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This story is one that really made me think!

White Fox

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I hope all here will take a few moments to read this COMICAL story. It truly made ME think, and I think most people will love it. I found it recently while doing research in a huge government museum library. The story by the way is TRUE! It took place in the early days of Ohio's history.


So many times our Native and "European"cultures have clashed. So terrible have been the results. This comical story gives us all a very hard learned lesson on the dangers of racism and the clash of our cultures. And it proves how much better it would be if we worked together.


In the early part of this century when the indians had not yet ceased to be a nuisance and sometimes a terror to the settlers a hardy backwoodsman and his wife named Spicer had made their home in a lonely part of Ohio. Their clearing and log cabin were a long way distant from the other settlements and it is not to be wondered at if their minds were not altogether at ease towards their savage neighbors.


One night they were about to go to bed when someone was heard calling outside. Spicer went out, and saw a tall Indian on horseback. He carried the carcass of a deer slung before him and was armed with two rifles, a tomahawk, and a scalping knife. On the whole he looked a very undesirable visitor. He spoke to them first in his own language, then by signs and broken English; and the Spicers were not very well pleased when he managed to make himself understood that he wanted to take up his quarters with them for the night.


Hospitality however in these out of the way parts was a pressing virtue; besides a refusal might end in his doing them mischief. So the worthy couple prepared to entertain their guest in the best fashion they could. His horse was accommodated in the pig stye for want of a stable. He was invited into the cabin which consisted of only one room. His weapons were put in the corner, his venison was hung up and Mrs Spicer proceeded to cook for him a piece of it which he cut out for that purpose. In her anxiety to give the visitor no cause of offense she seasoned the meat highly with pepper and salt as it would commend itself to the taste of those for who she had usually to provide. The indian ate a morsel of two but did not seem to enjoy it. Conversation as not practicable under the circumstances and all parties soon agreed to go to rest. The goodman and goodwife went to bed. The indian lay down on the hearth before the fire.


But none of them slept. The Spicers lay uneasily awake keeping a watchful eye on their unwelcome guest with a loaded rifle standing ready beside the bed. Their suspicions seemed to be confirmed when all being quiet the indian roused himself from his feigned slumber, and sat up on the hearth. Cautiously he looked around silently he gained his feet, stealthily he made his way across the floor to the place where his weapons had been deposited. The Spicers held their breath. Once more the midnight murderer glanced keenly on every side to make sure that he was not observed. he drew his shining knife from it's scabbard; he turned and stole on tiptoe. At this moment Spicer was about to seize his rifle and shoot the supposed violator of hospitality. Luckily he held his hand for a moment. Then, instead of approaching the bed on which he fancied his hosts to be fast asleep, the visitor went up to the venison, cut off a goodly lump, placed it on the coals, and as soon as it was cooked to his liking ate up every morsel of it, and went to sleep in real earnest.


The truth was that the poor indian was very hungry, having lost his way in the woods and wandered about for some time before he saw the light in the Spicer's cabin. But he did not relish Mrs Spicer's highly seasoned cooking, and these suspicious movements which had so nearly led to his end were only for the purpose of getting a meal more to his taste, without giving further trouble or offending his hostess by appearing to cast a reflection on her culinary skill. Perhaps there were not many of the rough settlers who would have shown such a spirit of politeness.

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This story is profound in its simplicity. It illustrates something I have said many, many times. We are all alike. No matter our skin color, our cultural heritage, our age, our social status, our religion - We all have the basic need of love or companionship, compassion, trust and respect. These are as vital as food, shelter and clothing, but sometimes harder to find. Amazing, isn't it? We all possess the opportunity to provide for our brothers and sisters things that don't cost any of us a penny, peso or franc, yet sometimes they are the hardest things to offer. The saddest thing is when we have loved, cared, trusted and respected, when we have removed the barriers and given our deepest heart to someone, and the thanks we have gotten was the rejection of that humble offering of our heart and soul. What a waste! It would have been a shame if Spicer had shot the Indian through the heart. The settlers had set aside their fear, recognizing a brother's need for food, shelter and safety. Their compassion and trust transcended their fear and their preconceived ideas about this man. The Indian was only providing for his hunger, yet compassionate enough to secretly do it, not wanting to hurt his hostess' feelings. What a shame if the story had ended differently! Sometimes, when we violate someone's confidence in us, when we willingly and knowingly trash those priceless gifts for thoughtless gain, pleasure or elevation of ego, we are figuratively shooting someone through the heart. As in the story, where the author wondered how many other settlers (or natives!) would have shown such a spirit of politeness and restraint, how many people in this world have been willing to show each of us unquestioned love, compassion, trust and respect? Not very many! That is why these people must not only be treasured, but even revered; why their priceless gifts must not only be accepted but nurtured, for those precious individuals are few and far between. Shoot them through the heart, and they may be gone from your life forever.

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