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Native American Legends

The Rainmakers

A Sioux Legend

There once was a time when it did not rain for a great many months. The Prairie turned brown from the Sun, and the Great River that nurtured the land began to dry up. The Plants struggled against the dry Earth to breath and grow, while the Animals became weak and could not hunt. All the while the People waited, looking towards the sky and wondering what they had done to bring such misfortune upon themselves. While the People waited, Fear grew. This Fear grew so quickly that in a very short time it began to spread across the entire Prairie, choking out everything and everyone in its path until at last it covered all but one very small place in the Prairie where only the Children and the Old Ones would sit and play together.

When Fear came to the place where the Old Ones and the Children sat playing, it stopped. One of the Children looked up from where it had been playing and asked, "What is this thing that has come to visit us?" "It is Fear," said one of the Old Ones. "Does it want to play?", asked the Children. "Fear has forgotten how to play," said the Old Ones. The Children were very sad to learn that Fear had forgotten how to play. They began to talk amongst themselves about how this could be dealt with. Finally, the Children decided that if they were to have a Great Dance then perhaps Fear could learn how to play again. They went to the Old Ones and asked if the Old Ones would teach them the songs that Children should know if they were going to have a Great Dance with Fear.

Because the Old Ones had once been Children themselves, they knew that it would be impossible to try and talk the Children out of Dancing with Fear. Besides, they were happy to be useful once again, and it was good to sing their songs and hear young voices learning the melodies and words. At some point in all of this teaching, no one is really sure quite when, the Children and the Old Ones began their Dance with Fear.

The sounds of the Singing and the Dancing echoed across the empty Prairie. Soon the Wind carried these songs to the homes of the People. Little by little, the People made their way across the dying land until they came to the place where the Children and the Old Ones were Dancing. When the People arrived, they could not believe what they saw. The Children were Singing and Dancing in a Great Circle and the Old Ones were Singing and Dancing in an even Greater Circle around them and in the center of this Circle they saw Fear. The Children and the Old Ones called out to the People, "Come join us, we are Dancing with Fear!"

One by one the People joined the Great Circle. Soon all of the People were Singing and Dancing. Fear could no longer keep still. As Fear started to Dance, Tears began to pour out of its eyes and laughter began to live in Fear's heart. The Children and the Old Ones and the People all began to Cry along with Fear. The Wind heard all of the Singing and Dancing and Crying and came to see what was happening. Soon the Wind joined the Great Circle and all of them were Singing and Dancing and Crying together. The Wind carried the Singing and Dancing and Crying back out across the Prairie to invite all of the Plants and Animals to come join in the Great Dance with Fear. Soon these Tears were falling down like rain all across the Prairie, filling the Great River and giving Life back to the places where Fear had once walked.

There are those who know that the Great Dance is still going on to this day. Many of the People went back to their work and soon forgot about the Dance. Fear has had many children since the day that the Dance first started, and these children walk the Prairie much in the same way that their Father once did. As long as the Great Circle remains unbroken, there are those who know that there will be a home for the children of Fear, and a place for the Rainmakers to play.

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