The majestic mountains stretches
for hundreds of miles and surrounded the peaceful valley below. The
ranch lay nestled in this valley,the house stood proudly and protected
by outbuildings ! and miles of sturdy fence.
An old Indian woman sat rocking on the porch watching the hills in the hours before dawn waiting. She sat this post every morning, no matter what the weather to see the day begin. She sipped a steaming cup of tea liberally sweetned. As a child she was called "Laughing Eyes". Daughter of the chief she was held in high regard until the predictions started.
The tribe regarded those early predictions as those of an active child's imagination. Until those predictions started to come true. At first the grumblings of the triber were overlooked by the elders, until the last one, when sickness hit the village. She was blamed for the sickness that resulted in half the tribes deaths. The elders could no longer ignore the grumblings when the chief succummed to the sickness.
Tribal council met and a decision reached. Being the daughter of the chief, she would not be killed for the crime, but rather, b! anned from the tribe and tribal lands for life.
At the young age of twelve she was cast out by the tribe. Taking only what necessities she and her pony could carry, she left in the middle of the night. The night was filled with the sounds of wailing for many of the teepees. Her heart was heavy as she left the village knowing she would never see her family again.
She travelled for many months, through the summer and into the fall. She was able to live off the land as she had been trained to do. Finding food and water abundant in the mountains, she stocked a small cave that would be her shelter when the winter came. She spent many days setting traps and fishing the river that ran by the cave.
she gathered the wild grains that she stored in the many containers she wove. One whole end of the cave she stacked her firewood. With a lot of luck on her side she was able to kill a small deer. The meat she added to her stores of dried meat, the hide she fastened a windbreak for the cave entrance. When the snows came she was prepared. Or so she thought. She knew what winters were like in the mountains, but nothing could prepare her for the bitter cold and the amount of snow that fell. She barely had enough food and wood to last until the spring. When at last the temperatures started to rise she stumbled out of the cave. Her food and wood depleted, she could no longer stay. She had to move on. Cold and hungry,she started traveling again. She didn't know how far she had traveled when her strenth to go on abandoned her. Having only the snow she was able to melt in her mouth as her only nourishment her strength failed quickly. She fell from the pony unconscious to the snow below.
She was found by two men who first saw her pony and thought that one of their stock was loose. She still had the reigns in her hand when they found her.! Surprised that she was still alive, the older of the two lifted her easily onto his horse, while his son took charge of her pony to take them both back to their ranch, where they were both cared for. her dreams told her this was where she should stay. She remained with the family, learned their ways and their language. Now in her third generation, she had proven time and time again her worth. Her predictions had saved them from the destructive forces of nature, from wars and sickness.
Now many years past she had more than earned the right to sit in her rocking chair, drink her sweetened tea, and watch the world go by.
People from miles around would come to hear her predictions and get her advice. She saw the mild winter in her dreams. A vision that would normally have pleased her old arthritic bones, but what would follow the mild winter did not. Drought, sickness, trouble and love would come before the rains.....! .
Rich farmland as far as the
eye could see surrounded the ranch. Spirited horses frollicked
in the field. Several young followed their dams. Off to the
side in his own corner of the field, stood the proud stallion regally watching
his herd of females and young. Standing a majestic 18 hands high,
his chestnut brown coat shone in the early morning sunlight. Leaning
against the sturdy fence watching the horses a man and woman stood talking.
"So far we've branded about half the herd. We should finish in the next day or so. fouteen calves and no loss of mothers. The count is around 500 head."
"What about the water supply?" asked the ! woman next to him.
""We're doing all right for now. But I can honestly say I will be glad to see the rain come. Even if it puts us back in the fields."
"I definitely agree with you. Although according to Granny, if you want to believe her, we won't see any rain for a long time."
"Of course I believe her. She's never been wrong for as long as I've known her. Her predictions are legendary."
Yeah well if what she says this time is true, then before we get any rain we have sickness, trouble and love, in that order coming first. And it will come from the south east."
"So is that why you keep watching that direction?"
She felt a blush start and heard the soft laughter from the tal blonde man beside her.
"AHH Cassie, you believe her as much as we do."
She through him a look. Her blue eyes throwing fire his way. Her dark hair blowing in a soft breeze. "! Don't give me that look Cassie, It don't scare me at all."
"Okay so I believe her. Can't help but believe her when she's never been wrong. But I really hope she is this time. Drought sickness and trouble I can live without."
"You forgot love. Can you live without that also?"
"If I have to"
"No cassie you can't. No one can. Somewhere, theres someone for you, and when you least expect it to , love will come right up and bite you right in the butt."
"then I had better make sure I keep leather britches on at all times."
"Won't work. Nothing will stop love."
"Then I'll just have to prove that I am a cold hearted bitch that's not woth the trouble."
"Work work either, because anyone that knows you, knows that you are anything but a cold hearted bitch. That's only an act you feel you have to put on to protect yourself."
"is that rig! ht?"
"Yep, that right, and you know what else I think..." he doesn't wait for a reply. "I think you're afaid to let yourself love."
"I think we had bothe better get to work. This ranch doesn't run itself." She took one last look at the south east before walking away. The tall palimino horse stood waiting for her rider. He watched her climb into the saddle. Before she spurred her horse she called out."I'll be checking out the fences in the high meadow if anyone needs me."
"south east Cassie?" He laughed as she rode out.
Days turned into weeks and the rain didn't come. The lack of rain coupled with the high temperatures, that were unusual for the mountains, caused the water levels to drop drastically. Water tables already low from the lack of substantial snow the past winter fell to dangerous levels. Every morning Cassie woke and watched the sun rise over the mounta! ins. She scanned the horizon for even the slightest hint of clouds that would bring a chance of rain.....
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