Tales of a Shaman: The Moon Baskets
© Jade Wah'oo Grigori 1982
My Grandpa Peña asked me to pick him up one autumn’s day and take him for a drive.
We headed out down the highway, Grandpa giving directions – turn here onto this gravel road, turn there onto that dirt road – leading eventually onto a series of small dirt tracks, heading through the American southwest. On and on throughout the day we drove. Dusk fell. Night came. And still we drove, until at last the headlights shone upon a small hill in front of us and Grandpa called out, “Stop! Here.”
I stopped the engine. We got out, and in the chill autumn evening, leaned up against the hood of the engine for warmth.
My grandpa said, “Grandson, I want to tell you a story.”
And so he told me how there was a young Indian man out hunting with his hunting dog. In the late afternoon he heard from afar a beautiful but eerie singing coming from over the ridge. So he walked to the top of the ridge and looked down, and on the sandy banks of the river down below, there were seven beautiful maidens singing, dancing and twirling.
In order to get a better look, he crept down the side of the ridge, from bush to bush and rock to rock, tree to tree, getting ever closer. As he got closer, he noticed the youngest maiden and how beautiful she was. In order to get an even better view of her, he crouched and crept closer and closer. His dog got nervous and began to bark!
The maidens, hearing the sound, looked up and then turned and ran back to their moon basket, climbed into their moon basket, and they began to sing. And as they sang, the moon basket lifted and went behind the moon.
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