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The Shaman of the River Clan
There was a time, long ago, when few people walked the earth. Amongst these people, there were clans. Amongst these clans, there were leaders, followers, and shamans. Every clan had one leader and one shaman. Such was the natural order of things.
Manu was the shaman of the River Clan. One night, he dreamt a terrible dream. He awoke frightened. He thought in his heart, This was no dream. This was a prophecy.
Sao was the leader of the River Clan. Manu spoke to Sao.
He said, “Sao, I dreamt a terrible dream of foresight. Darkness befalls the clan of the River. It is bad, bad. I am frightened.”
Sao said, “Manu, do not be frightened, for the clan of the River is strong of arm and wit. We shall not fall to darkness.” Sao sent Manu away, but still he was afraid.
That night Manu slept. He awoke frightened. Manu rushed to Sao once more.
He said, “Sao, I dreamt a terrible dream of foresight. Darkness befalls the clan of the River. I am frightened.”
Sao laughed, “Shaman, this is no prophecy. No darkness will befall us.” He sent Manu away, but Manu still was afraid.
That night Manu dreamt again. He awoke full of happiness. His fear had gone, and he rejoiced. He rushed to Sao.
He said, “Sao, I dreamt a wonderful dream of foresight. There is a leader amongst us that will guide us from the darkness. Let us rejoice, for now there is hope!”
Sao thought for many moments. He said, “Who amongst us can lead my clan? Who is the one that the Great Ones have chosen to guide us from darkness to light?”
Manu thought and thought, but he could not remember. For many days he sat alone, fasting and thinking of his dream. Yet, he could not recall. The dream had gone. Manu returned to Sao with shame.
He said, “Sao, I am ashamed. I cannot recall who this leader of light will be. Forgive me.”
Sao said, “There is no shame in that, Manu. I forgive.” They parted.
Many days passed, and Sao thought less and less of the prophecy. Manu, however, kept the prophecy in his thoughts. One day, while gathering wood for fire in the deathly cold of winter, he took ill. Manu was old, old. He knew he was dying. He took a breath, closed his eyes, and then finally understood the meaning of his dream.
Manu said to Sao, “A boy born in the spring of the year of the Golden Moon is the Leader of Light. He shall be borne underneath the Tree of Elders.”
Upon speaking the last word, Manu died. The clan of the River mourned for many days.
Many years passed. Sao too grew old and died. The new leader was Tanu. Sao told Tanu of the prophecy before his death. Tanu listened to Sao’s words, but in his heart he held his doubt.
Thirty and five years passed, and Tanu grew old. That year, as winter gave way to spring, the Clan of the River traveled upon a vast savannah. In the heart of the savannah stood an enormous tree that scraped the skies. Tanu thought in his heart, This tree is the Tree of the Elders, for it is the oldest in all the land.
That night as the sun hid itself beyond the horizon; the moon rose and shone upon the savannah. Its hue was as golden as the sun itself. Tanu thought, This is the Golden Moon of the prophecy. Doubt no longer lay heavy in his heart. He told the Clan of the River to lay their beddings beneath the great tree to rest.
Three boys were borne to the Clan of the River that night beneath the Tree of Elders. In the afternoon came Tora, boisterous and strong. In the evening came Abo, quiet and clever. At dawn came Omae. Omae was blind. Sulu, his mother, was ashamed.
Ten and five years passed. Tanu grew very old and died. The new leader was Kor. Tanu told Kor of the prophecy before his death. Kor listened to Tanu’s words, but in his heart he held his doubt. After Tanu’s death, Kor told the clans-people of the prophecy. The Clan of the River began to worship Tora and Abo, for one of them would be the hero that would lead the Clan into the light. Omae, the blind one, was ignored.
The Clan argued fiercely on who the hero would be.
Some said, “Tora is strong and agile. He is a great warrior. He will be the leader of light.”
Others said, “Abo is clever and bold. He is a great thinker. He will be the leader of light.”
The Clan argued for many days. Hatred ran throughout the Clan of the River. Tora and Abo became fat and lazy. Both believed themselves to be the Leader of the Light, and there was rage in their hearts.
They told the people of the clan, “Choose between us. Choose who to follow. Let it be known what is in your hearts.” The people saw this was bad, but said nothing. They chose. The people of Tora were known as The Toram, while the people of Abo were known as the Abon. Thus the River Clan was divided itself into two separate tribes.
Many years passed, and Kor grew old. He watched as his people turned on one another. Children of differing tribes were taught to hate, not love. Brawls among men were common. Tensions ran high among the tribes. Tora and Abo began to arrange separate bedding places for their tribes when the Clan stopped to rest for the night. Kor, the leader, and Omae, the blind one, had tired of the conflict but did not wish sleep among a tribe, in fear of angering that tribe’s enemies. Thus they slept in the middle, between the two tribes. One night, Kor was bitten by a snake as he slept. Omae called for help, but his cries could not be heard by either tribe, and Kor died. Omae was sad, sad. The tribes did not mourn Kor’s death. They were consumed by the prophecy.
With the death of Kor, the leadership of the Clan of the River was vacated once more.
Abo said, “I am the cleverest of the Clan. I am the new leader.”
Tora was outraged. He said to his men, “Abo is not the rightful leader. Go, attack the Abon. Let it be known who is strongest.”
The men of the Toram saw in their hearts that this was bad, but their pride was too great. They attacked the camp of the Abon. They struck fierce blows, threw stones, and lay traps. Blood flowed. Many died. Thus, the Abon declared war upon the Toram, and the Toram upon the Abon. The Clan of the River descended into darkness.
The war was fought for fifty years. Tora and Abo grew old and died. Soon, the Clan numbered just ten clans-people, five Toram and five Abon. The rest, men, women, and children, had been killed in the bloodshed.
The ten survivors had tired of the warfare. All had lost their families to the fighting. They did know how to move on. Hostility was all they knew.
Omae, the blind one, was the first to speak. “Let us unite and dispel the chains that bind us from caring for one another. We are of the River Clan. I know neither Toram nor Abon. We are the Clan of the River.”
Rala, the eldest female of the survivors, said, “You speak well, Omae. You are wise and noble. I say Omae should lead the Clan. He alone has no blood on his palms.”
In their hearts, the Clan saw this was good. They chose Omae as their new leader, and after many years the war was forgotten. Omae made a fine leader, wise and loyal. He led the Clan of the River from the darkness, and the prophecy was fulfilled.
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