Two Quills was a happy child who seemed to live in her own world. But it was the only world she knew, for she was not like other children.

Her mother would smile as Two Quills clumsily walked or ran. A mother’s love sees only her child, not the difference. When it was time to cook or sew she struggled, but never gave up and always finished her work and helped her mother all she could.

Two Quills had been clumsy and slow since birth. Her mother always knew she was a gift. She would watch her patience in all tasks and her kind heart, which the other children ignored. She never got angry when the children teased or tripped her. She would pick herself up and continue joining in games.

The other children made Two Quills’ mother sad. She talked to the children’s parents, but they would not listen. Some even laughed at her, and said she would be taking care of Two Quills until she was an old woman. “You will see, she is a special child,” she told them. The medicine man tried to comfort her and, he being wiser than all, told her that a mother’s love is stronger than the cougar’s paw. She smiled and felt better knowing someone understood.

Meanwhile, life went on for Two Quills and the months and years went by quickly. Still clumsy and slow, Two Quills always did her best and finished what was asked of her. But when it was time for rest she would sometimes cry

herself to sleep, she wanted to be like everyone else.

One night, as she lay in bed trying to sleep, she heard a voice gently calling her name. She sat up, but saw no one. The voice kept calling. Now, Two Quills always had keen senses; she could hear the ants crawling in the dust; she could smell flowers in bloom from miles away; her eyes were like a bird’s, she could see a small mouse hidden in the blades of grass.

So, hearing this small voice while everyone else slept, she had to find out what was going on. She got up and went outside. Two Quills saw nothing, but the voice continued to call her. She walked toward it in the forest. There she saw her caller, or callers.

There stood a wolf, an eagle, and an owl. She clapped her hands and smiled for she never had a fear of the animals. “Why do you call me animal brothers?” Two Quills asked.

“We have come for we hear you cry at night because you are teased. We came to tell you how special you are. You can smell, hear and see so well because you are gifted with all the animals’ fine senses.” As brother wolf ended his sentence, out came every animal that lived in the forest.

Two Quills was so excited to see all that crawled, flew and walked coming out to be with her. She petted and hugged the deer, and rubbed the bear’s tummy. Brother wolf told Two Quills they would always be there for her. She smiled and said she had to leave, if her mother woke before her return she would worry.

So, off she went happy and, for the first time in a long time, fell asleep with wonderful dreams in her head. Before she knew it, morning came. She happily did her chores and helped her mother as always, but with a smile that made her mother feel good.

“Two Quills, you are so happy. Is it because it’s such a warm and sunny day?” her mother asked. “No.” she replied. “Is it because your father and brothers brought home a fine kill?” her mother asked. “No.” she said again. “I have a secret.”

“Can you share it with me?” her mother asked. Two Quills replied, “I will, but not until the sun rises tomorrow. Then I will share it with everyone.”

The next morning Two Quills’ mother gathered everyone in the village. Two Quills came out with her favorite blanket draped over her shoulders. She bravely stood in front of the people. “You have always teased me. You have called me clumsy and worthless, but I am not. I am special. I can hear like the owl, smell like the wolf, and see like the eagle, and I have many special friends.”

The people laughed and her mother’s heart broke to hear it. She tried to get Two Quills to come to her, but she would not. “Not yet mother, I have something to show the people.” She raised her arms to open the blanket she wore and before the peoples’ eyes every animal, bird, reptile and insect came out one-by-one, like magic. “No one will hurt you.” Two Quills shouted. “They are all my friends.” The people were shocked. They stood quiet and watched the parade of life come from within her blanket.

After that day the people of the village treated Two Quills very differently. They talked to her and helped her. For they knew she was special and felt protected by her for she had the wisdom of all that walked, flew or crawled.

Lim Lim