This Sight is Continuously Evolving


Children of the Coyote
The History of the Fug-a-we

Chapter 3
The First Council


    It is approaching midday. The temperature is rising rapidly there is not a cloud in the sky the day is becoming very hot. What breeze there is blows from the South where it picks up heat from the open llano. At the Fug-a-we camp, the people hack at the meat from the hunt with their crudely sharpened stones or rip piece's of flesh from the bones with there teeth or bare hands. They gorge themselves eating until there stomachs are distended. Then they crawl off into the shade and sleep. After a few hours they will wake and eat some more. Their supply, which seemed so large this morning is dwindling .
    One woman sits tearing venison into strips and placing the strips on top of a brush shelter in hopes of keeping it from the wolves which prowl the edge of the camp. The large predators dash in and snatch pieces from the piles which have been laid on skins, but they don't approach the humans.
    An older girl picks up one of the clubs and walks to a stack of buffalo parts. Chasing off two young wolves she pulls a haunch from the heap and carries it to a brush hut. Looking over at the person who is still methodically tearing meat into strips, she shrugs and throws the joint onto the roof. It crashes through the brush covering and falls to the ground raising a cloud of dust. Eyeing her neighbor she smiles sheepishly, sits down and begins making strips of the flesh.
    First Man sits in the shade of a cottonwood tree and ponders the situation of the Fug-a-we. They are making progress, true enough. Today they have made a significant step forward with this successful hunt, but the meat will not last long. Already, the camp is smelling of carrion. Buzzards are circling and the wolves are dragging off  every scrap they can steal.
    "So few against so many" he thought. "what can we do?"
    Then there is the problem of the boy's body lying now in his mothers hut. The carcass is beginning to bloat. The mother sits with her dead son sobbing and swatting at the flies which swarm around the corps. She will not eat, nor leave his side. If this continues they will loose another valuable member of the group, from starvation or thirst or sorrow. This cannot be allowed to happen. He needs answers, and he needs them soon. He can not solve all the problems of the people by himself.
    Until now all of the decisions and the planing was left to him. Until today he had been lucky. There had been no monsters waiting to attack them when they crawled from under ground. The fish traps he designed had produced a few meager meals. One or two rabbits had been caught in the snares he taught them to tie. The shelters he had them build gave them some protection from the elements. The hunt he planed had brought them food for a day or two but at such a cost. One Fug-a-we dead for a few piles of meat. No, the tribe needs input from every individual if they are to survive. He can not do it alone.
    First Man rises to his feet and walks through the camp. He tells each member of the tribe that he wishes to talk with them together, at the spot they all know near the creek, where some cottonwoods had fallen to form a circle. At this place they can all sit and face each other while they talk.
    He stops at the shelter of the dead boys mother and asks her to join them. She stares at him, eyes full of pain and anger. She shakes her head.
    "I will not leave my son." she replies her voice cracking with sorrow. "If I do the wolves will surly drag him off and scatter his bones across the prairie. I have had enough of your talk. This is your fault. If we hadn't listened to you in the first place, my son would be alive now." she says, her shoulders shaking from a sob that racks her body.
    "If you hadn't listened to me in the first place you and your son, and all the Fug-a-we would be dead of cold and hunger in the dark." First Man replies softly.
    Looking at the body, With a tear running down her cheek. she whispered " At least he would be safe from the wolves".
    First Man nods, and leaves the shelter. As he clears the low opening he sees a large white wolf a short distance away sitting on its haunches, watching. apparently waiting for its chance to drag off the corps. First Man picks up a rock and throws it as hard as he can at the wolf. The rock hits the animal in the chest, but not hard enough to do more than just sting him. The wolf runs off a short distance, sits down, cocks his head and looks at First Man as if sizing him up. First Man shakes his head, sighs and walks toward the cottonwood grove.
    When he enters the grove First Man notes that all the people are gathered.
    "Such a small group" he thinks. Not more than two hands twice. Two hands of adult males, and the rest females and children".
    The people are talking in low tones. As he comes near the conversation dwindles. He walks to the center of the circle stands for a while, then he begins to turn slowly studying each person.   
    "What frail beings we are" he thinks as he looks at his people. "No fur, no claws, no fangs. How can we survive in a world with so many predators and so many dangers?"
    As he looks into the eyes of each one his answer slowly comes to him. They look back at him with determination, curiosity, and most importantly, with intelligence. Then he realizes, these are their greatest weapon.
    First Man begins to speak
    "My people"! He looks around at the eyes upon him. "My people" he repeats. "Today, we have had a victory. Today, we have become HUNTERS. Today, we out smarted the some of the grass eaters of this world. Today, we made meat. We drank of the blood of this land, and we are satisfied."
A murmur goes up from the gathering and then subsides.
