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STORIES IN SECTION
MOMENT OF MORAL REGENERATION
MOMENT OF MORAL REGENERATION
The Peacemaker set out upon a path toward the East. As he traveled, he found himself in a forest upon a path which led to a strange little hut in the woods. Not sure of the country he was in, he climbed the roof and looked through the smoke hole of the hut to see if anyone was there. Within, a man was getting a pot of water ready to cook a corpse.
As the man went to put the meat in the pot, he saw a face reflected in the water. He thought the face was his own. He thought surely such a face would not belong to a cannibal as it was so handsome and beautiful that it must belong to a good human being filled with wisdom and righteousness and strength. In that moment of self realization was his moral regeneration. The man then took the corpse outside and disposed of it under the roots of an upturned tree.
The man now felt his loneliness. He had changed his habits and no longer killed humans and ate of their flesh but now he realized the great suffering he had caused others and became more miserable and desired someone with which he could talk too. .
The Peacemaker then came down off the roof, went to the entry way awaiting the man’s return. Upon arriving back at his hut, the man saw the Peacemaker waiting. He invited the Peacemaker in and they entered together. The man told the Peacemaker of the strange events of that day. How he had looked into the cooking pot and discovered his own face looking back at him but the face was not the face of the man who had been living there but the face of a changed man. But now that he was changed, he was just as miserable for he was now painfully aware of the great sorrow he had surely caused many people.
.The Peacemaker told him “You have repented of what you have done. Tomorrow is a new day. Forget what has happened in the past. Now, people will live in peace, and travel about in this world without problems. Peace and love will replace war. The new mind has come to you and you are miserable because the New Mind does not live at ease with old memories. Heal your memories by working to make justice prevail. Bring peace to those places where you have done injury to man. “The Peacemaker told the cannibal his purpose. He said, “I am going to do away with all this. One thing is warfare. Next is witchcraft. And then cannibalism. That is my intention. I carry Peace, Power and Righteousness. I desire that you come with me to talk to the people.
“That is a good message,” said the man. “I take hold of it and grasp it. Now what work is there for us both to do?”
“First, let us eat together,” said the Peacemaker. ” I will go into the woods for our food. You go to the stream and fetch water for the kettle. But be careful. Dip with the current. One must never go against the forces of nature.”
When the Peacemaker came back from the woods, he bore on his shoulders a deer with large antlers. “It is on the flesh of the deer”, said the Peacemaker, “the Holder of the Heaven expects men to feed themselves. And the deer’s antlers shall be placed on their heads. Great men shall wear the antlers of authority and by these emblems all men shall know those who administer the new order of Peace and Power that I have come to establish.”
Now the Peacemaker asked what had brought this man to this state. “My friend”, the Peacemaker now spoke, “ I perceive you have suffered from some deep grief. You are a chief among your people and yet you are wandering about, living in this dismal condition.” Then the Peacemaker inquired if they might meet again. The man replied that this should be so. .
When the Peacemaker returned, he could not find the man. He searched the nearby forest, and found the man sitting, putting shells on a string. The Peacemaker inquired of the man, “My friend, what has happened to have brought you to this state of mind?” With that the Peacemaker sat down also and listened to the man’s great sorrow and bitter burden of his loneliness.
The man was stricken with grief sitting with his shells on a string. He began his sorrowful story.
He grew up among the Onondagas where he was known as Hayenwentha whose meaning is “He who seeks peace ” One of seven sons, he was an unusual child, speaking of Peace among the people. To the Peacemaker, Hayenwentha spoke of warriors who did not come back from battles. He spoke of parents weary of burying their brave young sons, wives weary of losing their husbands. The people’s hearts were constantly on the ground. And everyone lived in fear….. fear for their own lives, and for the lives of their loved ones. So Hayenwentha had tried to get people to live in Peace.
However, the Onondaga leader Adodarhonh (Entangled) was a wicked man. He was a man of formidable qualities…haughty, ambitious, crafty and bold;;; a determined and successful warrior. He tolerated no equal. The chiefs who ventured to oppose him were taken off one after another by secret means, or were compelled to flee for safety.. He had acquire the reputation of a wizard, a sorcerer. It is said that he knew what was going on at a distance as well as if he were present, and he could destroy his enemies by some magical art while he himself was far away. It is said that Snakes writhed in his hair and he had seven crooks in his spine. The snakes in his hair and his twisted body were indeed terrifying to look at and contributed greatly to the fear of the people and the control over them. He vehemently opposed Hayenwentha’s attempts at peace, so much so that Hayenwentha chose to leave the village. At a short distance from the village Hayenwentha passed his great antagonist, seated near a well known spring, stern and silent as usual. No word passed between the determined representatives of War and Peace. A sensation of triumphant pleasure came over the vicious war chief as he saw his only rival and opponent going into what seemed to be voluntary exile.
Hayenwentha found a community of the Mohawks in the east. There, he made his home, and found a Mohawk wife, a daughter of a chieftain. He lived among these people, and had a family. But all the time, he spoke about peace. And then one day, there was a great battle. Many people were grief stricken from the recent battle. Hayenwentha lost his own wife in this battle. Hayenwentha felt the bloodshed must stop, so no others would feel the tremendous pain he felt. As Hayenwentha spoke to the people about peace, many of the Mohawks agreed that it would be a good idea. Hayenwentha held a council. Many people even from neighboring villages came. They came together along the creeks, from all parts to Hayebwatha’s council fire. But there appeared among them a well known figure, grim, silent and forbidding, who’s terrible presence weighted heavy upon the assemblage. Adodarhonh and his warriors had made their presence known, and people were afraid to stand up and address the council The unspoken displeasure of Adodarhonh was sufficient to stifle all debate. The knowledge that his followers were scattered through out the assembly prepared to mark for destruction those who should offend him made the boldest orator wary of speech. Hayenwentha was undaunted and spoke eloquently, but the people would not say a thing. Soon after this meeting, Hayenwentha’s oldest daughter got mysteriously ill and died.
