WE WERE sitting together on the bank of the Alatna on a hot afternoon in July.
"Human life is different than any animal that ever lived," Old Tobuk was telling me through the interpretation of his son, Jimmie. "We shall see another life after we leave this one, though I don't know where. A leaf falls to the ground but another leaf grows, and he never dies forever. He never forgets his life; he lives the same way next year. Lots of people think that man dies, but he does not die, he lives again, goes same way like the leaf.
"One time I dreamed a man come and lay down right alongside me. I wanted to see him, I wanted to hear him, but I could hardly hear him, hardly turn my head to see him. He was only about two feet high. Maybe that's what we are really like when we die.
"The nature that we see is all simple, if we have no one to try to mix us up. But lots of people think they know just how everything works, and they try to make us believe that no one else is right. All of those different missionaries--- Episcopal, Quakers, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist--all tell different stories. There can't none of them be right except one. Perhaps not that many. I wonder which? They do good things for people when they're sick, but they teach people