Can You Count the Rain?byDecayed Angel©
Little Owl held the tipi flap open and waited for permission to enter. Trails of sacred smoke poured out of the opening and flowed upward. The acrid scent of the smoke mixed with the smell of sweat, blood and urine. He let the scent envelope him as he prepared to enter.
"You may enter Little Owl." Running Elk spoke slowly, with a raspy voice. The oldest of the tribal elders, he also acted as their medicine man and shaman. He paused and looked at the young one who had just entered, feeling his agitation, his emotion, his spirit, Running Elk asked, "What troubles you silent one?"
"I saw the strange Oglala ride in with his tribe. He climbed down from his horse, looked at the long line of his tribe behind him and then he gave his rifle to the White Father."
"I saw that too. We all knew the day may come to us. Our fates have left our own hands, we wait, it is all we can do now."
"Running Elk, I must tell you, I had a dream, no, a vision. Last night, in the faint light before the moon slept I saw an open plain. On the plain stood a single buffalo, nothing else for mile and miles, only the one. As his shadow rolled over the grasses, I saw it stumble and fall. It lay on the ground with no legs and no hair. I ran to it and looked closer, I looked at its head, its face. Its eyes glowed in the moonlight as it faded away. Then there was a darkness."
"Ah, Little Owl, your powers grow much stronger, soon you will replace me as shaman. Don't worry, I too had that vision. It is as White Buffalo Woman taught us long ago: when the buffalo falls without legs and hair, the great waters will cover us."
"But there's no water nearby. We are surrounded by dry lands and dried creeks. It is so dry the buffalo have gone, so dry the buzzards don't circle. So where is the water that will cover us?"
"Can you count the rain? Can you count the white man? The raindrops fall, a flood is coming."
Inside the fort, the strange Oglala followed the White Father, silently surrendering to save his people. He walked tall, his head up in a quiet dignity, a man defeated, but not conquered, never conquered. He was surrounded by soldiers and some of his people. He recognized Little Big Man, once his friend, now wearing a blue coat.
Dust rose around the fort as people moved to see the man following the captain, voices rolled through the crowd. "Is that the one?" "They should hang him." "He doesn't look that fierce now." The voices rose in a steady din until the captain stopped, slamming his heel onto the wooden porch. Suddenly inside the fort it was silent, no one spoke, everyone stood still, listening. They listened to a sound coming from outside the fort, a moaning or chant of sorts, coming from the Indians that were camped in their tipis around the outer stockade.
The chant never increased, never rose or fell, it remained steady, like a hum or perhaps the quiet sobs of a young child, trying to be quiet. It was only then that the captain, the one they called White Father truly understood the power of the man standing before him. He stared down at his captive and whispered to the guards, "Okay, take him."
Two guards grabbed his arms lightly, turned him to one side and began leading him across the compound. A group of soldiers and the blue clad Indians followed him. The crowd cleared as they walked, but when the captive saw he they were headed toward a cage, he paused. "This is not what was promised," he said, turning so he could shout out to the captain. He took a step and was jumped by the guards. Little Big Man pulled a knife and stabbed him in the chest. The strange Oglala fell to the ground.
Suddenly, a great noise thundered from the Oglala tents. A voice cried out, then another: "The strange one, the Oglala is dead." The noise increased as the people sobbed in grief.
Little Owl opened the tent flap and looked out. Although he just then heard what the people were saying, somehow he already knew. He looked to the old man and whispered: "Crazy Horse is dead."
"The flood is coming," was all Running Elk could say.