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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 22, 2003 - Issue 83


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Thunderhawk - The Great Cross-Country Adventure - Part 6

by Geoff Hampton

Scarred MouseBack at the frozen Tennessee River Paden was terrified. There was not a sound coming from the other side of the river where Andrew the Apache and the other dogs had disappeared into the dense woods. Additionally, Thunder was becoming more and more irritable and was obviously wanted to cross over the river to see what was wrong and see if he could help his master and friends.

Paden was holding onto Paddy as tightly as he could and his eyes were as big as saucers. His mind was racing and thinking a many thoughts all at one time. He was hoping that this was just a bad nightmare and that he would wake up at home playing with Paddy at any moment. The problem for Paden was that this was not a dream. It was very real.

WolfSuddenly Thunder became deathly still as his eyes were focused on a particular spot on the other side of the river. Paden strained his little eyes to see what Thunder was so intently looking at. Then Paden saw movement in the thick brush. Thunder began to make a frightening growling sound that started as a deep low sound in the back of his throat and got progressively louder. Paden was so scared. He said, "What is it Thunder? What do you see? Hello? Is anyone there?" His little voice was quivering and tears were forming in his eyes. He said, "Don't worry Paddy. It's okay. I'll protect you."

No sooner had Paden spoken those words than a huge wolf came out from the location that Thunder had been looking. Paden gulped out loud. Thunder let out a loud menacing growl that caused the wolf to look directly at him. Then in a flash Thunder took off running. The sudden jolt threw Paden and Paddy out of the saddle. Paden fell onto his back on the hard icy ground. He let out a loud sound as he hit the ice hard and he felt a terrible pain shoot up his back. His mind was clouded for a moment as the fall nearly knocked him unconscious. As he lay there looking up at the sky moaning in pain he heard something close by that got his attention. It was Paddy! Paddy was moaning. He hadn't heard a sound from Paddy since his fall into the icy water. Even in his terrible pain Paden rolled over to look at Paddy. Paddy's eyes were barely open but he was making a moaning sound. Paden crawled over to him and put his little arms around him. He whispered in Paddy's ear, "I'm here Paddy. You're going to be okay."

Running WolfPaddy slowly moved his head a little as if he was trying to see something. Then he very softly said, "Papa. Is that you Papa?" Then he had no more words. Paden shook him a little and said, "Paddy. Paddy! It's me…Paden. Are you okay?" Paddy's little eyes just stared blankly ahead. Then Paden heard a terrible sound on the other side of the river. He heard dogs growling and barking and clearly fighting. He also heard loud yelps of pain from the fight and he knew it was serious. It was one of the scariest sounds he had ever heard.

Paden saw a little opening in the frozen riverbank that could provide a safe hiding spot for him and Paddy. As much pain as he was in he grabbed a hold of Paddy and began to drag him toward the opening. Paddy's eyes were open a little but he didn't move or make a sound. As Paden struggled to get Paddy to safety the pain of the injuries from his fall off of Thunder's back was severe but he wouldn't stop until they were both safely under the frozen river bank.

Paden finally got Paddy far enough inside the opening to be safe from large predators. It was cold and dark and he was scared but he was also exhausted. It didn't take long before Paden drifted off into a deep restless sleep. When had laid down he had put his arms around his best friend Paddy to keep him safe. As Paden fell deeper and deeper into his sleep his mind began to imagine weird things. He saw Moose Lee and Two Eagles and they were running through the woods like they were scared. Their eyes looked like they were bulging out of their heads from fear. They were running and running and kept looking back like something was chasing them. Paden could see Two Eagles rugged face very clearly. He seemed like he was trying to yell but no sound was coming out of his mouth. It seemed like everything was happening in slow motion. Then Paden saw what Two Eagles and Moose Lee were running from. It was huge pack of wolves! They were moving very quickly and it looked like they would overtake Paden's two friends and kill them.

WolfSuddenly Paden's dream began to have sound. He could hear the barking and growling growing louder and louder in his ears. Then Paden realized that the sound he was hearing was not in his dream! It was right outside his little hideaway! He heard the sound of barking, growling, whimpering and animals sniffing the entrance to his safe crevice along the bank of the river.

Paden felt terrible pain all through his body from his fall off of Thunder. He grabbed onto Paddy with all his might! He whimpered in fear and called out for Andrew the Apache. When he cried out the sound of the animals got more intense and now he could hear paws digging furiously at the entrance to his little spot that he had thought would be so safe for him and Paddy. Paden just cried. He didn't see how he could stand much more. He just longed for the fun times he used to have with Paddy and all the others back at the homeground.

