CHAPTER 15

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Before Makes Trouble can get away, his mother comes around the corner and catches the swift boy by the arm. She hits him with a switch several times.

"If you are the wind, then why can I catch you by your lazy arm? I am your creator. If you think you are of the wind, who do you think gave you that gift?" Glances Then Glares scolds him, hitting him between sentences.

The sisters all join in, cursing the naughty boy for abandoning them and making them double their work.

Makes Trouble winces from the force of the attack. He proudly fights back tears.

Kida swings her switch the hardest. The tip strikes bare skin and instantly leaves pink welts on her brother's chest. The boy can't help but howl in agony.

"How dare you take advantage of our kindness? You know it is in our nature to be so. You are a cruel, wretched boy to take advantage of our sweet nature and use it selfishly for idleness! Especially when you come home with nothing to show for your laziness!"

Her scolding words leave welts on his heart and bring tears of shame to his eyes.

"Forgive me, sisters!"

They ignore him and extract their ounce of justice.

You certainly are of the wind, Makes Trouble. Your cries sound like wailing willows, Kiowa thinks.

Not wanting to share in Makes Trouble's punishment, Kiowa slings his fish over his shoulder and calls for Moon Beam. For one reason or another, the silver fox does not budge. He looks down and looks up. Over and over he does this until he has Kiowa's attention.

"What is it?" Kiowa asks.

The demigod puts its foot on something as if to say, I am playing a game. Can you guess what is beneath my paw?

Kiowa walks over and sweeps the fox's paw out of the way and finds the most beautiful crystal.

"Is this a gift, Moon Beam?"

The fox rubs itself along his legs as a cat might.

"Is it magic?"

The fox seems to nod.

When Kiowa gets to his tepee, he can still hear Makes Trouble's cries. Kiowa is relieved that not a single switch made contact with his skin. He concludes that these events are a sign. He shows his mother and uncle the source of his protective magic, to which his mother tells him, "If it is true magic, then you must paint it with our sacred symbols and put it in a protective pouch, which Onendah will bless at the next sun dance."

Kiowa obeys her. He paints yellow zigzag lines and black circles on the stone. Then he puts it in a leather pouch he made and ties it to his belt.

"What else does my magic do for me, Moon Beam?"

The silver fox yawns, curls up in a ball, and falls fast asleep.

As time passes, Kiowa's skill increases with his bow. He spends many hours with Paw, learning how to inhale, hold his breath, aim at his target, then release when his muscles are relaxed. His trusty friend Moon Beam has learned to retrieve meat for him. More and more, the tribe believes in the truth of the fine animal's divinity. The fox grows to full stature but never ages one day beyond adulthood.

Before long Kiowa hits whatever he aims at: rabbits and other ground animals, birds, and reptiles. He gains confidence with each kill and even works up the nerve to hunt squirrels. After a winter, a spring, and almost an entire summer, he learns how to track their movements. Soon his uncle's words make sense. He can almost predict where his target is going to be. Even if he isn't successful, he learns something new each time. With each hunt he grows more confident. He eats more meat. And wears more skins.

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