Tag Archives: Bullying

What is on my mind today? Testicle or Not to Testicle, that is the Question?

hereford bull

I have been working diligently on my oil painting for these past several months and it is finally nearing completion.

Yesterday, my dad and mom came down to deliver excellent potatoes and squash out of their garden and join me for lunch.  As dad came into the room where my easel stands with the painting on it, he took one look at the painting and said three things…you painted that for yourself, you really captured a Montana sky, don’t you dare touch that, and what do plan to do with that one?

I think he figured that a painting of the Dakota badlands and a meso-cyclone in hot pink with Hereford cattle is probably a Pat painting. It is time for me to find a gallery to show and market my artwork, before I drive my friend Pat to distraction. She hadn’t seen the canvases I painted for myself, before I became disabled, that are stored in the basement until this week. This painting will probably join them, but it is not quite done yet.

There is the usual tinkering to complete.  Putting in some grass, light and color corrections and I have to decide whether to testicle or not testicle the Hereford Bull.

Yes, I have to tinker with testicles and I actually have put some thought into this testicular dilemma.  Bully, bully is a pretty proud looking fellow standing guard over his family, but one must think of the troubles caused by testicles or lack there of.

The case against testicles can be summed in two words…Harvey Weinstein. There is no excuse and there should never be any tolerance for the Weinstein’s of this world.  And, there are way too many of them.

I do not think I know of a woman, who has worked outside the home, that at some point in her career hasn’t been sexually harassed.  I know I was. Whenever I think about the grossness, hurt, stress, shame, sadness, anxiety, anger and lost career opportunities,  I lean strongly towards a testicle-free bull.

So, why would I consider blessing my bull with the awesome responsibility of testicles?

There are several reasons:

1.    I still have paint left,
2.    The artistic challenge,
3.    I often think society in general needs to get a pair.
4.    In all fairness, I must admit that some of my sexual harassers in the workplace
weren’t male.

Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it is all about power.  Remaining silent about abuse is not golden, it is cowardice of the worst sort.  My grandmother told me long ago, that if I didn’t admire cowards, I should choose not to be one.  I may be a lot of things, but few people would ever call me a coward.

Yes, I have reported abusers in the work place.  I have also supported and stood by other women who found themselves in gosh awful situations, whenever I had first hand knowledge of the harassment.

Did I pay a personal and professional price for speaking up? Of course!  But, it was worth it!

In retrospect, if I found myself in the same situation again, would I do things differently? Absolutely not!  And do you know why? Somebody had to stop it and I am somebody.  We all need to be somebodies.

It’s like the Bible says, “Here I am God….Send me!”





Just Saying: Bullying and Political Theater


Jennifer Holliday receiving death threats and backlash over performing at the Trump inauguration as reported in a CNN article is bullying pure and simple. It is not honorable. It is not justifiable and its sole goal is to silence opposing views. If the shoe was on the other foot and conservatives were doing this to Clinton supporters, they would be called new age “brown shirts” and rightfully so. Have Clinton’s supporters become the demeaning and intolerant tyrants that they profess to so vehemently oppose? In this case, it would appear so.

There is a vast difference between this type of mean-spirited tyrannical behavior and peaceful protesting. I condemn the former from any political source or group and wholly support the latter.
In addition, I believe that it is not honorable for the losing party’s elected members of Congress to boycott the inauguration of our next president. Have these members of Congress forgotten the first rule of politics…those that show up rule?  I cannot imagine the public and media outrage at Republicans had they refused to go to an Obama or Clinton inauguration. This political theater of boycotting the inauguration demonstrates a total lack of respect for the Constitution and Hillary Clinton’s adamant call during the presidential debates for the losing candidate and their supporters to respect election results and the peaceful transition of leadership. Their support for the politics of division will only serve to embolden our nation’s enemies at the cost of American lives when, not if, they test our new president.
Tomorrow I will watch the inauguration, be proud to be an American and celebrate the peaceful transition of power. I will pray for unity for our nation, respect for the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the rule of law; safety for our people; wisdom for leadership; and rigorous peaceful political debate. That all of our new governing officials come together with a sincere interest to do what is best for our nation as a whole and rediscover that our political system’s great strength has always been compromise.
I would encourage the members of Congress who are boycotting tomorrow’s inauguration to reconsider and take note of Trump’s philosophy of encouraging a “friendship” with Russia…it is important to keep your friends close, but more important to keep your enemies even closer….just saying.

