As was the tradition,they all came together this single night of the year in the forest clearing.First came the Coyote whose ancestors had stolen fire from Man.He gathered kindling and scattered it with the dust of fire opals which sparkled as they set the wood and moss ablaze,sending tiny offerings of light and heat up to the velvet black,diamond studded sky.

Next came the great Bear who dragged in logs to burn on the fire,no-one would be cold this night.

As the fire blazed it seemed as a beacon.Sending out an invitation to attend this Gathering.All rivallry must be set aside at the forest edge.There will be no malice or hunger,no pain or anger.Here shall only exsist a peace so deep as to transcend all earth-bound feelings.

Through the deep moonlit snow they came,softly in the shadows of the trees.When at last the circle was made around the fire they numbered eleven. There were two places yet to be filled.

The roll call was made ,each creature was equal amongst his peers.The Coyote and the Bear,the Fox and the Cougar,the Wolf and the Raven,the Caribou and the Beaver,the Hawk the Deer and the Owl.Only the faintest sounds betrayed the twelfths arrival and the Eagle took his place.

Only now could they summon the last of their number for he had to be brought through the eons of time,across the veil of dreams.Slowly their minds became as one.They melded their hopes and dreams,their pain and sorrow,until their single spirit arose, and that which was good and pure was all that remained.

Slowly the knots of this earthly bond loosened and the veil of dreams parted.The Great White Buffalo was amongst them.

Then they did eat the food of knowledge and drink the nectar of wisdom,till each was sated.In those moments the shawl of peace surrounded and healed them.

The Great White Buffalo left as he came,and the circle was broken.Each creature melted away into the shadows.The Coyote gathered up the sparkling dust of the fire opals and left the clearing.The snow fell and covered up all traces of the Gathering.

In the black silence a comet streaked across the heavens and from its glittering tail, the seeds of hope were scattered across the land.


Originally the first of a series