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The Call of the Whippoorwill

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==The Call of the Whippoorwill==


By PiperMcLean

Introduction (Fictional)Edit

My name is Reismenia (Rays-men-ia) It means "Traveler Girl". This is the story of my life. It began when I watched the birds go to "migrate" as the white ones say. It ended . . . Well , you'll find out. This story may be known as a tragedy or an adventure , but whatever you call it , I don't know. I just hope you've read my tale. Geniet van! (Gen-ee-t vah-n! Enjoy!)

ForewordEdit

Little Bird watched as the sky filled with birds and blotted out the sun. The-time-of-dying-leaves was drawing to an end , and The-cold-times were nearing. She had just turned of age to go with the birds. She could finally fulfill her dreams and travel to The-place-where-birds-go. Her father , He-who-is-stubborn , had forbidden her venture temporarily a few years before , saying that she was not of age to go gallivanting through the Unexplored-lands. Now , she was two-hundred and six moons old (18 years). The appropriate age for "gallivanting through the Unexplored-lands." She shouldered her pack , picked up her stout staff , and marched off. The village watched her disappear around the bend. Little Bird felt strangely confident , armed with her red drop tree comb (cherry tree) , her flowers from Ixiahontas (Ix-ee-ah-hon-ta-s , Kind-one) , and her deer skin bottle for water. Indians didn't need much back then. They lived off of the land. She would forage her own food everyday , and she had no need for clothes. She could make some every once in a while. She turned the bend , and she felt the weight of all those eyes on her back subside. A ripple of murmurs and whispers wove through the crowd , and then Little Bird couldn't hear it anymore. Her journey had begun.

Chapter 1Edit

65th Day , FallEdit

Little Bird had traveled for 900 miles so far. It was tiring work , and she often had to stop for a sprained ankle or to search for food and herbs. A change in the weather had recently grabbed her attention. The air was noticeably chilly. The leaves had started to rot on there filthy , uncovered grave. The-cold-times were coming. Little Bird had planned her trip for years , but thought had never been given to The-cold-times. Now that they were staring her in the face , she realized , with terror , that she would have to meet them for the battle. Thinking hard , Little Bird decided that she should stay in one place for The-cold-times. Maybe a cave would suit her needs. She would also have to store food and herbs. A new cape would be needed to wear. She would also need extensions for her sleeves. Deer would be caught , knifes would be made , and a door would be fashioned for the cave. That is , if she could find a cave. Little Bird looked around. She walked in circles , searching for a cave. All she found was a rock covered in ivy. Exasperated , Little Bird leaned towards the rock to flop on it. She screamed as she toppled into darkness! <-> It was noticeably warmer inside. The ivy made a lovely door. Little Bird had found her cave. She gathered wood and dry twigs. She also wove the ivy together to thicken the door. Traps were set , deer and birds were caught , and Little Bird made a bow and arrows. She dried berries and raced the squirrels for nuts and bark. When The-cold-times came , Little Bird was ready. She had long sleeves , a coat lined with fox fur , and plenty of food. Often the door was covered in snow , and she was buried in. But the snow isolated the cave , which made it warmer inside , so Little Bird didn't complain. She couldn't make fires unless the fire was pushed in the doorway and the doors pulled back so that they didn't catch fire. She couldn't make a fire inside because that would smoke the whole cave , since she had no chimney. Little Bird ate sparingly , and soon she was ready to continue her trek.