Thor’s Stories: Thor and the Troll Toll

troll 3.jpeg

It all began with a splat against his bedroom window pane. The splat was Morton the Squirrel, Thor’s arch enemy. The squirrel was stuck to the window with gooey orange slime. Orange-slimed squirrels in the backyard known as “the jungle” could only mean one thing a garden troll was loose and oozing.


Thor quickly ran to the window to take stock of the situation. What greeted his eyes was the face of Ned the one-horned troll drooling and dripping with orange spittle. This troll had eyes as black as midnight, a long nose and chin with hair growing out of his ears.  His ears deserve a special mention due to the fact that the big hairy things hung so low that they rested on his shoulders. The troll used to have two curly horns, but one was broken right off and so now he only had a lefty.

Normally, the leprechauns took care of Ned. They would dance and sing for him and feed him all of his favorite foods so that he would be happy and stay out of trouble. Something had obviously gone terribly wrong, because here he was goopy, cranky and hungry. He had already slimed not only Morton, but Rex the dog had taken a hit too and was spittle-stuck to the fence. Worse still orange slime completely coated the entire chicken house.

flubberproject (1)

As Thor watched from the window he saw Ned the Troll farting into the chicken house windows to make big orange slime bubbles to blast the chickens out. Each time he farted a chicken would be sucked out of the window into a slime bubble then ejected back into the hen house when the bubble burst. It was like a slow motion chicken bubble fart ballet in orange slime. Fascinating, but dangerous for chickens, because hungry trolls stole chickens to eat them!

Thor quickly grabbed his protective eye gear to protect his eyes from troll goop. Next he put a clothespin on his nose to defend against being overcome by the foul stench of orange slime bubble fart explosions. As he pulled his rubber boots onto his feet he grabbed his backpack, balloons, ninja sword, shampoo, 3 bananas, two shiny new pennies, a sheet of paper, pencil, an envelope and tape.

While the troll was totally absorbed in trying to catch the chickens. Thor opened the great wall to enter his jungle which was entirely coated in gooey, oozing nasty smelling troll juices.  He quickly made his way to the garden hose. Losing no time, he filled his balloons with water to make water bombs. Thor gently placed the water balloons into his backpack.

water ballons

Next, Thor turned up the water pressure in the hose as high as it would go and gave Morton the Squirrel a blast. After Morton was rinsed off of the window, Thor turned the hose on Rex and started to de-slime that dog right off of the fence.  Just as he finished, Ned the Troll slowly turned and spotted him.

The troll spun around with a hop and grunt. When the big fellow landed the ground shook just like after a loud clap of thunder.  Drool dripped off of Ned’s wide gaping unbrushed or flossed yellow toothy grin as he shrieked with evil glee and held up two of Thor’s favorite chickens. He then quickly raced towards the door to the leprechaun kingdom with the chickens screaming for help!

Thor threw water balloon after balloon at the running troll to try and knock the chickens free before the troll reached the safety of the leprechaun door. His efforts were to no avail as the troll shouted the magical shrinking chant of “oomer uber ommer gau” and disappeared chickens and all down deep into the underground world of the leprechauns.

As Thor ran towards the leprechaun door an orange slimed letter popped out and flew right into his hands. Thor opened the envelope and read, “I am holding your chickens for random. You must pay the troll toll. Bring me one wheel barrow full of warm slippery slimy greasy orange pumpkin guts and make sure you pick out all of the seeds! If you do not pay the troll toll or I find a seed in the pumpkin guts you will never see your chickens alive again. Signed Ned the Troll.”

