Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition

By John G. Neihardt | Go to book overview

22 VISIONS OF THE OTHER WORLD

So I dressed myself in a sacred manner,1 and before the dance began next morning I went among the people who were standing around the withered tree. Good Thunder, who was a relative of my father and later married my mother,2 put his arms around me and took me to the sacred tree that had not bloomed, and there he offered up a prayer for me. He said: “Father, Great Spirit, behold this boy! Your ways he shall see!” Then he began to cry.

I thought of my father and my brother and sister who had left us, and I could not keep the tears from running out of my eyes. I raised my face up to keep them back, but they came out just the same. I cried with my whole heart, and while I cried I thought of my people in despair. I thought of my vision, and how it was promised me that my people should have a place in this earth where they could be happy every day. I thought of them on the wrong road now, but maybe they could be brought back into the hoop again and to the good road.

Under the tree that never bloomed I stood and cried because it had withered away. With tears on my face I asked the Great Spirit to give it life and leaves and singing birds, as in my vision.

Then there came a strong shivering all over my body, and I knew that the power was in me.

Good Thunder now took one of my arms, Kicking Bear the other, and we began to dance. The song we sang was like this:

“Who do you think he is that comes?
It is one who seeks his mother!”3

-150-

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