Monday, October 26, 2009

Five Wolves



I can't say for certain if it's true or not. This is how I heard it. I ain't swearin' on no bible or no other book, neither. You're gonna have to take my word.


There lived a man name of Ciaphus Wert. Made money from lumberin'. He didn't do no lumberin' himself, he had men he hired to do the sweatin' for him so he don't muss his lace cuffs. I wouldn't have no man wore lace cuffs, but he brought a woman out from Boston, named Abigail, and married her in the year 1878. Had fair skin and green eyes. I never seen her myself, but I heard.


Come the year 1883 she had a girl child, but not without that it cost her plenty. All Christmas Day she lay groanin' and wrappin' her small fingers around the brass bed frame, prayin' to whatever God there is to let the child see the day. It took two days, but that child come, and was a girl like her mama. Ciaphus Wert, he was struttin' like a barnyard rooster and thinkin' his family was just beginnin', but pretty soon Abigail begun to burn up with fever. All the night of December 27th, she talked out of her head and show no interest in her child cos she had gone mad with sickness. Then she died. They buried her in the Methodist chuchyard, said a few bible words, then walked home and gnawed on turkey legs. That little child, she lived but might have been a ghost all the same.


In 1885, Ciaphus Wert married another woman, name of Liddy Sharp. I expect was on account of her sharp tongue which she was in the habit of usin' on anyone she didn't need somethin' from. When she walked by on the mud streets in spring, the dogs run and hid. They knew she kick 'em if they got close enough.


Now the little girl, who was also name of Abigail, was called Abby, and she raised herself up, with just a little help from her daddy. When she were small enough, she stay mostly 'neath a kitchen chair whenever Liddy were close by, and then later she take to roamin' the woods like she were half wild. Liddy, her stepmama, see her only as a pair of hands to be worked right down to the bone, and so she do her best to accomplish that. Abby, she blow as far away as she could, as often as she could, like a storm in the night, gone before you know it.


Abby had a friend, 'bout a mile and a half away, a full blooded Ottawa woman name of Crow Eye. Crow Eye find this girl sleepin' next her well one mornin' and she haul the bucket up and Abby with it. From then on, them two were tight as ticks on a tomcat. Crow Eye fed her cornbread and Ottawa stories her mama had taught her. They were like two sticks in a fire, them two.


Crow Eye weren't old like you might think. Were young and had the black hair like it lookin' for a place to land. There were a man in town called the General, always set one eye on her and the other on makin' a dollar. That's the way the General was. Dollar be different, dependin'. If you was wantin' to buy somethin' he had, why then a dollar didn't go far at all. Take a whole fist full of 'em to buy an ear of corn from that man. But if he were wantin' somethin' you got, it weren't worth even one whole dollar no how, and he would 'splain why 'til you wanted to cut your own throat and you sell it to him just to make him hush.


He weren't no real general neither. A train rider told me he had knowed him in the war, that he weren't nothin' but a cook. One time, his flapjacks twisted up a soldier's guts so bad the man died. I heard this, I wasn't there. Say the cook were usin' eggs that'd gone bad and he knew but were too cheap and miserly to not feed 'em to folks anyway. He kept the good ones for hisself. Still, by time I'm discussin', he had so much money that if he wanted be called the King of England, people probably call him that. It's money. Damned if it don't beat all.


So, as I was relatin', Abby was mostly raised up by this Ottawa woman and become a red haired Indian herself. She had her mama's green eyes and by time she were twelve, she were tall and pretty like her mama had been. The General, his weedy eyes done started to stray to Abby by then, and he take to followin' her. Not so folks would see, but in the woods takin' what he called his constitutional. Just about dark one evenin' in November he block her way, he say things a man ain't ought to say to no young girl like Abby was. He take those big paws of his and do things. Evil things. She scream loud and Crow Eye come through the dusk and she got a big old steely huntin' knife with her and she suggest he stop what he doin'. She tell Abby run and she do, and the General, he weren't used to nobody denyin' him what he set his eye on, especially no Ottawa woman. Well I weren't there, so I don't know what exactly happened, but Crow Eye end up dead, with bruisy rings around her wrists and her knife no place to be seen. But Abby, she got clean away.