Suddenly Paden heard a very welcome sound! It was Andrew the Apache and he ordered his dogs to be silent and the noise at the opening of Paden's hiding place stopped. The he heard the distinctive sound of a human walking across the frozen ground. The sound went, "Crunch, crunch, crunch." Then it stopped as a dark shadow was cast across the opening of the hiding place. Even though it seemed safe Paden's heart was pounding with nervous excitement. He wanted to call out but was afraid. After all, what if it wasn't his friend?

Then he heard the deep unmistakable voice of Andrew the Apache, "Paden! Are you in there?" Paden immediately responded. He said, "Yes! I am! Is it safe to come out?" Andrew the Apache told him that is was safe and Paden carefully dragged Paddy out of the hole under the bank.

Scarred WolfAs he emerged he was stunned to see Andrew the Apache bloody. He was bleeding in several places. Paden's mouth fell wide open as he stared at the great warrior in total disbelief. He also noticed that several of the dogs were bleeding as well.

Andrew the Apache bent over and gently picked Paden up off the ground. He brought him up to eye level and looked into his eyes. Paden blurted out, "What's going on? What happened to you? Where's Thunder?" Andrew the Apache smiled slightly and told Paden not to worry. He said that while all the animals had some injuries, they would be okay.

Finally the mighty warrior spoke. He said, "There was a pack of hungry wolves who were stalking us. Big Paws was the first to go into the woods to see where they were. He was attacked as soon as he went in so I ran in to try to help. Then all my other dogs came as well. I told Thunder to stay with you and he disobeyed my command. He crossed back over to try to help but he was an easy target for the rest of the wolves since he was all alone. It was fortunate that the rest of us were nearing the edge of the woods or we would not have been able get back in time to save our dear friend."

Paden burst into uncontrollable tears. He was crying hysterically. He just wanted to go home. Andrew the Apache tried to comfort the little mouse. Then Paden stopped crying and his ears perked up to full attention. He thought he had heard a familiar voice. As he listened intently he heard Paddy say, "Paden. Where are you Paden?"

Party MouseA look of surprise crossed Andrew the Apache's face too. They both looked down to the ground where the sound was coming from. Paddy O'Malley was laying on his back with his eyes slightly open looking up them. Then he spoke again saying, "Paden. Help me." Paden jumped out of Andrew the Apache's hand and ran over to Paddy. He said, "Paddy! You're back!" Paddy smiled a weak little smile and said, "I'm hungry." Paden looked up at Andrew the Apache who was just as stunned. He said, "It will hard for Paddy to eat because its been so long since he had any food. Since its getting dark, let me make a fire to keep him warm and we'll prepare something that he will be able to eat. Paden said, "Thank you so much!" Then he ran over and hugged his friend. As he pulled his head back and looked into Paddy's eyes he said, "I was so worried about you. I am so glad that you're okay." Paddy smiled a weak little smile and said, "I'm glad to be back!"

Andrew the Apache built a huge fire and the dogs all gathered around. Thunder went over and laid down next to Paddy. He licked him with his big tongue and this time Paddy didn't complain. It felt soothing to his little body that had been through so much.

CampfireAndrew the Apache took out some grain and asked Paden to chew it up until it was soft and then they could give it to Paddy to eat. He said that then the food would be soft enough that Paddy could easily swallow it. Paden did as he was told. He gently gave Paddy the softened food and watched him slowly eat it. Paddy could only eat a little and then he just fell into a deep sleep.

Paden asked Andrew the Apache if he thought that Paddy would be okay now. The man shook his head up and down to say that he thought Paddy would be okay. Paden jumped up and down even though it hurt his bruised body. He was so happy. He crawled up on Andrew the Apache's lap and the two stared up at the sky. It was a beautiful clear night and the stars looked like a glistening blanket up above. Paden started to remember all that had happened so far on a trip that hadn't really gone very far from home yet. He thought that Andrew the Apache would probably take them back home if they wanted him to, but he did have to admit that he was learning a lot of lessons. After all, if Paddy was going to be okay, then it would be worth finding out what else was ahead of them on this trip.

Star MouseAs he looked at the stars and thought these thoughts Andrew the Apache stroked his little head gently. It felt so good and reminded him of times when Penny had comforted him and stroked his head the very same way. He missed home but this experience was really incredible. He slowly drifted off into a deep comfortable sleep. He was safe and Paddy was going to be okay and that all that mattered to him right now.

The End - Part 6

© 2003 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is the Marketing Director for Indian Voices newspaper which serves Southern California and Nevada. Hampton is also a regular columnist for the wellness/fitness Website and Canku Ota and can be reached by E-mail at

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