He bent over and kissed his wife for what might be the last time. She was very sick and the healers of the village came by to try and bring healing to Pine Needle. Red Dog gathered his sacred pipe and tobacco, his sage, cedar and sweet grass and his blanket and left for the mountains so he could fast and pray. Red Dog loved Pine Needle so much that he wished it had been him who fell into the icy river instead of the lady he loved since he first laid eyes on her.
Pine Needle was so beautiful that men fought each other to try and win her hand. Red Dog was not one of these men. Red Dog was a peaceful warrior. He was a holy man. When Pine Needle first saw him she instantly knew that he was the man she kept seeing in her dreams. By looking at him you would think that Red Dog was a fierce warrior with his rugged face and chiseled body. His piercing eyes left you wondering if he was looking into your soul and he very well could have been.
Many men traveled long distances to seek Red Dogs wise counsel but now he had nothing to give. Now he had to go and seek counsel from Great Spirit. Red Dog was very sad because he lost his only son Little Otter in that icy river. His wife stayed in the icy water much to long trying to get her son and now she was laying barely clinging onto life. As he thought of this tears rolled down his face. He had to get off of his horse because he could hardly see through his tears.
Red Dog sat underneath a cedar tree and cried for an hour maybe two. He tried not to blame himself because he was up in the mountains praying and seeking Creators wisdom when the accident happened. Now his beautiful wife lay dying and he was heading to the mountains again, not knowing if he would see his wife alive when he returned.
Red Dog wanted to turn back but knew he couldn’t. He knew that he must go into the mountains to fast and pray. He knew that he had to seek direction. He knew that he had to pray and intercede for the healers in the village and especially for his wife.
Red Dog asked Creator to allow his wife Pine Needle to live and that if she was to cross over to allow him to sing his death song and join her on the other side. Red Dog and Pine Needle had been married for six winters now and the only time that he left her side was to go to the mountains to fast and pray. Red Dog could not live without his wife.
Red Dog thought about his mother and how she was trampled to death by wild horses. He thought about his father who was a mighty warrior. At 65 summers his father went out to battle against his enemies. A young warrior shot him with an arrow. Red Dogs father was so respected as a warrior that the young warrior knelt beside him and sang until he took his last breath. This young warrior then took the mighty warrior to the outskirts of his village so that he could receive a proper burial. When the young warrior laid Red Dogs father where he could easily be found he was met by Red Dog. The young warrior thought for sure that he would die right there by Red Dogs hands but instead he was met with kindness. Red Dog thought about his brother who was captured by white soldiers. His brother was able to escape the white soldiers but was unable to escape the white soldiers disease he caught while captured. He thought about his little son. Red Dog knew that they would greet Pine Needle on the other side should she cross over.
Red Dog got back on his horse and headed for the mountain. He would not stop until he got to his sacred place. While on his horse Red Dog’s mind went back in time. He remembered the feelings he felt when he first laid eyes on Pine Needle. He remembered their first conversation. Red Dog thought about their wedding day. The young warrior who took Red Dogs fathers life in battle had brought ten prize ponies as a wedding gift since Red Dog spared his life. His mind flashed to every moment; every event of their marriage and he realized that not once had they ever argued or had a disagreement. He smiled thinking of his life with his beautiful wife but then reality hit him so hard he almost vomited. His beautiful wife was fighting for her life.
The next morning Red Dog arrived at his sacred place high in the mountain. It was a cliff overlooking a lush green valley. The cliff faced east and down in the valley to the north he could see a giant waterfall. As he sat on his rock seeing the beauty to his right several feet away was a small cave. He would spend his days outside praying but four times a day he would enter the cave to pray.
Red Dog prayed while burning cedar, sweet grass and sage to the four directions and to smudge the area and himself. He then took out his sacred pipe and tobacco. He put some tobacco into his pipe, threw some tobacco towards the four directions and lit his pipe praying the whole time.
For four days he would stay awake and pray refusing to close his eyes even for a few moments of pleasure. Red Dog would stay for four days or until he received a sign from Creator. On the third day he was disturbed by something he saw. He kept seeing a little baby girl growing up to be a young lady that looked just like Pine Needle. He tried to shake it but he couldn’t. He didn’t even understand what this meant. He continued to pray.
On the fourth morning as red Dog walked out of the cave he heard an eagles cry above. He looked up to see the eagle but the sun was blazing and he could only hear the eagles cry. Red Dog continued praying and as he looked down he saw an eagle feather land at his feet. Right at that moment Red Dog felt a peace well up inside and he knew it was time to head back to the village.
Red Dog did not know if Pine Needle would be alive when he got back ro not. On his way back to the village he kept seeing this baby girl growing up. This confused him. He did not know the meaning of this and it made his heart beat faster. This vision that he did not understand made his mind spin.
When Red Dog finally reached his village he was nervous and afraid of what he might hear. His knee’s felt weak and a couple of times he thought he would fall off his horse. When the healers saw Red Dog approaching they all ran towards him smiling which gave Red Dog much hope that his wife was still alive. This made Red Dog very happy and he started approaching the village at a faster pace because he wanted to be in his wife’s arms.
The healers were smiling and laughing and almost knocked Red Dog off of his horse when he approached them. They told Red Dog that not only was Pine Needle alive but that she had life inside of her. With this news Red Dog finally understood his vision. Later that year Pine Needle gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Red Dog named her Eagle Feather.
Written by Bear Warrior