“What does Cornstalk think, really, of all this talk of the old Tcki?” Timpoochee thought to himself as he gazed into the morning fire.
“Maybe that’s why he doesn’t try his hardest to understand the lessons of the Medicine. What do these stories - if they’re true - mean to the future of our people?”
Cornstalk, two years older than Timpoochee, was of course in line first to succeed Yufala as leader. But Timpoochee also recognized Cornstalk to be incapable of leadership. His slowness of mind, his self-centeredness, rendered him incapable. He long ago realized the elders talked much more with him than with Cornstalk.
“The stories have persisted for a very long time,” Timpoochee thought. “I must find the truth and deal with it before another season.
He snuffed his morning fire, restored his campsite and began walking toward the river.
He decided to visit Chota. He would be welcomed there. Perhaps some answers are to be found in that largest of towns.
To get there he would have to cross Long Man at some point. But where? The thought of Uktena weighed heavily in his mind.
He slowly made his way downstream as the mountains around him rose to even greater heights.
A faint noise from upstream caught his attention. A boat, he thought.
Stopping and hiding behind a clump of bushes he waited as the almost imperceptible sound, clearly paddles in the water, drew closer.
As soon as it came into his view Timpoochee recognized the long, slender craft.
“Yufala!” he said out loud.