Thor knew he must save his pet chickens at all costs for he loved them. He had learned in Sunday School that love is stronger than hate, and that goodness and kindness are more powerful than meanness. Knowing that helping to save a friend is the highest form of love, Thor knew no fear of his large foe Ned the troll. The power of his love for his pet chickens had blinded him to the dangers to himself and filled his heart with bravery and purpose.

Confident of ultimate success in saving his beloved pets, Thor began to think of a troll defeating chicken rescue plan. As he thought of various Troll fighting scenarios, Thor walked over to where Morton the squirrel sat still covered with goo, picked him up and took him over to the bird bath, took out the shampoo and scrubbed him until he was clean. Thor removed the clothespin from his nose that he had been using to protect himself from the troll fart stink and pinned Morton to the clothesline to dry. Then, he grabbed Rex and used the shampoo to get him cleaned up too.


When Morton’s mom saw him on the clothesline, she came down to get him. Thor explained his troubles to her and asked if her family could help get the seeds out of the pumpkin guts for him. If she helped Thor would let her keep all of the seeds. Morton’s mom was thrilled to help as pumpkins seeds are like dessert to a squirrels. She quickly called all of her children and their cousins to help with the pumpkin seed harvest. Soon a great army of squirrels entered the jungle.

With his team of squirrels and Rex the dog, Thor moved to the garden with his ninja sword and started whacking the tops off of the pumpkins. As the pumpkins’ lids burst open, Rex the dog would dig out the slimy orange pumpkin guts with the same gusto he used to dig holes in the yard to bury his bones. The pumpkin guts flew right between his hind legs into the wheel barrow. When the guts landed into the wheel barrow the army of squirrels quickly searched out every seed. Soon they had the troll toll ready.

Once the wheelbarrow was full, Thor pushed it over and parked it about ten feet away from the leprechaun door. Next, he ate several bananas for a healthy snack to provide the energy he needed for the upcoming battle.  When his snack was finished he spread the banana peelings around the bottom of the wheelbarrow and covered them with shampoo. Next he covered himself and the other chickens with shampoo so that they would be too slippery for Ned to grab.

Then, Thor got out his paper, pencil and envelope and wrote the troll a message that read, “Your troll toll is ready. Bring chickens. Signed, Thor.” Then he taped down the two shiny pennies to the envelope as that was what leprechauns charge for postage.

Down the tiny blue door in the hollow tree the message went and up came a huge slime bubble elevator with the troll inside. When the bubble popped the troll loomed large in front of Thor holding a chicken under each arm. “Give me my pumpkin guts,” he bellowed.  Thor hollered back, “Not until you let go of my chickens!”

Either trolls are hard of hearing or they have no interest in listening in the first place, because that troll held on to those chickens and pushed his way to wheelbarrow.

Being pushy to get your own way is always trollish behavior and rarely ends well for the pusher. Ned thought he could have everything he wanted, the pumpkin guts and tasty, tasty chicken.  In his rush to feed his greed and steal the pumpkin guts and the chickens, the large clumsy troll didn’t watch where he was stepping. When his slimy foot hit the slippery banana peel covered in even slipperier shampoo the troll’s feet went flying into the air.

Ned let go of the chickens as he landed on his butt with a loud thud in a wheelbarrow full of pumpkin guts–exploding them all over the jungle. There were guts in the trees, coating the rhubarb leaves, hanging from raspberry bushes and all over Thor.

The once mighty troll was a pitiful sight as he sat in that empty wheelbarrow flailing his hands, kicking his feet, crying and howling, because he now had nothing. During the troll’s terrible tearful tantrum the leprechaun king came up into the jungle to check out what had caused such a great ruckus that it shook his entire underground kingdom like an earthquake.

“Ned!?” the king shouted, “What are you doing up here causing trouble? I know you just love being a big scary troll, but I have warned you time and time again about your thoughtless bullying ways. You should have listened to me and tried being kind and generous to others. For now you will have to pay the ultimate “troll toll”. I hereby on this day decree that you, Ned the Troll, for not controlling your behavior, thinking only of yourself and scaring everyone including defenseless hens–will  forfeit what you prize the most.  Ned, I sentence you to never being a troll again.”

