Legend of Black Cloud

Long ago before the white man came to the land, there was an Indian brave named Black Cloud. The Great Spirit had blessed Black Cloud with many gifts. Black Cloud was the strongest, fastest, handsomest brave in all the land. His voice was wonderful to hear and his skill with the bow amazing to see. Tales of his greatest spread far and wide until no brave dared challenge Black Cloud in battle or in sport. Black Cloud did not listen to all the praise, but instead walked humbly and was always kind. The Great Spirit looked down and smiled at Black Cloud for he was good. Then one day Black Cloud met a serpent in the forest. The serpent spoke to him. “Black Cloud you are wonderful in all you do. You should be a chief and rule over all the people”. Black Cloud listened to the serpent for he liked what it said. “Tell me more oh wise serpent”, he said. The snake replied, “There is none like you on earth or in heaven. Why you are like the Great Spirit and should be worshiped like he is.” Black Cloud listened and believed the serpent. He left the forest and returned to his village. He immediately began demanding of his neighbors that they bow when he walked by. Then he told them that his normal chores were beneath his greatness and that they should do them for him. If anyone disobeyed, Black Cloud would hit him or her and force them to do as he said.

Black Cloud began to dress in fine skins that he made others make for him. He began to go down to the lake daily and look at himself in the reflection from the still water. “I am the greatest man alive”, he would shout. “No one is greater than I in heaven or on earth!”

The Great Spirit heard Black Cloud and called down to him, “Black Cloud why do you say these things, what has happened to you?” “The serpent in the forest made me see how great I am”, said Black Cloud. “He opened my eyes to the fact that I am as great as you”.

The Great Spirit was not pleased with Black Cloud. “Because you have listened to the serpent, the teller of lies, and believe yourself to be so great, you have dishonored your people and yourself. I gave you your talents and I can take them away. So you will learn and be a lesson for all generations, I will take away you strength and your good looks. “With that Black Cloud was transformed into a big bellied man and his face grew out of proportion until he was quite funny to look at. Black Cloud looked at himself in the still water and jumped back ashamed. “Grant me one favor oh Great Spirit. Turn me to wood that I may not hear the laughter of all those who will see me.” So the Great Spirit granted his wish and Black Cloud became a wooden statue. Some children came up and found the statue. The Great Spirit called to them. “This is Black Cloud who was great, but whose pride blinded him to the ways of the Great Spirit. Take the statue and play a game with it. Beginning at the morning meal, hide it in each other’s teepees. If you find it in your teepee run it to someone else’s. Do not push or fight while playing the game and always take Black Cloud willingly. This will teach you to walk humbly and treat all with kindness. The game must stop before the morning meal on the following day. Whoever has Black Cloud when the game ends must sing a song of Black Cloud and his dishonor. Do not allow your fathers to play the game. They will want to, for all fathers are children at heart, but you must not allow them to for if they touch the statue or interfere with the game, they may become like Black Cloud and lose sight of the ways of the Great Spirit.” So the children obeyed the Great Spirit, and played the game, and when their father’s tried to join the game, they would tell them what the Great Spirit said. This is the legend of Black Cloud and the game that bears his name. Remember always to walk in the way of the Great Spirit. Treat all others as you wish to be treated. Walk humbly and the Great Spirit will be pleased.