Act 54: There was Uktena... / by Steve Hart

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It was the first time Timpoochee ever heard his father suggest he might someday lead his people.

Cornstalk stood in line before Timpoochee. The tall one should be leader before him, despite Cornstalk’s obvious limitations.

“You can go with me to the while man’s settlement,” Yufala said after a while. “Perhaps it is time.”

Timpoocheee settled into the center of the canoe, lying low, being quiet so as to not upset the balance of his father’s offer to have him tag along to the Yonega settlement.

The sun-spirit made its way slowly into the sky vault from the mountain tops over the stern of the boat.

Even though more and more Yonega appeared to be moving into the valleys, mountains and plains of the Tsalagi, few had ventured up Long Man all the way to Timpoochee’s town. The only while men Timpoochee had seen was the party who visited immediately before the great earth-shaking and bear rampage which killed Old Hunter and others.

He held within him many questions about these curious people and many more questions about his origins and his mother’s history.

Timpoochee never ventured as far on Long Man as he would on this trip with his father. He only knew stories of town like Tinase, Citico and Chota, the big town.

He knew stories travelers and hunters told of the thunder boys and bolts of light which showered the great valley beyond the mountains, where the Yonega settlement had been established.

And, of course, there was always Utkena, the water-cougar which controlled a certain territory of Long Man and was said to swim up and down its course.

Legends said Utkena has four legs, no feet, long hair and a long tail, like a fish’s. Other legends describe it has having the body of a death-rattler, only as big as a tree, and deer horns on its head and wings like a bird.

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