The Pond

by Larry Bowers.

A wise man was charged with the duty of selecting a new chief for his tribe. He had the two most qualified men follow him to a beautiful pristine pond which was fed by pure mountain streams.

He called the first man over to the pond, and bade the other wait while they spoke.

“Look into the water, and tell me what you see” he asked the first man.

This man, who was the war leader of the tribe gazed intently into the pond. The sun had not been long risen over the horizon as he looked.

“I see a strong and wise leader” he said. “I see a man who has his weapons, and is prepared to defend his people or lead them to war against their enemies” he continued. “I see a man who knows no fear and can persuade others to follow him” he finished and turned back to the wise man.

“Thank you” said the wise man. “Tell the other man to come”

The second man came and the wise man asked him to look into the water. “What do you see?” He asked

The second man, who was a hunter and farmer, looked deep into the water.

“I see wonderful clear water to drink and use for bathing, and to water our plants” he said.

“I see the fish and the turtles which we catch to eat, and from which we make our needles from the fish bones, and our utensils from the turtles shell. I see the slope on the opposite shore where the buffalo and antelope drink, and the beautiful flowers growing on the shore where our people come to eat and talk. I see the fowl of the air, whose eggs are a delicacy to us. I see the rocks which the stream has exposed from which we make our tools” he finished and turned back towards the wise man.

“Take the other, and go back to the village” he said.

That night with all the tribe gathered around the ceremonial fire the wise elder, the wise shaman, signalled the drums to stop.

He called the second man over from his place at the circle and spoke: “This is your new leader” he said. “This man will care for all of the tribe, and with help will be able to provide for you, and you will prosper” The wise man placed the ceremonial eagle feather on his head. “Now go and celebrate” he commanded.

The first man was angry and spoke loudly to the elder after the group had left: “I am the strongest warrior, and greatest leader in battle and would have led our tribe to glory” he fumed. “Why did you not choose me…my Father?”

“My son,” he said sadly. “What you say may be true, but all you saw when you looked into the water was your own reflection….”

And so it was the tribe got a new and wise chief that night.

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