The king then pulled the magical rooster king pirate feather out of his hat and waved it in front of the troll. “Make, Ned, into a fainting goat.” In a flash, Ned became a  a one-horned, long-eared, timid fainting goat

Ned the Fainting Goat

. .

The King looked at Thor and said, “Enjoy your new pet and thanks for the pennies.” Then, he vanished through the leprechaun door.

A good person always keeps his word and Thor kept his promise to Morton’s mother. He let the squirrels finish collecting all the pumpkin seeds.  While they were busy searching for seeds,Thor began cleaning up the awful mess the Troll’s large butt had made when it landed in all of those squishy pumpkin guts and from his orange slimy drool dripping off of the great wall, house and chicken coop.

Thor got the hose out and cleaned the orange troll slime, shampoo and remaining pumpkin guts off of the fence, house, chicken coop, chickens and himself. The squirrels showed their gratitude for all of the delicious pumpkin seeds by helping pick pumpkin guts out of the trees and other places Thor could not reach.  Once all of the pumpkin guts had been collected and loaded into his red wagon, they were pulled behind the lawnmower shed and dumped into the compost pile.

It was about that time that Thor’s dad got home from work. He asked Thor what he’d been doing all day and Thor replied, “Nothing much.”

Thor’s dad was glad that to see that the pumpkins had all been opened and cleaned out, and the chicken coop, fence and west side of their house had all been washed.  But, he did wonder why Thor, the dog and chickens were all soaking wet; there were some pumpkin guts hanging from the top of the apple tree; squirrels were everywhere; a goat that only had one horn on the left side of his head was passed out on the lawn; and several empty bottles of the orange-flavored fiber mix used by Grandpa Walter along with a large empty shampoo bottle were tipped over on the picnic table.

He went to get a rope to tie up the goat, got the red wagon to load the pumpkins in to take them into the house to carve for Halloween and to Thor’s mom so she could make her delicious pumpkin bars. Then, he told Thor, “Well, we had  better feed Grandpa Walter some extra greens for supper tonight and I have always wanted a pet goat.”


Recipe for Metamucil Orange Slime-Flubber

This recipe makes the non-sticky sort of ‘rubber’ or gelatinous slime that is known as flubber.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 15 minutes

Flubber Slime Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Metamucil or similar soluble fiber
  • 8 oz water
  • microwave-safe bowl
  • microwave oven
  • food coloring (optional)

How To Make Metamucil Flubber

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of Metamucil with 1 cup (8 ounces) of water in a microwaveable bowl. You can add a drop or two of food coloring if you wish. Alternatively, you could add a little powdered drink mix or flavored gelatin to get color/flavor.
  2. Place bowl in the microwave and nuke on high for 4-5 minutes (actual time depends on microwave power) or until the goo is about to bubble out of the bowl. Turn off the microwave.
  3. Let the mixture cool slightly, then repeat step 3 (microwave until about to overflow). The more times this step is repeated the more rubbery the substance will become.
  4. After 5-6 microwave runs, (carefully – hot hot HOT) pour the flubber onto a plate or cookie sheet. A spoon can be used to spread it out.Allow to cool. There you have it! Non-stick flubber. A knife or cookie cutters may be used to cut the flubber into interesting shapes.Flubber can be stored at room temperature in a sealed baggie for several months. It will last indefinitely in a sealed bag in the refrigerator.


  1. If the flubber is sticky then the amount of water needs to be reduced. It should be clammy, but not sticky. Use less water next time.
  2. Please use adult supervision. Molten fluids and microwaves are involved!

Just Saying: Social Media and Those Little Pitchers With Big Ears and Eyes

 Social Media and Those Little Pitchers With Big Ears and Eyes

I have used social media both personally and in professional media communications as press secretary for the Minnesota Secretary of State. I have read many articles on the power of social media and have seen and used that power to reach my targeted audiences many times. Professionally, I was good at it. Personally, there are times when I wished I would have been more thoughtful and posted differently.

Sometimes the effect of social media on small children and their emotional health troubles my conscience. Today is one of those days.

