Finally, Emoh and her three new friends – Dancing Fool, Broken Drum and Coyote –
made it out of the dark forest. What they saw from where they stood amazed them – the tallest mountains that glimmered like the sun and clouds of all colors that danced about in the sky. “Look, it’s the village of the giants. We are almost there. Let’s run,” Emoh told the others. “We’ll be there before we know it.”
And they did; but just as they were almost there, the wicked Spirit of the West appeared out of nowhere. “You’re not going anywhere,” she screeched. Her red eyes seemed to freeze them where they stood. “Give me my sister’s moccasins or you will all die!”
The Coyote growled in his meanest voice, “Noooo. Leave or I’ll eat you for my supper.”
The wicked owl laughed and threw her wings up in the air, and as she did rocks started to fall from the sky. “We must find shelter,” Dancing Fool yelled. He grabbed Emoh’s hand and guided them to a cave close by, where they were safe from the rocks.
“That was quick thinking. Thank you,” Emoh said as she rubbed a few bumps the falling rocks had left on her. “I say we hurry as fast as we can and get to the village. The Spirit of the West disappeared when the rocks started to fall, so I say here is our chance. Let’s go!”
Broken Drum looked down at his new friends and said, “Get on my back and I’ll run like the wind to the village. I will not let anything happen to you.”
“Are you sure?” Emoh softly asked.
“Yes. Let’s go.” With that, everyone climbed on Broken Drum’s back. They seemed to fly over the land and in no time finally arrived at the village. As they climbed off of their friend’s back all they could do was look around in awe. It seemed as though everything shimmered and glowed like the sun. And the people were as big as trees.
As Emoh came eye-to-knees with one of the smaller giants, she explained who they were and asked to be taken to see the great giant chief. He smiled and agreed to take them.
But before they took even one step, Emoh could not hold her tongue any longer. “Are you Kone (Bigfoot)? My mother and father have told me many stories of you. You have always helped my people and all the land and animals. Are you the Kone?”
“Why yes, we are,” he replied. “Now you will see we are not just a story. Come, the great chief has been waiting for you.”
Up and down the winding path of the village the band of misfits went. All the Kone were friendly, waving and giving greetings of friendship. Finally they came to the entrance of the biggest mountain Emoh had ever seen. It was covered in moss and leaves, yet shimmered in the sunlight. Full of hope, yet a bit fearful, they quietly walked into the mountain. Light seemed to be coming from within. Emoh could make out what appeared to be the biggest of all the Kone she had seen. As they drew closer to the giant Kone she could see he was sitting on a huge round rock. He was a wonderful sight.
“Come, come,” his voice boomed out. As he stretched his giant hand out in greeting, he said, “I have been waiting for all of you. I know all about each of you. The good spirit told me, for she has been watching over you on your travels. I’m afraid you have made your trip for nothing. All three of you here have always had what you are looking for.
“Dancing Fool, come closer to me.” The dancer walked up to the chief. “Don’t fear me, my friend. My gift of brains are my words. You have always had a brain – you just never used it. When it was raining rocks, it was you who knew that you all needed shelter and you found it!”
Dancing Fool smiled. “I guess you’re right. Thank you. I’ll be sure to live differently. No more dancing all day and night. I’ll live like others. I’ll have to think and use my brain, right?”
“Yes, replied the chief, “but remember, brains do not make one happy and happiness is the best thing in the world. Live well, my friend.”
Now let me see you, Broken Drum. Come here by me.” Broken Drum listened and stood before the chief. “You think the wicked spirit broke your heart, don’t you? You thought it was broken, but it never was. You used your heart to carry your friends to me, and tears do not fall from eyes that do not possess a heart.”
Broken Drum smiled as a tear fell from his eye. “You’re right, great chief: and these are tears of happiness. Thank you.” And then he stepped back to be with his friends.
“All right; come here, cowardly Coyote,” the chief commanded. “Come on.” Coyote ever so slowly walked up to the chief. “You, my friend, are not a coward. You have lived in the scariest of forests and survived quite well. You also decided to go with your friends on a journey of uncertainty and knew of the wicked spirit after Emoh. You are brave. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, yes I do. I never thought of my life in the forest as scary, but now that I think about it, it was. May I stay here and help protect the village, great chief?”
“Why, I think that’s a fine idea. As a matter of fact, I would like you all to stay.”
All smiled … except Emoh.
“Oh yes, Emoh. I did not forget about you. Come here, child,” the chief requested.
Emoh did as he asked. “You are here because I sent for you and the winds brought you to me. You see, I had to show you that you have always had what you thought you didn’t: love, family, purpose and the beautiful place you are from, which we here call Over the Rainbow. You are under the rainbow now.
“The moccasins on your feet can take you home. All you need to do is dance, and before you know it they will dance you home to your family.
“You have a beautiful heart, and that is rare. Remember, a person with heart has something to guide them. Never lose your heart. Then one must step very carefully down one’s road.”
“Oh, thank you, great chief. I understand all you told me. I can’t wait to go home, but first I must say goodbye to my friends.” Then she gave everyone a big hug. “I will never forget you!”
Emoh started dancing. It was the happiest dance ever. Everything around her started to disappear, but from far away she could hear the chief saying, “Keep dancing, keep dancing!” And she did until suddenly everything around her was familiar again. She could see her village from where she stood.
She was home.
All of a sudden, she felt tickling on the back of her neck. As she reached her hand to her neck, Too Too jumped to the ground. “Oh, Too Too, you missed everything. You have been asleep the whole time.” Too Too chattered. Emoh laughed, and before the sun fell from the sky Emoh was home telling everyone her adventure.
Her father and mother smiled and told her it was all a dream, for she had fallen asleep picking flowers and they hadn’t had the heart to wake her.
“No, no: it was real!” insisted Emoh. “See what I have on my feet? They are what brought me home.” Her parents looked down at her feet and saw the most beautiful red-beaded moccasins they had ever seen. But all they could do was look at each other and smile. For they, too, knew about the place called Under the Rainbow – as we all know there is no place like home, family and friends.
If for some reason we have to be away from all we love, all we need to do is dance in our red-beaded moccasins and we are home. Dance on!
Dedicated to Linda, who found her red moccasins. Lim Lim.
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, N.M., and is a longtime cartoonist for Indian Country Today.