Excerpt from The Possibility of Innocence:
Old Man Na'pi and the First Mother and Child
adapted from a Blackfoot creation story
After Na'pi modelled them from clay
and spoke the word of life to make them breathe,
first off, the Woman asked him, "Will we live
forever? Or will there be an end to it - we die?"
"I had not thought about it. Yes, we must
decide. If what I throw into the river
floats, then all of you will live forever.
But if it sinks, you will return to dust."
Then he bent down, picked up and threw a bone
into the river, and it floated there.
"No," said the woman, "I will choose. We are
the ones to live or die." She chose a stone
and said, "If this stone floats, then we will live.
And if it sinks, we people all will die,
so, while we live, knowing that this must be,
we may learn pity, share each other's grief."
The woman threw the stone. It sank. Na'pi
then spoke. "As you have chosen, it shall be.
Your life shall have an end and you will die.
You will know endless sorrow. So shall I."
© 2019 Nicholas Bielby