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Friday, April 3, 2009

Hsoj and the deer

Hsoj and the deer
Copyright 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 586

Many years ago, in a piney forest, on a sandy land, there lived a family in a group of families. It was very much like a village is today. Mommies. Daddies. Lots of children, with the children running and playing, but there were not any things like cars, trucks, telephones, and electricity.

In one family of this village, there lived a young boy, a good if somewhat wild boy, and his name was Hsoj. Hsoj like to run and play with the other boys, and he also liked learning how to fish and hunt with his dad. They spent long days and nights searching the pools of the river for the biggest fish. Hsoj felt very grown up when his mom made dinner with a fish he had caught.

Hsoj also enjoyed spending long afternoons by himself, fishing by the river. His mom worried about him being alone by the water, but he had learned how to be safe there from his dad, and he followed what his dad taught carefully. In time, his mom learned to trust him alone by the river, but she always worried a little. That's what moms do.

During the summer while fishing in the river, Hsoj notice a pool under an Oak by a sand bank sloping toward the river where the deer often came to drink. Seeing the deer reminded Hsoj of a story his dad told late one night, and Hsoj built a plan that would have worried his mom. Well, it worried his mom when she finally found out.

One day in the late summer and early fall when the leaves were just beginning to think about falling, Hsoj was fishing by the oak, thinking about how wonderful it would be to bring home a deer instead of a fish. His family would be so proud of him, and there would be enough food to share with all the people of the village. More important, Hsoj would have his own story to tell.

With his knife in his belt and his spear in hand, Hsoj climbed the tree and crawled out on a limb until he was over the spot where the deer drank. He waited, he waited, and he waited some more. Birds, crickets, and finally frogs sang to him. As the sun faded and his mom started to worry, a yearling deer with a limp stepped to the pool, and Hsoj dropped from his limb, knocked the deer over, and pushed the spear through to deer with a strength he had never felt before.

Hsoj became the hunter, scared and strong, pushing the spear through the deer, breaking the point off in the ground. The deer stood, taking Hsoj with it. Hsoj wrapped his left arm around the deer's neck, pulled back the head, and pulled the knife through the deer's neck with his right hand. They both fell motionless in the wet sand.

How Hsoj dragged the deer back to the village remains a mystery, but he earned the story he gets to tell, though his mom still does not like to hear it.

Fast forward 500 years...

Out for a ten mile run on a spring afternoon, I notice a glimmer in the ditch of a still undeveloped Johnston County. I stop to check out the glimmer, and there in the sand of the eroding ditch is a spear head that I'll wear for years to come.

Yes, this is a true story.

2 comments:

The Crow said...

...a good story, Jim. You're a natural at this!

martha

Jim Penny said...

I wrote a version of that some time back for #1 Son. It was a nap time story.