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John Marion Francis

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Willow and the Silver Wolf - Short Story
By John Marion Francis
Friday, January 04, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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“Then it is agreed, Willow will go with Running Bear on today’s hunting trip” said Chief Black Fox looking at the other warriors. “Thank you Black Fox for your blessing” Said Running Bear. “It is his time Running Bear.

“Good morning little warrior” said Running Bear to his son.  “Good morning father, are we going hunting today?” asked Willow pulling on his moccasins.  “I don’t know, I must ask the elders.” Said Running Bear leaving the tee-pee.  Willow followed his father with his bow and arrows.  “Wait for me father” said Willow walking quickly to catch up with him.  “Okay, okay Willow, I will ask the elders this morning.  Now go help your mother start the fire.” Running Bear said patting him on the shoulders.

“Then it is agreed, Willow will go with Running Bear on today’s hunting trip” said Chief Black Fox looking at the other warriors.  “Thank you Black Fox for your blessing” Said Running Bear. “It is his time Running Bear.  I have been watching him practice and he is learning to pull his bow better.  Work on his patience and he will become a great archer like his father” said Black Fox taking small puffs on his pipe.  “I will Black Fox.  Thank you again” said Running Bear.

“What did they say father?  Can I go, can I go?” asked Willow running towards his father.  “Yes my son, you can go today.  Chief Black Fox has been watching you practice and said that you are ready for your first hunt” said Running Bear walking with his son to their horses.  The snow had fallen heavy that morning.  The forest was quite and still.  They dismounted and gathered their bows and walk a few yards into the thick woods until they reached the creek.  “Look father, rabbit tracks!” said Willow.  “Very good eyes my son, they are indeed rabbit tracks” said Running Bear with great pride.

“Steady your bow” I said to Willow as we peeked through the branches at the babbling creek.  “But father, I want to shoot” Willow said pulling out his bow.  “A good hunter knows the art of patience’s my son”. I said.  “But when father, when?” he asked again.  “Shhhhh” I said to him looking intently at a narrow patch between two trees.  “What father?” whispered Willow trying to see what his father was looking at. “There… look there between the two trees” I whispered to Willow holding his head steady.  “What father?  I don’t see anything” Willow whispered. “Stay still Willow. Don’t move.” I said in a firm voice.

It launched and began running towards us.  It was a silver wolf.  He saw Willow after sizing us up.  He knew Willow was small and couldn’t keep up a running pace to escape him.  “Father, Father! Cried Willow as he began to run away behind me.  Willow, don’t run away!  Stay near me!” I shouted, but his fear kept him running and trying to take large steps in the deep snow.  Willow, Willow!”  I pulled an arrow from my holder and drew my bow at the wolf running after Willow as he passed by me at full speed.

My hand was steady and my arm stretched as my eyes locked on the running wolf.  I released my arrow.  It grazed the wolf’s ears and stuck into a tree.  The wolf kept his pace and his eyes locked on Willow.  I pulled out another arrow and drew my bow.  This was it; the wolf was two feet from Willow.  “Father, father!” Willow cried out to me ducking under branches lifting his legs as high as he could in the snow.  I paced and timed my aim as I held my breath and began to release the taught line of the bow.  “Father, father” cried Willow again.  I kept my focus and counted the wolf’s leaps in the snow to time my release.  Slowly my body turned and synced with the wolf’s pace.  I released my arrow and watched its path and pace reaching through the wind twisting towards the wolf.

The wolf leaped for Willow as my arrow struck him through his chest and flipped him down into the snow.  Willow stopped running and was breathing hard.  I ran to him.  Willow, Willow, you’re going to be alright” I said scooping him up in my arms.  “Father I was scared, so scared” he said crying.  “Shhhh little one.  I am here. I would never let anything happen to you, ever” I said rocking him back and fourth in my arms.  “You were brave father.  You are a true warrior!” he smiled wiping his tears from his cheeks.  “We are both warriors my son. Now let’s go home and tell the story of how two brave warriors fought a great silver wolf.”


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