Swift Deer sat down beside her husband’s mother and started preparations for the family meal.
She glanced across the town center and saw Timpoochee deep into a game of chungke with some of the other boys.
His short, stout but still muscular body swayed back and forth waiting for his chance to shoot a stick at the chungke stone as it rolled along its path.
Each of the boys in the game took his turn at the stone and each missed. The muscles in Timpoochee’s back bulged as he raised his hand to stril the stick as the stone passed his position.
He shot with the swiftness of a spear and as was the case more often than not struck the stone in its center and knocked it to the other side of the yard. Smiling and laughing, the other players jumped on Timpoochee and smothered him in the ground as a playful acknowledgment of his victory.
Getting up from the pile of boys, Timpoochee saw his grandmother and mother smiling at him and came running to them.
“How wonderful to see Grandmother Ama enjoying the sunshine,” he said to Swift Deer as he sat down beside the old woman and took her hand.
“She seems to be enjoying the warmth,” Swift Deer said. “Almost as much as she enjoys your company.”
“I hope she does not think ill of me for bruising her.”
“But you saved her life, my son. How can she think ill of you after such a brave act?”
“I should have saved Old Hunter,” Timpoochee said, eyes dropping to the ground.
“None of that talk,” Swift Deer countered. “There was nothing more you could have done. Your courage took you as far as your young body could go. You did well and brought honor to our house.”
“Still, I wish Old Hunter could be with us and share his tales,” Timpoochee sighed.
“I said none of it,” Swift Deer sharply ordered. “I will hear no more of that talk.
“Now, look down the row of houses, to the house of Rising Fawn. I would not be surprised to find a bowl of sofkee awaiting a certain young boy who might happen upon it.”