STORYTELLER; MOTHER EARTH AND FATHER MOUNTAIN

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As long ago as the Earth is old, the never-ending story of a simple love
began that people can watch grow stronger every day. That love started a
chain reaction and created everything as we know it today.

I will do my best to tell this story of love and wonder.

When the Creator decided to create the world, he wanted the beginning to be
full of life, beauty and wonderment. It started very simply, with mountains
high and low as far as the eye could see, and the ground, which surrounded
the mountains that stretched out seemingly forever.

Creator breathed life into the mountains and earth (for we know now that
all things, whether stone or tree, has a spirit). After doing so, Creator
waited and watched for the miracle given from his heart to unfold. Mother
Earth, her name was given, and the mountains were the first to know her.
The mighty mountains were also given a name: Father Mountain.

Farther Mountain heard a beautiful voice singing one day on the winds,
blowing and swirling around his peaks. He listed and wondered where this
beautiful sound was coming from. At times he felt the sound all around him.
It was so pleasant that one day he just had to know whose the beautiful
voice was.

He called out, "Who are you? I hear your voice in song, but I see nothing.
Please tell me who you are."

Ever so gently - almost timidly - a gentle breeze brushed past him, saying,
"My name is Mother Earth. I am all that surrounds you as far as the eye can
see and beyond. May I ask who you are?"

"I am called Father Mountain. The Creator made me. Do you know of the
Creator?"

"Yes" the breeze answered. "Creator made you and me." Father Mountain
remained silent for a while, for he was deep in thought about what he was
just told.

Finally he spoke. "Why do you think he made us? Do you know? I know I can
see as far as I am tall, but as I look out I see nothing. Also, I am
lonely, and my days and nights are long."

The breeze twirled about and couldn't give Father Mountain an answer, for
she did not know the answer to his question.

"Well, maybe we need not know," Father Mountain said, "but can we talk a
while? Your songs make me happy and now I do not feel alone anymore."

Mother Earth was also lonely, so they talked and talked and talked! Before
long they were as one, enjoying each other's company. The days and nights
were not so long anymore.

Father Mountain, from deep inside the rock from which he was made, felt a
strong feeling for Mother Earth - a feeling very new to him, something he
never felt before. As I was told, this feeling was called love - the first
love.

One day, as Father Mountain listened to Mother Earth's song, he felt he had
to tell her of his feelings. He said, "Mother Earth, I am so happy we have
found each other. I have a very special feeling for you deep inside me. I
can ignore it no longer.

Without you, I stand a lonely mountain who would endlessly sit. You have
taught me laughter and kindness, and I must tell you that these feelings
are new to me, but so are you. I will call these feelings love. Do you hear
me Mother Earth? I love you."

Mother Earth was so surprised. The words that Father Mountain shouted out
to her touched her, for she loved him, too. She was so touched and filled
with happiness that she cried, not out of sadness, but with joy.

When she cried, something wonderful and new happened. Everywhere signs of
life started to appear. Trees were grew as well as flowers, grasses and
bushes with fruit. Everywhere there were new beginnings. Her tears made
lakes and streams and beautiful waterfalls that flowed over Father
Mountain. (They say waterfalls are Father Mountain's tears of happiness.)

Father Mountain and Mother Earth were more than surprised at what they saw.
The Creator did have a plan: a plan to start new life as we now know it.
The Creator put living creatures on Mother Earth: the bird, wolf, bear,
turtle, snake and more. The world was a place for life to start. All the
tools to survive had been given to the creatures, including food and
shelter.

It was our start so long, long ago. So when you look and see the mountains
and a flower and trees, or hear a stream rushing over rocks and a gentle
breeze brushes past you, you know this is love and it goes on forever. It's
a love that not even man can destroy today.

Ken "Rainbow Cougar" Edwards, from the Colville Indian Reservation in
Washington, is an accomplished painter and storyteller. Edwards is a
graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and is a
longtime cartoonist for Indian Country Today.