Three Cheers and a Tiger ~ Gold
It’s beastly hot!
We could skip the next stop, Crazy-something-or-other.
He was a Lakota leader.
They lived here.
Look at George Washington’s nose. The sun is hitting it just right.
The Black Hills was their sacred place.
Just think of all those little men chipping away up there for years.
Marsha, I feel a little dizzy.
I never knew George’s nose was so big.
I think I’ll get off the bus, get some air.
The father of our country!
I am weak. The hoop of our nation is broken. At the center of the world, the holy tree is dying.
Hector, where are you going?
A dream of power awaits me. White Buffalo Maiden awaits me.
Hector! Come back this minute!
I stand beneath the holy spire and sing to the powers. Thunder beings, I climb to you! White Giant, I climb to you! Morning Star, I climb to you!
Stop! Those rocks are loose!
Hoka hey! I climb!
Hector, come down from there!
I am Lakota! It is a good day to die!
Hector, come down this instant!
The powers are with me! I am one with the rock.
Hector! You’re hundred feet up!
A spirit floats above me, wrapped in a buffalo robe. His eyes are covered with blue ice. He opens his mouth to speak, but his mouth is filled with blood.
Driver, do something!
Crazy Horse! Brother-Friend-Warrior-Chief, you made the hearts of the Lakota grow big when you were near.
In the Moon of Making Fat we leaped on our ponies and fought the Wasichu soldiers. Long hair led them and they wanted to kill our women, our children, but we rubbed them out.
Call the rescue team!
The dust was like a thunderstorm. The bullets fell like raindrops. The big, gray horses screamed when the arrows pierced them. I drove my lance through a soldier. Another turned to shoot me. I put my six-shooter beneath his chin and fired. Then I saw you on your pony, Crazy Horse, dead Wasichus under you. Burning dust hid the sun.
Yes, Ranger Murchison, he just got out of the bus, walked over there and started climbing.
Pahuska led them but we rubbed them out!
No, Hector’s never climbed anything before in his life.
I climb to you, Crazy Horse. The cracks and holds hide from me. I must hunt them as I would stalk deer. My fingers are arrows. They pierce the hiding cracks.
He’s almost on the top. Do something!
Crazy Horse, the victory was ours! We rubbed out the Wasichus together, but the Wasichus are like the blades of grass on the prairie. We cut down hundreds; thousands chased us through the long summer. Grandfather Winter came and the children cried. They had nothing to eat. The Wasichus took our ponies; the Wasichus took our guns. We went with them to the fort, even you.
Get a helicopter!
They came for you during the Moon when the Calf Grows Hair. A hundred soldiers with guns watched you. You did not fear them though you had no gun. Your courage made them fear. Their eyes were round and yellow.
He’s climbing again!
Later they came to move you. I came with them, for I felt uneasy in my heart. They took you through the darkness to the little prison with iron bars. You saw where they meant to put you and you cried out. You pulled out your knife and made to attack all those Wasichus. Their guns with the long knives on them shone in the starlight.
I can’t look!
Brother-Friend-Warrior-Chief, I did not want you to die. When you raised your knife high, I seized your hand. We struggled. Though I am larger than you, as an old bull is to a yearling, your strength was equal to mine. I held your hand high, but I could not move it. A Wasichu soldier moved behind you. His eyes were yellow in the dark, yellow, yellow. His cap fell off as he thrust at you with the long knife on his gun. He stabbed it into your back. I felt it pass through you. Crazy Horse, I mourn for you!
He’s going to fall!
I mourn. The rock flies above me like a cloud.
I’m going to sue the government. There should be big fences to keep people away from those rocks.
Hoka hey! I hear you, Thunder Beings. Come to me now. Fill me with your power! Help me climb the holy spire! Hoka hey!
My God, thunder and lightning and rain!
Ha! Thunder power fills me! Winds lift me! My arms burn no longer, for cool rains wash them. I climb. Hand over hand, I climb. I thrust hard and leap into the storm’s heart. Lightning is my sacred path.
