white wolf - part 24

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The wedding assumed even more importance because of the successful challenge so by the time it arrived, great excitement had built up. The wedding day was a warm sunny one and this time John knew exactly what to expect. He wore his necklaces and lucky medicine wheel as well as an elaborately stitched vest. Standing Bear gave him a new set of deer skin pants and Smiles-a-lot presented her husband-to-be with a new pair of moccasins. The bride's mother attended to his hair, brushing it smooth and plaiting two long braids at the front. She also rubbed his torso with scented oil which gave his skin a healthy shine. As she was brushing his hair, John said "Wild flower I consider myself to be the luckiest man alive as I have been in love with both your wonderful daughters." She paused brushing and smiled, saying "yes this is true White Wolf and thank you for saying so." He turned to face her while she twisted his hair into braids. "It is easy to see where they got their beauty," he grinned, making her blush ever so slightly. "Thank you again my son-in-law and I can see why they both fell for you. On a more serious note though, at some time soon you will probably think about moving away with my youngest girl. This is a husband's right and you must not worry about what has happened in the past. What I'm saying White Wolf is don't stay here because you think you have to, we understand a man must go out into the world." John held her hands then hugged her, "thank you Wildflower."

The bride glided to his side and she looked stunning, in a long deer skin dress which was adorned in colourful beads and shells. Intricate woven designs high- lighted the outfit and its hem was fringed with tassels. Her raven coloured hair in long braids and a band of red wild flowers was wrapped around her head. Smiles-a-lot grinned at John and his heart suddenly raced. The couple stood on either side of Chief Little Wolf and slowly walked towards the wedding circle.

Standing at opposite sides they walked towards each other, slowly pushing a small fire with their feet, until they both reached the centre pile of sticks. Once the blaze took hold they joined the Chief and he placed their hands together and proceeded to say the sacred words which would commit the two individuals to marriage.  Rain Bird danced around the large fire tossing scented woods into it and chanting. Everyone sang a song and the newly married couple were led to the special wedding tepee. John already knew he and his wife were to remain in the tepee for 24 hours and he certainly relished the idea.

Inside the tepee it was quite dark until their eyes adjusted.  The hard earth floor was covered in hides and at one end was the bed of buffalo skins. A heady aroma of perfumed herbs, flowers and scented woods hung in the air. John took his new bride by the hand and placed a gold wedding band on her finger. "This ring is a symbol of my love for you," said John. "I will wear it with pride my husband, thank you."

He led her over to the bed where he kissed her then gently undressed her. She whispered "so my love, show me the art of love making I've heard so much about."

In autumn the couple left the camp and headed straight for Secret Valley and the ranch. When they got there he took her to the graves and they stood side by side. Tears flowed freely from both of them as they held each other and remembered Morning Light and her children. "Come Sally, let me show you the house and then the rest of the place," said a saddened John. In the lounge he pointed out the photo on the mantle place and Smiles-a-lot went to it. As she traced her finger over the image of her sister, she cried. John explained how a camera works but she hardly heard what he was saying. He took her in his arms and they stayed there looking at the photo for a long time.

Later Smiles-a-lot placed the jade ornament her sister had once given her, right next to the photo and then John draped the diamond necklace over both items. The house certainly intrigued his wife; she roamed through all the rooms and seemed very pleased to be inside.

 That first night they slept in the main bedroom enjoying the feel of a soft bed and sheets. At dawn he awoke to find her gone so he padded quietly through to the lounge and saw Smiles-a-lot lying there holding the framed photo. She had fallen asleep but her face was still wet with tears so he found a blanket to cover her.

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