We hear so much about bullying in the media. Yes, bullying is everywhere, everyone at one time has either been bullied or been a bully. I am as victimized and guilty on that score as the next person. I strongly believe that intimidating people or trying to emotionally hurt people for personal reasons is always a bad thing to do. I do not believe that loving parents, as a rule, would ever emotionally or mentally abuse their children on purpose in person or in social media.

However, how many of us think of the adverse emotional impact of some of the things we as adults and parents put on Facebook or Tweet about our young children. If the children are of reading age or have siblings or friends that can repeat what they see online, how are our comments received? As funny or hurtful, critical, crushing? Do we set them up for bullying among their siblings and peers?

Do we think about the message we are sending to that precious child/children when we put our frustrations in writing, which as adults we see as funny and can relate too online, about the challenges of being alone with our children, being a single parent or how hard it is being a stay at home mom? Will that child think that the parent doesn’t want them, doesn’t like them or think they are bad?

I have been thinking about how it would have made me feel to know that my parent took the time to write down a complaint, share it with friends and then know that those friends agreed with my parent that I as a child, was difficult, too busy, too noisy or whatever. Sometimes as an adult, I still get my feelings hurt by things that are said or not said by friends and family. Imagine how crushing it would feel to a young and innocent soul to have that hurt come from a parent you greatly love and for all the world to see.

I am glad that I am not a child in today’s social media world. It was hurtful enough in my generation when a parent lost control due to stress and said things that were hurtful, later regretted and apologized for. Words scar the mind and heart and oftentimes those wounds heal slowly or not at all. Just Saying….

Children’s Story: He Who Runs Well and Thinks Quickly

buffalo 2

This story is a Native American folktale about a buffalo hunt.   I remember reading this Native American story for the first time in second grade and have never forgotten it.  As a severely asthmatic little girl who couldn’t run very well and who received a lot of unwanted attention from other children who weren’t so sick, I greatly admired this character.

I rewrote several aspects of it to illustrate bullying, perseverance, faith and justice.  “He Who Runs Well and Thinks Quickly”, becomes a hero, because he keeps his faith, shows kindness to others, honored those who loved him, never gave up and was rewarded with justice.

As retold by Patricia K. Turgeon

Long, long ago in the time before white men lived on the wide flat plains of North America, in a smoky hand-painted buffalo hide teepee a baby boy was born. This child was the youngest of four sons born to a brave warrior and his woman. The baby grew, and became a dutiful and thoughtful little boy and tried hard to please his parents.

It was he who was always there to help his mother fetch water or tend the fire. He kept the baskets filled with summer berries and autumn nuts. When the tribe moved to follow the great buffalo herd, he knew how to pack the teepee skins and dismantle the lodge poles better than any of the other children in the tribe.

As years passed, it became obvious to the boy’s parents that he was not as robust as their other sons. He was much smaller than his brothers had been at the same age. Although he showed interest, this boy demonstrated little skill in the fishing, hunting, and riding at which his older brothers excelled. When his brothers would wrestle or play games he only watched. Worst of all, because he was so small, when he did play with other children he would usually get hurt and run away. These things made his older brothers tease him unmercifully. They mocked him continuously, especially in front of their parents. They were jealous of the love the woman had for the small boy, and the time she spent with him.

The woman couldn’t bear to see the boy hurt and shamed. To comfort him, she tell him, “it will take the seeds of patience and endurance through a storm of adversity to grow wisdom and strength”. Although he didn’t have a clue what that meant, he liked to hear his mother say it just the same.

It was a custom, in that tribe, that during a boy’s tenth summer he would leave the company of his mother. He would live with other boys and learn the needed hunting and battle skills needed to become a warrior. This important day was called a naming day. On that day in front of the whole tribe, the father would honor the son by giving him a name. As the date for his naming day approached the boy became more and more excited and looked forward to his new status that he would gain as he became a young man.

Many mornings found the young boy sitting by the big muddy river dreaming of what his name would be. As he watched the dark river’s current swirl around the jagged rocks he wondered, would his father name him after the horse, deer or the sacred wolf? Would his father gift him with a fine pony like those he had given to his brothers?