Chapter 2Edit

76th Day , WinterEdit

Little Bird shouldered her pack and marched on. The days were getting warmer and it would be easier to walk in the snow. It was less deep , and she wouldn't sink into the snow. One day the strangest thing happened. She was picking berries when a loud noise startled her , causing her to drop her berries and sack. She ran , not thinking for the things she was leaving behind. Weird words shouted after her. The noise erupted again , and she managed to put on a bit more speed. A shout echoed again , and Little Bird tripped over a tree root. A man ran out of the brush and looked at her for a while. He was a white one. He called and another white one appeared. The first one said something to Little Bird. She shook her head as if to signal "I can't hear you." The second one helped her up and handed her the forgotten pack and berries. He said something more , but Little Bird didn't understand. The first man made shooing motions , as if to say , "Go on." Little Bird trotted off. She skipped until she reached a waterfall , then she sat down in a half-daze. She had encountered white men and lived! <-> Little Bird walked to a large clearing. By now she had probably gone 1,200 miles. The snow was nearly gone by now , and she was sloshing around in mud and snow. Sometimes she would step onto a layer of ice. It would crash in , and she would have to pull away the ice that held her foot down. Her fingers grew numb doing this , and she wrapped deer skin around them to keep them warm. One day she came across mountains. She pushed her pack up higher on her shoulder and began climbing. Snow made the mountain slippery. She slipped often. When she could find a ledge for the night , she rested. When she couldn't , she kept climbing through the night. Her hands became worn and scratched from clawing at icy ridges all day. Sometimes she fell back onto a ledge. She would have to climb all over again. She had to see The-place-where-birds-go. It was her lifelong dream. To see The-place-where-birds-go. She finally pulled herself to the top of the mountain. It was a long way down. She found a clear path and rolled down the mountain. It was foolhardy and dangerous , and she couldn't stop for food or rest , but she did it. Two days later she came to a stop when she hit a ledge and didn't roll anymore. Her whole body was aching , and she was absolutely covered in bruises. The bottom was about fifty feet down. She climbed. She had had enough of rolling for a while.

Chapter 3Edit

98th Day , SpringEdit

Little Bird trekked the land for days until she reached her first camp. Indians milled around her , trying to figure out who she was. The chief welcomed her in , and she stayed there for several days. On her forty-fifth day away from her home , raiders came. The tribe's horses were stolen , people cried out in terror , men fought , Little Bird ran. The raiders were riding low on their horses , trying to stampede the herd so that no one would follow. Little Bird chanced a backward glance a saw about thirty horses riding after her. She ran and panted , but she was tired from her journey so far and began to trip. An arm tugged her onto a horse. Seeing the chief's young baby on another horse , she screamed to the chief's kind wife. The mother cried out and ran , tripping in pursuit. But she was soon outrun , and Little Bird and the baby were alone with the raiders. The raiders eventually made Little Bird walk and carry the baby. The sun beat upon them. Although it was fresh spring , the sun was gaining heat. Little Bird tripped and struggled. Straggling captives were either beaten or killed. The path led to a narrow cliff. Several horses lost their footing and died. Once an old woman straggled. Little Bird never saw her again. A thud was heard. Little Bird picked up the pace. The baby was fitful and cried often. The raiders shouted at Little bird to make it stop. She sung lullabies and rocked it to sleep. A camp was just coming into view when Little Bird tripped and fell. She grunted as she hit the ground. She lay still to make them think she was dead. When the hoof sounds were distant , she struggled up and looked for the baby. It was lying on rocks , completely still. Little Bird shed many tears for it. She wrapped it in cloth and carried it back to its unfortunate mother and father. They grieved more than she had. They buried it and allowed Little Bird to sing one last lullaby for it. "Nieh sheek tu , nieh sheek tu , meeken bebu , sleeb tonigh." Little Bird left the next day. She had fresh supplies , a new dress , and the burden of the baby's death upon her shoulders.

==Chapter 5 133rd Day , Spring==

Little Bird had made it for 1,600 miles so far in estimation. It was becoming quite hot , and Little Bird was out of water. She had come across a desert. This could not be good. Days passed , summer came , and Little Bird began to fear the worst. There was no sign of civilization anywhere. After three days with no water , Little Bird gave up. She stopped walking and sat on the sand until she fell asleep. When she woke up , a kind-looking woman was offering her water. She took it , and the woman led her to a place with mud houses. There was an oasis. Little Bird traded her clothes for loose ones of cotton from trading. They gave her plenty of water , and she continued her trek. The trek took a week , and when it was done , Little Bird found herself faced with the largest lake ever. She tied her pack on top of her head and waded through the water. A strong current in the middle swept her off her feet. She screamed underwater , but that only rid her of her breath. When she was tossed above water she screamed , but she only hit the water face-first. When she was above water , the wind threw her about , when she was underwater , the current pulled her around. She was thrown into fish and frogs , but the wild ride continued. Finally a strong hand grasped her waist and pulled her out. She was face to face with a young man. He pulled her ashore and his mother and sister dried her off. They gave her fresh clothes and she kept going. <-> Once she saw a bear. It lumbered over towards her and growled. She pressed herself into the ground. It roared and swiped at her with huge paws. She screeched and scrambled away , three parallel red lines across her arm. When she got the chance she bandaged it and dressed it. Whenever she saw bears from then on , she steered clear of them. Another time she saw a panther prowling on the ground. She climbed into a tree and onto a branch that leaned out over the water. The panther prowled away. A large crack startled it , and it bolted away as Little Bird went tumbling into the water. She landed oddly on her ankle and twisted it. With that and a heavy wet dress she didn't make good time. Would she ever reach The-place-where-birds-go?

