The Legend of Barrach

Wind in the Trees  There was a light in the deepest part of the forest of Barrach, within a small cabin made of wood planks was a very old woman. Some felt she was as old as the dirt itself, some just a legend, a myth. By her People she was named Wind in the Trees. She was the last of them, a very proud People whose history went back to the formation of the Great Cliffs themselves. The Tribe of the Bear.

She carried the weight of the tears of her People, all but forgotten now, except by her. It was left to her this one last great mission that these tears would not be in vain. She had wondered if the legend spoken would even come to pass, so many years had gone. Her years mounted as her skin dried, wrinkles abound that small frame. Old and weathered she clung to life as their last Great Hope. She was like the tree itself now, dark skinned as a gnarled stump that still withstood with her roots planted so deep in Spirit with mother Earth. It was her eyes that held that wisdom and beauty amidst the ruins of her body.

The winds had changed in the past week, speaking to her in support. Her endurance had not been in vain for the Bear would live on again. "Soon, soon" it spoke to her with the flight of the Eagle to confirm. "Prepare now our daughter. He comes." The breeze settled and just as she was about to leave to prepare that which was requested, it picked up again before it was gone. "There will be others". She never questioned the winds for she had found, even if she didn't understand immediately she would when the time came.

On her way back she searched for those certain herbs and roots she would need to prepare a special tea. These were collected in the small basket she always carried before she paid homage to the Great Cliffs and the Waters of the lake by the gift of strands of her now silver hair. She had filled a flask with the waters of this lake, the one where the mists were of the Bear.  This day she felt more alive, young again and knew her own passing would come after her mission of this life was seen through. She knew when it did she could sleep in the peace of her People for they too would finally find this solace. There were reasons they had not and it was these very reasons that had brought her the breath of life.

It was pitch dark with no moonlight to guide one's foot but she never faltered in her steps, light or not. The door of her humble home came with a creak as it was opened. Soon a single candle was lit to illuminate the small room. It was plain but clean, a lone table and four roughly made chairs in the middle. A pile of furs to a far corner was her bed. She had few possessions but they were highly prized. There was an intricate hand made dream catcher that held each of the various feathers of birds. A circle of willow branches twined together what was like the web of a spider tightly woven between. There were a few beads of various colors and a few stones of crystals. This hung in the center of the room.

An ancient staff carved in a timeless past rested in a special place of reverence against the South wall of the humble room. A bear's head at the top and its claw at the bottom were painstakingly crafted. This staff was not used by her but was in her possession to caretake. It had been handed down by her People. There were pegs along the one wall that held the makings for future dream catchers and to another wall were shelves that held many jars of herbs and roots. This night she would stay up late grinding the herbs and roots needed in the right portions for a tea. This was kept in a clay, handmade jar painted in a fanciful design. When all was done a breeze picked up soon afterwards to swirl through her room, flickering out the light of the candle. Her door was left open to the visitors that would come.

The Legend  Trevellyn, Malcolm and Thomas Douglas had come one night to speak to Wind in the Trees. They drank a special tea that would have them understand her as well as she of them. The marked skins were soon placed before her as she began to read the markings so carefully tooled so long ago. There was a slight tremble to her fingers as they held those ancient skins, marked to tell of the Legend of her People. Here were missing parts even for her but now on these skins it was all made clear. What had been old was young again for all to see. Her voice reflected this loveliness of youth. A maiden in her prime now stood there deciphering the ancient symbols, as clear as English was to them.

"Countless time ago my People were." Fingers trailing lovingly over the words but tears did form within those dark eyes. "The chief of the Bear tribe, Black Wolf, wished his daughter to mate the adept Shaman of the Great White Spirit Bear, medicine man of our tribe. His powers were great through the Great Spirit and His White Spirit Bear he sent to him. His name was Eagle Eye, for the sight he had was beyond that which most could only dream. The tribe of pale face had come here to our lands and we shared with them, for all lands are the Great Spirit's and we, His children, are to live together. Eagle Eye's heart was taken by a woman of this tribe, of pale skin beauty, hair of golden spun and blue eyes of the sky. This caused unrest amongst our People for the fury of our Chief that Eagle Eye would not honor his request to mate his daughter. Eagle Eye believed in the heart and his heart was not for the Chief's daughter but this other. In tradition on the sacred hill, Eagle Eye and the one called Laurel Douglas, took their vows beneath the stars of the Great Spirit to bind them eternally.

This could not be broken even by the Chief of our People. When Black Wolf found out Eagle Eye mated the pale face woman on his own so none could stop them, it fueled his fury more. In this fury all reasoning was consumed. He gathered the medicine women of our tribe together, six in all, to dance a curse around Eagle Eye, whom they tied to a Great Oak tree. Laurel was made to watch. She cried the tears for her mate but our People would cry the tears of the Great Waters afterwards. They could not kill a Shaman nor the one he was mated to, for they would be cursed for all eternity as a whole, even Black Wolf would not dare this. This dance cursed him and his seed that none begotten of him would inherit his abilities of the Great White Spirit Bear.

Six against one would have the curse hold but the Great Oak they tied him to, empowered him enough to bring on the Great White Spirit Bear, taking on his form so they would all see in his own cry for justice, to alter this curse with his own. He could not stop the curse but he could entrap them within it too. So the People of the Bear Tribe were to be held to the Lake in Spirit as they died and not be able to move to the next life until the day came a male of his seed would find Barrach and the Lake, and break the spell of the curse. Eagle Eye having no surname took on that of his wife's people, Douglas. They lived with her people and the tribe of the Bear, without their Shaman, was cursed two fold now to die off as a People in time. Their only redemption would be the day their Spirits were freed from the Lake.

"I am the last of our People, Wind in the Trees, in that Hope to see what was done, undone, so we might rest in Spirit once more with our forefathers before that time."

The Great White Spirit Bear (page three)

This original story in its entirety can be found on the AOL message board under Shaman Spirits - link on main page. All rights reserved. (c) copyright 2000+

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