In time, Hayenwentha decided to try again. The people seemed to think this peace was a good idea. Hayenwentha called a council, and fewer people came. Adodarhonh again made his presence known. And again, soon afterward, Hayenwentha’s middle daughter got mysteriously ill and died. Hayenwentha appealed to the Creator. He knew that peace was the only way. Hayenwentha did not believe the Maker of men created them to kill each other and make such hardship on each other. He believed the Creator desired all men to live in Peace together, but Hayenwentha now had one daughter left, he did not know what to do.
As time went on, Hayenwentha’s last daughter became with child. Hayenwentha looked at the world the child was coming into, and for the sake of the child, he had to try again. No child should be born to suffer such as the people were, so, he decided to hold another council. This time, he would host the Creator’s game—lacrosse—and perhaps more people would come, and they would be brave enough to stand against Adodarhonh. The day came, and people came for the game. Excitement became so overwhelming, the young warriors—in their intense fervor to win—didn’t see Hayenwentha’s youngest daughter on her way to fetch water, and trampled her and the unborn child to death. Adodarhonh stood watching all that happened.
FINDING THE WAMPUM
Hayenwentha was now alone in this world. His grief overwhelmed him, and compelled him to wander. His grief so consumed him, he no longer thought of Peace. He could only think of his loss and his suffering. He wandered about. One day, as Hayenwentha wandered, he came to lake known today as Tully. So great was his despair that he thought he would throw himself into the lake and drowned.. There were many water birds swimming on the surface that day. As he came upon the water, all the water birds took flight, and lifted the water up with them, so Hayenwentha walked across on the dry land. As he did so, he saw small purple and white shell beads (wampum) lying on the lake bottom. They brought brightness to his life, so he picked some up and put them in a pouch. Then he continued his journey.
Reaching the other side of the dry lake bed, he was once again overwhelmed with grief, so he sat on a log and began to lament. As he did so, he took out the beads, and held them in his hand. He looked at them, and began to mourn aloud that no one could console him for his great loss. There was no one to express grief with him, or to counsel him in his grief. He strung these shell beads on a string, and put them back in the pouch. Many nights he would sit by his fire and smoke his pipe and he would talk to himself. He found the shells became as words and the prayers were kept in the shells.
Hayenwentha eventually took up residence in a small hut in the woods. There, he became a recluse, thinking he had become like the cannibals of the region. Such was the pain in his heart that his mind was not right. Now as Hayenwentha finished his story of anguish and woe, The Peacemaker asked Hayenwentha how he would be consoled. Hayenwentha said, “Whoever has lost a loved one, they are always thinking about what happened. Their mind is always just about death. They are burdened with grief. This I would do if I found anyone burdened with grief as I am. I would take these shell strings in my hand, and condole with them.”
Presenting the first string Hayenwentha said, “When a person has suffered a great loss caused by death and is grieving, the tears blind his eyes so that he cannot see. And I would wipe away their tears with the soft white deer skin.“
Presenting the second string, he said, “When a person has suffered a great loss caused by death and is grieving there is an obstruction in his ears and he cannot hear. With a feather I remove the obstruction from their ears so that they may once again have perfect hearing. ”
And presenting the third string, he said,” When a person has suffered a great loss caused by death, his throat is stopped and he cannot speak. With these words and clear water to drink, `I remove the obstruction from your throat so that you may speak and breathe freely, and take all the darkness away’. The strings would become words, and lift away the darkness with which they are covered. Holding these in my hand, my words would be true.”
So Peacemaker approached his friend Hayenwentha. He took the shell beads, and added to it strings of his own, and began to condole with Hayenwentha, “With the softest white fawn skin I would wipe away the tears from their eyes so that now they may see clearly. I make it daylight for you. I beautify the sky. Now when you think in peace your eyes shall rest on the sky which the Maker of All Things intended should b a source of happiness for man..” and continued to condole with Hayenwentha until his heart of Hayenwentha was again lifted up, and reason and judgment returned to his mind.
And this is how it came to be that the people came to elevate the minds of the deceased family (mourners) through the use of the wampum condolence strings following a death. The condolers wipe away the obstructions, bring medicine, bring light, reassuring the mourners that the sun will come up next morning and bring brightness and light, and warmth to the people, and “This is what we do for you, even just for one day”. The Condolers remind the mourner that the Creator made it that way, so that nobody should be sad. The person has gone back to the spirit world. The Creator when he created Mother Earth, created people. They are only to visit in this world for so long and then they go back. They are only going back to the original world, so there is no sadness and there is no grief, but a happy reunion with family that are already in the spirit world.
Hayenwentha now remembered the days when he had spoke of peace, and once again that desire rekindled within him, burning brightly. He looked upon the Peacemaker and thought he had never seen such goodness and kindness before.
The Peacemaker stayed to teach Hayenwentha his proposal for the people which he called the Good Word for the Good Mind for he saw in Hayenwentha a strong and righteous man, with many talents and abundant courage. He had been searching for such a companion to help him in his mission of Peace. He spoke a language that was difficult for the people to understand. He found in Hayenwentha an orator of extraordinary ability and together they could spread the Good News to all the nations.