Chapter 6Edit

345th Day , SummerEdit

Little Bird ran around the rock and ducked into a cave. The mountain lion growled as it passed the cave. She had encountered twelve of them so far! These mountains were impossible to get past! She ran her comb through her hair and continued over the steep slope. The rocks ripped through her moccasins and tore at her bare feet. Her hands were scratched and numb. She had traveled for 1,800 miles. A storm began to brew. Clouds swept over the sun. Lightning struck the ground just ten feet from her position. She screamed and ran over the rocky path. This mountain was too high up to be on in a storm! Rain tormented her by making the path slippery and slimy. She tripped and cut her leg on a rock. The rain was blinding. The lightning illuminated a mountain lion nearby. Little Bird scarcely breathed as it passed. Lightning struck ten feet away and gave away her position--she screamed. The lion jumped. Twisting out of harm's way , Little Bird leaped down onto a ledge. She scrambled down the mountain and hid under a ledge of rock peeking over the river. She huddle there until the clouds went away. By now it was about midnight , but she kept on , wading through the river to the other side. She ate some berries the next day. Food had become scarce. She made a bow and arrow and caught a rabbit. She cooked it for dinner and ate it stuffed with berries and herbs. It was satisfactory , and Little Bird found the strength to move on. It was soon The-time-of-dying-leaves , and the geese and birds could guide her again. They were all around her , and at her home she used to kill them for food as the rest of her tribe did. Now , she was reluctant to , and she knew how they felt. Instead she killed rabbits and ate berries and roots. The days were getting cold again. She had to get to The-place-where-birds-go before The-cold-times fell again.

Chapter 7Edit

359th Day , SummerEdit

Little Bird fell over in fatigue. 2,000 miles of travel. 2,000 miles of hunger and thirst , friends and enemies , gain and loss. She was finally here. She got up and tripped to the edge of the trees. Water. Vast , gorgeous water. Miles and miles of it. The-vast-waters. The sea. The ocean. The river from back home. The rivers from all around the world would eventually come here. She had joined them. She had joined the birds. She had joined the earth. She had travelled all these miles and born so much. This was worth it. A few whippoorwills chirped to her as they landed in the trees. She ripped off some bark from a tree and took some tree-bark-scroll out of her pack. She hastily wrote a short account of her long journey. She chirped to a whippoorwill and it flew to her. She tucked the scroll in its beak. "Go , take this to my mother , and tell her I'm okay." Little Bird went on her knees as the bird flew off in the direction of home. Little Bird managed a smile as it called to her. She breathed her last breath. A sweet one filled with the scent of the sea. She lay down on the damp sand and her eyes closed for the last time. The last sound ringing in her ear was the call of the whippoorwill.

THE END


Afterword (Fictional)Edit

This is written by Ixiahontas. I'm Reismenia's mother. Truly , all of this account happened. She was brave and strong. The Little Bird I once knew was named Reismenia after we received the whippoorwill and its important message. Traveler Girl. He-who-is-stubborn was quite pleased by her feat , and he sent many search parties out to find her. I joined them , and so did he. We , too , traveled to The-place-where-birds-go. When He-who-is-stubborn saw the sweet face smiling up at him , he softened , and is now named Hickenchock , He-who-loved-his-daughter. We buried Reismenina next to a tree right by the shore. The whippoorwills called to her in memoir as I set an Ixia flower on her grave. The same type I gave her when she left. May she remember her mother forever.

Afterword (Nonfiction)Edit

This particular story tells about a girl named Traveler Girl. She wants to go to The-place-where-birds-go. She leaves her home and her family to go make this ambition become a reality. It's only been a few days when it gets hard and she could've turned back. But she didn't. She walked for about 2,000 miles and encountered drowning , broken tree limbs , broken human limbs , mountain lions , huge mountains , deserts , and starvation to make this dream come true. It's a courage that we all need to make our ambitions come true , too. PiperMcLean

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