My feet hurt from walking all day, and they were cracked and bleeding from the dry ground. As I walked through the dust on the way back from hunting, I thought about what the kids would say when I came home empty handed again. They would cry. They cried a lot lately. Sure enough, everyone came out to meet me when I got home and I told them I hadn’t seen anything. When they cried I told them to stop or else the lions would come and eat them. They would have to learn to deal with hunger. We were always hungry. This was what it was like being a Manjúi. It was dry this time of year and there weren’t a lot of animals to be found. I was afraid though; that we wouldn’t last much longer in this drought.
My young son came in from playing and had killed a couple of birds with his slingshot, so that would have to do for food for tonight. I thought about my daughter then. She wasn’t a baby but she could fit into my bag she was so skinny. She had been sick for a long time. I would have to chant over her again, I felt so sorry for her. A really strong spirit had her spirit and I couldn’t seem to get it back. That is why she was so sick. You would have thought I could get it back since my helper spirit was one of the strongest around. Everyone was afraid of me because I was the one with the strongest helper spirit. They were afraid of what I could do to them.
I did feel sorry for a lot of people though; that’s why I helped heal them. I would call up my helper spirit to get the spirit of the sick back. That would make them better. Lots of times I was able to make them better. They had to give me whatever I asked for in payment as they were afraid of me. I had to ask of them whatever my helper spirit wanted or he would get mad at me. Even though I was such a strong healer, I was really afraid of my helper spirit.
I will never forget that night I worked over my sick daughter. I chanted so hard I could hardly talk. Finally my helper spirit told me to put her under water to try to drown the bad spirit out. It didn’t help. We threw her body out back under an old bottle tree. We didn’t have to worry about burning her body because she wasn’t old enough to come back and harm us.
Even though I couldn’t heal my daughter I was still strong. The people were still afraid of me. Nobody would ever stop me from anything I wanted. They would never want to make me mad. Shortly after my daughter died, the white skins came. They told a lot of the stories we already knew from our past. They didn’t have them all correct though. They said one God made us all. We all know we came from parrots. It’s obvious we came from parrots. They are the only animal that knows how to talk.
I listened for a time to the white skins teaching but after a while my helper spirit told me I had to stop. I still listened sometimes but it made my helper spirit unhappy with me. After I would listen to what the white skins called “God’s words” it would take me such a long time to call up my helper spirit. He really didn’t like me listening to God’s words. A lot of my people started to give up their helper spirits about this time, but not me, I was still strong.
The white skins talked a lot in those days about God and what He did for us. If I ever mentioned this to my helper spirit he would cower and then leave me for a long time. I am not sure why he was afraid since he was the strongest helper spirit around. I felt so weak when my helper spirit would leave me. I didn’t know what to do. None of my people would dare talk to me about my helper spirit because they were afraid of me. Well, none that is except my son. I will never forget the day my son stood up to me. No one had ever stood up to me before. Everyone knew what I would do to them if they stood up to me. It just never happened. Except for that day my son stood up to me. He said I was wrong and would go to a very bad place called Hell if I didn’t believe what God’s words said.
My helper spirit was very angry that my son stood up to me. He begged me not to be done with him. He also told me I should judge my son for what he did. I would have but my wife wouldn’t let me. I started to listen more to the white skins teaching because I didn’t want to lose face. I told the people I was doing it because I wanted to; not because my son told me to. Actually I was listening because I was afraid. I was afraid that my helper spirit was getting weak. Not so many of my people were afraid of me anymore. In fact I was one of the few who were still afraid of everything.
Finally came the day when I gave up my spirit for good. I hadn’t seen him around for a long time. I listened to what the white man said about God and about man not being good enough to go to God’s place because God was perfect. I wanted to go to God’s place when I died. I was so terribly afraid of dying. My spirit left me when I understood that God’s son died in my place so that I could go to God’s place when I died. I thought I would be afraid when my spirit left me, but I wasn’t. I got another spirit that day. God’s spirit came to live inside me. I wasn’t afraid of God’s spirit like I had been of my old helper spirit. I was only happy. My stomach wasn’t even full of honey and yet I was happy. Maybe I was finally happy because I wasn’t afraid anymore. It was so good to not be afraid.
-These are my words. My name is La’enis. I can say my name now because I am not afraid. **Intrested in another story involving La’enis? Check out this link: https://blogs.ethnos360.org/jared-haynes/2015/09/18/a-diamond-in-the-rough/