He’s on top!
I stand and raise my hands to the powers. Thunder Beings speak with voices like mountains falling. Their blue fire covers my hands, my arms.
Duck, Hector! Lightning!
You step down the lightning path to me. You are covered with blue fire. The ice is gone. The blood is gone. You sing:
The light river is my way. Behold!
The light river is my way. Behold!
Blue light flows around me.
I have come again. Behold!
Crazy Horse, you are here. Forgive me.
Ho, Little Big Man, do not be sad. It is beautiful on the other side. Soon you will come home with me.
I see the white hailstones leap up from the rock. Their babies’ faces smile with joy. Crazy Horse, the Wasichus promised us this land for as long as grass grows and water flows. I feel the Thunder Beings cross their mighty arms in the clouds above me and listen in silence.
Little Brother, the grass grew and the water flowed for eight years only. They came after the yellow metal that makes them crazy. The earth is our mother, but they cut her with their plows. They built their iron roads. They poison the rivers, the streams, all of the waters. Where can a human being now find water to drink that will not turn his blood black? Nowhere.
I feel maiden fingers of wind touch my breast.
They killed the buffalo, used none of the meat, and the power of our people spilled like buffalo blood into hot sand. Our young men drink the Wasichus’ whiskey; their lives are dust. Our young women flee from here and never learn the songs of their grandmothers. The earth cries under their burning wheels. The earth cries!
Crazy Horse, hear me. I held you when the Wasichu knife drank your life. If you had lived—
No, my brother, do not think this. I could not stop the white men. Nothing stops them.
Then why have you come here? Why have you called me?
Even when the knife went through me, I knew that you were my brother.
He held out his hands to me.
Know this! I hold your vision. Its fire is wisdom.
He opened his hands and on them lay a small sun.
A great change comes. The earth shall heal; the air shall be clean; the waters shall shine clear again. New snows will fall. Hear me!
The Wasichus will be rubbed out?
No, there must be peace between all. Even the Wasichus will become our brothers.
Crazy Horse, brother, how can this be?
Little Big Man. The Wasichus looked too closely at the things they could make. Their eyes became sick and blind to the earth, to the Great Spirit. Their eyes are withered now like leather that has lain for a season in the sun.
They will I never see.
No, soon they will see again. Soon they will know us. Our children’s children will help them to heal the wounds they have made. Then they will honor us.
You will do this. Hold out your hands, brother.
I hold out my hands.
Take this fire.
The fire passes over my palms, but it does not burn. It is cool and soft like new snow first touching the earth.
It is a vision. Take it to the Wasichus. Show them clear light. Let it heal their eyes. Peace will come then and the world can become clean. Go now, my brother-friend.
I turn from him and step to the cliff’s edge. I cannot climb down while holding the vision in my hands.
Brother, ride the lightning as I have done. The Thunder Beings will carry you back to the world of men.
I look up. Two white beings grasp my arms with fingers like talons. I think that their touch will burn, but it is cool and gentle. They lift me. Blue light surrounds us.
No! Don’t jump, Hector! Somebody, stop him!
I soar! I see Wasichus below and their wagons with no horses. In light I am coming, behold!
The Thunder Beings mount the sky on wings of light. The light in my hands rushes over me. I am covered with light.
The light fades.
I raise my hands to the Six Powers and give thanks for the vision they have sent.
Hector, are you alive?
I give thanks to the Great Spirit.
I think you fell?
I thank Crazy Horse, brother-friend, for this vision.
It must have been the helicopter. Thank God for the helicopter!
I feel great weariness. I must eat. I must drink good water.
Oh, my God, Hector! It’s the rescue squad.
I will I take my vision to all the far places in the world, to all human beings, but first I must rest.
Hector, the helicopter is landing! This is embarrassing!
White Buffalo Maiden welcomes me.
Robert Walton blogs at Chaos Gate. Email: dragonlemontree[at]sbcglobal.net