The Papanuk sat on the small hillside, surrounded by the children of the Chicuan camp. The children loved to hear his tales and parables. Tales of The Creation; Tales of the woodland animals; Tales of the nature around them. They may not understand their true meanings yet, but as they grew, they would come to understand the true wisdom spoken by the Papanuk. The hillside was bathed in warm sunshine. Birdsong whistled through the balmy air. The children chattered and giggled excitedly, waiting for the Papanuk to begin his storytelling.
One small boy, seated amongst a group of small girls, squealed in fits of high-pitched laughter. A group of boys, sitting across, pointed at him and ridiculed his effeminate ways. Chief Watanu, sighed deeply, embarrassed by his son’s girlish traits. Avoiding eye contact with any of his tribe, he hurried back to his tepee. He would speak with his son, Manitaku, ……again! How had he spawned a boy-girl? There could be no greater shame for a Chief. His authority would come into question. There could be a challenge to his leadership. If only his beloved Shushanay, Manitaku’s mother, was still here. She would ease the Chief’s troubled mind and soothe his aching heart. Shushanay, his beautiful Shushanay, high cheek bones framing two large almond shaped eyes of dark velvet brown, jet black hair cascading and glistening over her slim shoulders, touching the base of her spine. Her small delicate hands would stroke Chief Watanu’s brow and she would whisper her love for him and the World would be well again. Tears glistened in Chief Watanu’s black eyes remembering his beloved Shushanay, cruelly taken away from him at the birth of their son, Manitaku – his boy-girl Manitaku. He would get the Shaman, Mayakula, to take him to the Otherworld to seek out Shushanay. If only so that he could embrace her again, see her smile, hear her soft voice, feel her gentle kisses. How he missed Shushanay. Shortly after her passing over from this life to the Spirit World, Chief Watanu had insisted that Mayakula take him to the Otherworld so that he could be with Shushanay. He didn’t want her to be frightened and alone. Mayakula fulfilled his Chief’s wishes but Chief Watanu couldn’t have been more wrong. When he found Shushanay, she looked even more beautiful and truly happy to be with her ancestors of long, long ago. She assured Chief Watanu that she was waiting for him in the Spirit World. Waiting for the day that his soul would return Home and they would live together throughout eternity, in a tepee of love, in the peaceful land of their ancestors. She was watching over them, patiently waiting. Chief Watanu knew she was watching. He sensed her every day. He dreamed of her every night. He spoke to her in his moments of solitude. Ten Winters. Ten Summers. Chief Watanu had never considered taking another Chicuan woman. His heart belonged to Shushanay.