The Fifth Stone of Fear
There once lived a people, who like all of creation, was one with the Creator. It was in the long ago, when mountains reached higher into the heavens and rivers ran deep true. It was when time was measure by seasons and seasons were measure by moons. It was among these people that lived a very old man and his very young grandson.
Their names were Uwohali which means, “One who soars with the creator,” and Shagoie Watha, which means “One who causes an awakening.”
It was the season of flaming leaves when the days grew short and nights long that together they disappeared into the deep forest among the long shadows and the sound of the far off night birds.
One behind the other they traveled the narrow paths that Uwohali remembered from when he followed his grandfather into the unknown. The star that had guided him and his grandfather when he was young like Shagoie Watha still hung bright in this night sky. It always would his grandfather told him, and this is what he told Shagoie Watha who listened with upturned eyes.
It was a very long journey, the two took, into the unknown, along the narrow trails, rushing water, far below. Shagoie Watha grew tired but like his grandfather he kept this to himself. This made Uwohali smile with his heart as the path became steeper and lost itself in the mountain smoke.
Shagoie Watha was so very careful, as Uwohali had taught him to be, with each step he took into those of his grandfather. Shagoie Watha would have to find his way back all alone, as Uwohali had done when he was a boy becoming a man, for this was the way of the ancients.
It was on the rising of the smiling moon that Uwohali and Shagoie Watha ended their journey into the far unknown as all of creation spread itself out beneath them. It was to this same place that Uwohali had followed the grandfather he remembered, the grandfather who came to him more and more often in the dreams he dreamed when he fell asleep by evening flames.
He would not fall asleep tonight he told Shagoie Watha as the two gathered sticks for the for the night fire they would build to push back the chill and the darkness beginning to gather about them.
The stars were so very close and so very bright and the moon soft and glowing. As a gentle breeze stirred the memory of Uwohali he spoke of another time, when it was he not Shagoie Watha who listened.
As they had walked the great distance Uwohali had gathered stones, five of them for Shagoie Wata, and they were very rough though not very large, not too large to carry in the little bag of leather in which kept them.
It would be Shagaoie Watha’s leather bag and inside would be Shagoie Watha’s stones. One day the boy would understand, Uwohali knew, when he was as old like him and had seen many things. For now the boy, as it is with most boys, could only listen, as his grandfather laid each stone in the warm sand by the flickering flames.
This stone is “Anger,” Uwohali said as he studied the stone with the sharpest edges. He handed it to Shagoie Watha who nodded.
This stone is “Pride,” Uwohali said handing Shagoie Watha a stone that tried to steal starlight form the night sky.
This stone is “Deceit,” the old man said fingers tracing the folding curves of the next stone he handed Shagoie Watha. Shagoie Watha nodded his fingers tracing the folding curves as had his grandfather.
This stone is “Envy and Greed,” Uwohali said voice low and eyes narrowing, listening to the eyes of his grandson which sparkled with understanding. The stone was heavier than the others. Shagoie Watha was careful when he laid it next to the others and waited for a very long time as his grandfather grew silent as snow.
This stone is “Fear,” Uwoali finally said now holding the last of the five stones. It was so very tiny that Shagoie Watha could hardly feel it when he took it from his grandfather.
“Sometimes you don’t even know it is there,” the old man said answering the question he too had as a boy when his grandfather handed him the final stone, so tiny and small.
Then the old man opened the leather bag he carried since he was a boy. He reached inside and with delicate care he took out four stones which he offered to Shagoie Watha who held them with tear filled eyes and trembling hands.
He had seen his grandfather take them out each night and look at them by fire light all the years that he could remember. The old man eyes full of water now watched him.
“This stone is Anger,” Shagoie Watha said holding up the first stone, small and smooth it reminded him of his mother’s cheek when he kissed her goodnight.
Uwohali nodded, heart smiling.
“This stone is Pride,” the boy said holding a time dulled rock and watching his grandfather’s eyes. They smiled.
“This stone is Deceit,” Shagoie Watha whispered as he turned the next stone in his hands but finding no folding curves. With thinning lips Uwohali sighed a nod.
“And this stone is Envy and Greed” the boy said offering the smallest of all four stones a glimpse of the fire before laying it the warm sand as his grandfather had so many nights when he thought no one watched.
Now it was his time to be silent as his grandfather told him of when he had been a boy and sat by fire light with his grandfather. He told him of the promise he had made his own grandfather, in the long ago, the promise to carry those stones until they were worn smooth by a life time of never forgetting.
“When you are old like me and have seen many things you will understand,” Uwohali told Shagoie Watha when he asked about the fifth stone, the fifth stone of fear.
It was what Uwolhali had asked too, and the answer he was given in the long ago when he was a boy becoming a man.
Shagoie Watha would understand, when he was old like his grandfather, but for now he listened as the wind sung its song of sadness.
When Shagoie Watha woke with morning light whispering to his eyes, he was alone. Uwohali had gone on ahead, to his place with his own grandfather, where Shagoie Watta would one day follow him, when the stones he now held were smooth by a lifetime of never forgetting and the fifth stone of fear was no more.
This is a work of fiction. Dedicated to those who show us the way. Edward Reed 2019