She run to Crow Eye's place and she hole up with Crow Eye's dog, name of Oker. Oker were a big black mongrel, mean as a devil to anyone whose name he weren't knowin'. Oker hate the General worst of all. Inside, they both were ponderin' on what to do, and Abby take out some things Crow Eye's mama had gave her when she were little. A wolf skin with the head still on it. A corn husk doll. Some beads and feathers and what have you. Nothin' old Ciaphus nor the General would think was worth the fleas off a skunk.


Abby, she were scared and she wrap the wolf skin around her and start to dancin' and Oker he dance with her. I weren't there, but what I heard is they look like they were fightin' near to the death but they was dancin'. Growlin' and thrashin' and young Abby, she wrap her fingers into that wolf skin just like her mama done when bringin' her into the world. Cryin' and burnin' same too. Oker were actin' like the devil turned loose and howl like Death come up from the bottom of the deepest pit. All the while the fire were burnin' behind 'em, just like Crow Eye had left it when she went to help her white girl when she screamed.


While this were going on, the General must've seen what he done and regained his senses, that is to say, he start worryin' about preservin' his own neck. He start back to town, makin' up lie upon lie about what happen, shiftin' blame like a load of logs headed downstream. He might as well never have bothered to do it, though, on account of he never made it home.


Men went lookin' for him in the daylight and they found him sure enough. Some left of him, least ways. These men knew trackin' and huntin' and they found prints of five wolves what had torn the General to tiny pieces all black evil and red blood across the snow. But the thing is, they all swore those tracks came from no place and went no place after, like five wolves had just appeared like a storm in the night and gone the same way. They tried blamin' Oker, but Oker was discovered asleep with his body wrapped around Abby's to keep her warm and old Oker wouldn't let no one touch her for some three hours neither, 'til she finally called him off.


After that, Abby never more went home to her daddy and Liddy Sharp, and didn't talk neither for a time of five years or a little longer. All that while, she wore the wolf skin and Ottawa charms on her arms and hands and everybody start to call her name of Five Wolves, rather than her christian name. Oker the dog were always at her side as well.


Like I said before, I won't swear on no bible nor no other book about what I have been describin' here. I weren't there myself, but I heard the story from someone who were.


Abby Five Wolves were my grandmother. I hope you ain't suggestin' she lied.

________

22 comments:

nollyposh said...

WoW!!!

ellen abbott said...

I like this a lot.

staceyjwarner said...

Loved the voice of the narrator, very clever...

Joanna Jenkins said...

That was awesome!
xo

Riot Kitty said...

And you're also good at tall tales! Is there anything you can't write exceptionally well? Nah...

mac said...

Great story !

g-man said...

I believe you.!!!

pheromone girl said...

Five wolves would be very good luck.

Dulce said...

Hey woman friend!
This is going to take half my day to be read and I need to read your works thoroughly... will be back tonight!!!
xoxxoxoxo

Vesper said...

Shay, I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this story! You're exceptionally talented. This is the perfect story: the narrator's voice, the details and the atmosphere, the story itself. Excellent!

Daryl said...

More please

RachelW said...

Oh, wow. You've taken my breath away, totally. You are a true storyteller!

Cloudia said...

Where are you channeling from?


Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Scarlet said...

:( I didn't want this story to end. I want the long version of this tale...and an Abby doll for Chrismas!! :)

K said...

I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing it.

Dulce said...

Are you sure this you only heard or is it a goddess who gave you the power, inspiration and permission to write about it!!?!?!
Hun, you are a box full of surprises. Must admit I like poems better, but this is a terrific terrifying story...
;)

Elizabeth Bradley said...

No need to be swearing on the Bible. Just keep on writing. I enjoyed your story as much as the poetry.

Mama Zen said...

Marvelous, Shay!

Steve E. said...

Fireblossom...OUCH! (Ya know whut I mean! Right?)

And YOU, Puddin' Puddle, you wrote it better than any Samuel Clemens I ever read. I could not stop, and yep, I did every word.

I've really missed being her--I'll be Bach as long as there is an empty comment-space. OK? So THERE!

PEACE!

Ekanthapadhikan said...

I think this is the first time I see you writing anything in prose ever since I started following you. And I can't help but say "WOW" to this one. Just like your poems, your prose is also very picturesque.

Kay said...

hehe...delightful! :-D

Pouty Lips said...

This should be a movie. Have you ever thought of writing a screen play?