It was there, on the river’s bank, on his naming day, that his brothers, his father and the tribe found him. Alone he had gone to the river to see his reflection, in the water, in his new beaded buckskin suit that his mother had made for him. She had worked a long time to make his suit out of the softest leather, with beads of the brightest colors. Surely, his father would see him looking so grand and give him a name of which he could always be proud.

The boy’s jealous older brothers had followed him and began to pester him. They poked, pushed and shoved him. His new suit became ripped and the multi-colored beads scattered and bounced on the ground at his feet. When the boy turned to run away, as he had always done in the past, he found that he had no place to go, for he was at the river’s edge.

As he stood there with his new clothes stained and torn, his father approached with the chief and rest of the tribe following closely behind. The boy was filled with anger toward his brothers. Then, to his horror, he felt a tear slide down his cheek.

His father saw the tear and his heart hardened toward his youngest son. The proud father was filled with a terrible rage, because his youngest child had shamed his family by crying in front of the entire tribe. He raised his hand and pointed at the boy and said, “I give you the name of Small Crying Bird so that everyone will always remember that you fly way from danger and cry.”

Then, his father, brothers and the other warriors turned and walked away leaving Small Crying Bird with the women and children. Small Crying Bird would never become a warrior.

Days passed and Small Crying Bird’s mother realized that no matter how she begged her husband, he would not softened his heart towards their youngest son. Small Crying Bird’s father heart hardened against her too and he cast them both out of his lodge. She prayed to the great spirit to come to help her and her youngest son. Surely the great spirit had a place in the circle of life for them.

The summer days passed and soon the time came to move the camp to the fall hunting grounds. While the warriors trained their ponies, made new arrows and talked of the hunt. Small Crying Bird helped the women take down the teepees, gather food and prepare to leave their camp by the big muddy river to follow the great buffalo herd.

buffalo 3

This was the most important time of the year for Small Crying Bird’s people. The buffalo were his people. For without the buffalo his people could not survive. They used the buffalo’s hide to make their homes and clothes. They ate the meat to stay strong. A successful fall hunt meant that Small Crying Bird’s people would not starve when the days grew short and cold, the snow deep and wild game scarce. In stead, they would be in warm lodges and well fed.

When everyone was ready for the move, the chief sent out warriors to look for the great buffalo herd. The strongest warriors with the fastest horses rode off to find the great buffalo herd. This was not difficult, for the great buffalo herd was huge! It stretched from horizon to horizon as far the eye could see. Buffalo could run past for several days before the last of them passed by. So imagine the surprise of the entire tribe when their scouts returned several days later and couldn’t find a trace of the buffalo herd.

The warriors and chief met, held council and again scouts were sent out and again they returned with no news of the buffalo. Many prayers from the people were sent to the great spirit and still there was no signs of those huge hairy beasts.

Small Crying Bird knew that unless the buffalo were found many of his people would not see another summer for the very young and old, the sick and the outcast would not survive the winter. So Small Crying Bird left the camp and went alone out into the vast grass prairie on a vision quest to seek out the great spirit and ask for his aid in saving his people.

During his vision quest the days passed slowly for Small Crying Bird, alone in the ocean of grass with no food or water, he praised and prayed to the great spirit. Then, he saw a great black cloud take the sun hostage. The sun struggled with the cloud to be free and sent volleys of golden arrows coursing through the heavens. As the cloud tightened its hold over the sun, the sun became angrier and great tears fell from his eyes. The sun’s tears rumbled as they struck ground driving the dust of the earth high into the sky.

Black dust billows rose and swirled into the heavens, as the sun’s tears puddled on the earth making a land of ten-thousand lakes. The great dark mass of dust thundered overhead moved east to becoming the great buffalo herd. Out in front of the herd was a great black bull buffalo and he was leading the herd away from the people’s sacred buffalo hunting grounds into the big woods. When the dust had cleared, the sun was again free shining warmer and brighter than it had before.

