Prairie Trail Federation

Legend of Black Cloud

1. Announce during Saturday lunch that new guides/princesses should gather right after lunch to hear the Legend of Black Cloud. It is NOT recommended that the story be read over the microphone
to the entire lunch group. Instead, the story should be told by a Big Brave (preferably by a fireplace or other intimate setting) who should tell the story in an engaging manner. The Big Brave may allow his
child to assist with the story telling.

2. Announce the start and stop times for Black Cloud to be set by the Nation Chief in consultation with the Tribal Chiefs. Absent agreement, the default times are Saturday 1 pm to dinner; Sunday 6 am to 730 am. Remind all braves that Black Cloud is to be played with respect for members of other tribes and is to be enjoyed safely without argument, conflict or aggression. The Legend of Black Cloud is about being a good person which includes good sportsmanship.

The Legend of Black Cloud

Long ago, there lived a young [Guide / Princess] named Black Cloud. The Great Spirit had blessed Black Cloud with many gifts. Black Cloud was the strongest, fastest, and best looking in all the land. Black Cloud had a wonderful voice and was the best with a bow and arrow. Tales of his Black Cloud’s greatness spread far and wide until no one dared to challenge Black Cloud in battle or in sport. Black Cloud walked humbly and was always kind. Black Cloud did not listen to all of the praise. When the Great Spirit looked down and observed Black Cloud, the Great Spirit smiled for Black Cloud was truly good.

Then one day Black Cloud met a serpent in the forest, and the serpent said, “Black Cloud, you are wonderful in all you do. You should be a chief who rules over all the people”. Black Cloud listened to the serpent and liked what the serpent was proclaiming. Then, Black Cloud asked, “Tell me more … oh wise serpent.” The serpent continued his praise, “Oh, Black Cloud, there is none like you on earth or in heaven. Why ….. you are … like The Great Spirit.. .. You should be worshiped in the same manner as The Great Spirit.” Black Cloud listened and believed the serpent.

After leaving the forest and returning to his village, Black Cloud immediately began demanding that friends bow down when Black Cloud waked by. Black Cloud told them that normal chores were beneath Black Cloud’s greatness and that they should do them instead. Black Cloud began to dress in fine skins that he made others make.

Black Cloud began to go down to the lake daily and look at the reflection from the still water. “I am the greatest alive”, he would shout. “No one is greater than I in heaven or on earth!”

The Great Spirit was aware of Black Cloud growing more vain each day, and hurting those who disobeyed. One day, the Great Spirit decided to call down to Black Cloud. “Black Cloud, why do you say these things? What has happened to you?” Black Cloud responded, “The serpent in the forest made me see how great I am, and the serpent opened my eyes to the fact that I am as great as you”.

The Great Spirit was very disappointed in Black Cloud. After great thought, The Great Spirit announced the following punishment to Black Cloud for these foolish ways.

“Black Cloud, because you have listened to the serpent, the teller of lies, and believe yourself to be so great, you have dishonored your friends and yourself. I gave you your talents, and I can take them away. You will learn by your actions and be a lesson for all generations. I will take away your strength and your talents and your good looks.”

Suddenly, Black Cloud started to transform. Black Cloud no longer knew how to hold a bow to shoot an arrow. Then Black Cloud’s belly started to grow and bulge outward. And then Black Cloud’s face began to grow out of proportion until it was quite funny to look at.

Black Cloud looked at the reflection in the still water and jumped back ashamed. “Grant me one favor, oh Great Spirit. Turn me to wood so that I may not hear the laughter of all those who
will see me.” So the Great Spirit granted Black Cloud his wish, and Black Cloud became a wooden statue.

Many years later, some children came upon and found the wooden statue. The Great Spirit called to them. “This is Black Cloud who was great, but became vain instead of being humble, who became mean instead of being kind, and who listened to the serpent instead of the Great Spirit.

So now take this statue of Black Cloud and play a game with it. Beginning after the afternoon meal, hide it at each other’s campsites. If you find it at your campsite, take it and hide it by someone else’s campsite.

Do not push or fight while playing the game and always take Black Cloud willingly. This will teach you to walk humbly and treat others with kindness.

The game must stop today before the evening meal. Then the game can resume one more time tomorrow morning near the sunrise hour and will end just before the breakfast meal. Do not allow your Big Braves to play this game. They will want to, for all fathers are children at heart, but you must not allow them to play for if they touch the statue or interfere with the game, they may become like Black Cloud and lose sight of the lessons of the Great Spirit.”

So the children obeyed the Great Spirit, and played the game, and when their Big Brave’s tried to join the game, they would tell them what the Great Spirit said to them.

This is the legend of Black Cloud and the game that bears his name. Remember always to walk humbly in way of the Great Spirit. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be alert because when you hear the sacred horn blow, Black Cloud must rest with those who had the statue resting on the front entrance of their teepee last. If you do these three things, the Great Spirit will be pleased.

Now go forward, treat others with respect, and have fun playing Black Cloud.

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