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Native American Legends

How to count to 100

An Omaha Legend

A young man wanted to become a respected elder, a member of the white shell society. An elder told him, "You must learn to count to 100." That is simple, the young man thought.

One day a homeless, dirty, skinny old woman limped into town. Some people looked at her and hurried away. Some stared and whispered behind their hands about her.

One old man had compassion for the old woman. "Grandmother, come in, rest," he said. He put his arm around her and took her into his home. He welcomed her in, offered her water. When she had rested and had some water, he gave her soup.

He called to his wife and daughters, "Help Grandmother wash and change. Put her in that buckskin dress I beaded for the give-away. Give her those new moccasins." The wife and daughters bathed the old woman, washed her hair and braided it, dressed her in new clothes.

Then the family invited her to live with them, to join the family.

Later the young man say the grandmother with her new family. "Is that the old homeless woman? Who did this?"

"That's one," the elder said.

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