" The people where glad that the boy who had dreamed of
the bear lived among them. The boy who had dreamed of the acorn
was sad at heart. He could not catch many fish, and he could not
carry heavy loads.
when the boy cared for the young tree he was no longer happy. Five
more seasons passed and he continued to care for the tree. He did
not see its wonders. Then the day came when he heard the people
speaking of the boy who had dreamed of the eagle. "What a hunter
he is!" "Like an eagle that sees beyond mountains! Always he can
spot a deer, and always he is first to reach it." The people where
glad that the boy who had dreamed of the eagle lived among them.
But the boy who had dreamed of the acorn was not glad. The words
of his people brought more sorrow than his heart could hold. For
he could not see beyond mountains, and he was never first to reach
Again the boy who dreamed of
the acorn went to visit the wise man. "Why couldn't I have dreamed
of the eagle or the bear?" He asked. The wise man answered, "To
each a different gift is given, and to each a different dream does
come. To one comes the eagle, to one comes the bear. Each has power,
each is a teacher. Each has a gift to share. So again I say: be
happy with your own gift, be at peace with your dream. For the smallest
of acorns there is a thing that is mighty, and the season will show
you the wonders it holds."
Then, slowly the wise man pulled
the boy to his feet. He took the boy's hands in his own and spread
his arms wide as branches, saying, "Go now, to your own gift. Stand
as it stands." This the boy did. He stood with his arms spread wide
like the branches of the tree. He began to see what had become of
the little tree- the tree that had grown from a single shining acorn.
the seasons the tree had grown, and now many creatures came to it
for their shelter and their food. The squirrel came, and the blackbird,
the opossum and the lark. Some days, even the eagle came to sleep
among its branches. Even the people of his village came to gather
at the tree. And to all who came, the tree gave freely, and for
them all it made a place. Seeing this, the boy was filled with wonder.
At last he began to learn what the acorn had to teach him. And like
the tree he grew.
He was never given the speed
of the eagle. He was never given the strength of the bear. But when
his people were troubled, it was to him that they came. And when
they spoke of him, they spoke with gladness, saying: "How gentle
he is with the young ones! How kind he is to the old! And what he
has he shares with all, for all are in his heart."
Their words were true. For the
boy who had dreamed of an acorn became a man whose heart branched
out wide like an oak tree, giving kindness and shelter to all who
came his way. He was a man who was happy with his own gift, and
at peace with his own dream.