    He pauses and looks around. All eyes are upon him. He takes a breath and begins again. "But!" He pauses holding up one finger for emphasis. "What about tomorrow? What about the day after, and the day after that? Your stomachs are full now and you are content. Even now the wolves and scavengers are in our camp fighting over our bounty".
    The people jumped to their feet and start for the camp.
    "Wait! Wait! I say.
    They stop and look to him for orders.
    "Send the young ones with sticks to chase away the thieves"
    In a few moments several of the boys and girls armed with cudgels are racing toward the camp, yelling at the top of their lungs, as children are want to do.  
    "MY people". He begins again. "We did not win this victory today because we were stronger than the grass eaters. We did not out run our prey, we out thought them."
   " This victory was not without cost. A young Fug-a-we lies dead in his mothers shelter. The woman sits defeated and inconsolable. We must not let this happen again."
    "We must use our intelligence to survive in this new land. Each one of us must look deep within themselves and seek there own personal strengths and abilities. Each one of us must develop these strengths to the highest level. We must all work for the survival of the tribe. The tribe is all. We as individuals are only part of the whole."
    "There is much to learn and much work to do. As each of us develops the skills within us, we will thus earn our names."
    "I am called by you, First Man. Not because I am any better than you, but simply because I was first out of the hole from the world of darkness. I now relinquish that name. Until I find a strength that will be an asset to the tribe. I will call my self simply Fug-a-we, as we are all Fug-a-we."
    "Now, we must turn our attention to the problems at hand. We have meat in camp that will be gone in a short time if we cannot find some way to protect it."
    "We have a body that must be taken care of in a way that honors the young mans life, but how? We must not allow his body to be ravaged by predators."
    "We must adopt rules that will guide our tribe. I have no more answers. I have only questions."
    "Together we have the answers. We don't know them yet. But we have them inside. Each of us must search for them deep inside. We must all talk in this council. Every idea must be examined and the best ones adopted. No one person should make all the decisions for the whole."
    "Until now I have been that decision maker and as a result one of our sons is dead. I will no longer tell you what you must do. I have said my piece. Who else would speak?"
    The Fug-a-we who was no longer called First Man, walks to the edge of the circle and sits, looking around at his tribe.
    For a few minutes there is silence, every ones thoughts turned within. Then a very skinny young male stands and shuffles to the center of the circle. He looks much like the rest, emaciated, not much more than a stack of bones covered with skin. he is filthy the hair on his head an unruly mass, Dried blood covers his chin and streaks the front of his torso. His belly now full of raw meat sticks out like he's eaten a pumpkin whole. The man peers around before speaking. Taking a breath he begins softly.
    "I am Fug-a-we. I, like the rest of you have listened to the words of he who was known as First Man".
    After a slight hesitation he continues.
    "As always First Man's word's are wise. He led us out of the darkness. He gave us our name, and has shown us how to catch the creatures that live in the stream and how to kill the grass eaters. His thoughts are strong and they have helped us to survive so far. What he says to this council is true. One man cannot always have the answers to all the problems that we face."
    The skeletal creature looks around at his listeners, clears his throat and continues.
    "One man cannot take all the responsibility for the tribe. We must all take part in the decisions which affect us but we need some one to ask the right questions some one to speak first. That is why I ask you all to consider this. The one who was First Man has stated that he will look within himself for his own strengths so that he can contribute to the welfare of the tribe."
    "I say his strength is well known among us. I say that he should be the one who, in council asks the right questions helps us to make the best decisions and keeps us on the true trail. The council of the Fug-a-we will not function long with out leadership. I believe I have found this man's strength and his name. I propose that he be called (Speaks First In Council)".
    The little man waits for the murmur of his fellows to subside.
    "Agreed"? He asks.
    "Agreed" they all say.
    He turns to the one he was speaking of .
    "Do you accept"? He asks.
    After a moments thought the one who was First Man sighs and answers. "I accept the name and the responsibility from this day I will be Speaks First In Council"
    "Then it is done." The skinny little man says. "I have finished".
    With that he walks to the edge of the circle and sits down.
    For a moment, no one makes a move. Then a young woman stands and walks to the center of the circle. She turns looking at the faces around her.
    "I am Fug-a-we". She begins." You know me as First Woman. You have called me that for the same reason you once called Speaks First In Council, (First Man). Like him, I also relinquish my name. And I will seek that, which is in me to find my skill and my true name."
     "I have listened to the words of the previous speakers, and I find truth in them. I look into myself, and I find a possible answer to the question of what to do with the one who was killed."
    "His life was taken by the young curly hared grass eater. When we skinned the animal we were fortunate to get almost the whole hide. I propose we wrap the young mans body in it and bury him deep in the ground that way he will be safe from the wolves, and....."

