The following short story was written by Aren Cappella who transitioned from this plane of existence in June of 1998 at the age of 41. This story tells of what it is like to find one’s way as a human. It is written in the form of a Native American fable.
Long, long ago, when the world was young, back in the time before time, the Great Mother Wolf bore all of Earth’s first creatures. At her final bearing many creatures were present, as always, to laugh, talk and tell tales until the great event. And at last when she was done, she had brought forth a fine litter of eight fat healthy pups, all as alike as acorns. In a short time Cougar and Skunk were discussing the futures of each of the pups, as they always did.
“I think this one will be an eagle,” said Cougar, though Skunk looked doubtful but then said “Perhaps so, but I think this one will be a buffalo.” “It is too early”, said Porcupine, “I really don’t think you can tell.”
In time, as they grew and changed, they became less and less like the wolf pups they were born and more and more as their spirits prompted them. It could be seen that one was very like Wolf, and another like Skunk, and yet another like Buffalo. But She was the different one. Not like any other they had seen before. She grew differently and She grew slowly. She was a child for many seasons and She grew differently than any they had known before.
“She stands on her hind legs like a bird, but she cannot fly,” observed Salmon to Eagle.
“Yes, and she’s naked as a fish, but She doesn’t swim,” remarked Eagle to Salmon.
“And She’s got no claws,” worried Cougar, how will She protect herself?”
“How will She stay warm,” asked Raccoon. “She’s got no fur.”
“Well, She’s got food teeth for chewing,” noted Buffalo, “but She won’t eat grass.”
In truth, everyone wondered what would become of her.
And when the time came for her to do so, She went in search of her way as had her brothers and sisters before her. She traveled over the mountains and into the valley beyond, stretching gently down to the sea. The first person She met was a bear, who looked at this strange creature and asked, “Who are you and where are you from?” This question was new to her and She was not sure how to answer it, but all the same She replied, “I am a child of the Great Mother Wolf and it is from her that I come.” The bear was also a child of the Great Mother wolf, and so he welcomed her and gave her the gift of knowing what to eat and where to make her home.
Later, She passed a heard of buffalo, who wondered to each other who this strange creature was. Finally one buffalo stopped her and asked, “Who are you, and where do you come from?”
A little more surely this time she answered, “I am a daughter of the Great Mother Wolf and all the Earth is my home.” This was something the buffalo could understand and they blessed her on her way, a blessing that would be with her for always and with her children and with their children. She thanked them and continued on, knowing that this was not quite what She sought, following only that subtle call that led her on.
A little further along, a fox stopped her and asked, “Who are you, and where is your home?” And now She answered firmly, “I am a child of the Great Spirit and my home is where I stand.”
This was something the fox could understand and he gave her a gift of knowledge and blessed her on her way.
And so She continued, being guided only by that spark that She was born with, but did not yet understand.
At last She came to where the stream widened and went down to meet the great water which was the ocean, and here she met Otter, who asked her, “Who are you?”
I am a daughter of the Great Spirit and was born of the Great Mother Wolf.”
“So then we are sisters,” said the Otter. And She knew She had reached her destination.
Otter was older and had already found her way and been given her Magics. Otter understood what the new creature sought and so she made a Magic then and there. “Come little sister, I have something to show you,” she called over her shoulder as she dived into the sea. She dived in right after Otter without a second thought and the next thing She knew, She found herself swimming. Not like an otter, nor even like a fish, but like a bird flying through the water.
They came at last to Otter’s home and climbed out of the water and lay on soft beds of kelp. Otter fed her fish that night and told her many, many tales of when the Earth was young.
On the second day Otter taught her how to make nets and how to fish. And on the third day Otter taught her to weave in fine colors using shells, coral and seaweed. And Otter said to her, “You must place the threads where you want them.” She nodded and continued to weave, wondering what Otter had meant, for surely that was what she was doing.
“Remember,” said Otter after a while, “they won’t fall into place by themselves, you must place them.” She nodded again and continued to weave, still not sure what to make of these instructions. And while She was engrossed in her work, Otter set about making another Magic. Soon the threads took on a different light and seemed almost to glow and She was fascinated to see that even She seemed to glow. And Otter spoke gently in her ear, “What you see is pure spirit, of which we are all made, of which we are all a part. It is you who must decide where to place the threads of your life. It is you who must arrange it. This spark of spirit will get for you whatever you most desire in your heart, but you must tell it what you want.”
That night her quest was finished, and in the morning as She prepared to leave, She stopped to thank Otter. And Otter said to her, “Little sister, this day you are no longer a child. This day you know your way and you know your Magics - and now you are First Woman.”
As She made her way back, She again met with fox and buffalo and bear, and She said to them, “I am First Woman, daughter of the Great Spirit and of the Great Mother Wolf. I am a daughter of the Earth from my head to my heels and all beings are my family.
And they all agreed.