Small Crying Bird ran back to his tribe to tell them of his vision. When he returned to the camp Small Crying Bird avoided his father and brothers and went to speak directly to the chief to tell him of his vision. The chief being a very wise man listened. He then told Small Crying Bird that he would send the scouts out one more time and if they found no trace of the great buffalo herd he would send one warrior out toward the rising sun and into the land of many lakes and big woods. Within a week the warrior was sent east and he found the buffalo herd.

When the tribe hunted the buffalo on the plains they would chase the buffalo on with their horses and stampede the herd off a cliff. The buffalo would fall to their death and the tribe would have food for many months. In the big woods there would be no cliff. This posed a problem, so the chief and the warriors met in council to plan their hunt wisely. They decided that they would build a huge corral made out of the large trees that grew in the big woods. Then, they would send out a group of warriors on their best ponies to stampede the buffalo into the log-sided, brush and grass camouflaged corral

The women and older children would hide in the brush on either side of the corral wearing wolf pelts over their heads and backs as disguises. As the buffalo drew near they were to stand up, shake their wolf pelts and make loud noises to keep the buffalo running straight ahead into the trap. Once the buffalo were inside the corral, the braves would slide the remaining logs into place trapping the buffalo inside. From the top of the stockade the braves could then safely hunt the trapped bison.

It was already late in the summer and the forest was beginning to show signs of fall. The wise chief decided it was better to share the secret whereabouts of the buffalo herd with other tribes than not to have a successful hunt.

To send messages between tribes, Small Crying Bird’s people used a runner. A runner was a warrior who was swift, brave and could run great distances without tiring. Since all of the braves were busy building the stockade, none of the tribe’s runners wanted to carry the message to the neighboring tribes. So, the chief sent Small Crying Bird to bring the news of the buffalo to the great spirit’s other children.

After running away from his brothers for most of his life, Small Crying Bird had no trouble running all day from village to village carrying the news of the Buffalo. Soon, a great gathering of Native Americans gathered in the big woods and the stockade quickly became a reality. The time to begin the hunt had come.

Standing beside his mother, Small Crying Bird watched his father, brothers and the other warriors leave for the hunt. As his father rode past him, he reined in his pony and with a smile, he handed Small Crying Bird a bow and quiver filled with arrows, then his father quickly joined the hunting party. Small Crying Bird knew great joy in his father’s gift, until he looked down at the bow and realized that it was the kind little boys used—just a toy.

Humiliated and hurt he watched his father and brothers ride away laughing at him. He then quietly picked up a wolf pelt and followed his mother to where they were to wait in the woods.

Down by the hidden stockade wearing a wolf pelt, Small Crying Bird watched the cloud of dust rising high into the sky on the horizon that signaled the buffalo herd was approaching. Every one was so quiet, all that they had and could hope for depended on the success of the chief’s plan. Then the ground began to shake, and he could hear the low rumble the heavy animal’s hooves wildly pounding the turf.

As they grew near the screams and shouts of the warriors on their painted ponies could be heard over staccato rhythm of the charging bison. All at once he could see them. Huge, humped-backed, bellowing, panting, dark, dusty monsters that meant life or death to his people.

At exactly the right moment he rose from his hiding place shaking the wolf pelt screaming. The trick worked the buffalo ran straight into the corral.

Animal after animal raced past Small Crying Bird as the warriors leapt from their ponies closing the trap by sliding the logs in place to close the hunting pen. Small Crying Bird saw his brothers and father race with their bow’s and arrows towards the trapped buffalo.

To get a better view of the hunt Small Crying Bird climbed to the top of stockade to watch the warriors work. At the far end of the stockade, away from where all the warriors were hunting stood the bull angrily pawing the dirt–a great black bellowing buffalo. He was the biggest buffalo that Small Crying Bird had ever seen.

buffalo hr

Suddenly, he backed up and charged at the logs of the wall ramming into them over and over again with his head. Small Crying Bird watched the large bull with fascination. It was almost as if the animal was trying to break through the wall to lead his herd to safety.