    "NO!" comes a horse response from the edge of the trees.
    Everyone turns to look. It is the mother of the dead young man. There is a collective gasp from the people as she steps from the shadows into the light of the circle. In her grief the woman had scratched long gouges down her arms with her fingernails. Blood drips from her finger tips. Her hair has been cut or puled out in patches. Her head and face are covered with dirt. Tears have made streaks down her face. It is frightening to see what her grief has done to her.
    "No" she repeats in a sadder tone. "You can not put my son back in the ground. We crawled from the darkness to be in the light and in the light he must stay".
    "But what of the wolves"? Some one asks from the circle. "We can't leave him out where he will be eaten and his bones scattered".
    "I have given it much thought while the beasts circled my shelter poking there noses under the edges trying to steel him away before the children came and chased them away". Exclaimed the mother. "We must build a platform, as high as a tall man can reach. We must wrap my boys body in the skin of the grass eater as the one who is no longer First Woman suggests. Then we must place his body on this platform high above the ground, out of the reach of scavengers. We must put the platform on some high ground where he will be able to watch over the land of the people"
    "The ridge above where he was killed" some one suggests. They all agree.
"Is it decided?" Speaks First asks. "Is this the method by which we will honor our dead?"
    The people look at one another. No one objects.
    "It is decided" they say almost as one voice.
"Now there is the question of what to do to keep the meat safe from the wolves". Speaks First says.
    One of the older girls stands and points to another of the women and declares. "That one has a way".
    "Is this true"? asks Speaks First In Council. "If this is so, tell us"
    Looking at her feet the woman shyly moves to the center of the group. In a bashful voice barley audible the female mumbles "I think I may have found a way".
    "Pleas dear lady speak up that we may all hear." Pleads Speaks First.
    Trembling with anxiety she takes a breath, and in a slightly louder voice she begins.
    "While I sat in front of my lean-to watching the thieves making off with our hard won food I decided that if I put the meat on top of the shelter perhaps the scavengers would not be able to reach it. At first I placed large chunks on the brush roof. They broke through and fell to the ground. After some thought, I decided to tear the flesh into flat strips and lay them on gently. They did not fall through and the wolves cannot reach them".
    "Excellent, excellent. You have done us a good service " Speaks First exclaims. "I suggest that when we return to camp we all follow her example that our food might last a little longer"
    The woman grins broadly and thanks Speaks First for his kind words.     
    The Fug-a-we look at each other and smile. Together they have solved the first of their many problems.
    They have begun a tradition of honoring their dead. A tradition that will grow to almost an art form, and last for millennia. In a few days they will find that the meat that they put on top of their shelters has become dry and stringy. Although it is not as succulent as when fresh, it is still eatable and dose not spoil. Here is a discovery that will stand them in good stead with all the generations to come.
    Just as importantly, they have begun the institution of The Council for solving community problems.

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