Our respected elder, Kicking Bear, told this story on our discussion thread.  One of our digusdi (cousins) e-mailed it to me to be sure that I didn’t miss it.  Here is Kicking Bear’s post.

 

I don’t talk politics or religion but I thought i would share how my grandfather
explained things to me ……

Deep in thought I sat on the back steps soaking up the late morning sunshine. I was unaware of Grandfather’s approach. The soft touch of his big hand on my shoulder startled me back to reality.

“Good for you I was not a Inadv (snake), Usdi Duya (Little Bean). Did you forget to put your digaleni (ears) on today?”

“No, Ududu, I have my digaleni on today.”

I moved over and Grandfather sat down. Together we sat there in silence. The only sound was that of the bees as they danced around the spearmint plants on each side of the steps. Each lost in our own thoughts we sat there in silence.

Grandfather finally spoke. “What troubles my Usdi Duya this fine Sunday”?
I sat there searching for words.

Grandfather grunted, a signal to me that he had asked a question that required an answer.

“Ududu, the preacher told me this morning that if I didn’t mend my ways I would go to hell and never see the glory of heaven.”

“And this troubles you? “Grandfather laughed.
“No, Ududu, I would like to know what heaven and hell are like then I can decide where I want to go.”

Again we sat in silence. After some time Grandfather reached over and gave me a handful of spearmint leaves. Putting several leaves in his mouth he sat there. Then as if the spearmint was a magic formula his face filled with a huge smile.

“I have a story (kanohelvsgi),” Grandfather said. It was my turn to smile as I sat back and put spearmint leaves in my mouth and chewed. I would have to listen close because Grandfather’s stories always held answers.

“A Holy man (Galvquodiyu asgaya) was having a conversation with God (Unelanvhi) and said, “Unelanvhi, I would like to know what heaven (galvladitsosv) and hell (tsvsgino) are like.”

The Creator led the Holy man to two (tali) doors (disdudi). He opened one of the doors and the Holy man looked in.

In the middle of the room (kanvsulv) was a large round table (gasgilo). In the middle of the gasgilo was a large pot (tsulasgi) of stew which smelled delicious and made the Holy man hungry (uyosi).
The people sitting around the gasgilo were thin and sickly. They appeared to be very uyosi. They were each holding a spoon (adidodi) with a very long handle that was tied to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the tsulasgi of stew and take a spoonful.

But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the adidodi into their mouth.

The Holy man shuttered at the sight of their misery (agiliya) and suffering (anigiliyogv).

The Unelanvhi (Creator) said, ‘You have seen hell (tsvsgino).’ They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.

There was the large round gasgilo (table) with the large tsulasgi (pot) of stew which made the Holy man uyosi (hungry). The people sitting around the gasgilo were equipped with the same long handled spoons, but here the people were well fed, plump, laughing and happy (alihelisdi).

The Holy man said, ‘ Tlaigoliga, Unelanvhi (I don’t understand, Creator).’
‘It is simple’, said Unelanvhi. ‘It requires but one skill (saquu asinasvi).
You see, they have learned to feed each other.

The greedy think only of themselves.’

The Holy man smiled at the sight of their joy and happiness.”
I sat there with my eyes shut as I listened to Grandfather’s story (kanohelvsgi).

I had decided heaven was where I wanted to go when I felt a cool breeze touch my face and I opened my eyes.
Ududu was gone, leaving as quietly as he had arrived.

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