|An Otter's Tale of Revolution
Waqnahwew took a few minutes before he spoke. He answered Mekek’s question. “Mekek, you need to understand that sometimes Maec-Awaetok (Great Spirit) gives you tasks you do not wish to take, but remember the universe never gives you more than you can handle. I feel this journey will show you many things you never saw before. And in doing so, you will change for the good. I have something for you.”
Flashes of light emitted from the sky and a dark object fell from the clouds. Mekek stared at the dark object until it landed next to him. As he looked closer, he found out what it was – a brown leather bag with a rolled-up piece of paper inside. Waqnahwew spoke again. “Take this with you and do not open it until you are half way to Wasehtanoh. Promise me you won’t open it till then.”
“I promise I won’t open it until half way through my trip. Thank you brother. I appreciate your words and your gift,” Mekek said as he held back his tears.
The dark cloud vanished and Waqnahwew was gone. The stars came back and the nightlife of the forest returned to normal. Mekek gazed at the stars and thought about the journey.
Another voice from the sky called to Mekek. He looked up to see if Waqnahwew came back and found it was his other brother, Waq sah paeh koh soh anaq (Shining Star).
“Mekek, I hear you keep asking yourself questions about this journey that the Niw Awaesaehs have given you. Just sit back, take a deep breath, and remember that you just have to go with the flow. Do not worry about anything and always remember you are protected. You are chosen to do great things and I wish I could be there with you to see everything. Just remember that no matter how hard the journey is, you will overcome and come out stronger than you were before. I love you little brother and remember I will always be there for you.” These were the words of encouragement Mekek heard from his brother, Waq sah paeh koh soh anaq.
Mekek wandered back to the river as he felt purpose flow through his body. As he laid down on a rock near the rapids, he felt the electricity of purpose die down as his body went into complete rest.
The next day, Mekek felt the sun beat down on his face. He opened his eyes and looked around. All of his friends from the forest were huddled around him. Mekek stood up and looked at them. Each one had an expression of both happiness and sadness. His friend Mawaw (Wolf) walked forward and spoke. “Mekek we know you depart today and we understand what you have to do. We wanted to come here to say that we support you. Even though some of us have looks of sadness on our face, we know you will be back to change the forest back to what it used to be.”
“Thank you everyone. It means so much to me to see you all here. I am going to miss you all, but remember that I will return and once I return I am going to need all of your help in bringing the forest back to what it used to be,” Mekek said as everyone nodded their heads.
“You have our support!” were the words that came out of the group’s mouths. After that, everyone came up to Mekek and shook paws. Some even touched their noses on the side of Mekek’s face, a manitowok kiss.
As Mekek walked away, he looked back for one more look at everyone. They all stared at him with waving paws and big smiles on their faces. He smiled back and started toward the cave of the elders.
When Mekek arrived at the cave, the elders were already outside. Mekek walked up to the elders and they entered the cave together. Mekek waited for the elders to settle in their seats. When the elders were seated, the grey-haired elder began to speak. “Mekek, today is the day you take your long journey. You are headed into a world that is so different from ours. You will encounter many things in Wasehtanoh that will unnerve you, make you want to quit, and come back to the forest. Remember that the universe doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
The grayed haired elder took a deep breath and continued. “Now we come to the part of transformation. We, the elders, feel you need to change your appearance if you are going to blend in Wasehtanoh. We have prepared different herbs from the forest to help you change your appearance. If you will eat all of the herbs in the bowl sitting beside you, it will help in your transformation. Go ahead and eat the herbs.”
Mekek took a deep breath and grabbed the bowl that sat beside him. He reached in the bowl and began to eat the herbs. The taste was unbearable and he felt a sudden change as the herbs went down his body. His fur started to disappear; his paws turned to hands; his tail began to shrink. He turned into a two-legged being.After the transformation, Mekek stood up and felt taller. His head almost touched the top of the cave. He took a deep breath, sat down on the cave floor, and waited for the elders to speak again. The elder sitting beside the grey-haired elder began to speak. “You have transformed into a two-legged being because out in Wasehtanoh it would be out of the ordinary to see an otter like yourself walking around. The two-legged beings do not understand our way of life and live in their own world. You must understand this task is going to be hard on you. It’s not easy leaving the forest and blending in with the two-legged beings, but understand once you return change will happen in the forest.” (continues)