by Grey Eagle

The wind boat had been sighted just after daylight. Word spread quickly, and by the time it had sailed into the river mouth the entire Timocuan village had come down to meet it. Some swam out to the ship rather than wait for the boats to be lowered and the crew to come ashore. Their questions were politely put off. The shipmaster told them that they would have to wait for the village meeting that night.

Crew members exchanged hugs and kisses with family members as they came ashore in the row boats. The subdued air of the crew was unmistakable. The individual crewmembers echoed the shipmaster when asked about the trip. No cargo was unloaded.

The villagers were understandably anxious as they gathered for the meeting. Some were even visibly impatient with the opening formalities of welcoming back the explorers. Finally, the shipmaster spoke to the villagers.

"As we expected, we did find another land on the other side of the Great Sea. And we met people there." He was interrupted by a cheer from the crowd of villagers. The cheer died away when the shipmaster's face remained serious.

"They are not like you might expect. They are completely uncivilized. Every time we attempted to meet with them, they chased us away in a clearly unfriendly manner. We could not understand their language, but there was no mistaking that they wanted us to leave immediately.

"Each time we tried to make contact, we brought gifts to show our goodwill. Sometimes our gifts were ignored, sometimes they were thrown at us, and sometimes they took the gifts and still ran us off.

"We were unable to make meaningful contact with any of them. We resorted to landing small groups at night to secretly observe them and their land. What we found was most discouraging. Most of their people live in terrible poverty and filth. Although they were usually dirty, their skin was very pale. Sickness among them was common.

"Without exception, any time our people were discovered, they were chased off or even attacked. These people also seem to be frequently at war among themselves.

"One of the strangest things about these people was the way they adorned themselves. They covered their entire bodies with blankets sewn into strange shapes -- like this."

One of the crew members stepped out of hiding and into the middle of the group. His entire body except for hands and head were covered, as the shipmaster had said. The cloth was sewn into shapes which encased the legs, arms and torso. Even the feet were enclosed in some kind of animal skin. The man wearing this strange combination was clearly uncomfortable in the heat.

"They wear these things all the time. It doesn't matter how warm it is. When you get close to these people you can see and smell their sweat, so we know they must be uncomfortable in them. I think maybe that is part of why they are so unfriendly.

"It is good to be back home where everyone has the sense to only use blankets when it's cold. It is good to see everyone in their own, clean skin, the way our Creator made us.

"I have given orders to destroy the wind boat. Maybe this will help keep the secret of travelling with the wind from reaching across the sea.

"Considering the difficulty of crossing the Great Sea and the unfriendliness of the people on the other side, we must abandon the idea of establishing trade with them. We will have to be satisfied to travel our own coast and rivers, and trade with our own neighbors to the North. My one fear is that the people on the eastern shore of the Great Sea may one day learn how to cross in wind boats as we did. If these people should ever come to our land, their evil ways and sheer numbers would surely destroy us."


Copyright 2009 by Garvath Publishing
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