Tonight, She is Most Wise

An Anasazi Story by Jeff Posey.

She went away a girl and returned two years later a mysterious woman, unmarried, without child, her hands soft from lack of labor. She came back, she said, because she dreamed seven nights in a row of a black full moon rising between the spires of the Twin War Gods.

To the elder women, including her mother, she explained that she had nursed a sick child back to health in the village of her mother’s sisters. After hearing that, every mother within a day’s walk brought her their sick children and she rarely saw the light of day.

For four days the women held counsel. They ignored her premonition of the black moons rising and decided to give the girl a new name, Satikya, healer of children, and planned a ceremony to celebrate her return and coming of age. They chose the rising of the full moon following the first harvest of fresh sweet corn.

As custom dictated, she sat in a special place that day and evening before the rising of the moon and the villagers called on her for her blessings and guidance.

“Tonight, she is Most Wise, more even than Grandfather Skywatcher,” said her mother to anyone who cared to eavesdrop.

Grandfather came last to see her, even as the first perceptible light of the moon smudged the northeastern sky. With much effort he kneeled before her and looked into her radiant face. Her hair had been woven with turkey feathers and flowers into a wide arc that half-haloed her head. The dancing flames of a young fire lit her face.

“Give me your hands,” she said, and Grandfather placed his gnarled paws in her warm brown hands.

She closed her eyes and swayed as if winds buffeted her, then brought Grandfather’s hands to her face. Tears rolled down her cheeks when she opened her eyes.

“Soon you will be in pain no more,” she said. “Something terrible will happen that has never happened before, and you will become high above others, and everyone will see you and some will come afterward who will prevent that terrible thing from ever happening again.”

She released Grandfather’s hands and covered her face with her own.

Grandfather wondered what she meant, but asked no question, as custom called. For years, since before this girl had left a girl and returned a woman, he had dull premonitions he could not clarify. Something terrible would indeed happen, he thought, as the girl said. He would be held high for all to see, and it would rile some into revolution.

I will be a martyr, he thought.

He rose slowly, pain shooting through his knees and lower back such that he could not breathe. He stood until it eased.

“Thank you, my wise fortuneteller,” he said. “I accept my path.”

Then he left to watch the rising of the full moon as he had done without fail since before all others in the village had even been born.

A sign is coming, he told himself. I must be vigilant. It must be left to others to prepare for what comes after.

# # #

Although no one knows Anasazi customs, it’s not uncommon among Native American cultures for young girls who become women to be considered “most wise” during a short period of time, during which they bestow blessings and healing words to visitors. The coming sign that brings terrible things is the Taurus Supernova, which appeared on July 4, 1054, and became the brightest object in the sky except for the sun and the full moon for a month.

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11 Comments

Filed under #FridayFlash, Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Historial Fiction

11 responses to “Tonight, She is Most Wise

  1. Deanna Schrayer

    Oh no, I said something the wrong way….again. Thanks for mentioning my comment PJ – otherwise I wouldn’t have realized how offensive it sounded. Jeff, I didn’t mean you aren’t a good writer, (as opposed to a storyteller). On the contrary, you’re a wonderful writer who obviously works hard on the research to get these stories right. I only meant that I can “hear” you telling these stories, like all of us sitting around a campfire. I’m sorry if I sounded confusing.

  2. PJ Kaiser

    I love your mix of fact and fiction. I’m always fascinated with history and I love the story behind the story. I take issue with Deanna’s characterization tho (no offense, Deanna!) – you’re a wonderful combo of storyteller and writer 🙂

  3. Fascinating – I’d love to know what happened once the Supernova had appeared!

  4. Deanna Schrayer

    Hi Jeff, I must first apologize for having been away for so long, and I am so glad to return to your wonderful storytelling. That’s what you are – not a writer, a storyteller, which, (in my humble opinion), is a much more challenging skill.

    Love this story and the imagery is fantastic. I could feel her pain – it’s as if, by healing them, she’s taking all their pain into and upon herself. Do I have that right? I feel great empathy for Satikya, (love that name).

  5. a beautifully written tale that left me wanting more, you have such a nice touch that makes these pieces seem almost noble

  6. I wondered about the martyr too
    Lovely glimpse into a most fascinating world.

    Glad you included the titbit about the Taurus supernova, that will be my next google journey when I get the chance!

  7. I really enjoy these unique tales. Studying Navajo myself for reference. Perhaps you inspired me to check into the indigenous cultures. Thank you for that.

  8. yearzerowriters

    I’m interested that the Native Americans had a concept of martyr? What did it represent in their eyes, presumably not the same as Christian Saints and Islamic martyrs?

    marc nash

  9. I was transported. Beautiful imagery and thank you for letting me peek at something I didn’t know.
    I like your flowing style.

  10. Hi Jeff, It’s wonderful to read your work again. I loved this story and the characters. I want to know more! ~ Olivia

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