Just as Small Crying Bird was climbing up for a closer look, the logs began to give way to the powerful bull’s charges. Small Crying Bird quickly realized that if the bull broke through the stockade’s wall the rest of the herd would follow him and the hunt would be lost. He frantically waved his wolf pelt in the air and screamed at the bull, but the animal just kept charging the wall. Over and over he crashed into it.

Small Crying Bird jumped off the wall and raced to where his father and brothers were hunting. He urgently tried to warn the warriors about the charging bull, but they were so absorbed in their own hunting that they didn’t even look up and see him.

Small Crying Bird left them and raced back to where the bull had created a hole in the wall. By the time Small Crying Bird returned, the buffalo had almost gained his freedom.

It was then that he remembered the bow and quiver that his father had given him that morning. Small Crying Bird had never before shot at anything so big as that black bull buffalo with such a small bow, but now was a time for action not thinking. He quickly fitted an arrow into his bow and let it fly. It struck the great beast in the back right behind the hump. The animal muscled his strength and leapt for the hole in the wall.

Small Crying Bird let another arrow fly. This one flew straight into the mighty beast’s heart and downed him. As the body of the great bull fell, it filled the hole in the wall and blocked the escape of any of the other buffalo. The hunt was saved.

Small Crying Bird left the stockade and walked back to camp to help his mother. When he returned with the women, he noticed the chief, of his tribe, and many warriors, from all the tribes, standing by the large black bull buffalo that he had killed.

The chief signaled that he wanted silence. Then, he asked who had killed the great animal that had been so wise, brave and strong that he had broken through the stockade’s wall. He pulled an arrow from the beast and asked to whom the arrow belonged.

Small Crying Bird’s father, flushed with embarrassment, as he recognized the arrow shaft that he had made and given to his youngest son that very morning. Accusingly, Small Crying Bird’s father pointed at his youngest son, telling everyone that it was Small Crying Bird’s arrow that had killed the brave and noble beast.

The chief slowly walked over to where Small Crying Bird stood beside his mother. “Small Crying Bird, is this your arrow,” asked the chief. “Yes,” Small Crying Bird replied truthfully.

“You, my young one, saved the entire hunt with this toy arrow. For if the bull buffalo had broken free of our trap his cows would have followed him and the hunt would have been lost,” said the Chief.

Then, the chief looked directly at Small Crying Bird’s father and brothers, as he spoke tears of outrage coursed down the chief’s cheeks for all of the people to see. “You have named this young one to always remind him that he flies away and cries. But, tears are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign of a strong heart torn when injustice speaks.

You hardened your heart against Small Crying Bird and his mother. Yet when the buffalo were lost to us, of all our children, only Small Crying Bird trusted in his faith and went on a vision quest to find the great spirit–to seek his aid and save the very people that had cast him and his mother out. It was his faith that led us here. Yet, you did not change his name.

When a runner was needed to travel great distances to find the other tribes and bring them to this place. Your youngest son went alone and quickly the people were gathered together. Still, you did not bring him and his mother back into your lodge.

Today, you gifted him with a child’s bow and arrows to humiliate him further, and left him with his mother while you and his brothers proudly rode together to the hunt. While he stands here before all of our people, the outcast you made him, you stand there flushing with shame and embarrassment over Small Crying Bird’s arrow shaft being held in my hand. Yet, with this toy, he was the one who saved us all.

Throughout his young life of adversity, he has shown respect, patience and forgiveness toward others, even when he never received any in return. It was not weakness, but wisdom that made him wait until time gave him the strength to endure life’s storms.

The Chief turned to his people and said, “Now I will gift him with a name! From this day forward Small Crying Bird will be known as, He Who Runs Well and Thinks Quickly. He will live in my lodge. He will be my son! His mother will be honored among our women. And, I will gift him with my finest war pony the golden palomino, Shining Sun, to remind all of you that he is my shining son and I am proud to be his father.”


That is how He Who Runs Well and Thinks Quickly got his name. He grew up to be the tribe’s best runner, a brave warrior, a great chieftain and a very wise father